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The Military After Lawrence?

Jonathan Hogan

For those of us majoring in government, economics, or a similar field, the government is one of the most popular employment destinations. One position in the government that is often overlooked is the U.S. military, yet it turns out that joining the military after college, although somewhat unusual, is a viable career path.

The perks of an undergrad?

Okay, so it’s June of your graduation year. You’ve just walked, shaken hands with President Carter, and received your diploma. What do you get for that hard-earned diploma in the military? It turns out, actually quite a lot.

Perhaps the biggest perk is that all branches of the military allow someone with a college degree to join an accelerated program that will see them join as an officer. Officers, for those who don’t know, are essentially service members on an upper-level management track. Even at the beginning of their career, an officer is responsible for leading a small number of service members; however, officers, when promoted, become captains, majors, and eventually, generals. These promotions are typically unavailable to enlisted service members, who begin their military careers as privates.

Another major perk of joining the military with an undergrad is that some branches, such as the Army and Navy can enter a loan repayment program that will repay up to $65,000 in student loans. The Marines have a similar program that will pay up to $20,000 for loans and the Airforce will repay up to $10,000 for loans. It is generally expected that officers on a loan repayment program serve for a range of 3-5 years.

Economically speaking, the military is not only a strong option because of the loan repayment program, it also pays well. Officers, for example, immediately earn between $30,000 and $40,000 and typically are not responsible for their housing and food costs when they are posted at a military base. Because officers are often quickly promoted, it can be expected that one’s salary will increase relatively quickly over time. Furthermore, all U.S. service members enjoy extremely good health insurance.  The combination of minimal living expenses, a competitive salary that can be expected to increase over time, and superior health care constitute a job offer that is highly competitive for recent graduates.

Being a member of the military is also a strong resume builder for a variety of careers. Having served in the military is looked upon fondly by most governmental departments, and the general public (should one wish to get into politics). Furthermore, officers can often specialize in areas that will allow them to enter the market with valued experience. Cyber security is a good example of this, as officers that specialized in cyber during their time in the military can easily transition to high-paying private sector cyber security jobs.

As is perhaps evident by the extensive list above, there are quite a lot of benefits for joining the military after receiving a bachelor’s. This is, of course, not to say that joining the military is the right option for everyone. The military may not be the right stepping stone for one’s intended career. It is also, when compared to other jobs, a very large commitment that often sees service members deployed for months at a time. Furthermore, the military is often responsible for executing U.S. foreign policy at the cost of human life. One ought to be certain that they are ideologically/morally willing to take part in this institution and that they are ready to assume such high personal risk. Should one be unphased by these realities, however, the military is an option worth considering.  

Works Cited

Faris, Stephanie. “Benefits of Joining the Army With a Bachelor’s Degree.” Career Trend, 9 Dec. 2018, https://careertrend.com/benefits-of-joining-the-army-with-a-bachelors-degree-13654867.html.

“Joining the Military After College: Benefits, Steps, & Expert Advice.” Become, 9 Nov. 2020, https://www.learnhowtobecome.org/career-resource-center/joining-military-after-college/.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Social Marketing

Jonathan Hogan

If you’re a humanities major, there’s a good chance that you’ve been told that your excellent writing and analytical skills could allow you to go into marketing.  You’ve probably rolled your eyes at this idea—why sell your soul to the optimization of an economic system that so obviously perpetuates terrible injustices?  But before you write off marketing forever, read this article on social marketing, a type of marketing typically sponsored by NGOs or governments and used for the betterment of society.

Social marketing is perhaps best explained through examples, and one of the best comes from Wisconsin’s own UW Madison. In 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, UW Madison, and a handful of NGOs teamed up to advertise healthy eating. They played off of Wisconsin residents’ love of their sports teams to create the ads visible in this article (Henschen). Further examples of social marketing can be found in the now ubiquitous “click it or ticket” campaign, and a water rationing campaign led in Jordan, in which businesses were entered into a lottery after installing water-conserving valves in their buildings to incentivize their installation and raise awareness about their effects (About Us | The NSMC).

