Law + Government

Serve the Public Good

icon of justice scales for careers in law + government

Are you driven to improve your community? You’re not alone.

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the amount of people who work in areas of Law + Government. Over 22 million people, or 16.7% of the U.S. workforce, work in federal, state, and local governments, over 1.3 million lawyers practice within the United States, and close to 300,000 individuals work as paralegals or legal assistants. 

With so many people working together to build society at its core, opportunities are prime for Gauchos looking to make a difference. Careers in Law + Government share some similarities and a few key differences--learn how you can join the movement of public servants and prepare yourself for a successful future.



Recent Postings

Click to view opportunities related to Law + Government in Handshake. Customize your filters and learn how to search for UCSB career success!

Line icon

Get Hired: Department of State

For complete information on job search strategies, resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, interviews, and more, review our starter tips to Get Hired in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

Preparing for Applications

Getting hired at the Department of State is a competitive and lengthy process due to testing and clearances. There are different processes for different types of employment, and it is imperative in all processes to follow instructions carefully. We encourage you to review all resources that are provided, in order to understand how to properly develop application documents and complete all tests.

For all positions within the Department of State, you must be a citizen of the United States. Some positions also require candidates to be within a specific age range. It is important that you review all qualifications for positions before applying. 


Foreign Service

Different roles within the Foreign Service have different processes of recruitment. Click below for initial information about each role.

Getting hired as a Foreign Services Officer involves advanced preparation. There are five steps to getting hired as a Foreign Service Officer:

  1. Select your career track; note that you may not change career tracks after registering for the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), so choose carefully. 
  2. Register for and complete the FSOT, which focuses on three sections that cover your knowledge on United States government and culture, world history, psychology, technology, management theory, finance, economics, and world affairs, as well as your English language abilities and situational judgement. 
  3. Submit a personal narrative. 
  4. Complete an oral assessment (i.e., job interview).
  5. Obtain all medical and security clearances. 

After completing these five steps, your file will be examined by a suitability review panel. If selected, you will then be placed on the register and ranked based on your career track as well as the date in which you registered for the FSOT. Note that this does not guarantee an appointment.

Your name can remain on the register for 18 months. If you do not receive an appointment within that time, your name is removed; you can re-enter and proceed through the process in the same, or a different career path after your name has been removed. 

Similar to the Foreign Service Officer recruitment process, getting hired as a Foreign Service Specialist requires five key steps:

  1. Choose a Specialist Career Track
  2. Submit your application for a specific vacancy announcement; note that not all areas actively recruit at the same time. 
  3. Wait for your application to be reviewed by a qualifications panel, which compares your application documents to the qualifications listed in the position. 
  4. Complete the Foreign Service Oral Assessment; this consists of a writing exercise, structured interview, and exit interview. 
  5. Obtain all medical and security clearances. 

Upon the completion of these steps, your file will then be examined by a suitability review panel. If selected you will be placed on the register and ranked by overall assessment scores. 

If you would like to apply to become a Language-Designated Consular Fellow, there are eight steps to getting hired:

  1. Confirm your eligibility (e.g., you must be at least 20 years old, and be able to obtain and maintain a Top Security clearance, work in various countries on assignment, and speak either Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Portuguese, or Spanish at a required level.
  2. Submit the Online Application.
  3. Register for and take the Consular Fellows Program Test (CFPT). 
  4. Wait for your application to be reviewed by a qualifications panel examining your CFPT scores, education, experience, and skills. 
  5. Take a language proficiency test to confirm your language skills.
  6. Complete the Consular Fellow Oral Assessment. 
  7. Obtain all medical and security clearances. 
  8. Receive a conditional offer and be placed on the register of cleared candidates. 

Civil Service

If you are interested in getting hired in Civil Service, you will also need to prepare in advance. Click below to learn the recruitment steps for this area within the Department of State.

 These are the five steps to follow for Civil Service recruitment:

  1. Determine the type of job you want from the 11 categories.
  2. Carefully follow the instructions and apply on USAJOBS.
  3. Submit application documentation (e.g., resume) before the closing date; note that you will be evaluated based on how closely your resume matches the requirements for the position.
  4. Perform well in the job interview.
  5. Complete all background investigations and obtain security clearances; note that this process alone can take between two to four months. 

Additional Options

The Department of State also hosts a Recent Graduates Program, which is meant specifically for recent graduates within two years of graduation to be placed in a one-year career development program.

Envelope icon  Want Emails on This Career Path?

Subscribe to Your Future in 3 Easy Steps


Do you want to receive success tips, jobs and internships, and events for these interests? Go to your Career Interests in Handshake and check the box for Career Path emails on Law + Government!

Login to Handshake to subscribe now, or see how to Update Your Career Interests >>

View Email Archive

Login to Handshake, Go to Career Interests, Save Your Selections