The opportunities within government or public service are vast. Nearly every job type found in the private sector exists in local, state and federal governments. Government also offers unique careers from representing US citizens abroad to developing policies that shape our nation’s schools to managing local emergencies.There are also unique jobs within the government sector, such as political office and intelligence and national security opportunities.
Job Title Examples:
- City Manager
- Cybersecurity Analyst
- Environmental Engineer
- Health Educator
- Human Resources Assistant
- Safety and Occupational Health Specialist
- Program Analyst
- Investigative Analyst
- Language Specialist
- Contract Specialist
- Financial Analyst
- Problem solving skills
- Leadership skills
- Research skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Communication and writing skills
Because not all federal agencies are not required to post their opportunities in one central place, use USAJobs.gov as well as specific agency and department websites to find opportunities. Nearly all paid federal government opportunities are required to be posted on USAJobs.gov.
- USA Pathways Jobs
Index of Federal Government Agencies and Elected Officials
Go Government - The College Student's Guide to Federal Government Jobs
Partner for Public Service Internship Program
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Internship Fact Sheet
- Ralph Bunche Summer Institute
Federal - Internationally oriented
- NATO Internship Program
- U.S. Department of Commerce Internships
- USAID Internships
- U.S. Department of State
- Office of the United States Trade Representative Internships
- The Fulbright Program
- Charles B. Rangel Summer Enrichment Program
- Foreign Service Officer
- Pamela Harriman Fellowship
- Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
- Brad Traverse Jobs and Internships
- House Committee Representatives, Organizations, Commissions, Task Forces, and Employment Opportunities
- Jobs and Fellowships with the Library of Congress and Congressional Research Service
- Jobs and Internships on Capitol Hill
- Jobs On and Relating To Capitol Hill
- White House Internship Program
- National Conference of State Legislatures Internship Program and Coordinators
- National Governors Association Summer Scholar Program
- New Jersey Governor's Internship Program
- Capital Fellows Program
- Florida Governor's Internship Program
- Illinois Governor's Office James H. Dunn, Jr. Memorial Fellowship and Michael Curry Summer Internship Program
- Indiana Governor’s Fellowship Program
- Virginia Management Fellows Governor’s Program
- Governor’s Fellows Program in Louisiana Government
- Tennessee Governor’s Management Fellowship
- Brad Traverse Jobs and Internships
- Government Jobs (primarily state and municipal)
- International City/County Management Association - city management internships, fellowships, and jobs
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Internships and Jobs
- Washington, DC: District Leadership Program
- Urban Fellows Program in New York
- Baltimore: Mayoral Fellowship
- Cleveland: Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship
- Columbia: Mayor's Fellows Program
- Minneapolis: Mayoral Fellowship
- New York City Government Summer Internship Program
- Philadelphia: Mayor’s Internship Program
- City of Providence: Mayoral and City Internships
- San Francisco: San Francisco Fellows
Intelligence and National Security
- CIA Careers
- Defense Intelligence Agency Careers
- FBI Careers
- Intelligence Careers
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence Student Opportunities
- Department of Homeland Security Careers for Students
- Drug Enforcement Agency Student Opportunities
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Student Opportunities
- The United States Intelligence Community-Intelligence Careers
Many government agencies do not recruit avidly on college campuses. Federal government hiring often takes 90-120 days. If you are interested in a government job or internship, apply early as these are often competitive opportunities.
If applying for a STEM summer internship in a federal government agency, many of these are posted October through February. If applying for a pathways internship through USA jobs these are posted continuously throughout the year. If you are applying for an unpaid internship posted on a federal government agency’s website most of these are posted in the spring, however a few could be posted in the late fall; always check the agency’s website.
For those agencies that require an extensive background security check, plan to apply during late summer, early fall and in some cases during Spring, a full year in advance, opportunities with the State Department, CIA, FBI, NSA, DOD, DHS, White House, some government consulting firms, and other agencies requiring the background security check. When not requiring a background security check, government agencies tend to post their internships anywhere from 2-5 months in advance of the actual position.
