Government Careers

By far one of our most popular industries for employment, jobs in the government cover the local, state and federal levels, with the latter including jobs in all three branches of the United States government. Given Georgetown’s location in our nation’s capital, much of the student body seeks internships and full-time employment – and as a result, we see many government employers actively seeking Hoyas for internships and full-time positions.

Information Gathering

Where to look for opportunities: 

  • The Cawley Career Education Center has prepared two documents to help you get started in your internship or job search process, which provide application deadlines and featured opportunities generally popular among Georgetown students. The first is our Popular Federal Internships and Programs page (which you can also download as a PDF), which lists many federal internships and other programs along with their application timelines.
  • Our government contractors sheet lists popular government contractors, which are private companies that offer opportunities to do government adjacent work.
  • Federal Internship Finder — Brought to you by the Partnership for Public Service has a job search resource has many opportunities across the government and public service sectors, so be sure to check it out.
  • Check out Cawley’s past newsletters.

Where to look for background: 

  • Some good news sources include: Federal News Network, GovLoop, and the Washington Post’s PowerPost
  • You can also sign up for the newly launched Defense Tech Jobs newsletter.
  • For jobs in local or state government, it is also helpful to examine local news sources, such as your hometown newspaper, to understand the issues facing your community.
  • Follow various government agencies and organizations on social media (the Department of the Interior has a great X account).
  • Some other agencies, such as the State Department, have events and webinars that you can attend in person or online.  Also check out the State Department’s Diplomat in Residence.

Making Connections

Attend employer information sessions, industry events on and off-campus, and connect with the local chapter of popular professional organizations. Professional associations host a variety of professional development, educational, and networking events. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are sliding scale prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry. In fact, to be successful in a career in government (at any level) requires that you make good use of your network, as it is often the way to find out about incredible opportunities.

Develop a LinkedIn profile that communicates your personal and professional brand. Joining groups related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask questions. Reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway, Georgetown University’s alumni page on LinkedIn, and via Georgetown University’s Alumni Career Network. The Cawley website provides helpful guidelines on networking and LinkedIn shares tips on how to build your LinkedIn student profile

Take advantage of the informational interview! This is a great way to build your professional network as well as explore career opportunities and/or paths that you may not have known about before. Check out Cawley’s guide on Informational Interviews.

Also, check out Cawley’s Youtube page for various videos on networking, resume and cover letter drafting, and general career exploration.

Industry Exploration

Preparing Your Application Materials

Federal Government

If you are interested in federal employment opportunities, it is important to note that the federal hiring process is quite different from any other process. We have noted some key differences, below: 

  • It is a decentralized process with some centralized components, and many additional regulations not found in other industries. 
  • You will want to invest time in learning about each agency’s application requirements, assessment tactics and background checks. 
  • For information on the specifics of federal hiring, refer to the Office of Personnel Management
  • For tips and tricks on starting a career search, and how it differs in the federal government, see
  • For background information on agencies, and smaller organizations in the government, and to learn more about the culture and mission of various government offices, check out The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings.

For background information on various agencies, and smaller organizations within government, and to learn more about the culture and mission of various government offices, check out The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government (™) rankings.

  • The first thing you should do if you are interested in a job or internship in the Federal government, is to create an account on USAJobs
  • USAJobs is the go-to job posting site for all government jobs (with some exceptions in the national security or intelligence community, and other positions, including those designated disability, “Schedule-A,” “Schedule-C”). 
  • Information on jobs and internships available for students and recent graduates can be found at USAJobs’ student and recent graduates page
  • You will need to submit a federal resume, rather than a traditional one page resume.
  • For more information on the federal resume, please be sure to view our videos on federal hiring and our federal resume tips. You will also find a sample federal resume on Cawley’s sample resumes page.
  • For other government jobs on Capitol Hill, your resume should be the standard one page. Use strong action verbs and focus on your skills and accomplishments to show (not just tell) an employer that you have the required abilities.

