Federal policy is a popular career path for students who want to be at the forefront of national change. Whether you’re motivated by politics or a more issue-specific focus, there are plenty of opportunities to establish a career in this challenging, dynamic field. Though there are some federal-level policy jobs around the country, as you would probably expect, the vast majority of these opportunities are based in Washington D.C., the nation’s Capital.
Working in Washington D.C. is like nowhere else in the world. It’s a city of immense power, diverse communities, and constant change. No matter what area of federal policy you’re interested in, it’s important to note that networking is absolutely essential to establishing your career. Your reputation and who you know in the field tend to matter more than anything else, including your skills and experience. The earlier you start to build your network, the better your position will be when the time comes to search for jobs.
Starting to build your network early on through internships, informational interviews, and connections from your professors will not only help you decide whether or not federal policy is a good fit for your interests, but ensure that you have local references and recommenders for jobs when you need them.