This week in Career and Professional Development, we are talking about how students who are interested in working in the government can get started in the career journey. To help provide some advice, we interviewed Patty Hetu-Tkacik, Recruiter in Residence, on how students can start to explore careers in government.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your job at Career and Professional Development

Patty: I started working for the government as a part of the CIA, which then developed into my career as a recruiter for the CIA. I would travel to the west coast, and visit Gonzaga and University of Washington and recruit students who were interested in working for the United States Government. After deciding to retire here in Spokane, I came back to Gonzaga and offered my help to the CPD team to help students to discover where they can apply their knowledge and skills to government positions.

How can students who are interested in a career in government start preparing now?

Patty: For students who are interested in Government, to start the process they should discover where they feel most called to. Sometimes, government jobs require one to give more than they receive, and the best thing to do is pursue something that you have a true passion for. For example, if you have a passion for the environment look into positions where you can make a change and add your input to make an impact. From there, you can look into internship positions where you can explore these passions on a deeper level, and actually take advantage of them.

How can CPD help jumpstart students who are interested in this path?

Patty: Set up a meeting with me! That is my job here at CPD, and together we can discuss all of the difference between the types of government, where you want to help and feel most called for. Based on this, we will point you into the direction of an internship. I will ask you a variety of questions to help navigate what is the best for you.

How early should students start building their resume if they are looking for a career in government?

Patty: Honestly, the earlier the better. Many people start as early as high school, navigating where their passions lead them, but are open to learning with internships, volunteer opportunities. Pursue opportunities that fit your interests and passions early on.

How can students still get involved and start exploring, despite the COVID restrictions?

Patty: Looking at it from a big picture, when the economy is in a decline, the government is still hiring and internships tend to be wide open. Use this time as an opportunity to do some research to see, and they are always looking for students to help in different majors or skills.

Bonus! After the inauguration in January, be on the lookout for new internships because there tends to be a spike after the election year.

What is the most important thing for students to remember when looking for a job in government?

Patty: The key for students and recent graduates to remember is to have patience when looking for a job in government. This is an extremely rewarding career but the process of hiring can be quite extensive at times. It might take a couple of tries to find the perfect position for you, but with patience, dedication, and a driving passion it is almost identical as if you were to be hired by a private company.

Who is the Armed Services Panel for, and what can students learn if they attend?

Patty: The Armed Services Panel is for all students in all majors. Whether you have an interest in the armed services, or interested in looking at what else they have to offer then this is for you! A lot of the services have internships for current students! Things are always changing in the military, and you will have the chance to talk to the recruiters and learn where you can add your expertise in the Armed Services.

If you are interested in attending the Armed Services Panel, it is Monday, Nov 09, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. RSVP here on ZagsIgnite!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Patty here at Career and Professional Development. She is here to help you. Set up an appointment on ZagsIgnite as well.