Career Handbook: MPA Edition - University of Massachusetts Boston

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Career Handbook: Public Affairs
McCormack Graduate School
Department of Public Policy and Public
Affairs
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Table of Contents
Why Public Service? From PublicServiceCareers.org ………………………….… p.3-4
Public Policy and Affairs Career Fields ……………………………….…………..…. p. 4
How to Apply for Jobs in the Public Policy & Public Affairs Career Fields …… pp.4
How to create an effective CV and Conduct a Job Search …………………… p.4
Job Search …………………………………………………….……………………….. p.5
Career Services at UMass Boston ……………………………………………... p.5
Talent Source: A Network for Professionals of Color………………………. p.5
Other Job Search Engines and Postings……………………………………….. p.5
Professional Organizations ……………………………………………………. p.6
Additional Job Resources ……………………………………………………… p.7
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Why Public Service? The Opportunity to Make a Difference!
Overview of Careers in the New Public Sector
From www.PublicServiceCareers.org
What makes a professional career in public service so unique is the emphasis on tackling "wicked
problems" -- the challenging issues that define the public agenda and call for talented individuals to
devote their efforts to finding solutions. Here are just a few of the "wicked problems" on the agenda
today:
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Managing global climate change and controlling its underlying causes such as carbon emissions
Supplying food, energy and clean water to the growing populations in developing countries
Securing the United States and other countries against the possibility of chemical, biological and
nuclear terrorism
Redeveloping older urban areas that have lost their economic base in manufacturing
Transitioning recently incarcerated persons into productive, nonviolent lives in society
Ending the epidemic of HIV infection in developed and developing countries.
Providing quality education and health care to children living in poverty.
These high profile problems are only a piece of the entire picture of public service careers. Many
worthwhile careers in the new public sector are devoted to providing absolutely vital daily services to
the public in cities, counties, states and nations around the world. Professionals in these careers often
must tackle very challenging problems such as expanding services to meet the needs of changing
populations without necessarily raising taxes, implementing information technologies that better
connect citizens to their governments, and improving responses to natural disasters. Employment
demand for professionals to provide leadership, financial management, policy analysis and other such
skills has never been stronger.
Challenges of the New Public Sector.
The "new public sector" refers to the complex network of relationships among organizations that has
emerged over the past thirty years in response to the realities of today's public policy and public
administration needs. Whereas a public service career once meant government employment, we now
recognize the connections between governments, nonprofits, NGOs the private sector, and
universities. Persons employed in any of these types of organizations can have highly productive
careers that contribute directly the public good.
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For just one example, consider the problem of helping recently incarcerated individuals to reenter
society. In the United States, governments at all levels are working closely with community-based
nonprofit organizations to help former prisoners to lead productive lives. Those nonprofit
organizations also are receiving financial support from philanthropic foundations. Some of that support
is paying for university-based researchers and think tanks to evaluate alternative strategies for successful
reentry. Outreach to the private sector is essential for these efforts to succeed. Anyone involved in
leading or managing such an effort must be prepared to work effectively across the sectors.
Professional public service today thus offers many career opportunities including those in governments
at all levels, in nonprofit organizations and NGOs, in higher education, and in private sector
companies that work under contract to governments. These opportunities provide good pay and
benefits, numerous choices of where to work in the United States and around the world, and resources
for further training and education.
Public Policy and Affairs Career Fields
The Maxwell School of Syracuse University has a comprehensive list of different career fields and
their descriptions. Visit their website (http://www1.maxwell.syr.edu/careerfieldguides/) for more
information, including salary information, typical qualifications, sample employers, and much
more.
See Also: NYU Wagner Schools offers helpful links to how-to guides, print resources and professional associations
How to Apply for Jobs in the Public Policy and Affairs Fields
The first step in pursuing any career is to effectively market yourself to employers. Below are
examples, tips, links and resources to help you prepare for a career in Public Policy or Public
Affairs.
How to create an effective CV and conduct a job search
How to create an effective resume and conduct a job search
How to organize/write headings for your resume
Tips to make your resume stand out
Sample CVs, Resumes, Cover Letters and Thank you Letters
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Job Search
Now that you know how to market yourself for your ideal job, here are some links to job search
engines and services available to help you find a career in public policy and/or affairs.
Career Services at UMass Boston
UMass Boston offers its own career counseling services, available to all students and alums. Create
a MyCareer Online account at https://www.myinterfase.com/umb/student/ to access the on-line
resource library, search for jobs, and sign up for various workshops on resume, cover letter and
interviewing skills.
Individual counseling services are also available on campus. The Career Counselor appointed for the
McCormack Graduate School is Michael Gaskins. Feel free to contact him at
[email protected]
Talent Source: A Network for Professionals of Color
McCormack Graduate School’s Commonwealth Compact has recently launched the first social
network for professionals of color. Their mission is to:
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Increase the representation of people of color and women throughout our organizations,
especially in management, senior management and board governance positions.
Retain and promote people of color and women.
Encourage our organizations to reflect, and connect with, the diversity of the
communities and customers we serve.
Visit their site for more information, and to join the Talent Source, at:
http://www.commonwealthcompact.com/.
Other Job Search Engines and Postings
Government, Non-Profit and International Occupations, Careers and Job Hunting Links
Villanova lists other on-line job resources in government and public affairs
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Professional Organizations
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Below is a list of policy-related professional organizations and links
to their websites with additional career ideas and postings.
American Association of Political Consultants
American League of Lobbyists
American Political Science Association
American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
American Society of Association Executives
Association for Conflict Resolution
Association of Former Intelligence Officers
Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
Association of Women in Development
Association of Women in International Trade
Government Finance Officers Association
Euronet International
Foreign Policy Association
International City/County Management Association
International Personnel Management Association
International Studies Association
National Association for Government Training and Development
National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)
National Council of Nonprofit Associations
National Defense Transportation Association
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Philadelphia Region Organization Development Network
Society for Human Resource Management
Society for International Development
Washington International Trade Association
Washington Network Group
Women in Government Relations
Women in International Security
Women's Foreign Policy Group
Women's Transportation Seminar
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Additional Job Resources
State and Local
GovtJob.Net
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
State Government Jobs (Internet Job Source)
Federal
FedWorld.gov (U.S. Department of Commerce)
FirstGov.gov (U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal)
USAJOBS (Official Jobsite of U.S. Federal Government
Non-profit
Bridgestar (The Bridgespan Group)
Chronicle of Philanthropy
Community Career Center (Enterprise, Inc.)
Idealist.org
NC Center for Nonprofits
Philanthropy Journal
Other Job Resources
Almanac of Policy Issues
American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
Indeed.com
Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Moving Ideas
National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)
Opportunities in Public Affairs
Public Service.org
Roll Call (Capitol Hill Newspaper)
DISCLAIMER: The Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of web sites
noted on these pages.
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