If this article has piqued your interest, you might be wondering: how does one learn more about social marketing? A good place to start is The National Social Marketing Centre (link), an NGO dedicated to social marketing that has its origins in the innovative British Department of Health. The National Social Marketing Centre appears to be the home for social marketing, at least as it pertains to public health, and can serve to give you an even deeper understanding of social marketing as an industry. For a job in social marketing, the best places to look are state and federal government platforms such as USAJOBS. Simply entering the term “marketing” will yield plenty of results. The one caveat to this approach is that strong knowledge of marketing is typically required for these jobs. To be a competitive applicant, you’ll likely need an educational or experiential background in marketing. While this experience may indeed come from an entry-level social marketing position, it will most likely come from a Master’s in marketing, or experience at a less mission-oriented marketing position. Hopefully, however, the appeal of social marketing as an industry that both requires writing and analytical skills, and sees marketers work for the betterment of society, is enough to consider spending a few years in general marketing.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

About Us | The NSMC. https://www.thensmc.com/about-us. Accessed 12 Oct. 2021.

Henschen, Holly. “FoodWIse’s FNV Campaign Wins International Social Marketing Award.” University of Wisconsin-Madison, 10 July 2018, https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/news/2018/07/10/foodwises-fnv-campaign-wins-international-national-centre-for-social-marketing-award/.

An Interview with an Ambassador

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with former Ambassador and Lawrence alumni Christopher Murray to learn more about life as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) for the State Department. Among his many postings as an FSO, Ambassador Murray has served as the Ambassador to the Congo, Chargé d’affaires in Brussels, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Algiers and Lebanon. Here are some of the key takeaways of our discussion:

The work of an FSO is often predicated upon cultural integration and personal relations…

As a young FSO following the mining industry and transportation network in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ambassador Murray was encouraged to engage with the local community by higher-ranking officers. By integrating with his local community and eventually becoming an officer at his community’s golf club, Ambassador Murray was granted a much more authentic understanding of both the mining industry and those associated with it. For those who are interested in becoming an FSO because they are interested in engaging with foreign cultures and languages, it would seem that doing so is not only possible during one’s career, but necessary—at least as a lower-ranking officer—if one wishes to do their job well.  

FSO’s do have some agency regarding their postings…

FSOs, while carrying out the policies of the Executive Branch, are not supposed to assume independent political stances. Yet, what if one fundamentally disagrees with the politics that they are being asked to represent? Ambassador Murray himself served during a period when many of his colleagues vehemently disagreed with President Reagan’s South Africa policy and he made it clear that, although FSO’s have little agency regarding the policy of the Executive Branch, they do have agency pertaining to where they serve. Most of those FSO’s that disagreed with the U.S.’s South Africa policy simply refused to serve in South Africa.  

Rank isn’t everything…

Ambassador Murray spoke briefly about the promotional culture in the Foreign Service, stating that many young FSO’s fixate on quick promotions and climbing the hierarchical ranks of the State Department. Yet, although Ambassador Murray was granted the highest-ranking position in the Foreign Service, he himself was promoted very slowly throughout the first half of his career. In his experience, however, those who are promoted the quickest are not necessarily those who are the best at their jobs, but rather those who are deployed to countries that are largely hostile to the U.S. For a fulfilling experience as an FSO, Ambassador Murray insists that intrinsic motivation and a certain amount of perspective regarding the promotional system within the State Department are essential.

Internships are ideal…

The Foreign Service, while offering opportunities to extensively engage with politics, languages, and cultures that would otherwise be inaccessible, is also quite demanding. For security reasons, Ambassador Murray was, for example, forced to largely remain inside of his embassy’s compound at multiple postings. Additionally, FSOs are expected to rotate to different posts in different countries every three years. Thus, the Ambassador highly recommended pursuing an internship with the State Department before committing to a career in the Foreign Service. One of the most prominent internships for the State Department is called the “Pathways Internship.” The application for next year’s summer Pathways Internship will be posted on USAJOBS in the coming months. If you have any questions about resumes, interviewing skills, or anything else professional development-related, be sure to schedule an appointment with GLI’s Ty Collins by clicking here.  

