Federal Job Search for New Grads
Recent College Graduates and Current Students: Have you considered working in Federal Government?
How would you like to work at NASA, Homeland Security, or overseas? The Federal Government is an excellent employer for recent college graduates!
More than 300 agencies around the world employ about 2 million people! The Federal Government hires employees in almost every career field from Aviation to Zoology. Chances are…there is a position for you!
USAJobs.gov is the Federal Government's portal to world-wide careers, including internships. Not all Federal Government positions are posted on USAJobs.gov (see Job-Hunt's Jobs in the U.S. Federal Government for links to over 100 agency recruiting pages), but it is an excellent place to look for internships, summer jobs, and long-term employment.
What jobs are available for someone with my academic background?
An initial search of the keyword "business" on USAJobs.gov yielded 3,388 results on 40 pages of job announcements as of this writing. This search does not include positions where a Business degree would help qualify you for a related position. I noticed positions posted from Maryland to Heidelberg, Germany.
So you do not have a degree in Business? USAJobs.gov provides a list of positions filled by college graduates in various academic majors. For example,
- If you have a degree in Nutrition, you might consider a career as a Dietitian, Food Technologist, or Social Scientist Analyst. Did you know you could work at Health & Human Services-Food and Drug Administration, Veterans Health Administration, or the Agency for International Development? You could also work in Arizona or Afghanistan. There are many opportunities to consider!
- Graduates with degrees in English or Literature have opportunities as Editorial Assistants, Program Analysts, Public Affairs Specialists, Speech Writer, among many others. Spend some time reviewing the link above to help narrow down your options.
Where can I find a list of entry-level jobs in the Federal Government if I am still in college?
To get an idea of the types of positions for which you may qualify, visit www.USAJobs.gov/studentjobs. This is a great place to start if you are hoping to launch a career in the Federal Government. Some requirements include a 2.9 GPA, currently pursuing a baccalaureate or graduate degree, and enrollment in an accredited college or university on at least a half-time basis.
This is not the kind of job I thought I would find after college!
As you conduct your job search, remember that most people stay at their first job less than two years. You might be discouraged with the types of available positions or the pay levels offered. Keep in mind that it is important to gain experience. You may have strong academic credentials, but job experience, accomplishments, and volunteer service are also the stepping stones to a successful career path. Look for job opportunities that will serve the purpose of gaining experience and education that will contribute to your career.
What is the Student Career Experience Program and the Student Temporary Employment Program?
As you search for jobs, you will likely see positions that are designated for students in the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) or the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). These are short-term positions available to current students. As a recent graduate, these positions will not be available to you. However, in December 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order that provides a framework for improving the process of recruiting, hiring, developing, and retaining students and recent graduates. New regulations governing jobs for graduates may be released later this year with the goal of attracting quality candidates within two years of degree completion.
How do I apply for positions through USAJobs.gov?
Applying for positions through USAJobs.gov is a bit more of an art than a science. The process can be intimidating, but there are many resources to guide you. Creating an effective resume is the first step. USAJobs.gov has a resume builder tool to step you through creating a resume. This will yield a uniformly formatted resume that will provide all of the information required by government agencies. You can create up to five different resumes, targeted for different positions. Take advantage of the Job-Hunt Guide to Creating an Effective Resume on USAJOBS that I wrote. It's available for free here on Job-Hunt. Following this guide carefully will make the process much easier and faster.
It is never too early to practice interviewing!
While it may take some time before you actually get your first interview, you should start preparing now. To have an interview that gets results, you need to practice. Learn everything you can about the position and the type of candidate they are seeking. Research the agency online. Read interviewing tips from experts on www.jobhunt.org. Spend an hour with an interview/career coach to help you with a mock interview and the thank you letter. They are just as important as the resume. Advanced preparation and practice can ensure you ace the interview and land the job!
The Federal Government is an ideal employer for recent graduates and current students and offers opportunities in many disciplines that contribute to public service. While the application process is generally more time-intensive than the private sector, do not be intimidated. Make use of the many excellent resources on this web site as well as the tools available to learn about openings for entry-level Federal jobs. Prepare an impressive resume, then submit your resume online, and get ready to interview with potential employers. Best of luck to you!
About this author...
Job-Hunt's Federal Job Search Expert, Camille Carboneau Roberts, established CC Career Services in 1989 to provide total career management services to help clients land jobs faster. Key services include federal resumes, private sector resumes, military-to-federal resumes, and social media resumes and profiles. Contact Camille at Camille@ccCareerServices.com, 208.522.4455, through her web site ccCareerServices.com, and also through social media links, like her LinkedIn Profile. Follow Camille on Twitter @CamilleRoberts, Friend her on Facebook at CamilleCarboneauRoberts and CC Career Services, join her Federal Job Search Group on LinkedIn, and visit her Google Plus Profile.