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The Best Entry Level Government Jobs

289 Comments
The Best Entry Level Government Jobs

There is a lot of discussion about how government-sector jobs are more stable than others in our faltering economy and about how government hiring trends are predicted to be more resistant to the economic downturn than other sectors. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do you a whole lot of good, if you’ve got no idea of where to start in order to get hired.

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    Bcubedreg

    about 5 years ago

    26 comments

    Hey everyone, I am writing this additional post to my original email string below because I have received some good questions but one struck me as something that I should have mentioned. It likely greatly assisted my success in landing a government job and also landing a position well above my former enlisted paygrade (E-8) .

    Self validation.. and you can thank "Zingbat" for asking. Everyone should be self validating their experience. Whether it is former military or private sector, your resume should have multiple statments in it that describe your work experience and what it is equivalent to on the GS scale. My resume has multiple statements that had described my former military experience to a specific GS rating. This aslo triggers key word scans to the grade appropriate to the level you are seeking.

    Here's the reason why. When I first started looking for gov't positions, I contacted an HR to find out why my experience was being vauled well below it's true value. The HR clerk told me he was using a chart from the DoD FMR Volume 11A, Chapter 6, Appendix B , page 6-B-1, to value military experience. On that chart and E-8 is equivalent to a GS-7. Yet I had performed work on mulitple tours at GS levels much higher. For instance, I was a program manager at MarCorSysCom and I was one of several senior enlisted, junior officers and GS-13s within a section headed by a GS-14. All of us were program managers for various acquisition programs and our duties and respnsibilities were equal (it is one of the few commands where enlisted perform officer functions). So in my resume it states "Held position as a Satellite Communications Program Manager responsible for the Program and Project Life Cycle management, related planning, budgeting, control, communications, and direction of several Marine Corps multimillion-dollar SATCOM systems, equivalent to the GS-13 level".

    How else are you going to get HR to fairly assess your resume other than telling them what your real experience equates to? You need to do this or you leave it up to some clerk in HR to value your experience in a field they are most likely not very familiar with.

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    Bcubedreg

    about 5 years ago

    26 comments

    Floorboardbuds/Jsanchez my personal email address is reginald.holland@yahoo.com

    sorry for the delayed response. I only check this site every couple of days or so.

    Reg

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    Account Removed

    over 5 years ago

    I would like to know about work for a person with master degree in psychology in the field of mental health and finding work within the Federal goverment system, and how to apply.

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    floorboardbuds

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Bcubedreg, how can I go about getting in contact with you? I've been living in Seoul the past year and would welcome some advice on how to get into the gov't sector ie. writing my resume to fit key word searches. Thanks.

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    Bcubedreg

    over 5 years ago

    26 comments

    O.K., I'm back. I have read the comments posted here to date and must say many people exhibit a defeatest attitude.

    One of the things that most of you are doing wrong is seeking entry level positions when you have better than entry level skills, education and ability. It is not impossible to go directly from a retired military career as an E-7/E-8 directly to mid and senior level government positions. I retired as an E-8, I am now a GS-14. Most of you are setting your sights too low and you might not believe this, but it is a primary reason you are not being selected.

    As an expamle, one of my collateral present duties is to review all the applications/resumes for positions/vacancies in our department for grades GS-9 to GS-13. My boss, a GS-15 tasked me with reviewing all the resumes. Her only advice, select resumes commensurate with the PD for subsequent interview. Many people are often excluded from interviews because they are overqualified. I had a gentleman who was applying for a GS-9 position who's qualifications nearly mirrored mine. What is the point in hiring this indivdual? He would not have been gainfully employed and would have left us within 3 months out of boredom. It would have cost more in time and money to hire him than we would have gotten from him. And yet, he will never know why we did not hire him. A military career of 20+ years automatically and degree should put you at least the GS-12 rating and a master's will take you to the 13 rating. On a positive note.. we didn't just discard the gentleman's resume. 4 months later, another department had an opening for a GS-13. I forwarded his resume to the hiring official. He now works for our organization.

    It's all a matter of how you write your resume. When I was serving as a E-6/7 at MARCORSYSCOM (program management) , I performed the same duties and functions as my GS-13 co-workers. So in my resume when I was seeking government jobs, I listed statements like "served as a Satellite Communications Program Manager/Project Officer equivalent to the GS-13 level". This gave me immediate credibility to seek positions at the GS-13/14 level. It worked. I interviewed for positions equivalent to my experience, education and skill level.

    The biggest inhibitors to getting a government job are:

    1. Settling: undervaluing your skills/education and experience. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO START AT ENTRY LEVEL.
    2. Unwillingness to relocate: if you are comfortable living in the small town environment but there are no high paying high skilled professions there, you either need to move or accept low skill low wage positions.
    3. Failure to write your resume in government speak: If you are not writing your resume using Position Description language and jargon, you're wasting your time. Not only does your resume need to trigger "key word" scanning software, but reviewers such as myself want to know that you speak the "language of the postion for which you are applying". We need to know you understand the business.

    I am happy to help anyone out and am currently helping half a dozen people that emailed me from this link. Good luck and don't sell yourself short.

