Online Programs

Advising Services for AU Students Pursuing Public Administration and Public Policy Careers

American University’s School of Public Affairs provides a broad amount of career services for those pursuing a Master of Public Administration and Policy. The advising services, resources and support are offered to students as they progress through their degree and begin thinking about where they may take their next steps in their public administration and public policy careers after graduation.

Robert SanGeorge, School of Public Affairs Graduate Career Advisor, recently spoke to upcoming students about the different services available once students are registered for the online MPAP program.

ROBERT SANGEORGE: We run a very comprehensive operation designed to serve students in their career outcomes at American University. Many students who may have gone to smaller schools or a school that may not have provided much in the way of career services are sometimes quite surprised at the breadth and the depth of what we provide. And, we're really among the best career services operations in the United States, among all universities.

Once someone is accepted in the program and properly registered, they immediately have access to career advising.

Career Services

  • Webinars - Once you're registered, we provide webinars for incoming graduate students on covering a number of issues related to your career path and finding jobs.
  • Career Boot Camp (August) - We then do an orientation session called a career boot camp.
  • Individual Advising Appointments - What might be most important to a lot of you is that individual advising appointments are available throughout the calendar year. We do appointments via Skype and on the phone. If you happen to be in the DC area, we can see you in person. Sometimes people want to come in and assess where they are in their careers. Others are thinking about making a career transition which is a very specific part of the kind of advising we do and have a lot of experience at that.
  • Career Path Planning Self-Assess - For those who feel that they need to assess where they're at and where they're going in the job market, we have a very specific model that we help you walk through on how to assess yourself and assess where you're going career wise. We base this mostly upon what is known as a SWOT model which is based on the concept of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In this case, it means strengths in the job market, what do you think your weaknesses are, what opportunities do you see as available to you, and what threats, mainly in the form of competition, do you see out there? And it's meant to come up with a very realistic assessment of both where you are and where you're going and where you think you can get to, and what you need to do-- most importantly-- what you need to do to get to where you want to go.
  • Presidential Management Fellow Coaching - Although this isn’t available to you until you're late into your into graduate studies process, American University is number one for Presidential Management Fellows, which is a very prestigious program with regard to working in the federal government. The fellows have federal jobs, and they transition into permanent positions within the federal government. It's a very elite program. We are number one in the country in this program and have been for the last two years in a row in terms of the number of fellows entering into this system.
  • Additional Merit Award Coaching – We also offer coaching for other merit awards including Fulbright-Clinton Fellows, Boren Scholars, and Critical Language Scholars.

In-Person Advising Services

  • Interview preparation – We offer mock interviews.
  • Resources Site - Once you are registered and start your coursework, there is a Blackboard site that will be available to you with over 200+ fact sheets, employer lists, and all kinds of advice available on a 24/7 basis for helping you on your career path.
  • Career Skills Workshops - We offer many skills workshops, some of which will be available online. For those of you in the DC area, a number of them will be available in person. These cover topics such as how best to use LinkedIn, how best to prepare for certain types of interviews, finding part-time employment, resumes & cover letters, government resumes & USA jobs, and security clearances, interview preparation.

Job Searching Services

In terms of job searching services, we have a strong amount of expertise, especially in federal job searching:

  • Private Twitter Account - Once you are a student, we’ll invite you to our private twitter account which will post internship and job availability. We've tweeted about 6,000 positions in the last two years that we've been maintaining this service.
  • Federal Pathways Internship – If anyone is interested in an internship, the Pathways program is the best program for interning in the federal government. They are paid internships and offered all over the country, not just in Washington.
  • Job/Intern Search Strategies - We offer advice on search strategies for jobs and internships.
  • Resumes and Cover Letters – We review and offer critiques on resumes and cover letters.
  • Salary Negotiations - In the happy situation where you're into salary negotiations, we have a number of fact sheets on that subject and we have a system whereby we can advise you on how to best conduct salary negotiations to your greatest advantage.
  • Use of Keywords – When applying for a job, many employers require you to upload your resume and cover letter into a database. That means that you're in a candidate pool. And the way you are selected out of that pool to come in for an interview is by software that looks for keywords in your resume and perhaps in your cover letter. We understand how this software works and we can give you advice as to how to position, particularly your resume, for maximum opportunity for the software to pick you out of the database.
  • Networking
  • Informal Interviews
  • Employer Follow-up
  • Making a Career Transition

Career Focused Events

If you're in the DC area or planning to visit, there are two big events that we offer.

  • Job and Internship Fair (September & March) -We have usually 140 plus employers attend.
  • SPA Alumni Networking Reception (November) -Alumni who are working for desirable employers come in to share information or are recruiting. Sometimes they're just there informationally.

Careers for Graduates in Public Administration and Public Policy

The We Know Success website gives you recent statistics that we've compiled from graduates as to what people in different fields are doing, where they're employed, and what percentage of them are working. About 95 percent of the School of Public Affairs graduate students are employed or pursuing a further advanced degree, or both. Learn more about careers in public administration and public policy.

About Robert SanGeorge

Rob joined the Career Center in 2008 and brings extensive first-hand knowledge of key public policy areas, including federal government trends, national politics, digital advocacy, public health, energy & environment, children’s issues, poverty alleviation and social entrepreneurship. Robert SanGeorge served for over two decades as a senior executive in advocacy and public policy with the United Nations and major NGOs in Geneva, Washington, and New York. His public policy expertise has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences, serving on its Committee on Risk Perception & Risk Communications, as well by George Washington University, where he was a Shapiro Teaching Fellow.

To learn more about American University’s online Master of Public Administration and Policy and the career services available, request more information or call us toll free at 855-725-7614.