How To Get A Federal Government Job

By Caitlin Mazur
Sep. 19, 2022

If you’re looking for a new job but not finding success where you want it, consider the Federal Government. They offer great benefits and a chance to live in different parts of the country.

We have put together a list of different types of government jobs and how to apply for them.

Key Takeaways:

  • The top three types of government jobs are security, law enforcement, and healthcare jobs.

  • When looking for a government job, it’s important to look on to help you find the best one for you.

  • Before submitting your application, double check it for completion and errors because the federal government will not consider incomplete applications.

How To Get A Federal Government Job

Types of Government Jobs

Government jobs are similar to any other job you might have where a specific organization or company employed you. Obviously, under a government job, you’d be employed by the government, which can provide not only a sense of financial security but honor in serving your community and the country as a whole.

There are jobs available in a wide variety of industries across the federal government:

  1. Attorney

    Average Yearly Salary: $69,000

    An attorney’s job is to be there for people who are down on their luck, legally, of course. They provide legal advice to individuals, businesses and even government agencies.

    An attorney compiles necessary documents or any records for appeal and client’s defense. Attorneys must acquire strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to mediate disputes and settle pending litigation for the client’s best interest

    Job requirements: To become an attorney, you usually need a doctoral degree and more than 10 years of experience. Attorneys usually study law, political science or business.

    Find Attorney jobs near me

  2. Security

    Average Yearly Salary: $23,000

    Security secures premises and personnel by patrolling properties. They are expected to inspect buildings, equipment, access points, permit entry, and monitor surveillance equipment.

    As a security officer, you need to be more vigilant because you are responsible for completing reports by recording surveillance, observations, occurrences, and interviewing witnesses. You will also need to control traffic by directing drivers.

    Job requirements: To become a security, you usually need a high school diploma and 2-4 years of experience. To succeed in security careers it is a good idea to earn popular professional certifications among securities like, Security 5 Certification, Commercial Driver License (CDL) (CDL), or OSHA Safety Certificate .

    Find Security jobs near me

  3. Law Enforcement

    Average Yearly Salary: $30,000

    Law enforcement officers include police officers, customs officers, border patrol and immigration officers, arson investigators, sheriffs, and constables. Though there are different types of law enforcement officer positions, your ultimate responsibility is to protect the lives of civilians.

    As a law enforcement officer, you will conduct street patrols and attend to calls for help. You are expected to carry out your role of community protection even when you are off duty. Furthermore, it is your responsibility to not only fight crime but also to prevent crime in the community to ensure that it is safe for civilians.

    Job requirements: To become a law enforcement officer, you usually need a bachelor’s degree. Law enforcement officers usually study criminal justice, law enforcement or business. The necessary certifications that law enforcement officers must have to succeed are Certified Law Enforcement Analysts (CLEA) and Certified Security Supervision & Management (CSS).

    Find Law enforcement jobs near me

  4. Healthcare Worker

    Average Yearly Salary: N/A

    he healthcare provider we’re most familiar with is our primary care physician (PCP) or the specialists you see when you need individual specific medical care. But there are all different types of healthcare providers. Each healthcare provider provides a particular healthcare service you might need.

    Health care providers may work in a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing facility, school, insurance office or, laboratory.

    Job requirements: To become a health care provider, you usually need a high school diploma. To succeed in health care provider careers it is a good idea to earn popular professional certifications among health care providers like, Medical Assistant, Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT), or Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS).

    Find Healthcare worker jobs near me

  5. Social Worker

    Average Yearly Salary: $37,000

    As a social worker, your day will consist of provide counseling services, performing administrative duties, taking time to interview potential clients, and meeting with lawyers. This is where the hard part comes into play.

    Job requirements: To become a social worker, you usually need a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years of experience. Social workers usually study social work, psychology or sociology. The necessary certifications that social workers must have to succeed are Certification in Forensic Social Work (CFSW) and Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA).

    Find Social worker jobs near me

  6. Education

    Average Yearly Salary: $29,000

    An educator instills intellectual, moral, and social instructions to students. To do this, you will analyze your students to determine their problems and proffer solutions. You will also build relationships with students.

    Job requirements: To become an educator, you usually need a bachelor’s degree and none of experience. Educators usually study education, business or nursing.

    Find Educator jobs near me

  7. Science Jobs

    Average Yearly Salary: N/A

    These fields have a wide variety of sub-fields and specialties to get immersed in. The federal government is always looking for employees trained in science and engineering who have specialized in particular areas of study.

  8. Engineering

    Average Yearly Salary:

    Engineers design and develop new products in a variety of different industries. They might be mechanical or software engineers or create electric machinery, design chemical or geotechnical processes, or help to structure civil or management disciplines.

    Whatever the case may be, engineers are involved in creating the diverse technologies that facilitate the processes of our lives in different areas.

    Job requirements: To become an engineer, you usually need a bachelor’s degree and 2-4 years of experience. The necessary certifications that engineers must have to succeed are Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Audio Engineer (CEA).

    Find Engineer jobs near me

  9. International relations

    Average Yearly Salary: N/A

    One of the most important jobs in our federal government is ensuring we have proper relationships with foreign governments. To that end, the government is always looking for fluent multilingual speakers who can assist in international relations. You can find a career as a linguist, analyst, officer, or intelligence specialist.
    Job requirements: The education needed to be an international relations professor is normally a bachelor’s degree. International relations professors usually study political science, international relations or international business.

