Category Archives: Career Exploration

5 Reasons You Might Love Working in Local Government

 Originally Posted on The Muse.

When most people think of local government, Pawnee, Indiana is the first image that comes to mind. But a job in City Hall doesn’t always mean bosses who want to slash their own budgets and colleagues who would do anything to avoid work. During my six years working for the City of New York, I had the privilege of collaborating with scores of talented people on issues that really mattered to my neighbors.

My uncommon choice to enter local government meant that I was the one at the bar with a story about donning a bulletproof vest and riding in a cop car for a day. I helped couples navigate the Marriage Bureau on the first day gay marriage was legal, and I ventured 12 stories below the bedrock to see a 200-ton machine creating our next subway tunnel.

That said, the job isn’t about the stories, and glamour is the exception, not the rule. Most local governments don’t have the budget to update their aging cubicles or stock their kitchens with organic snacks. But whether you’re a political junkie or a recent graduate looking to make a difference, working for your city or town can be incredibly rewarding. Here are five reasons why.

1. You Learn How Stuff Really Works

You don’t have to be a public policy nerd to marvel at the fact that 6,000 combined miles of city streets are plowed whenever it snows. While most people only notice things like this when they go wrong, working in local government allows access to the insider processes that keep a town ticking. When New York City’s response to the 2010 “Snowpocalypse” blizzard did go wrong, I served on the team that investigated the causes of plowing delays and implemented new preventive measures. I became a minor expert in everything from tire chains to GPS monitoring—and it was fascinating.

Even though I worked for only three of more than 50 departments, my knowledge of the city’s inner workings is miles beyond that of the average citizen. My familiarity with city services made me a good resource to friends applying for film permits or reporting an apartment without heat. But it served me even more professionally. The more I understood the interconnectedness of the pulleys and levers that comprise the system, the more effectively I could figure out which ones to pull to make something happen. And the breadth of my knowledge qualified me to move around the organization with relative ease.

2. You Invest in Your Community

There are a lot of ways to invest in your city or town—you could coach a team of ragtag softball players or cultivate turnips in a community garden. But working for your municipality means you’re investing in your community five days a week, every week of the year. When I sat down at my desk each day, I knew my efforts would be judged on the extent to which they improved the lives of New Yorkers.

Jeff Chen, Director of Analytics at the New York City Fire Department, recalls the long days that followed Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “A bunch of policy advisors, a fellow data geek, and myself huddled in a conference room at the Office of Emergency Management until the wee hours of the early morning. But over only a few hours, we re-designed a damage assessment field survey…then successfully deployed [it] only three hours after our work session.” In the wake of destruction, his job was to take concrete steps toward rebuilding. When everyone else was looking for ways to help, he was able to really make things happen from the inside out.

3. You Get to See the Results of Your Work

Some may perceive local government as less prestigious than a White House job, but I found that proximity to the issues offers the chance to see results. Take David Barker, a seven-year veteran of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation who helped transform more than 200 asphalt schoolyards into public green spaces. After completing each project, he could sit on a newly installed bench and take in the fruits of his labor. “There’s nothing more rewarding than flying in a plane over New York City and being able to see all the corners of the city you’ve affected,” he says.

Benjamin Clark, a professor of public administration at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs, has worked at both the local and the federal levels. “Having worked at the federal level, I always felt very disconnected from the final product or result of my work,” he says. But at the local level, “you are closer to the people and the programs. This makes it easier for someone working in local government to actually see their working have an effect on the people they are serving.”

4. You Learn to Swim Upstream

Red tape. Bureaucracy. Paper pushing. This is how most outsiders envision local government, and the stereotype is based on more than a kernel of truth. New York City, like many municipalities, has come a long way in combating the inefficiencies that are often baked into the rules themselves, but working in local government still often means swim upstream or be doomed to stagnation.

This may not sound like an ideal work environment, but I’ve found that learning to navigate the obstacles inspires creative thinking. You need a contract in place in two months and the normal process takes six? You’re going to bury your nose in procurement rules until you find a way to make it happen.

