Entry level federal jobs offer excellent benefits, job security, and opportunities within the United States and overseas. Because these jobs are much sought-after, the application process is highly competitive. Applicants must have a polished federal-style resume, error-free cover letter, and more to obtain a coveted federal job.
Finding Entry Level Federal Jobs
The United States federal government employs thousands of people within the United States and overseas. Federal jobs range from workers at the IRS to various departments such as the Department of the Interior, the Department of Aviation and many more. Each department has its own website with job listings. To find an entry level job, you must first visit the department's website, then search among the available jobs for entry-level work. The main site for general searches on federal jobs is USA jobs. Jobs may be cross-listed to each individual department website, so it pays to check both the USA Jobs site and the individual departments.
The major federal departments to search among include:
Agencies Actively Hiring
One of the most active areas in the federal government is the Internal Revenue Service. With the enactment of the controversial healthcare bill, the U.S. government must now hire approximately 17,000 IRS agents to enforce the legislation.
The FBI and CIA are always looking for skilled investigators or people who speak multiple languages, especially eastern European, African, and Middle Eastern languages and dialects. Remember too that even though departments such as the FBI conjure images of Agents Mulder and Scully skulking about a UFO crash site or investigating a weird cult, agencies need many people in the back office to keep things running, such as administrative assistants, computer repair people, technology specialists, accountants and more.
Applying for Federal Jobs
Each agencies receives thousands of applications for entry level federal jobs. It's considered one of the most competitive application processes. Whenever a company receives that many applications for one position, it's likely that poorly formatted resumes, cover letters with grammar errors, poor spelling and other easily fixed mistakes will knock the application out of the running or way down in the pile. Avoid these mistakes by having someone edit or check your materials before sending them in to the federal agency.
The Federal Resume
One important thing to note is that when applying for federal jobs, a special format is used on a resume called federal resume format. There's a free handbook about federal resumes which provides examples. Be sure to review the specific requirements of the job you're applying for, since certain agencies require a slightly different format to the resume.
Federal resumes differ from private sector resumes in several important ways. Resumes submitted for federal jobs should:
- Include the job name and identification number that you're applying for at the top of your resume. This means you must customize each resume every time you apply.
- List personal information and contact information in sequence.
- Provide a complete listing of all schools attended, even high schools.
Federal resumes may also be substantially longer than the typical resume. Many top out at five pages. The goal of a federal resume is not to "sell" your skills as much as prove to the reviewer that you meet the criteria for the job posting. The more information included, the better.
Working for the Federal Government
With so many different departments, branches and locations, it's nearly impossible to paint a picture of the typical day for a federal government employee. An IRS agent may have a desk job and work at a computer all day while an NTSB investigator may travel to the site of a train or airplane crash and collect forensic evidence. Like most jobs, entry level jobs may provide some training. With the current growth of the federal government and new departments, bureaus and requirements, entry level jobs should remain plentiful for a while to come. Make sure your application package is polished to perfection and find your perfect job.