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Where to Find Government Jobs
By Harrison Barnes
When I say I’m excited about government jobs, I mean it. They’re better than many other jobs this day and age and often provide good benefits, pensions, and to some extent, employment security. In most cases, you’ll be in good shape on many levels if you can get a government job.
There is tremendous competition for these jobs, in many cases. I worked in the Justice Department at one time, and to get a job there was incredibly difficult. Often, they received hundreds, if not thousands of applications for just one spot. Thankfully, there are a lot of government jobs out there. And they’re much easier to find than you might believe. However, most people don’t know how to find these jobs.
I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about finding federal government jobs, state government jobs, and finally, county and city jobs.
Searching for government jobs is a very complex process and involves looking through literally hundreds of different government agencies, departments, and other government websites. A good consolidator of all of these government jobs is GovernmentCrossing.com. I highly recommend using GovernmentCrossing if you want to save yourself a lot of time and frustration in your job search.
Another great source of government jobs that can save you time is Granted.com. Whether it’s city, county, state, or federal government jobs you’re looking for, Granted offers free access to job seekers to thousands of jobs in a variety of categories and industries, government being one of them.
Federal Government Jobs
The most common website for finding federal government jobs is usajobs.gov. You can find job openings with all of the major branches of the government, apply online, and see what the salary range is for each position.
The site USAJobs.gov is run and operated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. They have a pretty good website, which I recommend reviewing. You can find it here:
This is a good resource because it contains a lot of information and answers numerous questions you might have regarding federal government jobs.
Ideally, USAJobs.gov would list every job from every government agency, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes jobs are missing, which means if you are interested in a particular agency, you should look at that agency’s site directly. Because USAJobs.gov has so many positions, you might think they have every single opening listed. But that’s not true. And that’s why it is so important when looking for government work that you use other sources. Just think of all the people who don’t know this and miss out on good jobs every year because they’re not looking searching broadly enough. Don’t let that happen to you.
Besides just standard job openings, you can also see job opportunities in the federal government for students, internships, as well as other opportunities for getting involved and getting your foot in the door. You can find all of this on USAJobs.gov.
If you aren’t familiar with the different agencies of the government, you may not know where you’d like to work. FedWorld.gov has tons of links to the different branches and agencies. I recommend visiting this link for a comprehensive listing of the agencies: http://www.fedworld.gov/govlinks.html
If you are taking your employment search seriously, it is important that you visit the website of each federal agency. Many of the agencies will not list their jobs on USAJobs.gov, so it is extremely important that you visit each agency independently to get this information. FedWorld.gov is a good place to start when visiting various agencies for jobs.
Some of the more famous agencies where you might like to work include the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Peace Corps. These can be hard jobs to get, but don’t be afraid to apply. At the same time, you should consider some of the less flashy organizations, like the African Development Foundation, National Labor Relations Board, or FDIC.
I have provided the following list of alternative sites for you to research that are all very good:
Employment with Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security offers a variety of job opportunities where you would be responsible for preserving the country’s security. As an employee, you may play a role in law enforcement, disaster response, cybersecurity, immigration, and numerous other vital aspects of national security. The URL of the Department of Homeland Security’s job site is http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/careers. This is a good site with lots of jobs.
Career opportunities in the military are virtually limitless. You can get the sort of hands-on training you need to explore careers in aviation, accounting, education, medicine, law, technology, and more. Plus, you’ll likely gain the necessary experience to enjoy a robust career in your chosen field in the private sector following your military service. You can view all the job possibilities the military offers at: http://www.todaysmilitary.com/military-careers. If you’re interested in a military job, that’s where you should be looking.
US Postal Service
The US Postal Service always has a lot of job openings. They provide numerous job opportunities for those looking to build a long-term career. While the general assumption is that postal employees only sort or deliver mail, the fact is the US Postal Service offers opportunities in a variety of areas from administrative, human resources, and accounting to marketing, real estate, and architecture. You can search for jobs with the postal service at: http://about.usps.com/careers/welcome.htm.
