Dan’s Take: Do You Want to Work for the Federal Government?

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Graduate Assistant Dan Ambrosio is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Walden University. In Dan’s Take, he shares his perspective on career management from a student’s eye view. Dan lives in Germany where he teaches business English. He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out. 

My Mother, a Criminal Program Specialist, has been working for the United States Marshals Service for 14 years. Through the years, she has gained a lot of experience with the Federal hiring process and job search.  Fortunately, she shared useful information with me that may help anyone with a desire to work in the US Federal Government.

All US Federal job announcements are posted on USAJOBS.govSearch Filters can be adjusted to search for the type of work you are interested in, such as technology, law enforcement, administration, or you can search for agencies within departments such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agency within the Department of Homeland Security. The Search Filters feature can also search by location. Some jobs may have an age limit. For example, many law enforcement positions have an age requirement of under 37 years at the time of hire.

All job announcements are divided into applicant eligibility categories called Hiring Pathways that show who is eligible to apply. Eligibility categories include: open to the public, current federal employees, veterans, and displaced federal employees among others. In general, positions are only open to U.S. citizens and nationals.

Jobs are classified with a grade of GS-1 to GS-15 based on the level of education and experience required. Higher grade levels correspond to higher pay. Applicants should apply for positions with grades that match the applicant’s combination of education and experience such as mid-level management positions (GS-9 positions) that are open to the public require a master’s degree. In some cases, experience can be substituted with a higher level of education than the position requires. In other cases, applicants for upper management positions (GS-12 and above) which are open to the public, must have both the required level of education and relevant work experience; education as the sole qualification will not be accepted.

USAJOBS.gov requires the user to create an account that includes a profile. There is an option to build your resume in the USAJOBS resume builder.  While USAJOBS allows Word/PDF resumes, some agencies prefer that the resume is created in USAJOBS.  Some positions may close as soon as an appropriate applicant is found or a set number of applications are received even though the closing date is up to a year in the future. When you see a position of interest, apply as soon as possible; some positions may close within days or even hours.

All applications must be submitted through USAJOBS.gov (click the APPLY button within the job announcement). The department may require completion of additional Federal forms such as a “Declaration of Federal Employment” or a “Drug Questionnaire.” The application review process differs based on the type of job and agency; it can often take weeks or months.  An applicant can see the status of their application by signing into their USAJOBS account and going to “Applications.”

Overall, getting a Federal job can be quite challenging; however, it can also be rewarding.  Jobs tend to open and close quickly, so look at USAJOBS.gov often for current openings and make sure that your resume is formatted properly and showcases your qualifications. I hope this information finds you well and good luck in your job search!

For more information about applying for US government jobs,  check out the Government resources page on the Career Services website  and view the archived webinar, Navigating the Federal Hiring Process.

Written by Dan Ambrosio, Walden DBA Student, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Blog Dan Ambrosio

(Edited by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor)

photo Denise