First, if you are suddenly out of a job and that's why you are looking, be sure to apply for your Unemployment Benefits if you qualify. Lots of people miss out because they don't realize they could be eligible and have some benefits coming to them. Be sure to check out Unemployment Benefits to see if you qualify and what you need to do.
Interested in working for the government? There are a lot of jobs to be had! According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)’s Federal Employment Reports, there are currently more than 4,185,000 total federal personnel. This number is based on monthly reports from all agencies, the Department of Defense (for uniformed military) and from the U.S.Postal Service.
The jobs and personnel include full and part time employees as well as temporary employees and those who work intermittently. It also includes jobs for disadvantaged youth programs and programs for worker-trainees.
The jobs available have a wide range of structure, job type and hours worked. A search can get confusing and even overwhelming!
The government has come a long way in using current technology to make it easier for those looking for jobs. This article shows you how to look for anything from an entry level training program to a senior executive position. And there is currently an emphasis on recruiting and offering jobs to people with disabilities.
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Update April 2017
Good News! The Trump administration has announced that it will lift the freeze on government agency hiring. The freeze ended Wednesday, April 12. The Office of Management and Budget said that the government will still require that agencies submit reports on how they are going to trim their expenses and run on a leaner budget. This is all part of the administration’s determination to dramatically reorganize the federal government, which is a massive undertaking. So now could be a good time to look for a government job since some agencies could have pent up demand for help because of the hiring freeze.
Government Jobs: Finding One Of course there is a specific process for federal government hiring. This process ensures that hiring is fair and offers equal opportunity to all candidates. Much of it can be handled online, which makes things pretty convenient.
Your first step is to create an account for yourself on usajobs.gov. You simply provide your name and email address and create a user name. Your account will let you keep track of jobs of interest to you, save your searches and even automate them. It lets you easily manage and track the whole process.
Next you will be able to search all current job openings. The system uses your profile to give you better search responses so it’s best to search after you’ve completed your profile. And it’s important to know that you do not have to work in Washington DC in order to work for the federal government. You can filter your job search by location, by pay, by agency and even by the schedule you want to work. Then – just like looking for a grant – if you see a job that interests you just click it to see more information.
That info will include the qualifications you must have as well as other aspects that determine your eligibility for a position. You will need to be able to show on your application that you meet these criteria. If it all looks good you can generally fill out your application online. The job description will tell you how to apply and what documents you need to attach along with the application.
Then you can proceed to submit the application. You can also complete any other steps the particular agency you’re applying to requires. Pretty easy.
The agency you’re applying to will review your application and may contact you to schedule an interview. The interview (if you’re lucky enough to get one) might be in person but could also be via video or phone. After your interview(s) you will wait to hear — and you can track the progress of your application in your account.
What Kind of Government Jobs Are Available? This is a hard topic to cover because there are so many jobs and so many openings. That’s one great thing about the website’s search function — you can look for any type of job you can imagine. There are also some specific categories of jobs, such as:
Jobs for students and those who have recently graduated. These are mostly entry level spots and internships where you can learn and receive training while you are earning an income. If you haven't completed your college studies be sure you remember to fill out your FAFSA each year to qualify for help paying for school.
Apprenticeships also provide on the job training so you can become more skilled in your area of interest. An apprenticeship program might last anywhere from a year up to six years. When you “graduate” from a registered apprenticeship program you get a certificate from the Department of Labor. It will show potential employers that you have a level of experience and expertise.
Senior Executive Service: There is also a procedure for identifying and hiring qualified individuals for senior leadership positions. This is a very competitive process. More details are available on the website if you want to know how people are selected.
Specific Agency Jobs: If you know what agency you want to work for you should go directly to their website as a starting point. Their jobs may also be posted on jobs.gov but sometimes there are more shown - with more information - on the individual agency websites.
Government Job Search Whatever type of job you want, you can search for it pretty easily by clicking “Search for Jobs” and following simple instructions. You list the search keywords you want as well as words you specifically want to exclude. You can also specify a particular agency if you wish. Then you get to specify the salary range you want, the location where you want to work, the type of work you want to do and on what schedule, and more. It will then ask a number of questions about who you are and if you’ve ever worked for the government before, if you’re a veteran, if you qualify for a position in the Executive Branch and so on. Answer all these questions quite honestly (of course) because they will determine the search results you will see.
An interesting aspect of the job search site is that you can click to see the government’s most urgent needs. If any of them are of interest to you and match your skills the urgency might help you get a job faster. We took a quick look and found some of the most urgent areas of need included Mechanical and Civil Engineering; Mathematical Statistics, Statistics and Computer Science; Business Contracting; Auditing (Finance); Economists; Nursing; Chemistry and Natural Resources Management.
Government Jobs: Other Hiring Paths
There are specific programs for targeted groups of people. If you fall into one of these categories you may be able to follow a unique hiring path which will lower the number of people competing for jobs. These categories include current and former federal employees, students/recent graduates, former overseas employees, military spouses, veterans, senior executives, those with disabilities and alumni of the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA.
Also please note that being an ex-offender does not preclude you from getting a federal job. The hiring agency will consider the duties of the job along with the nature of your previous misconduct. And there are some specific stipulations that apply to individual job categories but there is no general rule which says that ex-offenders may not apply.