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Could a federal employment career be right for you?

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 04: An American flag flies.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 04: An American flag flies.
Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

In the next few years, many career-status employees will be retiring from the federal government. This means there may be a great opportunity for you to begin your career within this line of work. If you are considering a career in the federal arena, the following are just a few things that you should know:

  • Different application process: Most people who are not familiar with federal employment are shocked to learn the entire process for getting hired could take months. This is because your application must pass through a few different stages in order to finally make it to the desk of the hiring manager. My advice: It is best to apply for federal employment when you already have a position because it will take a while.
  • Highly mission-oriented: What do you believe in? Be aware that federal employment is strongly tied to organizational mission. Therefore, if seeking federal employment, the first step should be to identify the mission and see if it is what you believe in. Then, you will know if that position will be a fit for you.
  • Job experience is king: Education is always great, but experience is even better. When hiring for federal positions, managers like to see that you have already performed the type of work in question. Does this mean that someone who does not have the experience will not be hired? Not necessarily. But, for someone who is a recent graduate with little to no work experience, it may be best to apply for an internship within the federal government or non-federal sector in order to gain that coveted work experience.
  • Detailed information: A federal resume should be longer than 2 pages, which is the length of a traditional resume. The resume is also very detailed and will require names and contact information for supervisors, exact dates of training, education detail, awards, and many other items. It is suggested that you gather all of your documents first before beginning to write your federal resume. A more extensive list of what you need can be found here in this article on building a professional portfolio.

Federal employment can be a wonderful career for those who are interested in serving the people of the U.S. Have patience, do your research, and put your portfolio in place before you begin to save time.

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