Your job search

Job postings

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La Follette School students and alumni can access a curated list of public affairs job postings. New jobs are periodically emailed to recipients along with a link to a listing of all opportunities.

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Alumni access

Alumni can sign up to receive periodic email notifications about job opportunities from the La Follette School’s Jobs for Alumni listserv (newsletter). Contact to register.

Student access

La Follette School master’s degree and undergraduate certificate students are automatically registered to receive curated job postings to their email address. Not sure if you’re getting these emails? Contact to check.


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1. Focus your search

Identify what you want to do (area of interest), for whom you want to work (type of organization) and/or where you want to live (geographical preferences)

  • If you consider yourself a generalist, assess your skill set and determine where you can best use those skills
  • If you have significant experience in a particular policy area (either through work or graduate school), identify the kinds of organizations whose work focuses on those areas. This may include government, non-profits, or the private sector
  • If you plan to work for a non-profit organization, think about the specifics of the organization for which you hope to work: size, budget, served populations, and location
  • Identify professional associations for the fields in which you are interested and bookmark their sites. Most have free job boards that you may want to check regularly
  • If you have strong geographical preferences, this simplifies the identification of professional areas and organizations to those that operate in your chosen locale, but it does narrow your opportunities
  • Select your four or five most promising policy areas and target your search accordingly. For example, your career objective may be to work at the local level in management or planning, but you also realize your skills are suited to policy analysis. You may decide that a career in policy analysis is acceptable, but only at the municipal or county level

2. Make contacts

  • Identify La Follette School alumni and other key people in professional fields, organizations, and locations that you identified above
  • Schedule informational interviews or make another form of contact to meet alumni and other key people. You can use LinkedIn, Badger Bridge, and also contact the Career Services Director

3. Be prepared

  • Make sure your resume and reference list are current and in top form
  • Have ready access to your unofficial UW transcript (you can get it in your Student Center) and any other transcripts from previous institutions. You don’t want to discover the perfect job only to find that the deadline for applying is day after tomorrow, and it requires transcripts not in your possession
  • Gather the standard application information that any application will require (such as previous employers, dates worked, etc)

4. Search

  • Bookmark websites that have relevant job listings, including the organizations you selected above. Determine which of these you will check weekly or more often
  • View (and possibly subscribe to) the online version of the newspaper in the area(s) where you hope to intern or work to better get to know the community in which you hope to live
  • Join the Career LinkedIn Group
  • If you are an alum, join the jobs4alumni listserv by emailing a request to Otherwise, just watch your email for the bi-weekly posts from the job and internship boards and those in the daily digest. Current students are
    automatically added to the jobs4alumni list unless they request not to be on the exit survey
  • Identify positions that look interesting and for which you think you are reasonably qualified. You do not have to possess every qualification listed in the job posting to be a viable candidate for the position (if it requires 5 years and you have 2.5-3 go for it!)

5. Apply for positions

  • It is unlikely that you will find a position that matches your qualifications precisely, so be able to articulate the relevance and transferability of your skills and experience. The Career Services Coordinator can help. Remember, writing good bullet points is as much art as science
  • Include in the applications that you submit to prospective employers only those materials that have been requested—no more, no less
  • Proofread your resume and cover letter and any supplemental materials. Have at least one other person (ideally the Career Services Director) review these materials with you, as well
  • Make sure that your application reaches its destination on or before the closing date. In many cases, the deadline may be in the future, but the employer begins to review applications as received. Think early bird whenever possible!

6. Track your employment search

  • Document the positions for which you apply and indicate the closing date for the application process. A spreadsheet that includes all the relevant information about each position works well
  • Make copies of all materials you submit for each job application, including the cover letter and the formal application, and store them in a file on your computer AND the cloud (just in case)
  • Document the outcome of each application process
  • If you are called for an interview, prepare carefully. After the interview, assess your performance. Learn how

General resources for candidates with disabilities and international students

Candidates with Disabilities

International Students



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Create a profile and find employers specifically looking to hire UW–Madison interns and graduates. View tips and tricks (pdf).

Transferable skills (pdf)
Identify skills that can be used in every occupation, regardless of the type of work

Identity at work
Navigate the job or internship search process as it intersects with identities

Work values matcher
This quick exercise asks you to rank statements to define your ideal job. Your choices indicate your top values

Best Places to Live
A fun quiz that tells you where to live based on your preferences


Informational interviews (pdf)

The idea is to obtain information and get
job-search advice from people working in the field, not to get a job.

