CYC: What Employers Look F.O.R.

Field. Organization. Role.

All employers, whether they know it or not, make hiring decisions based on the same three criteria. They want to know you're dedicated to their field of interest, that you can work within the culture of their organization, and that you can successfully perform in the role.


In public service, commitment to issues counts! Do you understand the issues in the field? Are you committed to the mission of the agency, and do you understand how they differentiate themselves from other agencies working in the same policy area?


Do you understand the organizational culture? Are you a team player? Do you behave in a way that convinces the employer you will fit into their world?


Do you have the skills, experience, and educational requirements to perform the tasks necessary to function in the job?


Whether just beginning a career or well into a life of public service, we all need to keep in mind the employer’s perspective in the hiring process. This entails finding ways to incorporate all of the strategies of CYC into your written and interpersonal communication tools when looking for work. It’s not enough to be proactive—you also need to make sense of your activities. Employers are interested in articulate and focused individuals. How you communicate with them will be key to your success.

The resume is one of the most important elements of your job search. It is your introduction to an employer as well as a marketing tool designed to persuade an employer of your qualifications for a given position. Cover letters, in combination with the resume, should develop enough interest on the part of an employer to warrant a personal interview with you. The process of writing good resumes and cover letters helps you organize your thinking and forces you to consider your qualifications for particular positions. This process often helps identify what you have to offer employers, as well as areas for development while at NYU Wagner.

While your resume and cover letter can gain you access to a potential employer, how you manage the interview process will ultimately determine whether or not you get a job offer. By knowing what to expect and being prepared, you can greatly enhance your chances of receiving and negotiating offers. Get more guidance from our popular Career Guides.

Guiding Questions

  • Is my resume targeted to a field of interest and/or type of work? Do I need various versions of my resume? (e.g. a fundraising resume, a programmatic resume, a housing resume, a youth-based resume)
  • Is my resume geared towards the needs of the employer and the value I bring to them?
  • Is my resume impeccably presented?
  • Do I tweak my cover letters so they clearly articulate why I am interested in working for a specific organization?
  • Do my cover letters emphasize the relevance and value that my skills, experiences, education, background, and interests would bring to a particular job/organization?
  • Are my cover letters good enough to function as a writing sample?
  • Do I know how to articulate how I can meet the needs of an employer in an interview?
  • During an interview, am I able to behave in a way that convinces a potential employer that I fit into their world?

Next Steps

Assess your comfort level with both your written and interpersonal job search communications. Examine what has worked for you in the past. Assess what you may need to enhance. Take advantage of the services offered through NYU Wagner’s Office of Career Services prior to starting your job search.