Capitol Hill & Beyond!
When you think about civic or public service internships during your college years, your thoughts might immediately go to the traditional “congressional intern,” serving as a staff person for your hometown Representative or U.S. Senator. However, the range of civic and public service internships is wide and diverse! Review this list to help you think about the multiple opportunities for civic internships:
In addition to internships with U.S. Congressional offices, look for opportunities to work with federal agencies, such as Homeland Security or the Environmental Protection Agency.
Inquire about state government internships, which provide valuable experience in state-level administration and public policy
Consider an opportunity to intern with your local government, such as city hall, the mayor’s office, or the parks and recreation department
Reach out to local, state, or national political campaigns for opportunities to engage in the democratic process and learn about grassroots organizing, fundraising, and campaigning
Investigate internships with NGOs for their broad range of opportunities to engage in public service more directly related to one’s field of interest.
Explore global issues and policy through internships with international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, or International Monetary Fund.
Look for internships with public health organizations and agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or local public health departments, if you are interested in a career in healthcare or public health policy.
Consider a business-based internship with social enterprises to learn more about their impact addressing issues such as poverty, education, technology, finance, or environmental sustainability.
Remember, finding a civic internship takes time and effort, but the rewards can be significant. By following these tips and staying committed to your search, you can find an internship that is right for you and make a meaningful impact in your community!
Think first about what kind of work you want to do and what issues you are passionate about. This will help you narrow down your search and find opportunities that align with your interests.
Many government agencies offer internships, and some have specific programs for college students. Visit their websites and look for information on how to apply.
Contact your local government officials and ask if they offer internships or know of any available opportunities.
It’s important to apply early and to many different options. Make sure to keep track of application deadlines and follow up with employers after you’ve submitted your application.
If you’re selected for an interview, make sure to prepare ahead of time. Research the organization and prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer. Make sure to dress professionally and arrive on time.
Support for your search for internships of all kinds, which can be accessed here: https://career.sa.ua.edu/explore/internships/
Websites like Idealist, Indeed, and USAJobs can be great resources for finding civic internships. Use keywords like “civic,” “government,” and “public service” to narrow down your search.
Attend career fairs and networking events where you can meet professionals in the government and civil service fields. A calendar of upcoming events hosted by the UA Career Center can be found here: https://career.sa.ua.edu/connect/events/
Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific internship you are applying for. Civic internships can be highly competitive, so make sure to put your best foot forward in your application materials. Support for compiling your resumé and application materials from the UA Career Center can be found here: https://career.sa.ua.edu/resources/resume-and-job-search-resources/
Even if you’re not selected for a particular internship, it’s important to stay engaged and build your network. Continue to attend career fairs and networking events to build relationships with professionals in the field. This can lead to future opportunities and help you build a strong career network.