How to Find and Apply for Federal Government Jobs
(Information summarized from a National Association for Colleges and Employers publication)
Brooke Bohnet, Associate Manager for education and outreach with the Partnership for Public Service (PPS), offers the following tips for landing a job with the federal government:
Why Federal Jobs are Attractive
Jobs with the federal government are attractive because of competitive salaries, a solid benefit package, meaningful and challenging work, and opportunities for advancement and professional development. (For more details, go to this article)
Many Federal Jobs are Available
With nearly one-third of all federal employees (nearly 1.9 million employees) eligible to retire in the next four years and new federal jobs being created as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal government is currently planning to increase hiring.
Locations: These positions are available across the country. More than 84 percent are located someplace other than Washington, D.C.!
Career Fields: Federal jobs exist in almost all backgrounds and interests, from architects to zoologists and everything in between.
Where to Find Them
The Partnership for Public Service's (PPS) web site offers a variety of information on federal job and internship opportunities, as well as resources to help you find government jobs that fit your needs/interests, and tools to help you navigate the federal application process.
Visit the web sites of individual federal agencies to learn more about specific agencies where you might be interested in applying.
To find job openings, visit the federal government job web site—www.usajobs.gov
Tips for Applying
- Plan ahead: The application process itself can take time; to improve your chances of getting a job, be sure to allow plenty of time to thoroughly complete the application.
- Select carefully: Tailoring your applications for specific jobs that are a good match for your skills and talents will be more successful than sending out a standard resume for many jobs. Read about building your federal resumes.
- Prepare for a wait: It can take weeks or months before you hear back about your application, and during this time there may be little or no communication from the agency. Every federal job requires a background check before the agency can make a job offer. If the position is related to national security, applicants will be instructed to complete the security clearance process once they receive an offer. Apply about four months prior to your ideal start date for positions that do not require security clearances, and six to eight months in advance for national security-related positions.
- Follow-up with the agency—About a month after the closing date, contact the identified representative to learn the status of your application. If the closing date is extended, contact the representative about a month after turning in your application.