Policy Test Page

For anyone looking to make a difference in the world and influence systematic change at the local, federal, or international level, policy can be a natural career choice. Policy is an incredibly dynamic, widespread field that allows you to focus your time and energy working on issues you care about, and develop a range of skills and specialities that can change throughout your career. 

Key Skills and Abilities

  • Research 
  • Data Analysis 
  • Critical Thinking 
  • Creativity and Problem-Solving
  • Clear, concise writing
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Collaboration and Relationship-Building

Common Employers 

  • State Legislatures 
  • US Congress (Senate and House) 
  • Congressional Committees 
  • Think Tanks 
  • Trade Associations 
  • Federal Government Agencies 
  • State/City/County Agencies

(NEEDS EDITING) Though the concept is a bit hard to define, policy is essentially the system of laws, regulations, and priorities that are agreed upon and implemented by the government. Naturally, this means that many policy professionals end up working within government at the city, state, and federal level. However, there are also opportunities to engage in policy work outside of the government doing research and analysis, community advocacy, and political lobbying. If you aren’t sure what type of policy work interests you, there are plenty of internships available with political campaigns, NGOs and Nonprofits, and government agencies to help you try it out, and see what you enjoy! 

It is worth noting that breaking into the policy field at the entry-level can be difficult, and often requires some past internship experience and a professional network to help you find opportunities. Graduate school is also a great option to consider, and can help ensure that you have all of the relevant skills and experience you need to advance in your career. In the meantime, SuccessWorks can help you gain relevant experience, develop your network, and find entry-level job opportunities!

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One of the most important distinctions to make in the policy field is between policy and politics. Though these areas are strongly intertwined, most areas of policy organizations and employers are focused on a specific issue, independent of political parties or campaigns. Both areas heavily influence the other, so it’s great to have experience and understanding of both areas, but you don’t have to enjoy politics, or want to want to be elected into office yourself in order to succeed in policy (or vice versa).

Internships are a great way to gain legal experience while you’re a student. Depending on your interests, you can intern in a legal office or in other law-adjacent fields like policy, business, or government. Though working in a law office can be a great way to see what a certain type of law is really like, these opportunities can be hard to find because many opportunities are reserved for students in law school. Most undergraduates who work in law offices find these opportunities through networking, and may start with job shadowing or informational interviews before moving into a formal internship. If you aren’t able to find an internship in a law office, or if it’s just not something you’re interested in doing, that’s totally fine! Internship experience with a nonprofit, business, government agency, or other organization that overlaps with the type of law you’re interested in is just as valuable! When looking for internships, focus on the skills you want to develop and the type of experience that would give you a unique insight in the long-term.

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Gap years are an extremely popular way for recent graduates to gain experience before law school. Taking this time not only makes you a stronger candidate for law school, but allows you to bring a more knowledgeable perspective to your studies and makes you more employable after you graduate. Whether you decide to pursue law school or a graduate degree in another related area, a gap year can be a great experience. Programs like Americorps are a popular option to gain experience working with diverse communities in education or nonprofit organizations, but almost any type of work can help you build transferable skills and knowledge.

Video Resources

Working in Public Service & Policy Consulting
Taste of Success: Policy
Taste of Success: Environmental Law & Policy

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