Career Center

Finding a Job with the Federal Government

Many talented job seekers are frustrated by the required paper work and give up prematurely. If you take time to thoroughly complete your application and seek out all available job vacancies, your chances for employment will increase substantially.

Get in the front door any way you can ; if you want to enter a certain field with a particular agency and there are currently no openings, apply for other jobs without that agency. Agencies generally advertise in-house first to offer qualified workers opportunities for advancement. If you are qualified and have a good track record, you'll have a good chance.

The more contacts you make, the better. Identify local agency offices and send them a copy of your application or federal style resume along with a short cover letter (explain what job you're interested in and give some background information). This is a good way to introduce self and your qualifications to a perspective employer.

Choice jobs may require an applicant to accept a job in a not so desirable location and then after hiring may have opportunity to apply to a better location after you are trained and have some experience.

There are three basic ingredients to successfully finding federal employment:

  1. invest time and energy needed to seek out all openings
  2. correctly fill out all required application forms
  3. don't give up when you receive your first rejection

The best way to find jobs and internship opportunities in government is to identify agencies or entities that interest you, learn all you can about them, then contact them directly to explore opportunities available.

There is no centralized clearinghouse for federal job openings--each agency does its own hiring. See below for job postings, compensation information, background on the Federal hiring process, and liberal arts students and Federal careers, and what working for the government is really like.

Job Postings

www.usajobs.opm.gov the official job site of the United States Federal Government's Office of Personnel Management--can search by agency, job title, job location, or occupational group

www.studentjobs.gov the official student job site of the United States Federal Government's Office of Personnel Management

www.federaljobsearch.com private site offering state-by-state information on federal job openings by occupation and the cities where they are located; sends applicants regular emails with new postings that match their career interests profile

www.fedworld.gov provides an inventory of information on job openings gathered from hundreds of federal human resources offices; allows applicants to search for jobs by keyword and location

Working for the Government--Pay and Benefits

http://www.jobsfed.com/bene2.htm listing of federal job benefits
http://www.opm.gov/oca/05tables/index.asp pay scales by region
http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/B5A.asp general pay scale information

The Federal Hiring Process

www.usajobs.opm.gov/firsttimers.asp an introduction to the official job site of the federal government; walks you through the application process

www.usajobs.opm.gov click on “create a resume” and you will be guided through setting up an account, creating a government resume online; also get email notification about job vacancies that fit your interests

www.resume-place.com specializes in helping federal jobseekers write the best possible federal resume; although there is a charge to get help with your resume(the Office of Personnel Management's site offers help for no charge), there are good links to other federal employment information

www.avuecentral.com allows applicants to apply directly to its member agencies through one site; describes and offers advice on the key steps in the federal hiring process including preparing applications and interviewing skills

http://www.ars.usda.gov/careers/docs.htm?docid=1361 helps you understand the evaluation system government jobs often use called KSA (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities)

http://www.dol.gov/oasam/doljobs/college-guide-apply.htm advice for applying for government jobs; has sample federal resumes

Liberal Arts Students and Federal Careers

Hiring by Major - Scroll down to "Academic Quick Guides" to see what agencies hire the most people with certain majors

Making a difference with your liberal arts degree -  excellent publication describing how your liberal arts education “opens more doors than it closes”

http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/ei23.asp federal jobs listed by college major

Going Inside--what it's really like to work for the Federal government

http://www.wetfeet.com/Careers-and-Industries/Industries/Non-Profit-and-Government.aspx

www.bestplacestowork.org description of the best places to work within the federal government