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How to Boost Your Government Career

How to Boost Your Government Career

Jason Kay |

As with any career, you want to get the most out of your government career and knowing how to boost your government career is essential to the success of your life.

Getting the most out of your government career is not unlike any other career; the only difference is the boss you have to impress is the government.

The first step in understanding how to advance your government career is to understand how the government will pay you.

Most agencies set their salaries on the General Schedule, or GS pay scale, which assigns a specific grade, and steps within the grade, to each job based on experience and level of job responsibility. These grades start out at GS-1 and go all the way up to GS-15. If you are above GS-15, then you get into senior executive service.

There are several factors that the government uses when assigning a GS Grade, which include:

Education: The more educated you are the higher your GS level is likely to be. For example, if you have a four-year degree, you can expect to be started out between a GS-5 to GS-7, where as a masters degree may warrant you a grade of GS-9. The more education you have the better.

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Experience: Many times the government will take into account any prior experience you may have from the private sector when assigning you a grade.

Where you live: The government also takes into consideration where in the United States you live and will give you what is known as a ‘locality pay rate adjustment, if you live in an area of the country with a higher cost of living.

Naturally when your grade goes up, so too does your pay, so how do you get your grade to go up? If you are a Federal employee on the GS scale you will get a cost of living adjustment each year. Additionally, you can receive a congressionally approved raise that will vary depending where you live. The only other way to get more money in your government job is to move up within the General Scale.

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