Government, Public Policy, Public Service
- Figure out your interests, skills, geographical preferences, and work styles.
- What level of government interests you the most?
- Federal, State, Local
- Nongovernmental / Associations / Third Party
- Think Tanks
- Research Governmental Agencies
- White House, State Department, CIA, EPA, NOAA, Homeland Security, NASA, CDC
- Start early: Many government internship applications are due in the fall, which gives you precious little time to pull your transcripts, personal essays, and other documents together before the due date.
- Prepare to be vetted: For many internships that deal with national security issues, students are required to go through a thorough security clearance process. This can take up to six months. Be thorough, leave nothing out, and return the application as soon as possible.
- Have a backup plan: Sometimes a student’s security clearance cannot be completed in the time allotted or the student may fail the security clearance outright. In either case, it is very important to have a second or third option just in case the security clearance process is delayed or falls through altogether. Have other options.
- Reach out to alumni: Chances are that a former student has already passed through a targeted agency or is currently working in a field of interest. Use the contacts to learn about the organization, get interviewing tips, or even have them circulate your resume around the office.
- Interested in law? Visit the pre-law website and sign up for the pre-law list-serv here.
- View our Career Planning Guide & Internship Orientation Guide. Here is an accessible PDF: Internship Orientation Guide.
Industry-Specific Job Boards
The resources below are a combination of general industry information as well as specific job and internship posting sites for this industry.
- Government Issues and Groups
- Guide to Government Careers
- PSJD (formerly PSLawNet)
- Think Tank Info
- Public Policy Handbook: Provides students (with an interest in public policy administration and analysis) resources for internships and after-graduation positions with think tanks, advocacy organizations, federal agencies and other institutions engaged in policy analysis and implementation. Details about the programs include deadlines, desired applicant qualifications, the application, and the selection process. Contact CareerCenter@Vanderbilt.edu for log-in information.
Recommended Professional Associations
A professional association is an organization of people who have similar career interests. These membership-based organizations often offer a reduced rate for students that allow access to the many resources they provide. Professional association websites can also offer job/internship databases as well as opportunities to find mentors or other contacts.
- American Political Science Association
- Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management
- National Association of Government Employees
- National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
- Partnership for Public Service
- Young Government Leaders
- Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
Company & Industry Research
- Business Insights: Essentials
- D&B Hoovers
- Summer Experience Database
- LinkedIn – Vanderbilt Career Insights Page
- Mango Connects
- Vanderbilt’s Office of Federal Relations