Checklist: Join These 10 Groups To Boost Your Career


Involvement in “extracurricular activities” at work is a good way to learn new skills, expand your network and boost your government career. Always make sure your supervisor signs off on your participation in such activities. Below is a list of 10 activities you should consider raising your hand to participate.

  • Agency professional network: Most federal agencies have a professional network. Don’t get thrown off if the network has the word “young” in its title. We’re all young at heart. Being active as an officer in an agency professional networking groups a good way meet people who work for other parts of your agency.
  • Family Day: Many federal agencies have a family day. You should go. If you don’t have local family members who can attend you should volunteer to either plan or staff the event.
  • Diversity Events: Government is great about having diversity events, Diversity events a great ways to meet people who are different than you and therefore have different perspective on life. See my blog on Homophily and Mentoring.
  • Employee Council: Does your agency have an employee council? Nominate yourself for it. This is a great way to find out what is on the minds of the agency’s workforce.
  • Combined Federal Campaign (CFC): This annual charitable giving drive is one of the best ways for federal employees to get recognized for good work? Why? This event is considered a high priority for federal agency seniors. Volunteer to be a CFC key worker or CFC captain.
  • Toastmasters: Most government agencies have a Toastmasters club. This is a great way to improve your public speaking skills at the same time you network, especially if you are an officer. See my blog on 11 Groups That Will Improve Your Storytelling Skills.
  • Wounded Warrior Program: Does your agency have a Wounded Warrior Program? These programs support veterans who have been injured in combat. If it does, get involved with it and get to know the men and women in uniform who work alongside you.
  • Special Emphasis Programs: Special Emphasis Programs are diversity councils that support special interest communities at your agency. Examples of such program might include ones for: the deaf and hard of hearing; disabled veterans; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees; people with disabilities; or people from certain ethnic or racial backgrounds. I’m not deaf, but I’m on my agency’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Council.
  • Agency Store: Many agencies have stories where you can buy cups and other swag with its logo on it. Some of these outfits are run by agency employees who double as agency store managers.
  • Career Fairs: Your agency’s human resources department is always on the go, seeking to hire candidates like you for jobs they need to fill. Many human resources department representatives occasionally ask rank-and-file employees to come with them when they attend career fairs. Check to see if your human resources department could use your help.

Do you have any other suggestions on extracurricular activities government employees might engage in? Let me know!

All opinions are my own and not those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Follow me on Twitter: @JayKrasnow

Jay Krasnow is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Terrence Hill

Volunteer Community Service Projects: It’s a great way to serve others while meeting co-workers and their families. September 11th is a great service opportunity.

Vicky Cook

Any professional organization that relates to your field of expertise is a good one to be involved in. Usually, these will consist of private, state and local government members. It’s a good way to keep on top of relevant topics in your line of business. These organizations, like the one I was involved in, the National Environmental Health Association, are always looking for new members and people that are interested in pitching in to further their mission.

Juana Williams

My agency has a human rights committee that I was on, but people yell over each other and the lead person didn’t control it-I wanted to suggest that we have a Sargent at Arms that fined people for talking out of turn, but I would have been booted out before I quit!! We don’t have the other groups you mentioned. Any other ideas?
Thank you for the article, it sounded great for federal employees.

Brenda Dennis

Definitely Toastmasters, thanks for the mention. I have learned some great speaking and leadership skills, as well as had a lot of fun and made a lot of good relationships. Also, it’s so fun to connect with other Toastmasters when you travel.

Juana Williams

Thank you for mentioning Toastmasters. I did look into that once, but didn’t think I could commit the time. Maybe I will look into it again & look for a group near my office. Thanks again.