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

USAJOBS Tutorial

USAJOBS Tutorial

              For those that are hoping to assume a position within the federal bureaucracy at some point in their career, USAJOBS is an invaluable resource. Similar to Handshake for on campus jobs, nearly all job postings for federal governmental positions can be found on USAJOBS. Yet, for many, the prospect of creating an account on, and navigating through a federal website is somewhat intimidating. But fear not! USAJOBS is a surprisingly accessible and easy to use website, and, with the help of this article, which will take you through the basics of creating an account and navigating the site, you’ll be acquainted with the best resource for federal jobs in no time!

Step 1 – Create an account

  1. Once reaching the USAJOBS website, you’ll want to navigate to the upper right corner and select the “sign-in” tab.
  2. After selecting “sign-in” you’ll be asked to sign in or to create an account. For those without an account, select “create an account.”
  3. Here, you will be asked for your language preference, and for your desired method of two-step authentication. Using your phone number to receive a security code may be the most convenient, if not the most secure manner to satisfy USAJOBS’ security requirements.
  4. On the following page, you will be asked to select groups that apply to you (example above). These groups will come in handy once you begin your job search on USAJOBS, as they help filter out any jobs that are not available to you.
  5. You will then be asked to enter your address, and whether you are registered for selective service (only males who are citizens are required to be registered.) Finally, you be asked for your level of education. Unless you have completed your degree at Lawrence, you should not enter your education at Lawrence, as USAJOBS is concerned with completed degrees. By selecting “student” in step “3” it will be apparent that you are working towards your bachelor’s degree.  

Step 2 – Enhance your account

  1. At this point, you will have successfully created your account! Now, you may choose to enhance your account by adding additional information. If you wish to do this later, you may simply login to USAJOBS, click on your account in the top right corner, and click on the “profile” tab across the ribbon.
  2. To enhance your profile, you can choose to add information in the following categories: citizenship, hiring paths, experience (federal service, work experience, federal service,) education, demographics, languages, organizations, references. Many of these topics are either self-explanatory or have already been addressed in “step-2,” thus, I will address “experience,” “languages,” and “organizations.”
  3. Under the experience section, you will be asked to enter work experiences, federal-service, and military service. Under work experience, it is wise to include recent work experience to strengthen your application. Nonetheless, this section must not be exhaustive. Jobs that will not strengthen your application meaningfully (note here that “meaningfully” is subjective) can be excluded.
  4. Under the languages section, it is important to note that you may specify your strength of competency in any given language. Thus, if you have four-years of Spanish in high school, yet are not fluent, it is still wise to include Spanish in your profile.
  5. Under “organizations” you will be asked to list organizations with which you have been involved. Similar to the “experience” section, this section must be by no means exhaustive. Including only those organizations that you believe will strengthen a given application is sufficient.

Step 3 – documents

  1. In the documents section, you may upload up to five resumes. It is very wise to upload a resume into this section, as, after uploading a resume and selecting “searchable” beneath your recently uploaded resume, you make your account and resume searchable to potential government employers. Given that you can only make one resume searchable to employers, it is wise to upload a resume that is broadly tailored to the type of positions that you hope to achieve. If, for example, you are interested in getting an internship with the Foreign Service, it would be wise to upload a resume that highlights your experience with foreign cultures etc.
  2. Within the “documents” section, you may also upload up to ten additional documents. USAJOBS highlights government forms and transcripts as examples of what to upload in this section.

Step 4 – Utilizing USAJOBS

  1. After creating an extensive account, it is time to use the platform to find government jobs. In this regard, USAJOBS is surprisingly straightforward. You may search jobs by title, department, agency, series, or occupation. Furthermore, you may search jobs by location.
  2. Once you search for a job, preferences that you may have already specified in your profile will ensure that results are tailored. You may, however, further tailor these results by selecting filters to the top and right of your search results.
  3. If you find a job that you like, you may easily save the position by selecting save. This position will now appear on your USAJOBS homepage under the “home” tab.
  4. Especially relevant for students and recent graduates is the “Pathways” internship series, which consists of internships that are specifically for students and recent graduates. To find Pathways opportunities, simply enter “Pathways” into the search engine, or select the “students and recent graduates” badge.

– Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.