Career Pathways

Public Service

Industry overview

Do you have a passion for public service? Maybe you’ve always been the policy wonk in your circle of friends? Or are you perhaps concerned with making the world a better place? From local municipalities to the federal government, there are opportunities for individuals in nearly every industry area. Whether your discipline is in the liberal arts or engineering, there are numerous chances to leverage your unique skillset.

The Vault Guides offer a sample of careers in public service. Each guide gives, among other valuable information, an overview of the job and entry level requirements. You’ll notice that some jobs may overlap with a variety of majors or industries. Access The Vault to learn more.

Common career paths

  • Campaign Worker
  • Congressional Aides
  • FBI Agents
  • Federal & State Officials
  • Intelligence Officers
  • Interpreters
  • Foreign Service Officers
  • National Park Service Employees
  • Policy Analysts
  • Press Secretaries/Political Consultants
  • Regional & Local Officials
  • Urban and Regional Planners
  • Lobbyists
  • Paralegals
  • Legal Secretaries
  • Environmental Lobbyists
  • Land Acquisition Professionals
  • Political Reporters
  • Statisticians
  • Corrections Officers
  • Forensics Experts
  • Police Officers
  • Crime Analysts

Preparing for a career

Numerous opportunities in government and public service exist in Richmond. If you’re considering a government career it would be wise to try and complete an internship before graduating. As Richmond is the state capital and a medium-sized metropolitan city, VCU students have the unique access to a variety of internships within local and state government agencies. Below is a selection opportunities in the Richmond area.

Internship and shadowing opportunities

Virginia Department of Transportation
Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services 
City of Richmond Internships
Governor’s Fellows Program
Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation
Virginia Department of Forensic Science
Hands on Greater Richmond
Virginia Capitol Semester
Wilder School Service Learning Classes
Criminal Justice Study Abroad 

Practical skills

Practical skills are an essential part of positioning yourself as a highly-sought after candidate. VCU has a partnership with to provide free skills training. Consider taking some of these recommended courses as a part of your training.

Access VCU’s Lynda portal with your eID and password.

  • Google Analytics Essential Training
  • Statistics with Excel
  • Excel 2016: Pivot Tables in Depth
  • The Basics of Data for Analytics
  • SPSS Statistics Essential Training
  • Up & Running with ArcGIS
  • Information Literacy
  • Grant Writing for Education
  • Management Tips
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Managing Small Projects
  • Up & Running With Public Data Sets
  • Note-taking for Business Professionals
  • Introduction to Data Analysis with Python
  • Public Relations Fundamentals
  • Speech Writing
  • Presentation Fundamentals

Applying & interviewing

Resumes and Cover Letters

Opportunity search resources

Public Service Careers
Go Government
USA Jobs
USA Jobs Pathways Program
U.S. Senate jobs
State of Virginia jobs
Roll Call
Federal Government Departments

Meet with an Adviser

To schedule an appointment with a Public Service adviser, call (804) 828-1645 or log into your HireVCURams account.

Kim Hanneman

Kim Hanneman

Italophile and wannabe Roman fluent in the art of the gesture. Last child in the woods.