Do you have a passion for serving your country and the public? Do you have an interest in making the world a better place? Your influence can be made at the federal, state, or local level as well as with think tanks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private, for-profit and nonprofit organizations. There are a number of different industries represented in public service such as Administration & Program Management, Biological & Environmental Sciences, Business & Finance, Creative Arts, Education, Engineering, Information Technology & Computer Science, Legal, Mathematics, Medical & Public Health, Security & Protection, Social Sciences, Transportation, and International Development. Public service professionals are considered “change agents” as they make their mark on domestic and/or international issues. Where do you want to make your biggest impact?
Examples of these fields include:
- Environmental Science & Sustainability*
- International Development
- Intelligence & Security
- Museum & Cultural*
- National Defense*
- Politics, Public Policy, and Activism*
- Public Health
- Public Safety*
*Note: These links take you to Firsthand career guides. You will need to login with your W&M credentials in order to access the resources for free.
Public Service Careers Newsletter
The Public Service Careers Newsletter is a bi-monthly publication and a great resource for students who want to make a difference in the world. This newsletter offers articles written by W&M students who are pursuing a public service career, announcements on industry events and programs, resources for students exploring careers in public service, job and internship opportunities, and much more. To sign up to receive this newsletter, log in to TribeCareers. Click on the circle on the top right of the page, then My Account, then Industry Newsletters/Career Interests and update your Industry Newsletters section by checking the box next to all of the newsletters you'd like to receive.
Events & Programs
Public service events and programs are scheduled throughout the fall and spring semesters. You can stay informed of all that is happening in this industry through TribeCareers, the Public Service Careers Industry Newsletter, and/or from your professors. Examples of activities related to this industry include:
There are hundreds of internship opportunities for students interested in Public Service. The Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement has an internship blackboard site for students that includes a list of employers where students from William & Mary have interned before, industry specific internship resources, and a list of current opportunities. Email [[lrandolph,Lisa Randolph]] if you would like to be added to the Blackboard site. There is also a list of internship databases where you can search for opportunities on external sites. TribeCareers is another great place to search for existing opportunities. You will want to pay close attention to all deadlines and eligibility requirements. Many opportunities in this industry are available during the summer, fall, and spring semesters.
Many public service sectors recruit college graduates from all types of majors and backgrounds. Some majors that students pursue who have an interest in working in public service include:
What Can I Do With This Major?: Use this resource to see how a major can connect to different career paths.
Recruiting Timelines & Breaking into Professional Roles
Many employment opportunities with the federal, state, and local government, think tanks, NGOs, and nonprofit organizations hire full-time employees based on their immediate needs year-round. However, there are a few sectors such as intelligence, national security, and the Foreign Service that require a security clearance and begin their recruitment timeline 10 to 12 months before they expect to make a job offer. For these positions you will want to start your job search 10 to 15 months in advance. For sectors that do not require a security clearance or require a lower security clearance status, the average length of time from application to hire is 90-100 days.
For the private sector, most employers hire based on their immediate needs. Some opportunities may become available in early spring/summer, so you may want to look for opportunities throughout the year.
It can be very important to utilize networking in your job search as well, as many positions are competitive in nature. Keep in mind that it’s best to cultivate your network before you need it. Check out our networking page for more information on networking strategies.
W&M Clubs & Organizations
There are several clubs and student organizations at William & Mary that you can pursue related to the government and nonprofit sectors. Joining a student club/organization is a great way to further develop your leadership and professional skills.
Log into TribeLink to find a full list of organizations, learn more and sign up for a club/organization that interests you. Here are just a few of the clubs and organizations you may want to explore: