Government Relations Careers
Students interested in careers in politics or government should also take advantage of the many lobbying organizations located in the greater Washington, DC area. Although the term ‘lobbying’ has a negative connotation to many of our students, working for advocacy organizations can be a fantastic way to understand policymaking, 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.
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 relations requires that you become, in essence, a professional networker.
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 “career insights” page on LinkedIn, and via Georgetown University’s Alumni Career Network. The Cawley website provides helpful guidelines on networking and building your LinkedIn profile.
Select Government Associations
- National Association of Public Administration
- National Governors Association
- Democratic National Committee
- Republican National Committee
- International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
- National (new window)Association of Counties (NaCo) (new window)
- State Government Affairs Council (SGAC)
Preparing Application Materials
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.
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/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 non-profit 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.
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:
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, 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.