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The Boston College Career Center Presents. GOVERNMENT CAREERS: Top Ten Tips for Finding and Applying to your Federal Dream Job or Internship. INTRODUCTION. The federal government is an excellent employer The process is different from other job searches Here are tips to help you.
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The Boston College Career Center Presents GOVERNMENT CAREERS: Top Ten Tips for Finding and Applying to your Federal Dream Job or Internship
INTRODUCTION • The federal government is an excellent employer • The process is different from other job searches • Here are tips to help you
AREAS COVERED • Best Resources • Find the Agency • Find the Job • Find the Internship • The Application: Resume, KSAs, Contact • Clearance
BEST RESOURCES • Making the Difference – comprehensive user-friendly site on federal work: http://makingthedifference.org/index.shtml • Gateway to the U.S. government: http://www.usa.gov/ (see Agency A to Z index) • Federal job listing site: http://www.usajobs.gov/ • Federal jobs for students: http://www.studentjobs.gov/
FIND THE JOB TIP #1: There are more than 160 federal agencies under the Executive Branch. USAjobs.gov and Studentjobs.gov are large databases. Navigate with search/sort functions tailored to your skills and interests. Here’s how: Resources: • www.usa.gov • http://www.usajobs.gov/EI23.asp • http://www.makingthedifference.org/federalinternships/ • http://www.studentjobs.gov/e-scholar.asp
FIND THE INTERNSHIP TIP #2: There are several different kinds of internships. • STEP (Student Training and Employment Program): Any student, especially 1st years and sophomores, any field; short term paid internship. • SCEP (Student Career Experience Program): Primarily juniors, seniors, and graduate students; must be related to academic studies; most are paid; after completing 640 hours of successful work, you may be appointed to a permanent position without going through the traditional hiring process. • FCIP(Federal Career Intern Program): Not really an internship: 2-year, entry level full time professional development position. • PMF (Presidential Management Fellows Program): For students in final year of graduate study - apply in early fall with your school’s nomination; highly prestigious 2-year position with rotational assignments.
THE APPLICATION RESUME Federal resumes do not have the same structure as resumes used in other marketplaces. TIP #3: Understand the resume template prior to applying. TIP #4: The first application screening step is often electronic. USE KEYWORDS adapted from the job/internship description. No one will see that great resume if it gets stopped at the first screen! Resources: http://www.makingthedifference.org/federaljobs/usajobsresume.shtml http://www.usajobs.gov/infocenter/
THE APPLICATION KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) • Most postings list a set of position-relevant KSAs. Applicants create essays describing how they meet these job requirements. TIP #5: KSAs are critical. Use the recommended CCAR (Context, Challenges, Action, Result) format to compose them. TIP #6: Be specific, use relevant examples, write in clear language, include KEYWORDS in your text. • Resources: • http://www.makingthedifference.org/federaljobs/ksa.shtml • http://www.makingthedifference.org/federaljobs/ksawriting.shtml • http://www.usajobs.gov/infocenter/
THE APPLICATION CONTACT You actually can follow up! Wait 10-15 working days, then call or write. Show patience, enthusiasm, professionalism; do not “stalk” the contact. TIP #7: Contact information – a person’s name and phone number – is often found at the bottom of the job listing. A “processing center” makes follow-up more difficult but not impossible. Tip #8: By law all federal jobs must be publicly posted. Short posting periods could (but not always) indicate a strong internal candidate. Longer postings could mean budgetary continuance or a call for a large cadre of new hires over time.
CLEARANCE • Most government job offers are not final until the candidate has passed a thorough clearance – or background check – process. Tip #9: The clearance process can last a few weeks or several months, depending on the position. Have patience, be truthful. Tip #10: Many federal positions have strict clearance requirements; drug use, criminal activity, or other infractions can be grounds for automatic disqualification. THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER. Failing a clearance once makes it extremely unlikely to pass at a later date.