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Students Should Start Their Federal Application Process Early

Students Should Start Their Federal Application Process Early

Kathryn Troutman /

The largest pool of federal job listings can be found at USAJOBS. Based on your bachelor’s degree and years of experience, look for jobs at the GS-7 level and higher . Other options include:

Federal Internships: These can be found at USAJOBS or by searching the Web site of the agency you’re targeting. Many offer pay with benefits.

The Presidential Management Fellows Program: This is an option when you are in your last year of your graduate program. You should talk to your graduate career center about this program now — so you will know how to apply for it. You must apply through your university career center.

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Federal Career Internships: Full-time students and others may apply. For these internships, ask counselors at your career center if they have relationships with any federal agencies.

Your Federal Resume

Remember, federal resumes are longer than business resumes. In fact, your federal resume can be two to three pages. Be sure to use the space to add details. The graduate student federal resume should include a list of your relevant courses, a few sentences describing your significant papers or projects and a list of your activities. Federal HR specialists want to read as much as possible about your experiences and skills. Your federal resume should also:

Be in Two Formats: You may need a paper format for submitting by fax or mail for some agencies and an electronic format for submitting to the various resume builders and databases. Each agency has its own application system and instructions, so be ready to copy and paste.

Be Considered Your Application: It may also serve as your examination for the job and sometimes the interview (or certainly a preinterview), so more information is better.

Include Competencies or Soft Skills: If you are particularly analytical, detail-oriented, a natural leader, enthusiastic, energetic or resourceful, mention these qualities on your resume.

Highlight Academic Achievement: If If you have a 3.45 GPA or higher, write “Outstanding Scholar, 3.45/4.0” on your resume. If you have a 3.0 or higher, you can write “Superior Academic Achievement, 3.0/4.0.” These GPA-based programs can help you get hired faster. The government can offer Direct Hire opportunities to students with GPA of 3.0 and higher. And a 3.45 GPA can even earn you more money!

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