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Article 5 - Finding a Federal Job - The Scope
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Finding a Federal Job - The Scope

With more than 1.8 million employees under its fold, the federal government is one of the biggest employers in this world. Federal jobs are spread over geographically, with only 16% of the total number of employees posted at Washington, D. C.
Atypical to any large organization, federal jobs are available for the entire spectrum of abilities, attributes, qualifications and experience. Federal jobs are as attractive to a young, fresh professional as it is to someone who has spent a good amount of time in a government or private sector. Federal government jobs offer tremendous learning platform and responsibility to young and aspiring professionals. On a similar note, federal jobs are equally attractive to a middle level manager as federal jobs high stability and intellectual satisfaction.

Past Scenario

Finding a federal job was an extensive, time consuming activity even a decade back. With scores of agencies and thousands of vacancies, finding an appropriate federal job was as tough as getting one. Absence of internet meant there was no single point of contact between government job notifications and the job seekers. Finding a federal job invariably implied repeatedly visiting individual departmental offices, or sometimes, libraries. Advent of the World Wide Web has drastically simplified the process of finding a federal job.

Present procedure

Finding a federal job has never been so easy. All information about federal jobs is just a clock away. All it requires is to visit individual departmental websites, or alternatively, The "Federal job guide" section in is a comprehensive self help section. For a first time user, this is a must visit section. At this website the users are given a tutorial on finding a federal job and other handy, useful tips.

Apart from permanent federal jobs, there are several contractual and project based assignments. Summer jobs, temporary work positions and internships in the federal government for fresh college graduates and students are listed state-wise.

Out of the present 1.8 million federal employees, about 40% will be retiring in coming 6 to 8 years. This promises to be a great rush for federal jobs.

Types of jobs

Federal jobs span every possible qualification, experience and area of interest. Ranging from forestry to accountancy to statistics, scores of federal government agencies post their job openings in the above mentioned sites. Federal job openings are available in various domains like economics, education, health and medicine, human resources, information technology, law enforcement, public relations, wildlife and wilderness protection etc. For a more exhaustive listing, kindly visit


Salaries for most federal jobs are based on a GS, that is, a General Schedule pay scale. Federal jobs from civil service system have initial salaries ranging from $20,000 up to $55,000.

For senior executives, annual remuneration range from $81,000 to about $158,000. Federal jobs involving higher employment hazards, or federal jobs which have not been filled, offer considerably higher pay. A few openings at oversight watchdog agencies have considerably higher remuneration, in the range of $200,000. These job openings would be somebody like the general counselor to the Federal Housing Finance Board or the Director of Risk at the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, there is a well defined upper limit to the salary in any federal job. No federal job will offer you more than the salary of the president of USA, who now earns $400,000 a year, or the vice president, whose salary is $300,000. However, unquantifiable benefits and intellectual stimulation is one of the major incentives of a federal job. While working for the federal government, one gets the mental satisfaction of serving and contributing to the nation In addition, one also gets a top quality benefits like the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Thrift Savings Plan, and Federal Employees Retirement System. Most of the federal agencies also offer flexible work schedules and good working environment so that employees can fit their jobs into their lives, and not the other way around.

Selection procedure

The federal government is not a single gigantic employer, but is a congregation of numerous agencies and departments. Majority of these federal agencies conduct their own recruiting and hiring activities.
As agencies conduct their own hiring and recruitment process and may have different requirements. Hence recruitment and hiring procedures and information required often vary between agencies.
The section procedure for federal jobs is transparent and clear. All jobs are filled up based on only one parameter. That is, objectively assessed merit and skill sets. This sometimes results in a time consuming application processing system.
To apply for a federal job, the candidate is required to submit an application along with resume and personal information. Based on the seniority level of jobs, several queries must be answered. Post submission of application form and other documents, a panel reviews the applications and screens their background.
After screening of resumes, if selected, the prospective candidate is interviewed by a panel of interviewees. More often than not, this panel will consist of senior government officials from the recruiting federal agency.

KSA factors

Vacancy notifications list the specific knowledge, skills and abilities - better known as KSA factors - a federal agency wants to evaluate in a prospective candidate. Interested applicants should describe in writing how their qualifications and experience meet the required KSA factors. KSAs are very important for federal jobs- how far one gets in the recruitment process will determined by the applicant's ability to convincingly communicate these factors. It is imperative to include as much information as possible corresponding to each KSA factor.

Other details

If you are not a U.S. citizen, the candidature is automatically disqualified. The applicant may either be a born or a naturalized citizen.

The recruitment process for a federal job is time consuming, and requires detailed documentation. It is strongly advisable to keep patience if someone is hunting for a federal job.

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