Exploring “policy work”: tips for getting started

Are you curious, frustrated or passionate about something?

Climate change – Education inequity – Gun control – Poverty – Transportation – Mental health – Gentrification – Globalization & trade agreements – Campaign finance reform – Healthcare – Food justice – Affordable housing – Internet privacy – Student debt – Global health.

Is working on the inside, in and around policy, appealing to you?  Maybe so, but not sure where to start?

“Policy” as a concept is broad, right?  That’s what this post is all about.  Helping you focus, dig deep and begin somewhere.  Consider tackling one or several (or all!) of what’s listed below to help you on your way to policy work that may, who knows, make an impact … !?

  • Take classes for deep dives into topics you need more insight into or classes that help build skills (writing and research).
  • Build your decision making, critical thinking and leadership skills through student orgs, case competitions and/or student government (ASUW, GPSS).
  • Find people (UW alum, faculty and staff, professionals outside of UW) working in and around policy and learn from them (informational interviews, job shadows, etc.).
  • Consider internships, undergraduate research or jobs that help you build your policy perspectives.
  • Keyword search your way to local, regional, national and int’l organizations, foundations, think tanks, advocacy groups, government agencies, and see what they have to offer.
By Patrick Chidsey
Patrick Chidsey Associate Director & Career Coach Patrick Chidsey