Important Steps to Government Careers

Important Steps to a Career in Government

It is critical to do well in your courses. Graduate and Job selection committees often look at:

  • Overall GPA.
  • Psychology GPA minor (if you have one).
  • GPA last two years in college GPA.
  • Maintaining a high GPA from your freshman year on
  • If you do not get an A or B in a course you should probably repeat the course.

Get involved in research

  • Get even more involved in research by doing a Senior Honors thesis or some other research where you can get your name on a conference presentation or journal publication. This kind of recognition is rare for an undergraduate and will really boost your standing when you apply for a job.
  • You can get involved in research as part of Independent study course and thus earn credit hours and possibly increase your GPA if it counts as a graded course or volunteer.
  • An advantage to working in a lab is that you get to know a faculty member who can write you a strong letter of recommendation when you are ready to apply for jobs. Given you need more than one letter of recommendation, it is probably best to work in two different labs as an undergraduate.

Do an internship

  • By doing an internship you can again show your high level of motivation for a job.

  • This internship can be with an on-campus organization or off-campus organization.

Develop critical skills

  • There are a number of skills you can develop in addition to what you learn in classes and by conducting research-- computers, writing, and oral communication skills.

Get work experience if you can

  • It is not critical that you are employed as an undergraduate, but if you can job experience is a real bonus.

Interact with your Professors

  • It is very important that you start to interact with Professors right away. This can occur by making contributions in class or just going up to your Professors and having a conversation about issues in the field.
  • These interactions can lead to being able to work in a Professor’s research lab, hearing about job opening that may be available in the Psychology department, and a letter of recommendation.
  • Remember, if a faculty member does not really know you or had you in one class, there is a lower likelihood that the Professor will agree to write a letter for you or knows you well enough to write a letter.
  • There are two important things to keep in mind with regard to letters of recommendation. First, a short letter of recommendation from a faculty member who does not know you well can sometimes be worse than no letter at all. Second, It is almost always better to have a letter of recommendation from a full-time Professor than an Instructor. For better or worse, the former simply has higher status than the latter.
  • Other scoutiescareersinpsychology.org links:

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    Click here to return to the Government page.

    Click here to see career salary information.