Referring to the government includes all federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. The government is a sector, not just a career field, with numerous existing employment opportunities in the private or nonprofit sectors.
The United States Federal Government is the nation’s largest employer and offers its employees challenging experiences, job security, competitive salary, and generous benefits.When applying to federal departments or agencies, it is important to remember that each department makes independent hiring decisions. The application and hiring process is also a very long one, sometimes taking up to a year. In addition to the lengthy application review process, you may have to gain security clearance as part of the hiring process. Because of these factors, we highly recommend that you begin the job search as early as 10 months prior to your anticipated start date. Government internships serve as excellent entry points for potential long-term employment whether you are a undergraduate first year, sophomore, junior, or senior. Seniors and recent graduates are encouraged to explore the federally-funded and managed Pathways Programs. For students who are interested in graduate school and public service, explore the fellowship opportunities that align with government service.
Nearly all federal agencies post their positions online through the federal government’s main online job resource, USAJobs.gov, and each agency or department may post employment opportunities on their respective websites. USAJobs.gov provides information on available jobs, instructions regarding writing a resume specifically for federal positions, and highlights the benefits of working for the federal government. The website can also be a somewhat overwhelming resource as it may display thousands of job opportunities, many of them beyond the experience level of recent college graduates. Please be aware of the General Schedule (GS) Pay Scale, and determine where recent graduates stand on this scale before you begin to review the job listings. The GS Pay Scale classifies payment based on a candidate’s qualifications. Graduating seniors will most likely qualify for jobs labeled as GS5 or GS7. These jobs usually require a bachelor's degree with less than 3 years of work experience. Some job seekers, depending on their experience, may qualify for GS9 or above.
Gaining security clearance can be a long, and in some cases complex, process. Click here to find a video presentation that covers the process for security clearances, details the thirteen guidelines used in reviewing candidates during clearances, and gives helpful advice regarding how to navigate the Investigator Interview.
Tip: Subscribe and Follow: Several federal departments and agencies advertise opportunities via online subscriptions and their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. Be sure to subscribe to newsletters published by the departments and agencies you are considering pursuing, and also follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter. Below are links to some subscription pages:
- Diplomat in Residence Facebook Page
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Department of Defense
- U.S. House of Representatives Employment Bulletin
- National Resource Directory
- USA.gov Team
- Library of Congress
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- The Economist
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
State, local, and tribal governments provide a wide variety of job opportunities. Just as with work in the federal government, the requirements for these jobs vary. Some jobs may require a certain major or course work, though the majority of positions do not. Skills that are highly valued in all forms of government work include: analytical skills, research background, creative thinking and problem solving abilities, and writing and communications experience.
Professional contacts and hands-on experience can be a tremendous asset when securing state, local, and tribal government jobs. Consider contacting a state representative’s office, or visiting a local government office in person or online, to begin to build professional contacts and explore job opportunities. Conducting informational interviews can be a valuable step toward learning more about what it takes to work, and secure a position, within state, local, or tribal government.
Pursuing internships is one of the best ways to explore this career path. Building these positive connections early on will aid you in your job search for post-graduate positions. Opportunities posted in Symplicity, State Government, Local Government, and Tribal Government websites, may be some of your first destinations as you search for internships and full-time opportunities.
While state, local, and tribal government websites are an excellent resource, the best way to find a job in this sector of government is likely through professional contacts. Developing and maintaining professional relationships by networking within the local and state governments may provide job seekers firsthand knowledge of job openings not posted on any website.
Interning with a member of congress is a great way to gain first-hand knowledge of how government works, the duties and responsibilities of our representatives, and to show future employers a commitment to public service. Many members of congress are Yale alums. Students who are interested in pursuing congressional internships with other members of congress can explore Congress.gov to find the names, contact information, and websites for the collective body of legislators.
Tip: While state, local, and tribal government websites are an excellent resource, the best way to find a job in this sector of government is likely through professional contacts. Developing and maintaining professional relationships by networking within the local and state governments may provide job seekers firsthand knowledge of job openings not posted on any website.
The U.S. Department of State offers worldwide career opportunities in international public service. U.S. Foreign Service Officers represent the United States in diplomatic and ambassadorial roles, connect with the global community, and explore different cultures while living overseas.