Fighting the bureaucracy also leads to opportunity. According to Barker, “There’s definitely red tape at times, and some of your co-workers might be a little jaded, but a recent graduate with energy and optimism on his or her side can make a big difference—and rise quickly.” Barker started his local government career after college and rose from a coordinator to a director to a district manager in a matter of a few years. Change is slow and often gets derailed, but it does happen, and being the one to make it happen gets you noticed.

5. You Meet People You Might Never Otherwise Meet

The owner of an Upper East Side pizzeria told me that his business was at risk because of the noise and scaffolding from the Second Avenue subway construction, and he asked me what I could do about it. There was, in fact, little I could do, save for printing up some fliers and posters promoting his business and those around it. Suffice it to say, we didn’t become fast friends. But it’s been five years since that conversation, and I won’t soon forget it.

The people you meet as a local government employee depends entirely on the type of position you fill. If you work in community affairs, you’re likely to meet more pizzeria owners than if you work as a statistician, like Chen. Recalling the breadth of experience of his hurricane response team, he says: “Over an intense 72-hour period, I worked with policy advisors, doctors, plumbers, cartographers, electricians, data geeks, educators, police officers, and building inspectors. It was a civic adrenaline rush.”

Like Chen, my exposure to colleagues of a variety of backgrounds burst the bubble of my fluorescent-lit cubicle. The sanitation workers whose tenure was longer than my current lifespan sometimes opposed the new technologies we introduced, but they knew more about the city’s history than I could ever hope to. And people like the pizzeria owner constantly reminded me of the varied and often urgent needs of the other people who call my city home.

Yes, working in local government offers its fair share of reasons to bang your head against your desk. But in many cities, the old regime is being pushed out and replaced by a considerable shift toward innovation. It offers the chance to turn your local pride into tangible changes—and to gather more than a few good stories along the way.

Exploring a Career in State & Local Government

On Tuesday, April 7th, 6-7pm, connect with a panel of state & local government professionals to gain insight on career paths as they share their stories and experiences. Whether you’re sure a career in government is for you, or just curious about the field, join us for a panel discussion. The event will take place at NYU Wasserman, 133 E. 13th Street, 2nd Floor, NYC. RSVP Here! 

International Students: Navigating the U.S. Internship and Job Market

The Wasserman Center for Career Development offers many opportunities for international students to best prepare for internships and professional life in the U.S.  On March 6th the NYU SPS International Club and the Wasserman Center at SPS co-hosted a panel for students with questions about CPT, OPT, H1B and on-campus employment.  “Meet and Greet: Tips to Succeed in the U.S. Job Market” was held to educate international students on visa-related job opportunities during and after their studies.

 A common theme mentioned by the panelists is that confidence is an important characteristic needed to successfully find a job or internship. International students report they often feel at a disadvantage when seeking employment compared to American students because of language barriers or cultural differences. The panelists, however, encouraged international students to turn away from that fear and focus, rather, on their strengths. For example, most international students speak more than one language and have previous work experience in their home country, which provides an important global perspective.

 Another important characteristic the panelists addressed was persistence. One panelist explained there is a good chance that if you knock on twenty doors, only one will be opened for you.  Panelists encouraged students to not become frustrated or defeated if they don’t find a job or internship right away. If they keep “knocking”, the right opportunity will eventually open up.

 The panelists also shared that when employers are looking for a candidate, they often search for what is unique about the person being interviewed and what they can bring to the table, rather than common skills that almost every other candidate possesses. Therefore, it is important for international students to self-assess and identify what area(s) they excel, then leverage these areas to impress employers.

 Interested in learning more? On Thursday April 9th, 2015, from 3:30pm-5:00pm, the Wasserman Center at SPS and the International Student Support Center are co-hosting an event titled, Succeeding in Your Internship for International Students.  Come to the 5th Floor Lounge at 7 East 12th Street to learn insider tips about how to make the most of your internship in the U.S.  You will have the opportunity to meet and speak directly with professionals working with international students, NYU international alumni and NYU international second-year graduate students about how to navigate U.S. work culture and employer expectations. We hope to see you- RSVP here!

My Journey Into Ad Tech

Interview with Aleks Navratil, Data Scientist, Collective, Inc.

