Frequently Asked Questions

Job searches can take an average of 3-6 months. For career changers, it may take longer. We encourage students to sign up for Career P.R.E.P. after your first semester, and to follow this step-by-step job search process.

The best resumes and cover letters are targeted to the position, accomplishment-driven, and focused on the value you can bring to the organization. In addition, it is important to use “key words” from the job description so that online HR systems will “pull” your resume from the hundreds they may receive. To schedule an appointment for resume and cover letter review, and any other general career advising, please contact

You will have the opportunity to meet and network with SPH alumni throughout your time in school. In addition, we encourage students to meet with alumni during your job search for “informational” interviews. These can be invaluable as you fine-tune your career goals and seek to build networks in your chosen field.

Career Services has a web-based Career Library broken down by field-specific career paths. Please visit our Career Library.

Employers post jobs on SPH Handshake. This tool also allows employers to search for resumes of SPH students and graduates. Most jobs stay posted for 30 days, unless otherwise noted.

Besides our workshops, we can assist you individually with establishing a strategy to use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) for networking and managing your online reputation. To schedule an appointment, please contact

Yes, the Career Services Office has many resources available to help students with their practicum or internship search. Please visit the Practicum Section of our website for more detailed information.

Fellowships are for SPH graduates, and often feel like a cross between an internship and a job. They are designed to give you additional training in the field of public health, and may lead into a permanent position with an organization. Read more about fellowships.

  • Be thorough-government applications can be long. Don’t forget to fill out every part of the application.
  • Include all of the attachments you are asked for (resume, cover letter, writing sample).  Leaving any off may get you overlooked!
  • Know your KSA’s (the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) of the position. Fit your experience to meet the KSA’s of the job. Use the language of the job listing as a way to talk about your experiences.
  • Network with your federal friends and acquaintances. Finding someone who has been through the system can be helpful with the application and interview process.
  • Meet the deadline application. Miss it and you will miss out on this opportunity!

Unfortunately, many organizations do not have the resources to follow up with every job candidate who applies to their openings. If you have a personal or professional networking contact there, it can be helpful to ask them for an update. Some Human Resources departments are open to receiving a follow-up call or email. While you may try that route, do not take it personally if you don’t receive a response.

It depends. While the organization may not consider you at first, if they don’t receive a lot of applicants of interest, they may decide to consider you despite your being less experienced. If it is a sought-after organization, then likely they will not consider you since they will have many qualified applicants from which to choose. The best strategy here would be to use your networks to refer you.

  1. The writing sample needs to be your own work (unedited).
  2. It generally is 3-5 pages.
  3. This could be something you have written professionally (job or internship) or course work.
  4. The topic should be as relevant to what you are applying for as possible.
  5. If it is part of a larger document, the section you use should make sense on its own.
  6. Samples include research paper, strategy document, policy brief, grant proposal, donor communications, and marketing content.

There are many temporary and permanent staffing firms that specialize in administrative, clinical research/affairs, and healthcare management types of positions. See a few listed below.