Many Bowdoin students find work after college in government or public service careers. Government careers include working within the executive branch at a federal agency, within the legislative branch working on Capitol Hill or in a district office for a Senator or Representative, or within a state, county or city government. Public service can include working at a think tank, non-profit or NGO whose mission is connected to governance.
If you are interested in government, or want to learn more about the types of jobs and internships available in this field, make an appointment with Nancy Gibson in Career Planning.
- Federal government agencies – this government website will help you find your fit–check out the “Career Guides” section
- Elected officials within national or state government
- City, county, and state agencies
- Non-profit and NGO policy organizations (e.g. The Federalist Society, Everytown for Gun Safety, National Quality Forum, etc.) – to find these organizations, visit Idealist.org or The University of Michigan Libraries Research Guides
- Think tanks – see a list of influential think tanks
- Professional Associations and Groups (e.g. American Medical Association; Council of State Governments; Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers)
70% of federal employees are paid according to the GS (General Schedule) system. You can look at pay rates with regional cost-of-living adjustments, here. Although salary in government jobs may be lower than in the private sector, it is often the case that health insurance, vacation, retirement and other benefits are generous, and promotion is fairly quick. Some agencies also offer student loan repayment help. Many federal internships are unpaid so you will want to explore Bowdoin sources of funding.
Organizations and Alumni
There are Bowdoin alumni who have had successful and distinguished careers in diplomacy, politics, and leadership. Many of these alumni are available to share insight and advice with current students through campus visits, or conversations. You can find and connect with alumni in a variety of fields through LinkedIn by searching Bowdoin alumni, or join the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network LinkedIn group.
Many city and state governments offer internships and post-graduate fellowships aimed at giving students and recent graduates experience and responsibility within government. Some examples of these programs are the California Senate Fellows, the New York City Urban Fellows program, Experience Philadelphia, and the City Hall Fellows.
Many, but not all jobs within federal government agencies (e.g. the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, or the Treasury Department) are required to be listed and posted on USAJOBS.gov. A great place to learn about the jobs and application strategies, is GoGovernment.org .
There are some tricks and strategies that will make searching for and applying for these jobs and internships easier. Certain agencies (e.g. the State Department and the CIA) use a different hiring process. Remember that federal jobs can be anywhere — they are NOT all in Washington, D.C. From time to time the Career Planning Center offers workshops to help you find and apply for government jobs.
The Bowdoin Public Service Initiative helps students gain insight into public service work through 3 components: Bowdoin Public Service in Washington (open to sophomores), Bowdoin Public Service Fellowships (open to Juniors), and on-campus programming.
WATCH: Tips for Finding Government, Politics and Public Policy Opportunities
The Washington Information Directory, copies of which are located in the Reference Section at H-L Library and in Career Planning allow you to research government, NGO and non-profits organized by subject matter.
The Foreign Policy Association has a tool book that is an excellent source of information
Chronicle of Philanthropy Jobs site is a place to find advocacy positions in organizations committed to social justice, public policy, and the common good.
Criminal justice or law enforcement
- National Criminal Justice Association ( semester-long and virtual summer internships)
- Go Law Enforcement – list of organizations with criminal justice internships
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Center college internships