 Aleks Navratil is recent graduate who has worked in ad tech for his entire professional career. He is an avid alpine skier, and grower of excellent mustaches. He survives almost entirely on spicy Thai food and croissants. When he’s not writing code at Collective’s worldwide HQ in midtown, he can be found getting his dunk on at the 21st street basketball courts or knee-deep in literary fiction at the New York Public Library.

 1.     What did you study in school?

I was an undergraduate double major in Engineering and Applied Mathematics, and my graduate degree is in Mechanical Engineering.

2. But you’re a Data Scientist at Collective…how are those degrees related to what you do?

Computationally, the toolchains and techniques are very similar. During my graduate research, my title happened to be “mechanical engineer,” but I was doing something very close to data science. I worked in an aerospace technology lab, researching things like the friction and wear of aerospace materials. The computational tools used in that research turned out to be the best tools for working with large-scale data, which is what I do here. The only difference is that instead of an aerospace application, it’s advertising. The mathematics doesn’t know what it’s being applied to. It’s the same whether we’re counting ad impressions or turbojet compressor revolutions.

 3. What was your original plan for your career?

Throughout school I had a lot of internships and worked on projects for widely different industries, but I still didn’t have a set plan for my future. I figured the best thing to do was to talk to a lot of smart people who were excited about what they did, and who were having a good time while doing it. I wanted to be where they were. And the more I spoke with people, the more I realized I was actually a Computational Scientist, not a Mechanical Engineer.

 4. What made you want to get into Advertising?

Basic research is a long-cycle business, and I’m better suited by temperament for applied work, perhaps development instead of research. Had I stuck with University research, my work wouldn’t have come to fruition for 20-30 years. I knew that in advertising, my work would affect the business in real time. And for someone who has spent most of his life tinkering with machines, it’s a refreshing change to participate in our cultural narrative. Advertising is everywhere and shapes our lives in so many ways; it’s been very interesting to see that process from the inside.

 5. What made you join Collective?

Collective was recruiting on campus, and they invited me to come in, meet the team, and see what their technology and culture were like. It was a great experience from square one. I realized pretty quickly that the tech org was filled with smart people who had rigorous technical backgrounds. People were (and are!)  very excited about their work and about delivering real results. It had the laid-back, fun culture I was looking for. I could tell they would provide me with the computational and intellectual support I’d need to be successful. But the thing that sold me the most was actually more philosophical than technical. Collective’s tech org had a very particular design code. There was a sense of craftsmanship that pervaded the systems they’d built. They paid close attention to detail to ensure balance and simplicity in their design. It’s a real pleasure to work in an environment where everyone walks in the door knowing there’s as much art as there is science in any design problem.

 6. What advice do you have for students looking to join Collective?

The most important thing is to be able to view the current state of your project, as a starting point for a process of improvement. You should come with a positive outlook and be results oriented. Always work to increase your productivity. Most problems don’t come neatly packaged so you’ll need to be relentlessly resourceful to work through them. Be comfortable with creative control of your work as there’s no Big Brother managing everything you do. And be ready to have fun! We work diligently but enjoy ourselves while doing it.

Interested in learning more?

Check out more information about Collective  and Alex Navratil.

Employer Insight: Corporate vs. Startups

Susan Zheng is the co-founder and CEO of Lynxsy, a mobile recruitment marketplace for companies to hire junior, non-technical talent. Previously, she was an early employee at Tough Mudder where she helped the company grow from 10 to 200 in two years. She graduated from NYU Stern with a degree in Finance and International Business.

Corporate, Startup. Startup, Corporate.

Is your head spinning yet? We understand. When you’ve graduated and don’t have a clear career path, it can be difficult to decide in which direction you should set off on your journey. You could enter the ranks of a large business in the corporate sphere. Or you could become a team member at a small startup. It’s all up to you.