More informational interview questions (pdf)

You won’t have time to ask all the questions you want, so focus on the most useful questions.

Mentoring roles for mentors and mentees (pdf)

Including how the mentoring relationship can work, collaborative activities and more.

Connect with Alumni

Students can meet and work with La Follette School alumni and friends, many of whom hold important positions in international organizations; federal, state, and local government agencies; nonprofit organizations; and private business.

Connect with Alumni

Professional Organizations

Join or follow one to stay up to date with your industry peers, obtain a mentor, or just to peruse the members-only job board

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Professional organizations which members of La Follette faculty belong

Memberships in professional organizations are an excellent way for students to stay in tune with their chosen fields and to establish a solid professional foundation at the very beginning of their careers.

The La Follette School recommends students join at least one of these organizations consistent with their area(s) of interest. Most or all of these organizations have student membership rates.

American Society for Public Administration

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

American Planning Association

American Political Science Association

American Economic Association

Gerontological Society of America

International Association for Energy Economics

International City/County Management Association

International Public Management Association for Public Resource

International Political Science Association

Population Association of America

Society of Government Economist

Structure & Organization of Government

Presidential Management Fellowship

The opportunity of a lifetime

Administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, this program provides a paid two-year position at a federal agency.

The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. is seen through cherry blossoms.

Job boards

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  • CareerBuilder (General employment listings)
  • CareerJet (General employment listings)
  • CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor sponsored career resources including a job board called AJB)
  • CareerWomen (General employment listings catered toward women)
  • GIINJobBoard (Employment listings from the Global Impact Investing Network, dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of impact investing)
  • Glassdoor (General employment listings, career resources, employer and position reviews)
  • Guardian Unlimited (General employment listings based in the U.K.)
  • Indeed (General employment listings)
  • JuJu (General employment listings)
  • Linkedin (Social network catered to professionals, general employment listings)
  • Monster (General employment listings)
  • SimplyHired (General employment listings)
  • Washington Post (General employment listings based in Washington D.C.)
  • ZipRecruiter (General listings for policy jobs at all levels)

Government and policy


  • Careers in Government (A leading site for public sector employment information and opportunities)
  • City of Madison Jobs (The official job site for all Madison city jobs)
  • City of Milwaukee Jobs (The official job site for all Milwaukee city jobs)
  • Dane County Jobs (The official job site for all Dane County jobs)
  • DCCC (Jobs helping elect Democrats to the House of Representatives)
  • DSCC (Jobs helping elect Democrats to the Senate)
  • Emily’s List (Job and internship opportunities with and to elect progressive Democratic women)
  • Foreign Service Officer Hiring (Information on the process of becoming a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State)
  • GAINPOWER (A hub & virtual coworking space for the Democratic & Progressive professional community incl a job board)
  • GovernmentJobs (U.S. Federal, State, & Local government listings organized by category and location)
  • ICMA (All things related to local government management including a job board)
  • Intelligence Careers (All 17 agencies of the US Intelligence Community use this site to market their opportunities which are NOT listed on USAJobs)
  • National Council of State Legislatures (Employment opportunities with state legislatures or other public policy positions)
  • RNC Jobs and Internships (Republican Party jobs and internships all in one place)
  • State and Local Government (A very comprehensive site that includes links to the employment sites for virtually every city, village, town etc. in the USA)
  • USAJOBS (The Federal government’s official employment site for all civil service jobs)
  • US House of Representatives (Jobs and internships with US House members)
  • US Senate (Jobs and internships with US Senators)
  • VSFS Virtual Student Federal Service (Founded by Sec of State Clinton in 2009, this program allows any college student to work on an academic year-long unpaid project with a variety of federal agencies. Open for applications yearly from July 1-31st)
  • Wiscjobs (The Wisconsin State government’s official job employment site. Also has resources specifically for veterans)
  • Wiscjobs LTE Positions (Short term opportunities, many of which can be performed concurrently with earning a degree)
  • (The site to find all jobs with the current WI gubernatorial administration)


