It's a new school year and NASPAA and GovLoop co-hosted a dialogue between current MPA/MPP students and current government employees to kick-start the year.
The winners are in and for the question for students: What attracts you about working for the government and what are you looking for in a work environment?
1st place - Rachel Hawley for the passionate response and personal experience
2nd place - Joseph Schaaf for his focus on why gov't is important and essential
The winners are in and for the question for government - What advice would you give to current MPA/MPP students on getting hired and succeeding in government?
1st Place - Steve Rabinowitz for his really insightful USAJOBS and hiring tips.
2nd Place - Michaela Favre for her brilliant insights from the state level and as both a MPA/MPP and as a recruiter
The dialogue was incredibly rich and here are some great excerpts:
What attracts you about working for the government and what are you looking for in a work environment?
"I am looking for a work environment where I can actually use my skills to inspire change and make tangible impacts on people's lives on a large scale"
Through the years, I went from fearing the power of governmental organizations to realizing what good they do for the people they serve. Local governments have an impact on the lives of their citizens daily, yet are rarely recognized for the service.
Working for the government is attractive because one has the chance to make big changes using individual passion. As the saying goes, "you have to be in it to win it".
I seek work in government for the possibilities. The opportunity to be a part of something much larger than myself and the chance to influence the system that is responsilbe for governing all of our lives.
the American public needs to be reminded that the United States has a system of governance that really is of the people, by the people and for the people. As American citizens, WE are the government and WE are only as strong as our weakest link
What advice would you give to current MPA/MPP students on getting hired and succeeding in government?
Use your alumni network. Reach out to past MPA/MPP students and ask for advice/coffee/quick phone call.
Be flexible. Expect to be expected to learn new skills. Also projects often change course midway. Be able to change as needs and priorities change.
I have found internships to be the best introduction to an organization. Not only do you find out more about what it's like to work in government, but often the internship does lead to a job offer. I had internships lead to both permanent part-time and full-time jobs.
Follow your heart. If you're passionate about what you do, and focus on making a positive difference, you will succeed.
In sum, keep it short, know and convey your value-added skills, and keep a positive attitude...oh yeah, and don't forget to SMILE!
Also, as a young graduate, it's very easy to come in with a 1,000 great ideas and a lot of energy. This is a great thing but not everyone receives it well. Listen to what everyone has to say and speak strategically. Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all, and patience (when presenting new ideas) really is a virtue.
Join practitioner groups and participate in their programming. The American Association for Budget and Program Analysis has an active student and new analyst development program to connect interested students with experienced analysts.