As for which you should choose, there’s no right answer. We can’t tell you which path is right, but here’s some info to help you in your decision-making process:

Pros of the Corporate Path

  • Analyst Class Cohorts of first years often get hired by big corporations at the same time each year. Having a peer group in the the same performance and training cycle means you’ll have some people to share in your journey, and even make friends with.
  • Formal Onboarding You’ll have a more concrete job description and there will be an HR process to support your initiation into the job.
  • Guided Professional Development A large company is going to have resources in place to further your career development. You can anticipate formal training days, speakers and mentor meetings to be on your schedule.
  • Huge Clients You’ll get an inside peek at some of the biggest brands and companies, ones you’ve only read about in headlines.
  • Best Practices With years of experience, they’ll have tried and true systems of organization in place.

Cons of the Corporate Path:

  • Cog in the Wheel When you’re working in a 10,000+ employee organization, it’s easier to feel that your contributions are just a drop in the bucket. You won’t be able to see your impact or position and importance within the company as visibly.
  • Bureaucracy This is what people mean when they say “working for the man.” Politics are more likely to play a role in decision-making and hiring. Competition in the corporate world may be fierce, so you’ll have to get your game face on.
  • Slow Movement Things aren’t as fast-moving, so you may not see the result of a project for months or years. This also means that you’ll need to put in more time to move up the corporate ladder.

And now…

Pros of the Startup Path:

  • Visible Impact In a small organization, every contribution you make has a greater visible impact. A startup could go from having 50 users to 1,000 while you’re there, so you’ll be able to see the outcome of your hard work more clearly.
  • Ownership & Responsibility Because it is a smaller company, you’ll feel more personal ownership. It’ll be less about doing work because others tell you to do it, and more about you doing it because you care about moving the ball forward.
  • Acceleration Startups move quickly, as will your place within one if you put in the work. There’ll be a greater opportunity to accelerate your career, as your roles could be changing and growing daily.
  • See the Full Org When you’re working with a smaller team, you’ll get a better grasp of the structure and going-ons of the entire organization. Because your role will likely be less narrow than it would at a larger company, you’ll be in touch with every function of the startup, from marketing to product to tech.
  • Training Ground A startup is a great training ground if you want to found a company one day. Take notes. Fewer Formalities The environment is bound to be much more relaxed. You likely won’t see many suits walking around.

Cons of the Startup Path:

  • On-the-Job Training The edges of your training will be a little more blurred because it will most likely be more of a learning by doing versus a learning from others situation. On a small team, you may not have a manager looking over you, or telling you what to do, so be ready to hop right in and be self-directed.
  • Flying Solo At a startup, recruiting will be on more of a rolling basis. Don’t expect a batch of peers at the same level as you, like in a traditional analyst class. Unless it’s a larger startup, hires will be one-off based on need, and more focused on the individual.
  • No Formal Processes While more established firms may have systems of organization in place, at a startup you may be the one creating them.
  • A Level of Uncertainty Expect ambiguity. You’ll be asked to rise to the occasion on more than one opportunity.

These points are generalizations of the differences between startups and corporations. Do you gravitate towards one or other? Which environment appeals to you most? Use these points as a guide to when you’re weighing your options. And when it comes down to it, go with your gut. You can always switch it up later once you have some experience!

Learn more about Lynxsy and explore their open positions here.
And don’t forget to attend the Start-up Industry Expo on April 2nd!


Myths vs. Facts! The Truth About Women in the Engineering Field

Happy Women’s History Month!

MYTH #1: Women aren’t interested in engineering.

Fact: Women are interested in engineering but there are stereotypes hindering them from developing this interest. Around middle school, significant gender differences begin to emerge where girls report that they don’t feel as confident in their STEM abilities compared to their male counterparts. Prevalent beliefs driving this lack of confidence include the gender-based division of labor, which deters girls from developing interests in occupations deemed inappropriate for their gender. Researchers at Stanford University recently published their findings which showed how “women engineering students perform as well as men, but…don’t believe that their skills are good enough and they don’t feel like they fit in engineering.” The best way to put an end to this leading myth is to break the underlying stereotype driving it and to encourage girls to pursue their interests from a young age. The upcoming Women in Engineering Summit at NYU SOE aims to address this issue while inspiring and empowering women in STEM.

MYTH #2: Women who begin a major in engineering are less likely to stick with it and graduate with a degree in engineering.

