6 (Or So) Most Common Entry Level Jobs in Government

Posted on January 12, 2015

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In this series of articles, ELGL members reflect on the themes from our recent survey on careers. Katie Babits started us off with resume tips, Ian Davidson provided cover letter advice, Harrison Wicks outlined tips for succeeding once you land a job, and now Emily Leuning provides an overview of our first local gov jobs.


by Emily Leuning, LinkedIn and Twitter

I’ve read and analyzed 163 responses to the question “What was your first government job?” from our recent survey on local gov careers. (You too can read the 163 responses here.)In the past, these survey recaps have listed the top six responses, however, there was such diversity in these responses that they don’t fit neatly into a “top six”. There were a few job categories that clearly rose to the top, and I will highlight several other less common positions as well.

Here are the six most common (as well as a few not-so-common) answers.Funny-Signboard-in-English-Need-a-girlfriend-Find-a-job-first-Very-Funny-Signboard-in-English

  • Approximately 30% of the respondents got their start in government as an intern of some sort. These internship placements include city managers’ offices, the US Senate, state legislatures, parks and rec departments, and my personal favorite: an intern at the North Carolina Museum of Natural History whose duties included collecting frogs and snakes in the middle of the night.
  • Another popular area of first government jobs was in the world of planning. These positions were for villages, cities, counties, land use agencies, and transportation departments.
  • Next up: analysts. Performance, budget, transportation, business continuity, fire department, and the most common analyst mentioned: management.

In addition to these top three jobs, there were dozens of others mentioned in the survey. These included first government jobs as a city recorder, lifeguard, Emergency Services Dispatcher, and an assistant to the Airport Director. On the more unique side, a couple of entries mentioned working as an H1N1 flu clinic assistant and an Election Judge Trainee which coincided with the year Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota.

Ultimately, reviewing these survey results reminds me of all of the fabulous jobs we do and the amazing array of services local government provides the communities in which we live. Rock on, local gov!

Supplemental Reading

6 Tips for Interviewing for a Job by Emily Leuning

6 Tips for Succeeding in Local Government by Harrison Wicks1383095_696282793790619_4806795022670574541_n

6 Tips for Writing a Resume by Katie Babits

Cover Letters: The Hardest Part of the Search by Ian Davidson

163 Tips for Your Career and Future Job Searches

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