Advice for Job-Hunting Govies

We all know that queasy feeling that can come when looking for a new job, especially in government.

Given how long and involved the hiring process is, you don’t want to land somewhere new that you quickly discover is a bad fit for your skill set or your personality. You don’t want to oversell yourself, but you don’t want to undersell yourself either.

With all that in mind, GovLoop recently put together a toolkit of sorts with worksheets, best practices and other resources to help you with that search, from the internal soul-searching to preparing your resume. Be sure to check out that resource here.

When we were putting that toolkit together, GovLoop asked its readers to share their advice for govies looking for the next step in their careers. Here is some of what we heard (with responses being edited, combined and sequenced for clarity): 

  • Consider joining a local Toastmasters club. It can help you strengthen your confidence, improve your connections and learn new skills. It also looks great on a resume.
  • Think about why you are looking for a change: Is the job not challenging? Are co-workers not compatible? Is it the current hybrid work environment?
  • Consider the pros and cons of both staying and leaving. Write your answers down.
  • Research, research, research.
  • Don’t waste your time. Consider only those agencies that offer what you are really looking for.
  • Explore new fields through short courses or other training opportunities.
  • If staying in your current field, talk to your mentor, supervisor and/or peers about potential upward paths or new assignments. 
  • If looking within the federal government, keep in mind that not all jobs are listed on
  • Invest in education and/or certifications. It shows that you are serious about moving up.
  • Learn who the key players are in the organization where you want to work, and get networking.
  • If you want to change roles within your agency, find out who is currently in that role and connect with them. Ask for an informational interview or shadow opportunity. 
  • Consider becoming a consultant and being your own boss.

If you’re looking for more resources to help you take the next step in your career, be sure to check out the NextGen Government Virtual Training Summit. We’ll host two free virtual summits this year, and both will be focused on providing public servants with everything you need to advance your career.

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