Fact: Engineering is often thought of as a difficult program, one that “weeds-out” the good engineer students from the bad, resulting in a high dropout rate. Contrary to this belief, engineering retention is not significantly lower than other fields and more importantly, women are just as likely as men to remain in engineering. Studies show that there is no difference between the innate skills of male and female engineering students so women perform as well as men in engineering school.

MYTH #3: There are no female role models in engineering.

Fact: The engineering field has plenty of female role models. One only has to do a quick Google search to find them. For instance, Hedy Lamarr, renowned actress during the 1930s and 1940s, is now more commonly known for her technological invention, “frequency hopping.” As World War II loomed, Hedy Lamarr wanted to help defeat Nazism and came up with an electronics radio system to help American and Allied submarines launch torpedoes without having their signals jammed. “Frequency hopping” was later used to help make cell phones, Wi-Fi and other wireless inventions. Another female role model is Ellen Richards who contributed to the field through her pioneering work in sanitary engineering. In 1892, Richards introduced the word “ecology” in the United States and through her studies of air, water and food quality she became the first female student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MYTH #4: Women do not occupy top positions in Engineering.

Fact: There is a significant gender disparity when it comes to top positions at companies across various industries and the field of engineering is no stranger to this disparity. In fact, when it comes to engineering, it’s much worse as men tend to dominate the c-suite positions. Part of the reason for this is there are fewer women at engineering schools to begin with. But, be that as it may, several women today occupy top positions in engineering including managers, directors, presidents and CEOs of companies. To strive toward these positions, women engineering students like their male counterparts should adopt a multi-layered approach to their job search, taking advantage of their school resources, leveraging their network to make important connections and effectively utilizing social media for their job search.

Interested in what it’s like to be a woman in other fields? Join us this Thursday, March 26th | 3:00- 4:30pm for Women in the Workplace. Come listen to a panel of women who found success in the workplace in spite of various obstacles. PwC, Nickelodeon, Triton Research, among others will be represented. Panel moderated by FairygodbossClick here  for more info and to RSVP.


My Fulbright to Bulgaria: Teaching English and Cultural Exchange

Ariel Bloomer is a first year master’s student of Higher Education and Student Affairs at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She graduated with a B.A. in creative writing from Scripps College in California, and spent the following year teaching English in Bulgaria. More insights on her Fulbright year can be found on her blog, the Unintentional Explorer (

I may be a Steinhardt master’s student now, but I still clearly remember the existential stress of my senior year of undergrad where I had to decide what to do after graduation. Over the course of my undergraduate studies, I had discovered and indulged interests in student affairs, writing, travel, and religious studies. Knowing what I was interested in was a first step, but knowing what do with those interests… it was like unfamiliar choreography.

I applied for programs to teach abroad because my curiosity about the world was the most insistent. I was fortunate to be awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach English in Bulgaria. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research/study and English teaching grants to U.S. citizens that have earned Bachelor’s degrees. Although it is a teaching program, Fulbright seeks applicants who have various levels of teaching experience and do not require applicants to have completed a degree in education. For instance, I had little experience with teaching. However, some countries do look for applicants with previous teaching experience.

I decided Fulbright was the right program for me because its mission so closely matched my own. The Fulbright program, under the U.S. Department of State, has a goal to increase mutual understanding between citizens of the U.S. and those of countries around the world. As a writer, this goal of cross-cultural communication spoke to me. I knew that Bulgaria, often-neglected in the realm of travel writing, would offer fertile ground for me to practice creative non-fiction in my spare time.

 In addition, I saw the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Program as an opportunity to try on a new role in the field of education and immerse myself in a new culture and language. It was also an opportunity to use the skills I had learned in Balkan Dance, a class I thought would not be useful beyond satisfying my fine art requirement. This course influenced my desire to apply to teach English in Bulgaria. Somewhere in Bulgaria was a choreography I at least sort of knew.

 In the year I spent abroad in Smolyan, in the Rhodope Mountains where Bulgaria meets Greece, I did not learn to teach. My hit-and-miss lessons were more misses than hits. I did build lasting relationships with teachers and students, facilitated a creative writing club at a high school, spent the fall attending weekly folkdance classes with a Geography teacher from my school, and I learned to cook some of Bulgaria’s unique dishes, a blend of Slavic, Turkish, and Mediterranean fare. I read extensively, took an online travel writing course, and kept a detailed journal. I traveled the Balkan Peninsula by bus and train. I learned that my passion for education is geared towards student development outside of the classroom. This led me to pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. More so, Fulbright helped to fine tune my research interests in student outcomes in, and access to, international education.

