Posts By Donna Dyer

Advise the Advisor! Share Your Tips for New MPP/MPA Graduates

My full time job is advising Duke students who are interested in public service careers, and I’ve been here for 16 years. Since 2008, my job has become exponentially more challenging. The expected retirement wave hasn’t materialized, or positions haven’t been re-filled. The large number of military personnel returning from a 10-year war has cloggedRead… Read more »

World Cup Strategies for Better Public Sector Recruiting

After the US Men’s National Soccer Team lost in the World Cup, all the commentators lamented the state of US soccer. How are we going to develop great American soccer players when the best athletes are still choosing football and basketball? Listening to this discussion, I found a parallel between attracting great young athletes toRead… Read more »

Use Self-Assessment Tests to Get Your Dream Job

As a career counselor, I get a lot of eye-rolls when I talk about self-assessment as a part of the career development planning process. And yet, when I ask my graduate students what they do best, they don’t have very descriptive words. “Multitasking” or “problem-solving” or “building strategies”—interesting concepts but not particularly useful in jobRead… Read more »

Internship Recruiting Advice — From the Interns Themselves

Governing Magazine featured a short article today citing a new survey by, an online internship matching service. The article has a slightly gloomy tone, lamenting that only 14% of college students surveyed want to intern in government, compared to 66% who want to work in for-profit businesses and 20% in non-profit organizations. I thinkRead… Read more »

Time for Graduate School? Choose Wisely

You’ve been working for a few years, and you decide to get an advanced degree—for new knowledge or for a needed credential. How do you choose? In the past few years, universities have started lots of new master’s degrees—from “human-computer interaction” to “public history” to “law enforcement management”—many with direct connections to employers, such asRead… Read more »

The Interns Are Here! … Now What?

If you have interns in your office, they have probably started working by now or will soon. Not only do they provide great work, former interns are your best ambassadors when they return to campus—they can help you recruit for next year’s interns, identify good candidates for entry level positions, and publicize the good thingsRead… Read more »

PMF: Presidential Management Fellowship — or Frustration?

It’s a long, sordid story, but the moral is simple: Beware what you ask for — you might get it! A little background: Back in 2007, I was so happy. The Presidential Management Fellowship program office “popped the cap”—they allowed universities to nominate an unlimited number of graduating students for the prestigious PMF program. Previously,Read… Read more »

Are Private Contractors the New Federal Workforce?

Last Sunday was graduation day at Duke. In our Master of Public Policy program, over half of the graduating students are employed, and over half of those employed are going to work for government consulting firms. Their salaries are about 20% higher than those who are working in government jobs, and they have been impressedRead… Read more »