Government jobs are often the most coveted forms of employment in challenging times. They typically provide a level of safety, security, and insulation from the overall job market during periods of economic turmoil and rising unemployment. They often come with several perks including pensions, competitive loan rates for mortgages, and more paid time off, vacations, and holidays that comparable jobs in the public sector. Health care benefits for you and your family are also often very comprehensive and affordable. So how does one go about getting one of these coveted government jobs, especially when you have little to no experience?
Assess Your Skill Sets
If you have a general idea of the position you wish to pursue, the first step is assessing your skill sets. Is there something in your background that gives you an advantage to being suited for a specific career? For instance, you may be considering a position in the parks department. While you may not have had direct experience working in national park, other previous skills such as working in landscaping and customer service could be highlighted to show a passion for people and the outdoors.
There are no shortage of office jobs that involve processing or data collection. The first step is determining what would be the best strengths for an employee to have in this space. Although you may not have had direct office experience, if you are proficient with a computer – especially various software programs,, many opportunities will open up for you.
Use the Resources Available to You
Still not quite confident in your ability to land the government job of your choice? There are no shortage of resources close by to help you land a government job. Most states have physical branches of the Department of Labor, which offers various programs and guidance to help you pursue an entry level career in government.
Places like the American Job Center were created under the Workforce Investment Act and provide a one stop source for a full range of job seeking assistance. Some of the services offered are:
- Classroom Training and Referral Programs
- Career Counseling
- Job Postings
It is important to check in on all of the relevant government related work sites for updates, new positions posted, or to receive tips which could enhance your job searching process.
Another excellent resource is the Go Government page. This is an all-encompassing website that is updated frequently. It caters to all experience levels, from entry level job seekers, to established individuals within the government sector. It is an ideal guide to walk you through the various opportunities available, and can help you through the application process. Ample research is provided on the various federal agencies and detailed specifics on what the various jobs entail and the skills required. Specific job postings are not included in the site; it is meant to be a comprehensive guide to the types of jobs available, and a tutorial on how to properly complete the application. It’s like having a career counselor at your fingertips.
Community colleges are also a great resource as they typically offer very cost effective classes that will help you enhance in demand skills especially in the computer software and coding areas. Completing any of the programs will give you a significant advantage when it comes to applying for a government job.
Create a Strong Resume
In order to apply for a government job, you need to have a polished resume. This resume must be specifically targeted for a government career. While you may not have the specific skills or experience for a particular job, a resume allows you the opportunity to highlight skills that would translate well into the position you seek.
Any skills that you may have held in previous positions could easily translate into necessary skills for a new government job. The following office skills are all in high demand:
- Data Processing
- Email proficiency (various software like GMAIL or Microsoft Outlook)
- Phone Proficiency / Customer Service
The important thing is making sure that you get these skills clearly recognized on your resume. There are plenty of online resume services that offer a government resume writing to give you the extra advantage you need. Having a professionally polished resume and cover letter is absolutely paramount to getting into a government job, especially if your experience is lacking.
Your Service Career Matters
If you have served the country honorably in any of the armed services, there are numerous opportunities available as you make the transition to civilian life. Often, veterans are encouraged to apply and receive special preference for numerous positions. The skills you have learned, particularly the discipline, command of routine and respect for superiors, translates very well into a government career, even if the specific position experience is subpar.
Feds Hire Vets is an excellent resource for veterans entering the workforce. It is a tremendous guide that helps you understand what positions are available, and how to apply for the positions. It can also put you directly in touch with the hiring officials. Pay attention to the “frequently asked question page” as that may help guide you and answer some of the questions that may still be lingering.
Be Patient, but Be Optimistic
There is no reason that a lack of specific work experience should hold you back from getting a government job. Be prepared to wait anywhere from 6 -18 months depending on the career you seek. Background checks, suitability questionnaires, physical exams all may be part of the hiring process. However, the end result- a stable career, excellent benefits for you and your family, and significant paid time off are well worth the effort required to secure a position.