Now that I contemplate a doctoral program in my not-so-distant future, I wonder if Fulbright will again be a part of my journey forward. I taught English through my grant, but the program also offers research opportunities for those with a Bachelor’s degree to conduct independent projects abroad. It is a unique opportunity to follow a passion, carry out grant-funded research, serve as a U.S. cultural ambassador, and learn a dance you never knew before.

 To learn more about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, attend an upcoming Fulbright Information Session for Graduate Students at The Wasserman Center (133 East 13th Street, 2nd Floor, Presentation Room B) on Thursday March 12th from 1pm to 2pm. RSVP Today!

How I, an English Major, Snagged an Awesome Job in Startup Tech Sales

Sawyer Huff is in sales development at Mag+, a platform for creating and distributing designed mobile apps. He graduated from NYU in 2014 with a degree in English and American Literature. Sawyer grew up in Minnesota and currently lives in Brooklyn.

 To say the least, I didn’t envision myself in sales or tech when I started undergrad at NYU. After sitting through my MAP courses for most of freshman year, I decided to take the least practical track and pursue a degree in English just because it was fun. Becoming an English teacher seemed like the career path of least resistance, so I told myself that was the one for me.

After graduation, I spent four years working as a tutor, speculating about writing some books, and questioning everything; I then found myself in a business development role at a tutoring company. My job was to drive around New Jersey networking with psychologists and schools and hire college kids as tutors and match them with referred students. I was stuck at an unoriginal company in a saturated market. Luckily, I did get to do some of my first cold calling, networking, sales, and presentations to prospective clients, all of which were invaluable experiences to dip my toe into. But I was bored by the monotony.

I started looking aimlessly on the internet for job openings on Craigslist,, Indeed, and Glassdoor. Trying to steer clear of education because of my unstellar experience, I started looking around at sales jobs in the tech industry (which I had paid close attention to since some of my friends had dropped out of college to work at startups).

Although I felt confident in my sales and business development skills, I didn’t have the resume for these jobs. I kept having to come up with fluffy cover letters about how I have great people skills and how much I looked forward to devoting myself to evangelizing ABC company’s Product X. I didn’t hear back from anyone.

That was when I came across CloserIQa platform that connects job-seeking tech sales professionals to all the awesome startup jobs out there. On, I was prompted to build my profile using my resume stats as well as my specific sales skills: how many years of sales experience I had, which industries I was familiar with, what knowledge of CRM systems and sales tools I had, and so on. Filling out the form was intuitive and quick—I was finished with the basic info in five minutes.

Anticipating the cover letter section, I navigated forward with sweaty palms. Ah, not yet—CloserIQ then prompted me to attach my resume. One more click landed me on a page with just two questions and a play button beneath each. The top of the page read, “Record your answers to the questions below. We recommend keeping your answers down to one minute!”

I was thrown off at first. “Am I confident in my ability to string together a sentence?” I thought. “I know I can identify the meter in sonnet, but can I talk?” The questions were tough, too. “What are some of your greatest professional achievements so far?” and “What are some challenges you’ve overcome and how?” After a few minutes of foot tapping and nail biting, I had my confidence re-gathered and my responses prepared.

After finishing, I had a good feeling. Submitting a recording of myself answering a question was an easier and better way to convey my personality to potential employers. It also saved me a ton of time—no more forced cover letters.

The next day, I got a message through CloserIQ from Javier Rosas, the director of global sales at Mag+. Over the course of the next few weeks I interviewed with him and the CEO Gregg Hano. I knew I could see myself working under both of them, I liked their vision of the future of Mag+, and I was desperate to get into something—anything—that was stimulating. I got the job, so it turns out that thing was tech sales!

