If you are someone who is interested in working in public service, or has been and wants to know how to further your career in this area, then it can be hard to know where to begin sometimes. There may be no job adverts that you see in this sector, for a role that you are qualified in. Perhaps you want to start just sending out cover letters and resumes to the departments that interest you, and then see what happens? You could have even considered networking to learn about some of the potential openings, but don’t know what to do or even if it will make much of a difference. So how do you get started in local government and municipal roles?
You need to start to get a little creative, as well as making sure that you are trained up and learning all that you can, so that you would make a great addition to any team. If you know your way around some municipal software, for example, then you will be ahead of the game when it comes to financial and administrative roles in the sector. If this sounds like you, then here are some things that you can do, in order to get the job that you want in the public sector.
Volunteer on a Campaign
It is important to note that working on a campaign doesn’t mean that you will be guaranteed to get a job at the end of it all. However, it is a good thing to get experience in, have something new for your resume, and also help you to have a network of people to call on who know you and know how you work. In an interview situation, this is a great leg-up compared to other candidates. Of course, many campaigns are going to be seasonal, so it is a good idea to pay close attention to things like mayor elections or council elections in the place where you would like to work. A lot of websites for campaigns can fill you in with the details, but you could also apply speculatively. Volunteers are going to always be welcome, because they are just that, a volunteer, and can do some work without needing to be paid.
Go Back to School
This is something that is not a massive secret, but if there aren’t many jobs that you are interested in, given your current qualifications and experience, you could start to build your experience and qualifications with a graduate degree or a professional qualification. This is the kind of thing that people will look for when hiring, and they are much more likely to take someone with the formal qualifications required, over someone who has a little bit of work experience. Think outside of the box too. You don’t just have to have a public policy qualification. There are a number of things that can help, from law, planning, and a business degree, as well as finance.
There is no one set path to getting a government role, but with some creativity, experience, skills, and education, it can help you to open some doors. Be prepared to hustle!