Top 5 Ways to Get Your Next Gov’t Job

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Every day someone reaches out to me with a similar story. I work at X agency and am looking for another gov’t job because a) I’m moving to X city b) I’m bored c) my boss hates me.

Generally, these individuals seem to very confused about how to make that happen.

So here’s my 5 ways to get the next gov’t job.

1. Set up USAJOBS alerts – Super basic but still almost all gov’t jobs are on USAJOBS. The trick is to make sure you set up the filters right so you cover all the geographic area you desire (if looking in Tampa and St. Petersburg you must include Bay Pines as well as lots of VA jobs there). Also make sure to check all the job series you qualify for as people often limit it too much.

2. Reach out to your network – It’s simple but takes time and work. Reach out individually (not en masse) to your work network and ask if people have time to have a coffee or quick phone call. Tell them your situation and people usually want to help.

3. Be slightly open – So you definitely don’t want to leek word at work about you leaving. But at the same time, if nobody knows you are looking, nobody will tell you about their friend’s department is hiring. Be open about your search with the right people as you need it for serendipity to happen.

4. Go to events – Don’t spend all your time on the Internet. Go to work-related events whether it is a conference or an after-work happy hour. Also go to your alumni association and other local events.

5. Be consistent and have patience – On the job front, people seem to go from 0 to 100. From no networking to every day network. From 0 searches to 100 hours on Internet a week looking. Job searches take awhile and often the best jobs come when you aren’t looking. So make sure to be consistent and have patience on the search.

What do you think? Any tips on getting the next gov’t gig? Make sure to check out our jobs page to find and post jobs, also you can see our new twitter handle @GovGigs for job info.

Also here are some other top 5’s of mine:
Top 5: Best Places to Have a Government Job

Top 5: Worst Places to Have a Government Job

Top 5: Tips on Teleworking
Top 5: Gov’t Shows That Should Exist
Top 5: Worst Things To Say in A Meeting
Top 5: Ways To Handle A Broing Meeting
Top 5: Signs You Need A New Job

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Henry Brown

would add grow your network; to include agencies that MIGHT have an opening (the network does NOT have to be in the geographical area, although it sure won’t hurt)

Nichole Henley

Waiting until you’ve either had it with the boss, job, commute, etc is too late to start looking. Start building your career path now and determine now what your next step will be. It won’t always end up the way you originally “designed” it but at least you’ll know what direction to head in. Plus, doing so will take care of the top 5 you have listed above. Always be on your A game!


I concur with Andy…definitely get Lily Whiteman’s book “How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job”. I have a copy of the book and I consider this book to be one of the best investments I’ve made.

Ken Matthews

Good article, but I am surprised that more was not said about such sites as LinkedIN, Twitter, etc. These sites are good for networking, but even more importantly they provide lots of information with fresh ideas and insights.

Andrew Krzmarzick

I think we actually have a couple success stories at this point of people who’ve met people on GovLoop, which led to a gov’t job…really cool to see that scenario.

Kirk D. Webber

FYI – there are also a large number of agencies who are not required to list their job openings on USAJOBS.GOV. They are excluded from the competitive civil service procedures, and have their own hiring system. USAJOBS.GOV has a page: http://www.usajobs.gov/EI/exceptedservice.asp#icc which lists these agencies and has links to their websites. These agencies include intelligence agencies (which you might expect), but also agencies such as USDA, Amtrak, U.S. Courts, etc. Worth checking out!

Heather Krasna, MS

Consider not just federal government, but local and state (and even tribal) government. There are actually many times more opportunities out there on the local and state level than there are in federal, and even though many states and cities are having economic troubles, many are still hiring (even when they have an official hiring freeze). Also take a look at my book Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service to get over 250 job-search resources for searching for meaningful jobs in the public sector (as well as nonprofit). You can get 400+ job search links by joining my mailing list on my website too.

Barry Sims

Though the site has a lot of blowhards, I recommend Federal Soup (http://www.Federalsoup.com) for any Federal employee or perspective employee. In addition to covering a wide range of general topics, employees of the various agencies offer insight into aspects of their employers such as their interview styles and the state of their labor relations. One recent “hot topic” was HHS’s mass hiring under the Health Care Reform Act. Another great networking resource is Linked In (http://www.linkedin.com). Though not normally considered a governmental networking site, many Feds have a presence on the site.