Government Relations Careers
If you are interested in a career in politics or government, you should take advantage of the many lobbying organizations located in the greater Washington, DC area. Although the term ‘lobbying’ has a negative connotation to many, working for advocacy organizations can be a fantastic way to understand policy making, as well as create the networks to pursue a political career.
Check out our government relations panel from summer 2020 to learn more about the career paths of Hoyas working in government relations.
If you are interested in a career in government relations or policy, a good place to begin is to keep up-to-date on current issues before the various branches of government.
Some good news sources include:
- Federal News Radio, GovLoop, and the Washington Post PowerPost.
- 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.
- Listen to hearings, and other government related events and news on Capitol Hill via C-Span.
Where to look for opportunities:
- The Cawley Career Education Center 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 the Federal Government Internships/Fellowships Timeline [NTD: Change to title when finalized and link it].
- The other lists popular government contractors [NTD: add link and name]. These are great opportunities to do government-adjacent work, but for a private company.
- There is a new job search resource put together by the Partnership for Public Service. This search tool has a ton of opportunities across the government/public service sector, so be sure to check it out.
- Check out Cawley’s past newsletters here.
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 (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 how to build your LinkedIn student profile (PDF).
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 to informational interviews.
Also, check out Cawley’s Youtube page for various videos on networking, resume and cover letter drafting, and general career exploration.
Select Government Associations
- Democratic National Committee (DNC)
- International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
- National Association of Counties (NaCo)
- National Association of Public Administration
- National Governors Association (NGA)
- Republican National Committee (RNC)
- State Government Affairs Council (SGAC)
Preparing Application Materials
Your resume should be 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. Be concise. Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities.
Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities. In government relations, connections to the issues, and also comfort in working with people and serving clients factors into the application. The purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you. For more on cover letters and resumes, see our cover letter and resume section.
Nearly every organization in DC is, in some way, trying to influence federal policy. Even Georgetown has its own office dedicated to working with policy makers to enact change in higher education policy. To that end, there are a number of email lists that have good information on the multitude of jobs and internships available to students:
- Traverse Jobs — Run by a husband-and-wife duo with more than 30 years in DC, this is a go-to site for those “in the know” in DC. There is a $6 monthly subscription fee. Access Traverse Jobs for free with Georgetown’s subscription. More information at our online resources page.
- Daybook Listings — A job board for political, policy, government affairs and nonprofit jobs. There is a $10 per month subscription fee for premium postings.
- The Hill’s Job Board & Washington Post Jobs — Both The Hill and the Washington Post make knowledge of our democracy part of their brand and their job boards are very popular and used by many local organizations.
- Tom Manatos — Started by young professionals Tom and Dana, this site is great, especially for internships and entry-level positions. Requires a $5 monthly subscription fee.
- Go Government’s Federal Internship Finder – the Partnership for Public Service has put together this internship finder that includes government positions all in one place.
Key Employers and Sample Internships
Lobbying firms can represent specific issues, political parties, or advocate on behalf of larger industries. Firms can be private, for-profit institutions. There are also many advocacy organizations that fall under the nonprofit category. A few private lobbying groups include:
- Akin, Gump, Strauss Hauer & Feld
- Arnold & Porter
- Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck
- BGR Group
- Burson Cohn & Wolfe
- Cassidy & Associates
- Collaborative Communications Group
- Children’s Defense Fund
- Conservation International
- Dawson & Associates
- Ein Communications
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Finn Partners
- FGS Global
- Fratelli Group
- Gunster Strategies Worldwide
- Hogan Lovells
- Holland & Knight
- Hubbell Communications
- Human Rights First
- Linda Roth Associates
- Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas
- Monument Policy Group
- M+R Strategic Services
- McKinney & Associates
- Navigator’s Global
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Podesta Group
- Prism Group
- Public Citizen
- Rasky Partners
- Scott Circle Communications
- Sure Media Group, LLC
- Squire Patton Boggs
- Sierra Club
- S-3 Group
- The Reis Group
- The Rendon Group
- The Walker Merchant Group
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Daschle Group
- US Public Interest Research Group
- Vrge Strategies
- Van Scoyoc Associates
- Williams & Jensen
- Wilson Global Communications
- World Wildlife Fund
Relevant Student Groups & 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 relations careers.
For example, the Georgetown Institute for Politics (or GU Politics) has a number of partnerships with organizations and fellowship opportunities, 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.