Three Tips for Landing a Job in Today’s Federal Government

Posted on April 28th, 2011 by

By: Call to Serve eNews: April 2011
The fiscal 2011 federal budget has been passed, giving agencies money to hire through September 2011. The fiscal 2012 budget debate is just getting started. The current discussions around deficit-reduction, federal pay and federal hiring have made it more important than ever for applicants to follow three proven approaches.

Do Your Research!
With more than 260 agencies and subcomponents to choose from, that students and alumni should research “the right fit” as the first step to any successful federal job search. The Partnership’s Best Places to Work online rankings provide a useful tool to investigate workplace satisfaction and decide what factors are most important to job seekers. Job seekers should think outside the box. For example, while most internationally-focused degree recipients may deviate toward the Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development, many job seekers do not recognize that a host of other agencies have an international element. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture, for example, both have offices overseas. In addition, small agencies like the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the African Development Foundation and the Inter-American Foundation have an emphasis on global issues.

Network, Network, Network!
Utilizing social, academic and professional networks is arguably the most important component to landing a job in any field. While most agencies must follow rules to widely advertise a job opportunity, networking can greatly aid your search. Federal agencies, like many other sectors, rely heavily on the existence of networks to disseminate opportunities that are available, especially student positions that do not have to be posted on Additionally, networking is a vital step both before and after applying for a position within the federal government. Students or alumni can reach out to federal employees for informational interviews, just like the private and non-profit sectors. Encourage your students to maintain a detailed list of contacts in order to stay abreast of their networks. In tough economic times, persistence is often the key to landing that dream job!

Tap Into Career Services!
Students and alumni should continue to utilize career services as a vital resource in the search for a federal job or internship. Increasingly, colleges and universities around the nation are widening their reach to encompass alumni who are looking for career changes. The federal government can be a great fit for those mid-career applicants who are looking for work/life balance and stability. As such, it is important that alumni expand their search to encompass career services, consortium events and job fairs at their alma mater.


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