By Felix Chiu
BGE Career Strategy & Professional Development
Finding a Government Job
We welcomed Kim Scarborough, MBA, Program Manager for the Department of Health and Human Services to lead a training seminar on how to navigate USAJobs.gov for those that want to work for the federal government.
Finding a job in the government can be a very long and intimidating process. All federal government positions are acquired through the website USAJobs.gov, and understanding how to utilize the site is crucial. The following are some key distinctions for pursuing a position specifically in the federal government, through USAJobs:
-Check the USAJobs site on a very regular basis. USAJobs is a very dynamic environment with positions opening and closing on a regular basis. Currently as of March 24, there are over 500 positions under the search term “Recent Graduate.” Only a few days before, there were around 400 positions. You should be applying for 30-40 jobs a week on the USAJobs website – getting a job in the federal government is like a full time job in and of itself!
-Complete all applications ASAP. Many positions will actually stop considering applications after the first 150 submissions. Even if the job posting says that it is open until next week, it does not necessarily mean you will be considered if you wait.
-Create saved searches on USAJobs. Given the urgency of timely responses, creating saved searches will enable you to receive emails when there are updates and new openings in the fields you are seeking a position.
-Tailor a specific federal government resume. Unlike other fields, the federal government does not limit the length of an applicant’s resume, and actually encourages lengthy resumes (just don’t go over 10 pages). Talk about all the various experiences you have, whether it be from school, work, or volunteer services. The government does not care about where you got your experience, as long as you have actually acquired those skills. Also, be specific about your experiences and quantify your contributions.
-Do not get discouraged! USAJobs is a challenging system. Even though there are many positions posted on the site, there are many applicants for each position as well. It may seem difficult to stand out among the applicants, but the most important thing to have when looking for a job in government is patience. Finish every application, and apply to lots of jobs across different fields, even if you don’t think you are a good fit. The accelerated hiring process was implemented in 2010, shortening the original hiring process from 179 days to approximately 80 days.
-Where do I start? Current students and recent graduates can start your search through the Pathways Program.