Fellow dopers can you help me out? Who has a government job? What kind and how did you get into it? Thanks folks
I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
I had a government job for 2 years. Taught high school physics. Get a degree and take a bunch of tests to get your certification in teaching something, and then fight the hundreds of other teachers for one open position.
Helps if it’s physical science, math, or sign language.
If you are looking for (US) federal employment, go here: http://www.usajobs.gov/
Note the full web address, especially the .gov suffix.
Learn about the US Govt. employment here: http://www.opm.gov/
Also, not all federal agencies use usajobs.gov for announcing positions. If you are interested in working for a specific federal agency, contact them directly and ask them how they fill positions. Of course, you must be a US citizen, or documented to be eligible to work for the federal government.
If you are considering applying for a government job,** read the entire job announcement carefully**. If there is a contact name/number for further information, use it. When you contact the person, consider you application process starts right then and there. Don’t be rude, condescending, arrogant, demanding, etc., to the person/agency you are contacting. Many times (but not always) the contact person is the supervisor for the position advertised, or someone else directly in the food chain. If you later apply for the job and your application makes it to the final stages, that initial info contact could be the dealmaker, or the dealbreaker.
As with any job application, do not lie nor embellish your application. In private industry if you are hired and later found out you lied, most often you are just fired. If you lie on a federal application, eventually hired, and later found out you lied, with some agencies you may have committed a crime. Yes that means you could be prosecuted. It’s rare but it has happened.
Since 9/11 the federal employment process has gotten rather strict. At the same time, federal agencies are under presidential orders to speed up the hiring process. When I started my federal career, the time from application posted in the US Mail until I received a phone call offering me that first job was about a year (it was a highly competitive position). Most fed positions take three, to six months or longer to fill. IIRC, the presidential order is to get that down government-wide to 60-80 calendar days.
I used to be a fast packet switching tech with Verizon. Started that job in 2000, I did.
In 2003 got a promotion to management, mainly because of a growing distaste for the unionized environment. Little did I realize how much more of a headache it would be dealing with it from the management side.
Anyway, as a corporate account manager at Verizon, it was my job to keep a bell on my waist that my blue chip customers could ring at any time. After two and a half years of that, I developed a good relationship with my DC Government peer, and she got me an interview with their networking & telecom team, where I was hired as a consultant while they worked on getting an FTE slot funded for me. A year later the slot was available and I stepped into it.
I’m retired now but I worked for the New York States Department of Correctional Services for 27 years.
The main way to get a government job is through the civil service system. You find jobs you have the qualifications for and take a test. Those who have the highest scores get hired. In some cases, in jobs where there’s a lot of openings, that means pretty much anyone who passes the test gets hired.
I don’t know what state you’re in but presumably you have a state department of labor and they have an office in your county. Contact them and they’ll point you in the right direction.
My husband was in the military for 12 years, and now he works for the FAA. The military trained him to do radar maintenance and repair, he was good at it, and had the experience and credentials to get hired by the FAA.
The State Department uses USA jobs, but this is more direct:
Depends on what state you live in… for Maine - you would get on the registry for whatever type of job you are interested in, and when an opening occurs, they pull applications from that pool of the registry and call the candidates that match the requirements. Open Competitive list. You can be on that list for years before getting a call - or you can get a call within weeks.
OR - you can keep checking the website for Direct Hire positions - in which case you send in a more specific application for any particular job you are interested in. Some jobs - Like ESII (Environmental Specialist) or ESIII can only be open competitive.
You should probably check the state job opening websites for the states you are interested in.
I’m an attorney for a municipality.
My job is “competitive” class, meaning, there is no civil service system for hiring (nor do I experience all the benefits of being a civil servant). However, I am unionized, have certain tenure rights, participate in the pension, etc. Paywise, I get paid very much at the low end for my education and experience. But there are lot of intangibles and comparatively generous non-pay compensation like vacation, and insurance. My hours are very structured and its rare to work more than 9-5 – which is super extremely rare in the world of being a lawyer and a huge intangible benefit. I joke that on a per-hour basis, I probably make as much or more as friends who work for white shoe law firms and get $165,000/yr as junior attorneys but are expected to work late everyday, and and on weekends.
How did I get the job? Basically, I saw the job listing, I applied, I was interviewed, I was interviewed again, there was a writing test, and I was selected. The main thing to know is, it took a looooong time. I applied in early August, was told that I was the selected candidate in October, and I was not able to start work because of budget delays until March.
My municipality has extremely strict rules regarding helping others or using connections; they are anticorruption antipatronage measures but they affect everyone. Basically, if a current employee gives another an advantage in hiring based on a personal relationship or a past favor – they could easily lose their own job. Enforcement of this rule is no joke .
Speaking from experience with State and other government agencies, make sure you do the following:
Get a copy of the job announcement, including the skills and experience required.
Make sure you specifically address each and every skill required, in depth. Do NOT be tempted to gloss over something that you don’t want to answer thoroughly.
If you are not qualified for the position, don’t bother applying. There are thousands of qualified people vying for that job and you will be cut in the first round. The government seldom (as in never) puts quals in their job requirements that are merely pre-screeners. In other words, whereas a civilian position may say ‘degree in engineering’ as a requirement, they may or may not actually require that degree. I held several jobs like that in the private sector. The only reason for it being there was to discourage truly unqualified people from applying.
Another avenue is to get a job with a government contractor. Contractors have more flexibility in hiring. If you have a clean record, try to get on with a contractor whose work requires security clearances. Once you get that clearance guard it jealously (as in: don’t smoke dope, get busted for DUI and other stupidities), as it can open doors to other government jobs.
Temporal Incursion Defence Consultant. My family and I will be evak’d to the nearest undisclosed secure location with a stasis cage the next time the Morlocks return.
Speaking as a non-vet federal employee, I can basically say that if you do not do some form of lying on the occupational questionaires, you will not usually make it past the first stage unless you are a veteran.
A lot of the job vacancies ask very specific questions that can only be answered with a ‘yes’ if you’ve actually done the job in question. Your best bet is something entry level such as a clerical position. The questions for the application are usually vague enough where “stretching” the truth is acceptable and even the norm.
A lot of people don’t know this and they seldom know that they are doomed from the start if they do not do it. I am well-qualified to work where I am working, but the questionaire was not mentioned once in my interview. YMMV, of course.
Late addition: I have also worked for the state of PA. I highly recommend navigating to your state’s civil service website and taking examinations for jobs that interest you. There is a lot of weight on the exam in terms of getting an interview (as you are stacked up with other applicants based on score), and it’s definitely a good way to start.
I know most states have different systems for handling this, but I know that PA was very direct with the application and test-taking process.
Thanks y’all. Your jobs all seem pretty interesting. I’m not really looking for a government job in particular but caught that someone had one in another thread and got curious. Seems like folks will say they have a government job but not exactly what it is. Anywho, thank you for slaking my nosy gene.
Friend applied for an administrative internship and said I should do the same. Did, but didn’t get the job, but my name remained on the roster for a different position. Got interviewed and hired about 8 months later
I was living in Florida when I got my gubmit job with the Commonwealth of VA. I found an ad announcing an environmental scientist position on a professional society website, followed the link to the VA human resources website, filled out an electronic application, uploaded my transcripts,and emailed the HR contact a cover letter. Then a month later, I got a phone call.
What worked for me was that I was prepared to move anywhere. Just because I lived in Florida at the time didn’t mean I was especially beholden to it.