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Government and Nonprofit Career Resources

Welcome to the Government and Nonprofit Career Community! Here you will find tools and resources to help you explore your career options, gain the experience required for entry-level career positions, and search for jobs in federal, state, and local government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

How to use this page: Below you will find resources organized into four categories:

  • General resources (tools you can use for all sectors)
  • Federal government
  • State and local government
  • Nonprofit

Use the “Jump to Section” menu to go straight to one of these. Within each category, you will find resources organized into three areas – Explore Career Options, Gain Experience, and Search for Jobs.

Don’t forget that our career counselors are available to assist you as well. Schedule an appointment here.

General Resources

In this General Resources section, you will find tools and resources that are applicable regardless of whether you are pursuing a federal, state or local, or nonprofit career.

Exploring Career Options

PathwayU: There are many different types of government and nonprofit jobs. Use this career assessment to determine what types of jobs fit your interests, values, personality, and workplace preferences, and see what Boise State majors correspond with those career paths.

What Can I do With This Major: There are opportunities in government and nonprofit for any major. Use this tool to explore career paths related to your major or majors you’re considering. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of each page for links to professional organizations and other sites with helpful information.

Vault: Vault offers career guides that help you explore your options, as well as student reviews of employers and internships.

Virtual Career Center (Career Planning): Find additional online, self-guided resources to help with your career exploration and planning.

Gaining Experience

Internships: On this page, find resources to help you get an internship.

Work U: Work U is similar to an internship but with some key differences. You apply to the program and if accepted, you are placed into an opportunity based on your interests. You will work on professional projects for a local organization under the guidance of a mentor. There are a variety of government and nonprofit opportunities available. Click on the link to learn more and see current opportunities.

Searching for Jobs

Handshake: Handshake is Boise State’s online job posting platform, where you can find on- and off-campus part-time jobs, internships, and professional career positions locally and across the nation.

Virtual Career Center (Job Search): Get help with your job search plan, resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, and interviewing.

GoinGlobal: Looking for opportunities abroad? Use this tool to help you learn about the process of finding work in the country you’re interested in and see job postings.

Federal Government

GoGovernment.org is our top recommended resource for pursuing a federal government career. Published by the Partnership for Public Service, it has detailed information about career options, navigating the federal hiring process, and more.

Exploring Career Options

Gaining Experience

Federal Internship Program: This program offers paid opportunities for current students to work in federal agencies and explore federal careers while completing your education.

Other Internships and Work U: Keep in mind that while interning with a federal agency is ideal, there are lots of other settings in which you can gain relevant experience that will ultimately help you obtain a federal job. A career counselor can help you explore what kind of experience fits your goals and needs.

Volunteer opportunities: Some federal agencies offer unpaid training opportunities to students. These volunteer positions may be posted on USAJobs, but there is no central listing of student volunteer opportunities. Contact the agency you’re interested in to discuss potential volunteer opportunities.

Global Learning Opportunities: International experience can be very valuable for some federal jobs. Get more information about Boise State’s study abroad and international internship opportunities here.

Searching for Jobs

Resumes: Federal resumes tend to be longer and more detailed than any other type of resumes, and include some information not typically listed on other resumes. To get a top score and be considered for the position, each resume must be targeted to the job description and include as much relevant detail as possible. Start with our resume resources to learn the basics, then use GoGovernment.org – Writing Your Federal Resume to learn the specifics. Because federal resumes are so unique, we recommend using the resume builder within USAJobs to create your resumes.

Finding job openings: Open federal government jobs are posted online to USAJobs. While you don’t need to network to find out about openings, strategically networking with agencies you’re interested in working for, as well as attending information sessions, can help you gain additional insight into the job, agency, and application process that will help you succeed. Learn about informational interviews and creating a job search plan.