Tip: Career opportunities are also available at U.S. Embassies around the world. Click here to begin exploring your options.
There are many entry points into government careers, including through government-related, or government-funded, programs and fellowships. While enrolled as a Yale College student, access the Yale Student Grants & Fellowships page to search for Yale-funded opportunities specifically for unpaid public service internships and create a profile in ProFellow to find fellowships to fund graduate school, go abroad, conduct research, or discover job opportunities.
For additional resources, visit the Online Career Resources page on the Office of Career Strategy website and conduct an 'Advanced Search'. Under the Government section, you'll see a subcategory for 'Government-Related Fellowships'.
Think tanks, which include research centers and policy institutes, are organizations that conduct research to support the creation and evolution of public policy. Think tanks may focus on one particular issue or a combination of them. Areas of research include social policy, political strategy, economics, and/or industrial/business policy. Financial support for these organizations comes from several sources, including the government, advocacy organizations, and private businesses. Use this website to start your search for Think Tanks: InsideGov.
Students interested in policy research should consider issues of interest, level of direct activism by the think tank, the organizations relationship with the government, and the student’s role within the great organization. An entry-level professional in this field will most likely conduct supportive qualitative or quantitative research for a larger group initiative within the think tank. Research experience at Yale, particularly independent research projects, and an extensive knowledge base regarding specific public issues can make an applicant more marketable for research positions.
Considering a career in Conflict Resolution and Peace Negotiation should be done with thorough consideration as the basic requirement often needed for roles and functions within this career path include obtaining a graduate degree in this field. With the empirically-confirmed consistency of conflict areas around the world, a steady rise of conflict in various regions across the globe, and the need for conflict resolution in most business settings, a career in Conflict Resolution and Peace Negotiation has a good employment outlook. Additionally, for students who are interested in making a positive impact on the world, both at the macro and micro levels, this career path aligns well with these intentions. Discovering the master’s programs that align well with short- and long- term goals is key, and The Peace & Collaborative Development Network provides a Guide to MA Programs in Peace and Conflict Resolution and Related Fields, which includes a list of well-known master’s programs in conflict resolution and peace studies in the U.S. and across the world. Although obtaining a master’s degree in conflict resolution and/or peace negotiation is oftentimes a necessity for roles within this field, there are several steps students can take to position themselves for this career opportunity before obtaining a master’s degree. Pursuing internships within departments/offices in organizations and companies that handle conflict is a great first step to take to show future employers interest in this career path. Students can also frame their research pursuits in their courses around topics relating to conflict, or conflict-ridden regions of the world, to work toward becoming subject-matter, or area, experts.
While the sample employers and websites listed below provide excellent opportunities and information, the best way to find a job in Conflict Resolution and Peace Negotiation is likely through professional contacts. Developing and maintaining professional relationships may provide job seekers with firsthand knowledge of job openings not posted on any website. The Office of Career Strategy recommends exploring various networking options: (1) Yale Career Network, (2) review peer networking surveys that detail fellow Yale students’ internship experiences through Yale OCS Symplicity, located under the Resources tab in the Document Library, and (3) join LinkedIn to find over 65,000 Yale alum.
Professionals within peace negotiation or conflict resolution can choose to work in a variety of fields, including law, diplomacy/government, education, and business. A variety of non-profit organizations and federal agencies and departments, within the U.S. and outside of the U.S., are positioned to address the needs of conflict-ridden communities around the world. Several training programs and certifications are also available for those who are interested in addressing conflict in workplace, or business, environments. The scope and impact of this work varies, from large-scale state-related peace negotiation to small-scale office-setting conflict resolution; therefore, the means by which individuals can engage in this work is vast.
Tip: Resources and Recommended Readings:
- ACT: Alliance for Conflict Transformation, Skills, Networks, and Knowledge
- Association for Conflict Resolution, Jobs and Internships
- Peace and Collaborative Development Network, Career Development Strategies
- Conflict Resolution Jobs, Jobs and Internships
- ReliefWeb, Jobs and Internships
- United Nations Careers, Profiles on Current Conflict Resolution Employees
- U.S. Department of State, Middle East Peace Negotiations
- Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher & William Ury
- United States Institute of Peace Recommended Books