Applying for Federal Jobs
There are several places job seekers can look into if they are seeking federal jobs. At any given time there are around 20,000 federal jobs being advertised online, through newspapers, and through state employment agencies. With more than 1.7 million jobs and over 400 occupational specialties (excluding postal service and military workers), the federal government offers more choices than any other single employer in the United States.
Always complete instructions thoroughly. There may be a lengthy application. This could be due to the nature of the job, security risks, and the level of private information carried along with the job. They’ll want to ensure they are hiring the right person. They may ask many questions, but answer each one honestly and thoroughly.
Usually the job description has a length of time attached to it. The federal agency looking to fill the job knows how long it has before the job needs to be filled. Therefore some jobs may take months to fill, while others can take as little as two to four weeks. Most federal vacancies give instructions for how to apply. It usually looks a little like this:
“Please submit a resume, OF-612 or any format you choose. But your resume must contain all of the following information: Social Security Number, Citizenship, Past Federal Employment experience, Veteran’s Experience, Work experience details for 10 years: supervisor’s name and telephone; street address and zip; Educational details: college, city, state, zip.” The SF-171 was eliminated in 1995.
Typically a thorough background investigation and drug screen is part and parcel with a federal job application. The employer will look into your previous jobs, references, and your criminal history. They make be very strict about criminal backgrounds or they may allow approve of some convictions. Either way, the offer letter is usually contingent upon successful completion of the background check.
Sometimes when you apply for federal jobs you’ll need to complete the Civil Service Test. While it was also discontinued in 1995, some jobs still employ this. It is a special test. Civil service examinations are examinations implemented in various countries for admission to the civil service. They are intended as a method to achieve an effective, rational public administration on a merit system.
Each government agency does its own hiring, so don’t expect consistency across the board. Federal jobs are spread across more than 100 agencies and bureaus, each with its own mission and each overseeing its own hiring and recruitment. The Office of Personnel Management does not manage all government hiring. It sets policy for hiring and personnel in government.
When applying for federal jobs, some people believe they need security clearance to get the job. But that’s not always true. Most federal jobs are open to all U.S. citizens. Some do require a security clearance. If you don’t need one, you may need to be ready for a clearance, meaning you have a clean record and could pass if held under investigation.
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