Yale Undegraduate Career Services

Federal Government

Things to Consider 

The United States Federal Government is the nation’s largest employer and offers its employees challenging experiences, job security, competitive salary, and generous benefits.

Getting Started:  When applying to federal departments or agencies, it is important to remember that each department makes independent hiring decisions.  The application and hiring process is also a very long one, sometimes taking anywhere from one month to a year. In addition to the lengthy application review process, you may have to gain security clearance as part of the hiring process.  Because of these factors, we highly recommend that you begin the job search and application process during the summer between your junior and senior year, and that you consult with Undergraduate Career Services as you are navigating opportunities in this industry.

Entry Points:  Gaining employment within the Government can be achieved in many ways.  Most agencies will post their positions online through the federal government’s main online job resource, USAJobs.gov, and each agency or department may post employment opportunities on their respective websites. However, soon-to-be graduates are encouraged to explore federally-funded and managed fellowships and internships.  There may be other programs of interest to rising seniors that serve as graduate school funding sources and federal employment opportunities, such as the Pickering, Rangel, Payne, Boren, and Scoville.

USAJobs.gov: This site provides information on available jobs, instructions regarding writing a resume and navigating job postings, and highlights the benefits of working for the federal government. The website can also be a somewhat overwhelming resource as it may display thousands of job opportunities, many of them beyond the experience level of recent college graduates. Please be aware of the General Schedule (GS) Pay Scale and determine where recent graduate stand on this scale before you begin to review the job listings. The GS Pay Scale classifies payment based on a candidate’s qualifications. Graduating seniors will most likely qualify for jobs labeled as GS5 or GS7. These jobs usually require a bachelor's degree with less than 3 years of work experience. Some job seekers, depending on their experience, may qualify for GS9 or above. See US Office of Personnel Management for more information.

Networking: While the USAJobs.gov website is an excellent resource, the best way to find a job in the federal government is likely through professional contacts. Developing and maintaining professional relationships within the federal government may provide job seekers with firsthand knowledge of job openings not posted on any website. Professional contacts can be made through alumni, faculty, and professional internship experiences.

Internet Resources

Job Search Websites

Federal Government Resources

Sample Employers