Javier is my boss now and I’ve been with Mag+ for about 4 months. It’s been a great experience that will definitely keep me in the industry for a while. Mag+ is a software platform that allows designers to build mobile apps for materials that would have been traditionally printed, such as product guides, memos, and brochures. We started out in the magazine industry when the iPad came out, and grew from there.

Being on the sales side is continuously dynamic, and I have learned a TON on the job, not only through figuring out how the product itself works, but through researching the diverse businesses, industries, and solutions the platform is used in and for. Now I’m working with a creative, intelligent group of people putting something out into the world I can really get behind. Boxes checked!

Getting an English major wasn’t so bad after all.

Interested in tech startups and sales jobs? Check out CloserIQ to find open positions you’ll love and read our career blog for advice on how to get hired.

Three Steps to Getting an Internship in Non-profit / Government

Deniz Duru Aydin is a senior at CAS, majoring in Politics and European & Mediterranean Studies. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, she interned at various arts-related nonprofits and government organizations including the Lincoln Center and New York State Council on the Arts. She is currently working as a Policy Fellow with Access (, an international non-profit organization that focuses on issues at the intersection of technology and human rights. She is also involved in various projects on internet-related policymaking such as the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance and Freedom Online Coalition.

Three Steps to Getting an Internship in Non-profit / Government

by Deniz Duru Aydin (Peer in Career)

Whether you are a politics major who is dedicated to becoming the next President of the United States, or an environmentalist looking to gain experience while working for the advancement of a cause you are passionate about, an internship experience at a nonprofit or governmental organization is a great for your pre-professional development. Here are a few steps – all tested and verified – that will help you if your career search in the non-private sector:

1- Use NYU CareerNet with the right keywords and timing

You should know the best tags to filter from the hundreds of opportunities listed on NYU CareerNet. If you are interested in the non-profit sector and/or government organizations, using specific keywords including, but not limited to, “policy” “human rights” and “advocacy” will make your life easier.

Are you passionate about a specific cause? As the NYU CareerNet job search looks through job descriptions by default, you should also try searching for positions using specific policy issues. As an example, using “climate change” as a keyword will let you find internships posted by organizations working on environmental issues, including specialized governmental agencies. Alternatively, try to run your search using a geographical focus – ie. “Middle East” or “Latin America” – which will help you navigate the best opportunities that fit your academic experience or personal background. If you are an international student, remember to leverage your language skills by looking for opportunities in international organizations that require or prefer foreign language fluency.

Is there an election coming up? Use NYU CareerNet to look for opportunities to volunteer at an election campaign. Timing is definitely important when it comes to finding an interesting experience. As an example, I volunteered during the 2013 New York City mayoral elections to get a chance to observe first-hand how electoral politics work in the United States. Keep an open eye to what is happening around you and unleash your curiosity!

2- Take your job search to external platforms

Apart from NYU CareerNet, keep an eye on the websites of the organizations you are passionate about. Most nonprofits have year-round volunteering opportunities, as well as paid internship/assistantship options that they publish on their websites, mostly under “Careers” sections.

Another great resource for finding the right opportunity is Twitter! Most organizations publish their job advertisements on Twitter, as they think that it is an effective way to reach people who are most passionate about their work. Create a Twitter list that includes organizations that you would like to work/intern for. This way, you will not only have a great resource to check new opportunities in 140 characters, but also a personally curated list that will help you follow the updates on causes you care about!

If you are looking for a more aggregated job search platform, is very useful for finding nonprofit internships and volunteer opportunities, as its mission is “to close the gap between intention and action by connecting people, organizations, ideas, and resources.” In addition, most job search platforms such as and LinkedIn job search have opportunities in the non-profit and government sector. Finally, remember to use more specialized resources such as to find federal and state-level opportunities.

3- Develop new interests, network & network some more!

In today’s world and while you are in New York City, the opportunities for networking are limitless for all sectors, including nonprofit and government. Attending lectures outside your school at NYU would be a great idea to meet with influential thought leaders in the policy area you are interested in, as well as developing new interests. Use the NYU Events listing and keep an eye on the events calendars of interesting university-wide NYU institutions including but not limited to Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Institute for Public Knowledge or The Governance Lab.