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    seekingsolutions

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    A word of caution about the article "Best Entry Level Government Jobs", e.g., Social Worker. I am a disabled OIF vet who just graduated with a Master of Social Work (4.0) and am finding it difficult to get work. Quite a few USAJOBS postings for social workers want a year of post-grad experience which is hard to get now that the economy is limiting opportunities. It may be too that many very qualified social workers are looking at the government positions for employment, e.g., job security and pay. A VA POC told me that one position generated 50 applicants with talent. My inspiration for the MSW was to serve our vets and families so I will not give up the dream. I mention all of this to give the reader reason to pause and thoughtfully consider the social worker field. It may be a terrific field, but finding an entry level government social worker position and securing one may be two different stories. Just a reflection stirred from the article.

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    lizbrax

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been working for the Fed Govt for 21+ years now. It is not easy getting a job with the Federal Govt. My husband was very lucky to get on board after his 1st try but getting promoted was an obstacle itself. At one point a HR specialist emailed him and told him his military experience (20+ retired E7 SFC) did not count for any supervisory positions. Basically here (somewhere in Florida) it's who you know and not what you know. The good old boys rule here at my VA. He was turned down for 12 positions then he won. He had to confront and argue with the HR dept about their hiring practices. All positions should go through the DEU (delegating examining unit) the way DOD (Dept of Defense) works. Especailly after to HR the differences between them and the DEU unit on qualifying people.I spent 16 years with DOD and we never had problems with HR hiring the staff fairly and equally across the board as long as you make the Cert (list of potential applicants). For you disabled and OEF/OIF veterans tell your congressman and complain about the hiring practices at your local VA. For me working with the VA has not been a pleasant experience if I could I would go back to DOD in a heart beat. Good luck to those that are still looking. You may have to take the lower paying job. For more details to to www.opm.gov this is the web site for OPM (Office of Personnel Managment) for all govt jobs it will provide a bundle of information and education yourself about the govt hiring practices. Again good luck

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    roxipint

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I retired after 21 yrs of active from the AF, with 15 of those 21 yrs in Communication and Information Management (Administration, if you will), and still have not found meaningful employment. My husband and I (with a combined total of 44 years in the military) moved to Orlando and have both submitted application after application in USAJOBS. Once I received a response saying that the position that I applied for has been withdrawn. In the meantime, while waiting for responses to my applications, I've humbled myself and took a very low paying job with a Financial Company, no benefits, not even time off on Federal Holidays, because of necessity. I ended up getting laid-off after a year with the company. I have a Masters Degree in Public Administration and an Associates in Information Management. Between that time, I used a professional agency, who was supposed to help with contacts, job placements and resume. The only thing I got from them was a bunch of "hog wash" promises, after paying them $4,000, and still no job. Since I was worked with the Financial company for a year, & gained experience in managing financial portfolios, for the last eight months since I've been out of work, I've studied and passed the Florida State Exam for Insurance License, I'm currently studying to take the State Exam for the Securities License. All of this done just to keep myself busy and make myself more marketeable. However, I'm still unemployed and very much interested in working in the government sector. Sometimes I feel that as a retired vet with disability preferences, we are not afforded the recognition we should get as far as government employment is concerned. When I compare the tasks required, special qualifications and KSAs to my experience and achievements, by abilities far surpass their requirements, yet I feel that we're not even given a chance. Maybe, the people placed in these positions of making hiring decisions feel that once you're retired from the military you're too old! Just my thoughts...any suggestions? roxipint@yahoo.com

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    corvinmorse

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I am retired from the Air National Guard where I was an engineering drafter for an Engineering Installation Squadron. I am trained and experienced in Microstation software and trainable in AutoCad. I have an A.S. in Drafting & Design and a B.S. in Management Technology. I have additional CAD experience working at the Air Force Engineering Installation Division at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City as an augmentee in engineering and logistics. I can be reached at corvinmorse@att.net.

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    JTLavery

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Hi, I have 12 years active duty, and am in the reserves now, but work fot he Fed, at the VA Hosp in Gainesville FL (Go Gators!) The most difficult part of getting hired is filling out all of the paperwork completely. You must read the entire job description to make sure you respond to the KSA's, and have all of the paperwork 100%, if not, they don't look at and they don't tell you what you did wrong, they just move to the next applicant. With your husbands military service (automatically a PLUS) there was probably something missing (DD216 discharge, or employment history gap). Keep Trying, the VA is a great place to work, the starting pay is low ($42,000 for me as GS7) but annual pay raises and COL raises, and great potential to move up or transger. JTLavery at aol dot com

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    lisamd29

    over 5 years ago

    22 comments

    My husband retired 5 years ago from the Marine Corps, and he has an associates and I know that it's probably required that he have a BA or BS, but I've also applied, (BS in Crim Just Admin & Soc Psych) and still can't even get an interview. BTW I have the upmost respect and admiration for anyone who is or has been in law enforcement. We, (here in Pittsburgh, PA) lost three officers and it was and still is very painful. We will never forget the sacrifice that was made.

