M.A. in Political Science, European Union Policy Studies

Lending a Hand

Recruiting Tips from an EUPS Alum

EUPS Recruiting


By Briar Dunn

The statistics on what it takes to get just one single job interview are daunting. They suggest that job seekers should spend 4-6 hours per week working on application materials and should apply to 3-5 jobs a day in each of the five days a week. That alone is a full-time job! In response to statistics like this, I have been trying, since graduating from the EUPS program in 2014, to think about recruiting and finding ways to help recent alums to overcome the hurdles that it takes to land interviews and jobs.

I worked as a professional recruiter before enrolling in the EUPS program, and I have had a number of positions since graduating from the program. After I graduated, I worked as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of Defense. While in that role, I peeked behind the veil of US government hiring practices. I found that when it comes to recruitment and hiring, managers in the US government are absolutely and positively lazy! Hiring managers are often burdened with growing portfolios and managing staff. When HR taps them to conduct thirty interviews, they do not know where to begin. Applicants have to find creative ways, therefore, to get managers’ attention.

At the DOD and in my subsequent work, I have asked my immediate managers where they saw gaps and thought about how graduates of the EUPS program might fill them. Managers have often offered me short-term advice: “If a student from the program is interested in a position, they need to apply through USAJobs.” If you’re looking for slightly less obvious tips than this, I recommend that applicants should try to shape their resume to fit the job description. They should reach out via LinkedIn to show their interest in a position. They should ask a manager to meet for an informal interview for coffee before applying. I followed these tips when I was looking for my first post-program positions, and I continue to follow them today. Graduating students might also consider trying unpaid internships as temporary alternative. Such internships can sometimes segue into paying jobs. In a better case, applying for an internship can lead to getting hired immediately into an entry-level job.

When they make it into an interview, alumni should confidently walk in with the knowledge that the EUPS program gives them the skills that all federal managers desire. Even little things, such as Caterina’s etiquette lesson on how to eat properly, have been useful in my current diplomatic role! The program also helped me to know how to set up binational and multinational conferences and to speak on behalf of my agency at these types of events. All of my EUPS academic visits and the MEU simulation were critical in this regard. I wouldn’t have been familiar with the little details of foreign affairs and diplomacy without some of the program’s flagship events. The program’s unique opportunities allow students to build skills that are valuable to the US government.

Since graduation, I have made it a point to meet with many EUPS alumni one-on-one, in groups, in person over in Italy, for coffee in a DC café, via Skype sessions, or by making social media videos to promote the Presidential Management Fellowship and internships. The time of the Ivy Leaguers’ dominance in US government agencies is waning because of programs like EUPS. As alumni, we shouldn’t think of recruitment as a job for paid professionals, but a task in which all of us can engage. Ask your managers where they need gap coverage in staffing. Then, promote the program, its current students, and its alumni. Reach out to each class. Connect with current students to see how these future alumni might fit in your organization’s teams. The EUPS alumni group is a family, and we must continue to support one another. I urge all alumni not to forget about our EUPS family! It is our duty to care for our alumni when they seek our help.

Though trying to find your own job alone can work, and does work at times, having a family around to help you get better connected is even sweeter. All EUPS alumni can be recruiters! Let’s recruit on behalf of the EUPS program- a program that shaped all of our lives.

Briar Dunn
Class of 2014

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Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Last Updated: Saturday, January 2, 2021

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