Capitol Hill

There are three ways to approach finding an internship on the Hill:

  • First, apply to your own senators and representative. Your cover letter can focus on your tie to the state and any policy initiatives or stances they have that you agree with or are passionate about.
    • There are 435 different representatives, so you should think of your application process as if you were applying to 435 different small businesses. Approach each office individually, as many differ slightly from each other. 
  • Second, you can apply to senators or representatives who are not your own elected officials, but whose stance on certain policy issues you agree with. Your cover letter, though, will be slightly different—focus on that issue and your knowledge of or passion in the area rather than ties to the state. 
  • Third, you can always intern for a committee in either the House or the Senate. Start by researching what committees match your policy interests and see if they offer internship opportunities.  NOTE: The chairperson is from whichever party is in power in either chamber, and many times the internship programs are offered through the chairperson’s office.  
  • You can also sign up for the House Employment Bulletin, sent each week the House is in session. Also be sure to regularly check the Senate Employment Bulletin website. 

Be sure to fill out this interest for with Georgetown’s Office of Federal Government Relations Internship Resource Center for extra help in searching for a job on the Hill.

The State Department Application

When applying to State Department internships and jobs, be sure to take a look at the State Department’s attributes that they look for in successful foreign service officers and specialist candidates. It is good to try to weave these characteristics into your resume and cover letter. 


Federal resumes differ from typical one-page resumes in both their length and also their depth of information. Federal resumes need to be concise and comprehensive, and they are typically two to four pages long.

Although a federal resume does tend to take the place of a cover letter in federal job opportunities, some agencies do require some statement of interest or cover letter. Be sure to read the application directions carefully.

If you are asked to write a cover letter or statement of interest, be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities. In government service, a deep connection and commitment to the mission of the agency or government body often factors into the application. Remember, the purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you.

Tailor your resume to the Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA) of each federal position you are applying to.

Depending on your background and the “Key Requirements,” “Duties” and “Qualifications Required” listed, you can emphasize different elements of your background and qualifications including: education and research experience, work volunteer and internship experience (including pertinent information from high school). 

For more information, please be sure to view our videos on federal hiring and our federal resume tips.

For National Security Careers

Certain positions in the intelligence community—Department of Defense, and some offices in the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security—require security clearances. If you are interested in those opportunities, you should apply as much as a year in advance of when you hope to start to allow time to complete the security clearance process.

Federal Internships

Internships enable you to gain valuable professional experience prior to graduation. In the federal government, there are also some internships which can offer a direct path to full-time job opportunities.

Typically referred to as Pathways Internships, you may apply either as a current student or as a recent graduate (up to two years from your date of graduation). There are also many other internship programs available in each department, so be sure to check their career sites for more information.

Select Employers and Internships

Executive Branch:

Legislative Branch:

Judicial Branch:

State & Local Government

If you want to have an immediate impact on policy work, there is often no better place to go than state and local government jobs. Working for cities, counties, municipalities, or state governments affords a micro-look at many of the wider issues facing the American population. 

Positions in urban planning, transportation, or seeking elected office for local school boards, county boards, etc., can be a great place to get a start. 

What is more, many local municipalities have active political parties who are involved in small campaigns and this can be a great way for aspiring politicians to learn on a smaller scale about the issues facing residents. 

One of the best ways to get your start is to just get out there and meet people at your local city hall or state house. Often those connections lead to positions so come prepared with your resume and elevator pitch.


Given the amount of information available, the best place to start is to do a search on your local area government — whether it is a city, county, municipality, commonwealth or state. At each level, there are various resources and funding opportunities available for interested citizens to learn more: tips for finding state and local jobs.

Key Employers and Sample Internships

Select Government-Adjacent Associations

Relevant Student Groups and Campus Partners

The Cawley Career Education Center works with many other offices on campus, including the Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics), the Graduate School of Foreign Service, the McCourt School of Public Policy, and the Office of Federal Relations to promote activities related to public service and government careers. Additional student-led groups include: 

Join a group based on a personal interest and develop your professional skills, or to see if you enjoy being in a classroom. 

For example, the Georgetown Institute for Politics (or GU Politics) has a number of fellowship opportunities and partnerships with organizations, not to mention a lot of amazing programming throughout the year available to anyone on campus. 

It is also a good idea to join your local chapter of the political party of your persuasion in order to start learning more about the issues of importance to your constituency.