How to get into Government and Politics

Considering a career in Government and Politics?

In October 2022 the Faculty of Social Science and Law employability team hosted a ‘How to get into Government and Politics’ panel event. Professional speakers, all University of Bristol Social Science and Law alumni, joined to talk about their careers in this area and give advice on how you can get there.

Speakers we heard from:

  • Tabitha Tossel, Senior COVID-19 Inquiry Governance Officer at the Department for Health and Social Care.
  • Kim Slim, Policy Team Leader at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
  • Anwen Jones, Area Lead for Gloucestershire and Dorset in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
  • James Allan, Economics and Strategy at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
  • Vasiliki Sogia, Social Research Officer at the Office for National Statistics.

Check out their profiles on LinkedIn by clicking their names!

Here are the 5 top tips shared at the panel event:


1. Make the most of LinkedIn

LinkedIn helps you connect with other students, alumni, potential employers, and professionals working in roles you might be interested in. Do not be afraid to reach out to people working in departments (for example the speakers from this event) that sound interesting to you, and ask whether they would be willing to have a conversation about your future career. LinkedIn can also be a source of inspiration, showing you what people have done to get where they are.

Use Careers Service LinkedIn resources to help you develop your profile and network on LinkedIn.


2. Build your CV

Don’t stress about having the perfect CV from the get-go – employers recognise that most graduates won’t have much work experience. Start gaining work experience by utilising university holidays and time off, whether that be for applying to internships or taking on term-time university jobs that work for your schedule (such as becoming a peer mentor, PASS leader, or student ambassador).

Use Careers Service internship and work experience advice to help find opportunities and build your CV.


3. Learn the STAR technique

The STAR technique provides an effective way for you to demonstrate your skills. It stands for Situation, Task, Activity and Result and can be used to answer any question in an application form or at interview relating to your competencies.

Use Careers Service model STAR examples and their interview guide for help with this.


4. Tailor your application

Remember to tailor your CV, cover letter and application form to the job you’re applying for. Carefully read the job description, identify the qualities they want, and translate your skills into their wording. The Civil Service Success Profile Framework should be used for any Civil Service applications or interviews.


5. Just apply!

Most people that work in the Civil Service or other branches of government have not joined through the Fast Stream (Civil Service graduate scheme) route. While the Fast Stream can be a good route into the Civil Service, it is highly competitive (and also currently on pause). You can also apply for ’direct entry’ jobs on the Civil Service website. Once you’re in, you’re in, with plenty of scope to move into other areas.

Find out more:

Blog post written by Henrietta Skareng, a 3rd year BSc Politics and International Relations student, Student Engagement Team Worker and Career Peer Support Assistant.