Jobs with the FBI
There are an amazing number of job opportunities with the FBI. The FBI seeks employees for both professional staff and special agent positions. Professional staff openings are available in roles such as linguistics, applied science, intelligence analysis, and business management. Government IT jobs are also part of the FBI’s professional staff job openings. For special agent positions, you may work on cases involving cyber crime, terrorism, extortion, drug-trafficking, kidnapping, and more. All employees of the FBI are expected to uphold the FBI’s core values and to fulfill the FBI’s priorities. They even have jobs for college students. The website to visit for more information is: http://www.fbijobs.gov.
Social Security Administration Jobs
The Social Security Administration has branches in almost every decent sized city in the country. Jobs in the social security administration, especially in smaller towns, are good jobs. I used to live right across the street from the Social Security office in Bay City, Michigan. There was a guy that worked there that was about my age and making much more than I was in salary and I don’t think he had ever graduated from college. He had a very good job. The Social Security Administration has jobs for students and others in areas like information technology, legal, law enforcement, and more. For potential job opportunities, visit: http://www.ssa.gov/careers/.
The National Security Agency
The National Security Agency or NSA is an ultra secret agency that works primarily with intelligence. Opportunities are available in engineering, mathematics, cryptanalysis, computer science, intelligence analysis, and more for students, professionals, and transitioning military, alike. It’s an interesting agency to work for, to say the least. Their website is http://www.nsa.gov/careers.
One very interesting and specialized site is called FedsHireVets.gov. If you have done military service, this is a great site for you.
Jobs with the Secret Service
The Secret Service is tasked with two primary objectives. The first is protecting the President, former presidents, and other high-ranking officials. The second is investigating numerous financial crimes including money laundering, counterfeiting, and computer fraud. You can explore a wide range of career opportunities including those in clerical, administrative, scientific, and special agent roles on their website at www.secretservice.gov/opportunities.shtml.
Jobs with the Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service or IRS is responsible for ensuring there is money available to fund all of the essential services that make this country great. As an employee with the IRS, you may work as an accountant, a file clerk, an economist, a lawyer, a tax specialist, or something else altogether. The IRS job site is http://www.jobs.irs.gov.
Jobs with the Justice Department
The Department of Justice is responsible for protecting citizens and preserving our freedoms. You may find opportunities as a lawyer or a special agent, with some job openings available even to students. To view current job vacancies, go to the Department of Justice website at: http://www.justice.gov/careers/careers.html.
One of the things I want to caution you about is when you look for federal jobs, only sites that end in “.gov” are real federal sites most of the time. It’s important for you to understand this because I don’t want you to be misled. USAJobs.gov is obviously a real government site, but FederalGovernmentJobs.us has absolutely nothing to do with the federal government.
Even though they’re trying to act like they’re a federal government site, there is a big ad for Monster.com at the top. These guys are making money with keywords and that sort of thing. It’s not a real federal government job site.
The same goes for FederalJobs.net, DCJobSource.com, and JobsFed.com. They’re trying to look like they’re federal government job sites and they’re selling books, but they’re not the real thing. So, when you’re looking for federal jobs, be careful and make sure you’re on a real federal government site. Use the sites I have discussed above.
For this sector, I recommend staying away from the big job sites. The federal government is very efficient in filling positions. Instead, check with the major agencies and also USAJobs.gov when looking for jobs in the federal government.
Do not be freaked out by the long descriptions. Government jobs are notorious in terms of having very long descriptions and often it’s difficult to find out what the job is about.
I’ve been astonished by how long some of these job descriptions are when I’ve gone through them in the past. My advice? Take your time. Read them very closely. Federal government job descriptions are typically not worded well, so work through them carefully.
There are an astonishing number of federal government jobs out there and the salaries don’t often differ from their private business counterparts. You may even find the salaries are higher with the government. Look very closely at federal government jobs when you’re doing your search. You might be surprised at the depth of jobs they have available.
Here is a Complete List of Federal Government Departments and Agencies You Can Check for Government Jobs:
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