Many graduate students are expanding their job searches outside the academy. As an advisor, I’m horribly underprepared at offering job advice outside of the academic job market – besides work you can get off of Craigslist, I’ve never held a real job. Recently, I had a student come to me with questions about finding a job in the DC policy world. I asked my great friend (and former student) Kate Kidder for her thoughts, which she agreed to allow me to post at the Duck.
Right off the bat, I will say that the academic and DC employment landscapes are vastly different animals. I myself have not quite figured out how I’m going to navigate my career. In academia, the goal is to work really, really hard for job security. In DC, the goal is to work really, really hard so that you have multiple opportunities waiting for you after about 3 years at your job. Much of the happy hour talk here revolves around the “fear of getting stale” by “staying in a job for too long”; meanwhile, my fellow doctoral candidates yearn for the holy grail of a tenure-track position (by definition, staying in a job for a very, very long time).
The similarity in both career fields is this: be the kind of person other people want to work with. Most academics and DC professionals are really, really smart. Stand out by being a team player, keeping a good attitude, and staying humble–all while doing a kick-ass job producing quality work.