Events outside NYU are also helpful in finding your dream job or internship at a nonprofit. As an example, Dylan James Welch, a senior at NYU studying International Relations, found his current job through attending a TEDx Conference in his hometown Boston. After hearing about the organization, he got involved in its NYU Chapter, which led to an internship opportunity at the organization’s main office in New York City.

If you’d like to put your networking skills to the test, attend this popular Wasserman event featuring a number of non-profit organizations:

Dining for Success (For Juniors, Seniors and Graduate Students)

Thursday, April 2, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. LOCATION: TBA (check CareerNet for the latest information) IN-PERSON REGISTRATION AND REFUNDABLE CASH DEPOSIT REQUIRED! Registration is first-come, first-served! Mastering interviewing skills is hard enough, but what about when your interview is over a meal? Don’t let your dining etiquette stand in the way of getting the job! Join NYU Recruiters from ESPN, Teach for America, Ernst & Young, PwC, The Walt Disney Company and more to practice these skills over a three-course meal! More information about in-person registration HERE.

The Policy Case Competition at NYU

Tommy Wang is a sophomore studying Finance and Economics at Stern School of Business. He is also the co-director for the Policy Case Competition and the e-board member of Politics Society at NYU which organises the event. 

 The Policy Case Competition at NYU – Deadline is Tonight at 11:59pm!

 If you are in any way involved in the politics clubs at NYU, you’ve probably heard of the NYU Policy Case Competition. The Policy Case Competition launched last year when 12 teams competed in solving policy problems regarding domestic, foreign, or economic policy.

 This competition serves as a great way for students to foster their critical thinking and creative problem solving skills. It is also a great opportunity for students to network with policy makers from NYU DC, the New York Federal Reserve, and other political think tanks. Last year, the winning team got a free trip to NYU DC to have dinner with political insiders and discuss their proposed solutions. For those who wish to have a career in politics, this is a great chance for them to get their foot in the door.

 This year, we have opened up the competition to schools outside of NYU. Currently, we have teams coming from Columbia, Princeton, and Hunter. This year’s Policy Case Competition will be bigger and better; we’ve invited esteemed panelists from Harvard, BlackRock, the Eisenhower Institute, and many more! The Politics Society at NYU encourages students to sign up to participate, or just attend the event on April 4th.​

Policy Case Competition


Find real world solutions to domestic, international, or economic issues. Present your team’s policy proposal to experts from the Federal Reserve, Roosevelt Institute, Harvard University, BlackRock, and other distinguished institutions. Single entrants and team registrations are both accepted. Register here! Space is limited. More info about PCC.

Throwback Thursday: Women’s Foreign Policy Group Mentoring Fair 2013

Heading to the Women’s Foreign Policy Group Mentoring Fair tonight 2/26 6-9pm? Here’s a recap of the event in 2013! 

The Women’s Foreign Policy Group 2013 Mentoring Fair brought together dozens of foreign policy professionals and NYU students for a night of quick but critical insights to the field.

Even WFPG’s president, Patricia Ellis, participated by speaking on her experience as a journalist for fifteen years.

Donna Welton, with over twenty-five years of experience as a diplomat and arts professional, shared her public diplomacy experiences in Japan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Washington. She emphasized the need for interpersonal skills, as diplomacy is often done one person at a time.

But don’t let event’s name mislead you: several male mentors also gave their vital expertise on how to effectively work the international affairs career path.

Donna was joined by David Firestein, Vice President for the Strategic Trust-Building Initiative and Track 2 Diplomacy at the EastWest Institute, who gave valuable advice on entering a career with the US Foreign Service. David stressed that the State Department’s biggest need is smart people who can effectively communicate, recalling an experience in China where he needed to negotiate with an air traffic controller in order to secure an immediate flight out of the country.

Dan Konigsburg of Deloitte underscored the fact that professionals should bring every part of themselves to their profession, rather than have the two severed. Upon telling me that he never leaves a big event without three business cards, I astutely handed him mine.

With mentoring rounds lasting fifteen minutes each, attendees found the event helpful despite the fast pace. To learn more about the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and future mentoring fairs, visit
Written by:
Serhan Ayhan
Vice President, NYU International Relations Association
Master’s Student, Politics Dept