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5 Tips for Landing a Government Job

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The largest employer in the world is Wal-Mart (not counting the government agencies), at well over 2.3 million jobs. The US government employs over 1.8 million in a variety of jobs.  A small percentage of these jobs are tied to who’s in office, but most are (or can be) lifetime jobs.  Most of these jobs are located throughout the US (not just in Washington D.C.). While the US Government is always looking to hire, now is especially a good time. According to Forbes magazine, well over 25% of government workers are eligible for retirement. That means there is a potential for a large number of jobs opportunities to open up in the next few months.

So why would you want to work for the US Government?

  • Great BenefitsHealthcare, Retirement benefits. Vacation days tend to be better than private industry.
  • Work Where You Want – You can find government jobs all over the US (and overseas as well).
  • Competitive Pay – Starting salaries are competitive with private industry and more senior positions can pay annual salaries that range from $117,000 to $177,000. Additionally government job increases have grown faster than private industry.
  • Jobs for All – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities are available for all levels of education. From GS-1 (no High School diploma) to GS-11 (Doctoral or professional degree).


Types of Jobs:

  • Administrative: According to OPM, nearly 40 percent of federal workers are in administrative occupations. These workers may handle payroll, train new employees, and develop standard operating procedures. This group includes human resources specialists, accountants, and logisticians.
  • Professional: Workers in professional occupations may analyze policy, develop budgets, and provide healthcare services. These occupations include lawyers, financial managers, and registered nurses.
  • Technical: These workers may design buildings, test consumer products, and control the spread of disease. Examples include chemists, mechanical engineers, and computer network administrators.
  • Blue collar: Blue-collar employees may maintain heating and cooling systems, clean offices, and construct buildings. Occupations include janitors, sheet metal workers, and painters.
  • Clerical: Workers in clerical occupations do office tasks such as data entry, filing documents, and answering the phone. Examples include information clerks, secretaries, and office clerks.
  • Other: Workers who have tasks that do not fit neatly with those in another group are in “other” occupations. These occupations include firefighters, detectives, and correctional officers.


Tips and Resources for Landing a Job:

  1. USA JOBS – Might as well start at the source. This is the US Governments job search site. Type in a keyword and the location and the search tool returns jobs that match your criteria.  If you don’t know what you would like to do but know where, just type in a location and the search tool will return a list of jobs for that location. Each job opportunity lists the salary range, location, agency and who can apply. You can further refine your search by using the criteria on the left hand side of the screen. Create an account and you can save your search. Click on the job for more information and you can apply online as well.
  1. FedshireVets – This is a portal to the US Federal Government‘s site for jobs for veterans of the US military services.  There are many resources on this site (agency directory, success stories, etc.).  Click on Job Seekers at the top of the page to get started (categories include Veterans, Transitioning Service Members and Family Members.
  1. Government Jobs for Students & Recent Grads – This is the US Governments job search link for internship opportunities and jobs for recent grads (click your preference). Both options work in a similar fashion to the main site as described in # 1 above.
  1. Create a Federal resume – In order to apply for US government jobs, you will need a Federal resume. The resume you use for private sector job opportunities should not be used. There are a few sites that can help with samples and tips so that you can create your Federal resume version. One site, the Resume Place, will show you an outline format and a paper format to be used with the USA JOBS site. The site has additional formats further down on the homepage. is another site with resources for Federal Resumes. They show a compare and contrast (traditional resume versus Federal resume) as well as provide pointers/tips for creating your resume.
  1. Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes – This article provides some great tips on leveraging the USA JOBS site, including how to avoid mistakes that will keep you from getting a government job.


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Good luck in your search,


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