Federal JobsThis month I attended training to learn how to coach students to find federal job and internship opportunities. Going in, I had no idea there were so many possibilities with the federal government. After learning the government is projected to fill 50,000 entry-level jobs and 60,000 paid internships in the next 12 months (see below for next week’s webinar on internships), I wondered why more students weren’t applying.

In training I realized why—finding the opportunities is complicated!

Simply knowing what kinds of positions to look for is hard enough, but figuring out which department hires for those roles is even more challenging. The organization is so vast that it can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips I gleaned from the training that you can put to use right now:

Know what to look for: Almost every type of career you can have is represented in the federal government. From art specialists to zoologists, whatever you’ve been planning for exists. Luckily, there are resources to help you figure out what those roles are.

Know your GS level: Students with a bachelor’s degree can enter government service at the GS-5 level. With related work experience and/or superior academic achievement you can qualify for the GS-7 level. So what does that actually translate to in dollars? That will depend on your location. For the Seattle/Tacoma area, the range goes from $33,414(GS-5) to $41,390 (GS-7) per year. Check out this calculator to figure it out based on your location.

Know where to look: The main website for federal hiring is through www.usajobs.gov. That can be great if you know exactly what you’re looking for. But what if you don’t know what you want, or you don’t know where to start? Try figuring out what department hires people in your interest area. The resource Where the Jobs Are provides data on the projected federal hiring for 2010-2012 in every professional field.

On Wednesday, October 20th, CES is hosting a webinar conducted by the Partnership for Public Service for students interested in federal internship opportunities in summer 2011. Internships are often the ticket to getting into federal positions, and can be great experience-builders. Join us in Wyatt 201 from 2-3 PM to find out how you can find and apply for positions that fit your interests.

© 2010 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound

1 comment

  1. I encourage anyone considering service in the federal sector to attend this session if possible. The Partnership is a wonderful organization and wish I had this information when I applied for federal positions after graduating from Puget Sound.

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