5 Professional Development Tips for Future Leaders in Public Affairs

5 Professional Development Tips for Future Leaders in Public Affairs-image

In today’s rapidly-evolving and competitive professional landscape, it is crucial that MPA students and future job seekers invest in building the skills, knowledge, and tools needed to provide solutions to the challenges employers are facing today. 

Employers across industries are seeking candidates that have developed practical career competencies and transferable skills, and many sought-after employers in public affairs will evaluate a job seeker’s academic performance, community involvement, and professional development during the hiring process.

That said, engaging in professional development opportunities does not come naturally to everyone, which is why we have outlined a few practical professional development tips for future leaders in public affairs.

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Practical tips for professional development:

Here are five practical professional development tips for future job seeks who hope to secure careers in public administration and public affairs. 

1. Get involved in student leadership.

MPA students at Cornell University are a diverse group with interests that extend across the spectrum of public service. Choose to get involved in a student-led organization that will give you opportunities to meet others who share your professional interests.

2. Take advantage of career management opportunities.

While enrolled in the Cornell Brooks School MPA program, you will have access to an expert team of professionals who are there to help guide you as you successfully complete your degree and prepare for the workforce. Take advantage of these free and practical resources and get a head start on building a robust professional portfolio.

3. Seek out a mentor.

Similar to networking, prioritize finding a mentor who can provide support throughout your academic and professional journey. At Cornell University, mentorship can be found in peers, faculty, staff, alumni, and industry professionals. If you are unsure of how to find a mentor, contact your advisor or Office of Career Management for assistance.

4. Network with industry practitioners.

As you work towards your advanced degree in public administration, you will have the opportunity to learn from and with leaders in public affairs who have both academic and on-the-ground expertise as industry practitioners. Take the time to get to know and network with the industry experts you have access to, and maintain rapport by taking their advice to heart as you seek a career in public affairs.

5. Secure a public administration internship.

Harness the power of learning-by-doing with an internship. At Cornell University, we know that engaging in experiential learning will give you practical, real-world experience that is invaluable in the field of public affairs. Start by identifying your specific interests in public service and take the initiative to find a few potential internship opportunities that will give you experience that aligns with your career goals.

Exploring jobs for MPA graduates? Connect with us at the Cornell Brooks School MPA program to learn more!

Are you ready to take on some of the world’s most complex policy challenges? 

At the Cornell Brooks School MPA program, we are looking for students of exceptional quality who have the analytical, leadership, and communication skills necessary to succeed in a career serving the public in government, nonprofit, or for-profit sectors. 

Take the first step; start building a career that is going to equip you to transform the world. Connect with us today!


Download "The Cornell Brooks School MPA Guide to Professional Development and Career Management" for professional development tips, information on jobs for MPA graduates, and more!


Unlock the Professional Development Guide

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