  • BSR-CSR (Sustainability-related employment listings worldwide)
  • CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor sponsored career resources including a job board called AJB)
  • Daybook (Worldwide opportunities in everything from politics, to policy, to lobbying, to consulting)
  • Econ-Jobs (Employment listings for economists)
  • ForeignAffairs (Employment listings from Foreign Affairs magazine)
  • ForeignPolicy (Employment listings from Foreign Policy magazine)
  • Gain Power (Searchable webpage created by the folks who creted the Jobsthatareleft Google group)
  • GlobalJobs (Employment listings for global professionals)
  • Icrunchdata (Employment listings for analytical and statistical work)
  • Job Openings for Economists (Employment listings for economists)
  • JobsThatAreLeft (Google Group with D.C. area job opportunities)
  • Political Job Hunt (Nationwide job listings with trade orgs and interest groups doing lobbying/advocacy)
  • PublicServiceCareers (Employment listings and resources catered to public affairs degree programs)
  • Roll Call Jobs (Nationwide job listings with trade orgs and interest groups doing lobbying/advocacy)
  • YPFP (Employment listings for young professionals interested in foreign policy)

Nonprofit and international

  • Idealist (The closest thing to a global nonprofit portal that exists. Lists over 130k organizations worldwide along with jobs and internships.)
  • AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals employment listings)
  • Badger Volunteers (Managed by the Morgridge Center at UW; Morgridge has connections to all the local nonprofit orgs)
  • BridgeSpan (Nonprofit employment listings compiled by the Bridgespan Group)
  • Chronicle of Philanthropy (Nonprofit employment listings)
  • Community Shares (Opportunities in the Madison area with orgs that focus on Social Justice)
  • DC Public Affairs (A blog listing of DC area jobs and internships in public affairs, communications, public relations, media, web development, lobbying, and related fields)
  • Devex (Worldwide jobs in development)
  • DevNetJobs (Employment listings for international development and consulting work)
  • Development Executive Group (A leading global development job board)
  • Global Jobs (Worldwide opportunities in NGOs, Think Tanks, Government, and the Private Sector)
  • Health Policy Think Tanks (List of think tanks that specialize in health policy)
  • Jobbank Arts USA (Arts-based employment listings)
  • Jobs that Help (the largest job board focused on nonprofit career opportunities in Wisconsin)
  • NextBillion (Employment listings for enterprise development work)
  • Nonprofit Jobs (Nonprofit employment listings)
  • Nonprofit Times (A nonprofit talent match service created by the Nonprofit Times)
  • NPO (Internship and jobs listings focus on the Chicago area and Milwaukee, but also have other locations)
  • PhilanthropyNY (Employment listings for philanthropic work in the New York City area)
  • PND FoundationCenter (U.S.-based nonprofit employment listings)
  • ReliefWeb (Employment listings for humanitarian and development work)
  • SkollWorldForum (Employment listings for social-sector work around the world)
  • Trade Associations (Wikipedia’s list of trade associations organized by area of focus)
  • UNJobs (Employment listings within the UN system compiled by an outside source)
  • UN YPP (The UN’s Young Professionals Programme opens 1x/year – usually in late August or early September – and trains highly qualified candidates to start a career as an international civil servant with the United Nations Secretariat)
  • Volunteer Match (Nationwide opportunities organized by focus area)
  • Volunteer your Time (A local Madison site listing volunteer opportunities with dozens of local orgs)
  • Wisconsin Nonprofit Center (hosted by UW Milwaukee)
  • Work For Good (Employment listings for nonprofit professionals around the world)
  • YNPN Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (Chapters all over the US including Madison)


  • ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy job board)
  • APPAM (Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management)
  • APSIA (Association of Professional Schools in International Affairs)
  • ASPA (American Society for Public Administration)
  • International Think Tanks (Wikipedia’s very comprehensive list of think tanks by country with a description of the work they do and their partisan bent – if any)
  • NAPA (National Academy of Public Administration)
  • NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration)
  • Partnership for Public Service (a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that strives for a more effective government for the American people)
  • Peace Corps (Peace Corps opportunities – contact Peace Corps at UW for assistance with applications)
  • Roll Call (The Newspaper of Capital Hill)
  • US Think Tanks (Wikipedia’s very comprehensive list of over 200 US think tanks with a description of the work they do and their partisan bent – if any)
  • Vault List of Top International Consulting Firms
  • Young Professionals Programs with international NGOs (This site provides helpful information about preparing, applying, and succeeding)