Evaluate Goals & Job Functions
Interested in contributing to research and crafting legislation? Explore options within the legislative branch. Looking to contribute to environmental or education initiatives? Explore options within the executive agencies and departments. Have a desire to contribute to government policy and functions beyond the scope of direct government hiring? Explore the possibilities of lobbying, public service consulting, and think tanks.
Government entities at all levels need to hire for a multitude of job functional roles, including engineers, urban planners, researchers, scientists, budget analysts, public affairs and communication staff, accountants, technology specialists, physicians, attorneys, administrative support, and more. The array of agencies and departments in the U.S. and state governments provide ample opportunity for those who are interested in public service work.
4-5 pages with extensive detail: A federal resume can be over 4-5 pages on average, and more extensively covers your work experience than other resumes. A federal resume should include all work and volunteer experiences, regardless of their immediate relevance to the position. This is because there are often Human Resources requirements for positions, and eligibility is determined based on the information you provide in your resume. If sufficient detail is not provided, it is possible that you will not be evaluated as meeting the minimum qualifications.
Build your federal resume: Begin by using the resume builder on USAJobs. You can start by transferring information from your one-page resume. Then, you can expand your bullets so that the tasks and accomplishments from each position are covered in detail, following the STAR method. You can have as many bullets as needed for each experience. Be sure to tailor your resume for each position. In USAJobs, you can “duplicate” your base resume, and then edit it for a specific posting, and you can save multiple versions of your resume on the site. Refer directly to the language in the job posting when tailoring your resume and make sure that your bullets describe exactly how you met the minimum qualifications. Don’t worry about the formatting style of the resume builder, it is the style that most federal hiring manager’s are accustomed to. Visit GoGovernment for more advice.
There are many entry points into government careers, including through government-related, or government-funded, programs and fellowships. While enrolled as a Yale student, access the Yale Student Grants & Fellowships page to search for Yale-funded opportunities specifically for public service opportunities. Create a profile in ProFellow to find fellowships to fund educational pursuits, go abroad, conduct research, or discover employment opportunities. Consider pursuing nationally-competitive Fellowships:
Some competitions require university endorsements. Visit the Yale Fellowships Office for an extensive collection of public-service related national fellowship award programs.
Pathways and Non-Competitive Eligibility
If you are a currently-enrolled student or recent graduate, search for Pathways Program opportunities through USAJobs.gov. The Pathways Program offers federal internship and employment opportunities for current students, recent graduates, and those with an advanced degree. These programs are named: Internship Programs, Recent Graduates, and the Presidents Management Fellowship (PMF) program.
Several government opportunities and government-funded fellowship programs offer Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) for subsequent employment opportunities with the U.S. Government. Learn more about the U.S. Study Abroad programs that offer Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) here, and for Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers here.
Foreign Service Careers
The mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the United States abroad. 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.
Application Process and Guidance: 8 Steps to Becoming a Foreign Service Officer, Foreign Service Officer: 13 Dimensions
Learn more about additional Foreign Service opportunities: Foreign Agricultural Service, Commercial Service, and USAID.
Fellowship Programs: Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship
FSO Compass provides courses, trainings, and resources to prepare for the Foreign Service Officer Test.
Conflict Resolution & Peace Negotiation
The basic requirement often needed for roles within this career path include obtaining a graduate degree in this field. However, students can first pursue opportunities at organizations that handle conflict to show future employers interest in this career path, and frame their research pursuits around topics relating to conflict, or conflict-ridden regions of the world, to work toward becoming subject-matter or area experts. Below are recommended readings and resources:
Military Service & Yale ROTC
The U.S. Military consists of six branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force. Additionally, the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components of their services and operate in part under state authority. Visit the Department of Defense website to learn details of each branch and reserve unit.
Colleges and Universities nationwide offer the Reserve Officer Training Corps, which pay for students’ tuition and prepares them to be military officers. In return, students commit to serving in the military afterward. Yale ROTC provides details for the Yale Air Force, Army, and Naval ROTC programs.
Political campaign work offers the opportunity to develop professional skills in a flexible, fast-paced, and fluid environment. Those who work on political campaigns can gain knowledge of policy issues, the electoral process, how campaign management and funding works, and the overarching concerns of the American populace.
The Campaign School at Yale University offers many events and programs throughout the year to train underrepresented individuals as they pursue elected and appointed political positions.
Public Service: Responsible Engagement
For those interested in public service work, whether that be through structured internship programs, post-graduate employment, community service, or volunteer work, it’s important to think about what responsible engagement looks like. Review this page on Planning Public Service Projects to learn more about what responsible engagement looks like and how you can develop a plan that aligns well for you and the community you are hoping to serve.