    Find International relations jobs near me

  10. Business and technology

    Average Yearly Salary: N/A

    Business and technology make up the biggest and most critical pieces of the government. Business specialists are required to help manage the economics, financial departments, and human resources.

    Technology is essential due to how quickly things evolve. Governments are always in need of additional programmers, information technologists, and computer science specialists.

    Job requirements: N/A

  11. Administrative

    Average Yearly Salary: $46,000

    Like any other office or organization, governments need administrative experts to help keep them organized and get things done. You can find work as a database administrator, administrative assistant, or office clerk. These are the jobs that keep things moving, so don’t overlook them.

    Find Administrative jobs near me

How to Apply for Government Jobs

  1. Your first search should be on Almost all federal job openings will be available on this website, so ensure you bookmark it for later reference. Job openings will include details about requirements, qualifications, benefits, and application instructions. Take some time to look through agency and professional field pages to find any open positions in your area of interest.

    The qualifications listed in each specific job announcement will give you important insights into the general requirements and expectations of any given job. You’ll only want to focus on the positions where you are confident you can fulfill the background, training, and experience the agency seeks. While you may have previously applied for jobs that might have been below your qualifications, it’s important to note that the federal government will not accept applicants if they can’t readily meet all of the qualifications listed.

  2. If you are a veteran. You will have an option of veteran’s preference, which means you’ll have a distinct advantage over similarly qualified non-veterans. You’ll need to have documentation of general or honorable discharge. Similarly, if you worked in the Peace Corps as a volunteer or in AmeriCorps VISTA, you will receive a similar preference.

  3. The federal government will not consider incomplete applications. It is critical that you check and double-check that you have completely filled out all of the application questions and supplied all necessary transcripts and information asked for. This may include letters of recommendation, writing samples, and a resume, depending on the job you are applying for. Know this before you begin your application process and come prepared with what you have.

  4. You should prepare to submit a multi-page resume. While typical resumes are recommended to be, at most, two pages, a resume for a federal government position should include more detail and can be between two to five pages. You will need to elaborate deeply on the duties of your previous jobs, accomplishments, skills, certifications, and even experiences outside of the workplace that can qualify you for the job at hand. Be prepared to provide salary history and work references as well.

  5. Don’t forget to be persistent. Oftentimes applying for a federal government job requires patience as it is typically a very slow process. Depending on the agency with which you are applying, your application might get through the system more quickly or slowly than others. Remember, you’ll be competing against hundreds if not thousands of other qualified applicants.

    Use the website to create an account to apply for the jobs and track your application’s status. You might also be able to do this by logging into the agency system you used to submit the initial application.

  6. If you don’t hear back after a few weeks or after the date you were expecting a response, it’s okay to reach out to the contact person listed on the initial job application announcement. You can follow up by phone as well, but you’re less likely to get an immediate response. Email is the easiest way to go, and you can consider following up with a phone call.

    If you are called in for an interview, you’ll be on the final list of applicants. You may still need to beat out others for the final opportunity at the position, so interviews are incredibly important to set yourself apart from the other applicants in your pool.

Spelling out your specific qualifications is only the first hurdle you’ll need to overcome. Hiring managers want to see and understand that you’re committed to the agency, its mission, and your job. You can articulate this appropriately when you go in for your interview. Consider preparing a short list of notes that will help you in your interview. Refer back to them when you explain why you’re the perfect choice for the specific job and how dedicated you are to the government and its goals.

Security Clearances, Background Checks, and Other Certifications

Depending on the type of federal job you’re applying for, you may need to have a certain security clearance. For almost all jobs, you’ll need to complete a basic background check to make sure you’re suitable for the job.

Background checks look for character traits such as loyalty, trustworthiness, and reliability. You may also be required to provide information to allow hiring managers to look into your past job conduct. You can be denied employment with the federal government for a variety of reasons, some of which include: financial irresponsibility, poor credit, drug or alcohol abuse, arrest history, or misconduct on a previous job.

Security clearances grant people access to classified information, systems, and facilities on a “need to know” basis. The process varies for full-time employees, contractors, and military members, but the background investigation for security clearance will be more in-depth than one that’s done for suitability determination.

You may also be required to complete a civil service exam for specific jobs. There is no mandatory single civil service exam to cover all federal jobs, but individual agencies might require additional testing for certain positions. Ask the agency you’re applying to for any more information or clarification if you’re uncertain.

Final Thoughts

Each year, the Federal Government hires thousands of new workers. With over 1.7 million jobs that span 400 occupational specialties, it is the largest single employer in the country.

But landing a federal job can be an overwhelming and sometimes frustrating process. However, if you land employment within the federal government, the process will be well worth it. The government touches all aspects of our lives as civilians; our environment, what we consume, homeland security, and helping the impoverished.

It’s important to note that not all of the jobs offered by the federal government reside in Washington, D.C. Depending on where you live and what you’re interested in, you could find a federal government right in your backyard or even working remotely.

If you’re not sure what type of job you want or don’t understand how to navigate the complicated process, it can be difficult to discern which website to look through, and you may be quickly overwhelmed by the number of open job announcements. However, if you understand the process even from a high level, you can focus your efforts on jobs that truly suit your skills, interests, and desired salary.

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Caitlin Mazur

Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

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