European Union Policy Studies

On the Hunt

How to launch your career with the help of EUPS

Katherine Hayes PMF


Katherine Hayes (EUPS ‘19) always knew that she wanted to pursue a government job. In an interview with Sara Rzegocki (EUPS ‘20) she discusses how she got her current job as a Presidential Management Fellow and where she hopes it will take her.

SR: What was your experience in searching for jobs while you were in the EUPS program?

KH: Searching for a job during the program is challenging because as a student you have so many other things going on. I started looking for jobs during the summer semester. I knew going into the program that my goal was to get a government job. However, I knew that while I was in Italy the likelihood of getting a government job was low because it is difficult to hire governmental positions when you are overseas, which is understandable. So I started looking at the private sector, just to get my foot in the door somewhere. I actually interviewed for a couple of positions while I was in Italy, but none of them materialized into anything. This was unfortunate, but it gave me a chance to reevaluate my career path. When I got back home in the summer, I started really pushing for government jobs. I applied to five to ten jobs a day, just trying to landing something. In the meantime, I did some volunteer work and odd jobs to earn some money. I ended up getting a job that was kind of out of my ballpark; I worked as a paralegal for an immigration law firm in Washington D.C. To be frank, I took that job knowing that I was not going to stay there very long. But it was a great stepping stone into the professional world. There are so many opportunities out there and it can be disheartening at some points. Especially when you are a student and don’t have the necessary credentials yet.

SR: Throughout the program did you see your career interests change at all? Or did you always know that you wanted a career in government?

KH: My job interests never really changed; I was always interested in a career in government. I grew up in a house with people who worked for the government and I knew that it was a stable and good job. With my political science background and my policy background, it’s also the career path that made the most sense to me. But that definitely doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue other opportunities when they come your way! While my career interests never changed, my academic interests did change throughout the program as we learned about different topics.

SR: What interested you about the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF)?

KH: PMF was always in the back of my mind. Actually, during the winter semester of the EUPS program, I applied for the Virginia Management Fellowship and made it to the top 25 candidates! Unfortunately, I was then disqualified from it because I wasn’t in the U.S. during the application process. This gave me some confidence. I thought, “If I could have gotten the Virginian fellowship, then maybe I could take this to a bigger scale and apply to the PMF.” Once I thought about this, I talked to Briar Dunn, a EUPS alumni who was also a PMF fellow. He was extremely helpful in describing the process and his experience. After talking to him I spent a few weeks really focusing and working on the application and resume. Honestly, if I didn’t talk to Briar, I don’t think I would have applied to PMF.

SR: What are some of the tasks that you are currently working on?

KH: I actually just recently started this job so I’m still in the process of getting everything sorted out. Right now I’m with the Department of the Airforce with their Civilian Force Management Directorate. We’ve been looking at the Coronavirus response from the civilian standpoint. I’ve also been working on Mission Critical Occupations. Ultimately, what they want me to do is be part of the Civilian Force Legislative Proposal Group, where I would be working on policy that actually goes to Capitol Hill. They also want me to work on data science and data analysis using data visualization tools. One of the tools that I currently use is Tableau, where I use data to inform policy decisions.

SR: Are you using any specific skills that you learned from EUPS? Are there any specific classes that you feel really prepared you for this job?

KH: I use a lot of the policy skills that I learned in Dr. Blake’s and Dr. Adolino’s policy class. For example, I never thought I would use it in real life but I used a balance scorecard the other as it popped up in my work the other day! My boss was actually surprised that I knew what a balance scorecard was.

SR: Where do you see your career path going after this?

KH: Post PMF I see myself doing more policy work. Changemaking is what interests me the most. The great thing about PMF is that when you’re in it, you can rotate out to different positions and different agencies so you are able to pursue topics that you are specifically interested in. So for me, I’m interested in doing a rotation with the legislative sector where I can see policy work firsthand.

SR: Any tips or recommendations for current and future EUPS students?

KH: Focus on your studies and start researching and thinking about what you want to do! This way when you graduate in June you have a solid understanding of where you are going and you can put all of your focus into that. Also, make sure that you reach out to the alumni network! They all have some really cool jobs. Make sure to talk to them and reach out to them because they are more than happy to help. And if you’re interested in the PMF program you can always reach out to me or Briar! I’m happy to discuss it more!

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Published: Thursday, March 26, 2020

Last Updated: Friday, March 27, 2020

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