Think tanks are non-profit organizations that study and advocate for public policy options. Once described as "universities without students," they range from small centers that focus on particular subjects to major institutions employing hundreds of people. Traditionally, much of their work came in the form of policy papers, but they now place as much or more emphasis on media work, blogging, and outreach to politicians, their staffs, and the general public. Jobs at think tanks go well beyond those focusing on public policy, and include media, government relations, and development, but for all positions, familiarity with the major issues of the day, and the institution's position on them, is essential. Applications for positions at think tanks are highly-competitive, but there are strategies you can follow that will help you succeed -- and many of these strategies are applicable not just to think tanks, but to public policy positions and jobs at non-profits more broadly.
Ted R. Bromund is the Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think tank. Dr. Bromund received his PhD from Yale University in 1999, and specializes in contemporary British policy, relations between the US, the UK, and the EU, intentional security treaties, and international organizations such as Interpol. He is a columnist for newspapers in the US and UK, and contributes regularly to the Weekly Standard, National Review, Fox News, and other publications. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. Before joining Heritage, Bromund was the Associate Director at Yale's International Security Studies, a center for teaching and research in grand strategy and international history. At Yale, he taught British imperial history, sports history, and the core course for Yale's International Relations MA program.