Each week I pick the top 10 jobs by category (IT to HR to entry-level to $100k)from USAJOBS for our site jobs.govloop.com (sign up to receive our top picks by email).
I’m kind of a jobs nerd so I actually love doing it. I’ve learned a lot by doing this week in terms of what type of jobs are available and what to look for.
Here are my top 5 observations:
1) # of openings by agency varies greatly – Guess what – I bet 60-70% of all vacancies on USAJOBS are DOD or VA vacancies. If you are focused on civilian agencies only, you have cut your chances a ton. Additionally, the financial agencies that are dealing with new regulations are hiring a ton – CFPB, OCC, SEC, etc
So if you are only looking for jobs at State Department or Department of Education or NSF, I hate to break the news – there’s not that many openings each week.
2) # of opening by type varies great – Each week there are only between 8-10 public affairs openings while there are a minimum of 100 IT openings. Just simple math, you are going to have a much harder job finding a communication opening than a new IT job. Other fields that have lots of openings (and good grades) – budget, acquisitions, program management (HR is okay)
3) Seasonality matters – I’ve been doing this for probably 5 months now. While there are consistencies like IT always having a ton of jobs, I’ve seen a lot of changes in number of openings in the HR, budget, and auditing classification. There are some better statistics somewhere but my sense is there are lot more job openings in Feb/March than December/beginning of January for example
4) Financial agencies pay 25% more – I always knew financial agencies paid 25% more than other government agencies. But seeing it week after week really shows how much that can matter. When I see SES jobs cap out at $160k but GS-14, step 10 in financial agencies making the same money – it pops out at you
5) Acquisition for outside DC – Let’s be straight-forward – most of the high-paying federal jobs are in DC – most of the GS-14/15 and SES are there. But a lot of people hate DC (the traffic, it’s very expensive) – so how do you get ahead in government and live outside DC. I have noticed acquisition seems the best field to live outside DC and make good grades. I see a lot of GS-13, 14, 15s in acquisition in great locations (Charlottesville to Indianapolis to Omaha) where you could have a great cost of living
Bonus tip – Most jobs seem to be in the GS-12 to 15 range – I see a lot more jobs in mid-senior range than at entry level. Generally there are just a lot more interesting jobs once you are in government and have worked a couple years than the entry level jobs