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How to Find a Job With a Degree in Public Administration

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How to Find a Job With a Degree in Public Administration?




Administration officers need to be:
  • good time managers and able to prioritise and multitask
  • good communicators
  • skilled writers
  • able to use a variety of computer software
  • able to work well in a team environment
  • able to show initiative
  • friendly and approachable
  • discreet and diplomatic when dealing with confidential issues
  • problem-solvers.


An undergraduate degree in public administration is sufficient to land an entry-level job in most business, government and nonprofit organizations. A public-administration graduate degree can lead to managerial positions in those offices. Though most public-administration programs are geared toward working within government, with effective networking and interest, you can use your degree to work in political groups, health care or international affairs.

Develop a Network
Throughout school, develop a network of professionals that can help you find work. Join professional organizations such as the American Society for Public Administration or the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. Attend conferences and workshops and network with the attendees. Volunteer to sit on committees in professional groups to build relationships. Join a political party you support and attend political functions. Attend rallies and introduce yourself to your state and local representatives. When you graduate, you'll have a number of professionals in the field you can turn to for advice, introductions and even a job.

Get Involved
Volunteer at agencies where you want to work. For example, if you want to use your degree to work at a charitable organization, call a local chapter and find out about volunteer opportunities. People in the agency get to know you and your work ethic through volunteering. You'll be able to jump to the head of the line when a job opens up after you graduate. Get involved with student government while you're still in school or join the debate team to build your skills of persuasion. The extracurricular activities will boost the credentials on your resume.

Find Job Growth
Research your field as you begin your job search to find those communities poised for growth. Local government jobs open up in areas with the most growth potential, according to the Division of Student Affairs at Cal Poly. In addition to making yourself known through your volunteer and networking activities, learn the application process for each level of government where you want to work. Larger agencies, such as those at the federal level, tend to require more complicated application processes that you can begin to pursue before you graduate. For example, if you learn it takes three to six months to make it through the interview process at a Washington D.C. branch of the federal government, you can begin applying while you're still in school and gather the necessary referrals and documents you need to fulfill the requirements.

Continue Learning
Although your degree may land you an administrative job in the agency of your choice, you can leverage additional education to secure a better job and advance your career. A program such as the Mid-Career Masters of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of government, for example, is an ideal one-year plan that provides students with mentors and access to increased visibility in the job market. Credentials and certifications you can get from professional organizations also increase your odds of finding a better job in public and private sectors. Many graduates in public administration go on to earn a law degree to advance in their agencies.