Those in Government and Public Service careers may work in a government or political office, or organization affiliated with a government function at the federal, state, county or local level. Public service can include working at a think tank, non-profit or NGO whose mission is connected to governance.
- Get acquainted with the federal application process. If you want to work for the U.S. government, CXD can teach you how to navigate the unique federal application process which sometimes requires a special resume format.
- Think local. Many city and state governments offer internships and post-graduate fellowships aimed at giving students experience and responsibility within government.
- Attend events. A number of Bowdoin students are usually selected each year for the prestigious U.S. Department of State internship program as well as a variety of other governmental internships. Be sure to check out employer information sessions, career talks by alumni and find out about the Bowdoin Public Service Initiative offered by the McKeen Center for the Common Good.
Almost every career field has policy-related roles which are issue-driven and involve program planning, management and coordination; development of public information; or advocating for social change. There are many different paths within this career field. Legislators create policy, informed by policy analysts. Public administrators implement policy. Think tanks and policy groups research and analyze issues. Lobbying and advocacy organizations work to influence and change policy.
- Write a thesis or do a research project. The ability to synthesize complicated information, research and analyze data, write persuasively, and demonstrate knowledge of substantive issues are skills valued in these fields. Engaging in a long-term writing-intensive project can be important evidence of these skills.
- Develop your skills. Depending upon the role, knowledge of statistics or economics or public speaking skills may be important. These skills can be developed in coursework, or though LinkedIn Learning, an online educational platform available for free to every Bowdoin student.
- Come to CXD and other Bowdoin-sponsored events. Meet employers and alumni at CXD events to learn more about the field and opportunities of interest to you. Don’t miss Policy Day at the Maine State Capitol to meet Bowdoin alumni working in a variety of policy careers!
Bowdoin graduates from all majors are successful law school applicants and have an outstanding record of acceptances. However, the goal of pre-law advising at CXD is to help you think through whether law school is the right path for you and help you to be a successful applicant—or to help you explore other options, as desired.
- Major in what interests you. Law schools don’t require a specific undergraduate major. The ability to write lengthy papers, synthesize large amounts of complicated information and think critically are key components of both a Bowdoin education as well as factors law schools look for in applicants. Major in what interests you and challenge yourself with your courses.
- Get to know your faculty at Bowdoin. There are over 200 accredited law schools and they vary widely in terms of the GPA and test score range they expect to see from successful applicants. Getting to know faculty members will make it easier, when the time comes, to ask for letters of recommendation.
- Get involved outside the classroom. Pursue volunteer work, clubs, athletics, an on-campus job, or an internship—it doesn’t matter as long as you are engaged in something beyond your academic work.
Pre-law advising for students and alumni covers everything from learning about what a lawyer does to reviewing application materials and helping students find summer opportunities that will give them exposure to the skills to succeed in law school. CXD’s pre-law advisor has been a practicing attorney with law firm and pro bono experience, taught at two law schools, and served in leadership roles for regional and national associations of pre-law advisors.