If I were advising someone looking at the government option, I’d tell them to consult several state job boards just to see what’s in demand. Perhaps start off by picking an agency that you’re interested in. Look at the skills they’re looking for (someone with strong communication skills? statistics? database management?) What backgrounds? (stream restoration? special-needs children? drug abuse counseling?)
What skills/background can you realistically acquire before you graduate?
A Ph.D candidate was just hired by my office for a part-time job. His background is in nutrient cycling in estuaries, and now is reviewing grant applications for stormwater projects. I don’t know how he sold himself to the hiring committee, but I’m guessing he played down his doctoral research and played up the specific skills they are looking for. Which is exactly what I did when I interviewed. A year before I started looking for a job, I taught myself a bunch of stuff that I knew would make me more marketable (on top of what was already on my resume). I put together a portfolio of my skillz, put up it on a free website, and got called in to interview for the first state job I applied for.
Smeghead, PM me if you’d like. I don’t know what you want to know, but I’ll do my best!