What You Need to Know About Starting a Career in Public Service

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Public service is one of the most humbling career choices people take in their lives. Others do it early on in their career, while others do it much later on. Regardless of when you do it, you’ll eventually come down this road, but how do you exactly know when you are ready?

There are about 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the U.S. and millions more if you include those that work with the government. Each NGO has its own ideals, and within those ideals are people with certain expertise, contributing to the bigger picture. Knowing when you are ready can be tough, considering the millions of ideals out there. However, most people who enter this profession didn’t even know who they were back then.

What You Need to Start

Public service is a tough job and one that is not rewarding materially. Of course, the pay won’t be as high when you compare it to corporate jobs, but it’s certainly more rewarding.


The first thing you should consider is what kind of public service you want to do. There are many choices out there, and many public servants are advocates of many ideals. Some serve the environment, while some serve people. Some want to end poverty, while others want to fight for LGBTQ rights.

There is no right answer because each ideal is as important as the other, regardless of what other people tell you. It’s all about finding the purpose in life. It’s also fine if you can’t find your purpose yet. Drifting from one NGO to another is an experience most public servants undergo, and it’s all part of the process.

College Degree?

You don’t need a college degree to start a career in public service. Most public servants are straight out of high school. Of course, a college degree is always a plus, and some executive positions might require you to have a college degree. But starting, you won’t need one. All you need to do is apply for different NGOs out there for open positions.

Testing the Waters

If you don’t know whether if you truly want to work in the field of public service, you’re always free to start as a volunteer. Organizations like Feeding America are always up for volunteers, even during the pandemic. All you have to do is sign-up and try their program. If it isn’t for you, you can always sign up as a volunteer for other organizations.

Once you start your public service career, you might want to improve and apply for higher positions. Here’s how you can do that.

Ways to Improve Your Career in Public Service

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Postgraduate Careers

One way you can improve your career in public service is by further expanding your knowledge. This means going back to school if you have the time for it and taking postgraduate courses.

From here on, postgraduate careers will be crucial to your improvement. One of the greatest postgraduate careers that will help you with public service is becoming a doctor of business administration. Business administration plays a big role in public planning. It will also help you understand how the administration works beforehand. Having a doctorate in such a field is considered an expert, which means that people will rely on you more.

Go International

Another way you can improve your career in public service is by going international. The world isn’t just limited to the United States. Millions of people require your help, and they all live different lifestyles. If you want to expand your knowledge in handling these people, you will need to visit them and see how they live.

Going abroad and helping others is one of the most humbling experiences you’ll have in your entire life. You’ll see how many struggling people worldwide make do with the little they have and how some NGOs operate with a meager budget. This will broaden your perspective, and maybe, you’ll find a place where you want to serve for the rest of your life.

Serve Others More

Lastly, there isn’t a better way to improve your career in public service than serving others even more. Every second you spend serving others is a unique experience that you will not find anywhere else. Each person is unique, and each of their struggles is unique. By serving them more, you can put yourself in their shoes and know more about their lives. This is the best way you can improve yourself and your career.

Connecting to Others

The best part of public service is connecting to others. It will be your main satisfaction from the job. You’ll also see the difference you’re making in people’s lives. It’s a rewarding job if you see beyond the materialism the world has to offer today.

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