Additional resources:

  • GoGovernment.org – Applying for a Federal Job: The federal hiring process is unique and can be complicated and overwhelming. The links on this GoGovernment page will walk you through each step.
  • USAJobs.gov: All federal job openings are posted here.
  • Recent Graduates Program: A 1-2 year program for individuals who have recently completed an undergraduate or graduate degree. Participants receive at training, professional development, and a mentor, and may be eligible to convert to full-time federal employment upon completion.
  • Presidential Management Fellows Program: A 2-year leadership development program for recent advanced degree graduates.
  • PeaceCorps – A federal service program that currently sends US volunteers to serve abroad in over 75 countries
  • AmeriCorps – A federal service program that supports US communities through education, public health, environmental, and anti-poverty initiatives

State and Local Government

Exploring Career Options

A good way to learn about the options in state and local government is to familiarize yourself with what agencies and departments exist and what their functions are.

Gaining Experience

Work U: These are professional experiences open to all majors. There are frequently opportunities available to gain experience in local government agencies in a variety of departments and roles.

Internships: On this page, get resources to help you find, apply to, and create internship opportunities. Also use links in the Searching for Jobs section below to find and apply to internships.

Searching for Jobs

Resumes and cover letters: Resumes for state and local jobs tend to be a little longer than the typical 1-2 page resume. Some kind of scoring process is typically used to rank applicants, so targeting each resume to the job description is essential, and you should include as much relevant detail as possible in order to maximize your score. If the application includes a cover letter, take time to write a highly targeted one that demonstrates your research on the agency. Use our resume and cover letter resources for help.

Finding job openings: Open state and local government jobs are nearly always posted on the agency’s website, but through strategic networking with agencies you’re interested in working for, you can often gain additional insight into the job and agency that will set you apart in the application process. Learn about informational interviews and creating a job search plan.

Use the sites below to find current openings:

State and local agencies often attend our career fairs and other events, and this is a great way to network with those agencies.

Nonprofit

Exploring Career Options

People who pursue nonprofit work are often motivated by a cause they care about. A good way to start your exploration is to find organizations doing the kind of work you’re interested in, explore their websites and social media, and then reach out to people who work there for informational interviews. Here are some resources to use:

Gaining Experience

Volunteering: Nonprofit organizations typically rely heavily on volunteers, which makes volunteering one of the best ways to start gaining experience, not to mention building your network within the nonprofit community. It’s not necessary for the organization to have a posted volunteer opportunity, you can reach out to them to discuss how you could use your skills to help the organization. Look for opportunities to do the kind of work you hope to do in your career, or opportunities to get involved with the type of nonprofit you hope to work for, even if the work you’re doing is not directly relevant.

  • Idealist.org: Enter any location and search posted volunteer opportunities, internships, and jobs.
  • Idaho Nonprofit Center Member Directory: Identify local nonprofits doing work you’re interested in to contact about volunteering or internships.
  • Boise State Service Learning: Taking courses with a Service Learning component is a great way to get nonprofit experience. You’ll work with local organizations on real projects. Take as many Service Learning courses as possible to build your resume and network. Use this link to learn more and get a current list of available Service Learning courses.

Work U: These are professional experiences open to all majors. There are many nonprofit Work U opportunities available every semester in a variety of organizations and roles.

Internships: On this page, get resources to help you find, apply to, and create internship opportunities.

Searching for Jobs

Resumes and cover letters: Nonprofit resumes are typically 1-2 pages, and each should be targeted to the job you’re applying for. In addition to experience directly relevant to the job, any volunteer experience, experience with nonprofit organizations, and experience working with the populations the organization serves should be highlighted. If a cover letter is part of the application process, it should be very specific to the organization and clearly express your passion for the work they do. Use our resume and cover letter resources for help.

Finding job opportunities: Nonprofits may or may not post their openings on their website or other job sites. Especially for entry level jobs, they often do not need to advertise, as these jobs are frequently filled through referrals, recommendations, and from the organization’s existing interns and volunteers. Therefore, strategic networking and gaining experience within the organization or similar organizations is very important when pursuing a nonprofit career. Learn about strategic networking through informational interviews and creating a job search plan.

Use the sites below to find current openings: