scorecardInterested in a government job? Begin your search here
  1. Home
  2. Careers
  3. news
  4. Interested in a government job? Begin your search here

Interested in a government job? Begin your search here

Ana Altchek   

Interested in a government job? Begin your search here
Careers3 min read
  • The US has more roles to fill than ever, especially in tech, because of an AI talent surge.
  • Despite growing interest in government jobs, many people aren't sure how to break into the field.

As layoffs continue to plague the tech industry and Gen Z looks for stable work, Americans are increasingly interested in public sector jobs.

Tech majors are shifting away from pursuing jobs in internet and software companies and instead doubling down on applications to government roles, according to a Handshake report in January.

Conveniently, the government has an influx of jobs to fill, especially in tech, due to advancements in AI.

Government job openings peaked with 1,120 job openings in May 2023, FRED data shows, which is a 75% increase from two years prior.

This uptick has continued into 2024 with Biden's call for an AI talent surge, which included a large-scale hiring initiative for data scientists among other roles in the sector.

But as interest grows and videos about the perks of government jobs continue to attract thousands of views on TikTok, the comment sections on those posts echo the same concern — how does one enter the public sector?

The short answer? It varies.

Federal, state, local, and contracting jobs are listed on different platforms and some of these roles may require certifications or clearances depending on the job description.

Here's a quick breakdown.

How to find federal government jobs

If you're looking for a federal government job, usajobs.gov is your best bet. It has all the federal listings in one spot, although some of the jobs can also be posted on other websites, like Indeed or Monster.

You'll want to start by making a profile on the site, which will allow you to cater your job search to roles that you qualify for. It also has a built-in résumé builder so you won't be wondering what to include.

If you're entering the field for the first time, pay less attention to the General Schedule levels, which is a hierarchal pay scale, and make sure you read the announcement to understand the qualifications and requirements.

According to an OPM spokesperson, the majority of federal jobs don't have an education requirement but require some kind of experience in the position you're applying to.

Many jobs require an online assessment as part of the application process, but you don't need to study or take a class for these assessments, an OPM spokesperson said. For example, if you're applying to be a translator, you'll need to take a language assessment.

USAjobs.com also has a list of career fairs and hiring events, some of which are virtual. These are also worth checking out and attending so that you can better understand the application process.

Where to look for state and county jobs

State or county jobs are listed on state or local government websites. You can find these opportunities by searching the name of the state and "jobs" on a search engine to take you straight to the page with listings.

You'll then be able to find a list of open vacancies in varying fields. Usually, these sites will have an FAQ page about how to get a job within the state or county. These requirements vary based on location.

If you want to narrow your search, you might want to try looking up a specific department within the local government, like "New York State Department of Transportation jobs." This will take you to all of the jobs within that department.

Don't forget government contracting jobs

Contracting jobs tend to pay better than other government jobs, but they can also be more difficult to find. Most of them require some level of clearance, which takes time and costs money if you don't have a job sponsoring it.

The best way to break into contracting would be to familiarize yourself with companies that have contracts with the government and then dig deeper into open opportunities that you qualify for.

You can start by making a profile on Clearancejobs.com, which is the largest platform for people with security clearance. Even if you don't have clearance, the site has thousands of jobs listed, as well as contact info for recruiters.

Clearancejobs.com also has a career fair page with a list of upcoming events so that you can directly meet and speak with employers. This is a good starting point for people wanting to enter contracting, especially if you don't have government connections.

State and local government sites also have specific contracting sections that list all the companies with contracts. For example, if you look up "New York state contracts," you'll land on a page that has a list of all the state's contracts. This may not be a job listing but you can then look at those companies for openings.

Are you a recruiter for government jobs? We'd like to hear more from you. Email the reporter at aaltchek@insider.com.




Advertisement