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    enjones

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    "I work for the goverment. If you don't look, you will never find the job you want. You have to go to www.usajobs.opm.gov and look up what you want. You can also look up by department of the goverment. If you are not out of the military yet, (within 45 days of ETS or retirement), you can go and apply with the US Postal Service. The time you were on Active Duty, your application will be dated back to when you went into the military. This will get you into the door with the goverment, and if you find another goverment job, you can transfer and you won't lose any federal time. You can also transfer you military time toward retirement with the federal goverment. If you are retireded, I would evaulate you monthly pay for retirment, becaus you will lose that portion that is not disability pay (when you retire for the federal goverment and not before). You will find that there are good jobs and bad jobs with the federal goverment."

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    Eeyore3070

    over 5 years ago

    10 comments

    Law enforcement would be great and honorable. Here are two facts that have been both in the newspaper in news. Example: I live in a medium size town , stated on the news they have accepted over 2000 employees and are still accepting applications, THEY ONLY HAD TWO POSITIONS, The government is pushing criminal justice and police work on their sites, Why did they just let go 30 officers in the DC, NVA area. A high gang area and crime rate.
    Is the answer to build hope for people applying for jobs as to make it seem things are getting better, or taking away from some and given to to others. The ecomony has not changed, it is getting worse in my opinion.

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    bielap

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Law enforcement sounds like the type of job I would enjoy. I just want to have job security like I do in the military. I have spent 6 years in communcations working with radios, Satellites, and computers.
    I currently have a B.S. in Social Work. I am wondering if obtaining a masters degree in Criminal Justice concentrating in Homeland Security would be a good move to assist in my job search once separated from the military. I seems like there are a lot of people still having problems finding jobs regardless of their education level. I am hoping this is just a current economy issue and will change be the time I get out in 2 years.

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    maxdname

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    A sad fact is: Government positions are difficult to find, especially if you are a disabled vet or campaign ribbon vet with hiring preferences. Non-vets and those without preference, already in a government position, are rue to hire someone that could remain after the hirer is RIF'ed (disbaled and preference vets are the last to get RIF'ed).
    Year in and year out OPM and the GAO select facilities within the Fed service to examine their hiring practices with regard to preference veterans. And year in and year out veterans are NOT being given the measure of the law, as written. Search the internet and anyone can find ample evidence of this. Write your congressman/woman, senator, et cetera if you really want a government position. Because the odds are unfortunately stacked heavily against you. If you don't buy that, look at the numbers of preference veterans within all the agencies outside the VA, DOD, and federal prison systems. The rate of 30% disabled vets in the rest of the fed service is less than 2%! Until someone holds the agencies accountable for hiring, in accordance with VEOA et al, veterans are going to find fed service difficult to break into. The minutiae of the fed hiring practices allow for too many exits from standard procedure and exceptions to rules. OPM officials do not fall into line with legislated vet preferences (I had two return memos from the OPM: one stated "VEOA is designed so that an agency can hire the 'right' person..."[quotes in original text; while the second memo stated "It is not the 'right' of a veteran to get a federal job."--I thought VEOA, which is an Act--guaranteed the "right," to compete FAIRLY.)
    NOAA (http://www.eeo.noaa.gov/aep01dv.pdf) started a program to hire disabled vets. When their goals were not reached the program was abandoned. I am remiss in that I do not know if the program has, under the new administration restarted, but oddly enough many data sources, once accessable on the internet, regarding fed hiring have been removed ("...in the interest of security..." Thank you, George W. Bush and Company).
    I tracked the information over the internet for some time (including the Merit System Protection Board--one of the few avenues a disabled vet can pursue under fed guidelines--which finds in favor of the appellant [keep in mind this is for all cases] less than 5% of the time historically and in 2008 only 2% of the time... I want to be one of those lawyers, because Perry Mason never had it stacked that strongly in his favor!) None of this is secret but under the previous administration there was a tacit compliance with the fed agencies up to and including MSPB, OPM, and the even the supposed apolitical (or more properly bipartisan) GAO. This shouldn't surprise anyone the because same thing happened to Vietnam vets. The more things change the more they stay the same. Combat veterans and disabled vets might find better luck in State, County, City and local government (as many of those have a much stronger commitment to veteran hiring practices).
    Most of these observations can be found on the internet by searching amongst tabs: disabled vets, Department of Labor, OPM, VEOA MSPB, et al.
    And yes: a great many agency postings are written with someone specific in mind.
    Lastly, it is a rare occasion that anyone is held accountable for NOT hiring a vet. One incident several years ago was trumpeted by the OPM when they fired a hiring official "...who bragged openly..." about cheating a disabled vet out of a position. One down and how many to go?
    Please, only read these words as someone who has searched, in depth, the fed hiring practices, has been in the employ of the fed service, and whose father and mother were both fed service retirees. Then do a little research yourself and if you find the same as me: WRITE your elected officials expressing your concerns. It will change only if you squawk to high heaven and back to earth again. Otherwise, shut up and put on that paper hat--"Would you like fries with that?"

    For 2008 MSPB Figures see: http://www.fedhallofshame.com/mspbstatistics/mspbstatsfy08q1by_ro.txt

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