If you’re looking at state or municipal government opportunities the hiring timeline is often 2-5 months before the position’s start date.
Applying and Interviewing
Government organizations have strict processes in handling applications. Expect to take plenty of time to complete a government application. Follow the application instructions precisely and upload all required documents before hitting submit.
Your resume will often be the first impression for a potential employer. You want to make sure that your resume is one page, concise, direct, and specific. Ensure that your resume is tailored for the position and for the industry. Highlighting relevant coursework, research projects/papers, senior capstone or thesis can also demonstrate research experience and methodology and topics you’ve studied relevant to the position. Review our guide on resumes for more information on how to construct professional documents.
If you are applying for a USAJobs.gov posting, create an account with USAJobs.gov, and build your federal resume through Documents > Upload or Build > select Build.
See tips and an example in our Career Development Guide.
A cover letter introduces you to a potential employer. Use the position description to make specific connections between your skills and experience and what the organization is looking for in a candidate. The cover letter should be concise and well-written—if a potential employer reads your cover letter and is intrigued, they will then read your resume. Your cover letter should not repeat your resume verbatim, but enhance it. Together the cover letter and resume can help land you an interview. Review our guide on cover letters for more information on how to construct one.
Preparation is extremely important for interviews. Research the company/organization, current and previous projects they’ve worked on, and even the people that you’re interviewing with. This will not only help provide talking points but will show your knowledge and genuine interest in the position. If an interview is requested, expect a background and reference check. Utilize our resources on how to best prepare yourself to excel in your interview.
- Best Places (Government Agencies) to Work
- Index of Federal Government Agencies and Elected Officials
- Go Government
- Vault Article on Regional and Local Officials
- Vault Article on City Managers
- Vault Article on Urban and Regional Planners
- Senate Committee Members and Leadership
- A Day in the Life of Communications Director/Press Secretary
- A Day in the Life of a Legislative Correspondent
- Congressional Aid - What’s it like?
Intelligence and National Security
- Defense Industry Overview
- Vault Guide to Defense Jobs
- Naval Criminal Investigative Service
- Department of Energy Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
- Department of Homeland Security Secretary’s Honors Program
- National Reconnaissance Office Military Summer Internship Program for Military Service Academy Cadets, Midshipmen and ROTC
- Private Intelligence Corporations
- Cryptographic Technicians
Assistant Director, PreLaw, Government, Public Policy, Non-profits
- Student Government
- Model United Nations Club of Notre Dame
- Federal Reserve Challenge and Fiscal Challenge Club
- Government/Policy Notre Dame Industry Group on IrishCompass
- John Quincy Adams Society of Notre Dame
- Roosevelt Institute at the University of Notre Dame - contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Science Policy Initiative
- Students for Child-Oriented Policy
- Students for New Urbanism
- Women in Politics
- Women in International Security
- Capitol Hill
- Department of Justice
- Department of Energy
- The White House
- Securities Exchange Commission
- New Jersey Governor’s Office
- New York State Division of Human Rights
- Maryland Department of Budget and Management
- Massachusetts Attorney General's Office
- Texas Secretary of State
- City of Philadelphia Office of the Mayor
- Los Angeles Department of Housing and Community Investment
- Hoffman Estates Public Works
- Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services
- New York City Parks and Recreation
Personalize your feed, explore your curiosities, and get updates that matter to you. Handshake is a dynamic system that works to match students with the most relevant resources and opportunities offered by our office including:
- Access to personalized job recommendations – This is based on major, career interests, and profile information such as skills and experiences. When students fill out their profile, they’ll be able to see jobs and internships that match their interests and skills.
- Ability to schedule one–on-one counseling appointments – Counseling appointments are able to be scheduled through Handshake and held virtually via Zoom.
- Ability to Interact with employers – Students can research contact information for local and national employers. Employers can also message students with opportunities and information.
- Connect with students across the country - Students can interact with their peers through messaging, get tips and advice, as well as network.
- Search for and apply to open positions - On Handshake, students can see jobs and internships posted specifically for them as well as employers actively recruiting from Notre Dame.