Federal Job and Internship Search Strategies

The federal government recruits and hires students and recent graduates interested in careers in public service. These job openings will be in many different career fields and at a variety of government agencies. When applying for a federal government position, it is important that you start early and have a strategy. Identify your strengths and skills and determine which agencies you would like to target, keeping in mind that you, ideally, would like to work for an agency that fits or matches your unique skill sets. Keep in mind that federal jobs also require unique information in applicant resumes. For information about how to create a government resume, check out Federal Government Resumes. Review information provided on websites carefully and don’t hesitate to contact a career advisor for additional guidance.

For help identifying agencies that fit your interests and skills, check out these helpful websites:

Prepare for a Wait

It can take weeks to months before you will hear back about an application, and there may be little or no communication from the agency. However, recent federal recruitment procedures promise that your wait period should be shortened (within 80 days or less). Don’t let a long wait deter you—federal employment can be very rewarding.

For the most updated information on student and recent graduate government hiring programs, go to the Office of Personnel Management website.

Note: In order to apply for most federal government positions, United States citizenship is required.

Federal Student Work Programs

Student hiring programs are often a “foot in the door.” The following information is a summary of each of the U.S. government student work programs. Go to the USAJobs website and the Pathways website for information on student hiring programs.

The government now has targeted hiring programs for current students and recent graduates through the following programs:

Recent Graduates Program: Provides developmental experiences in the Federal Government intended to promote possible careers in the civil service to recent graduates (with two-six years experience for vets) from qualifying educational institutions or programs.

Internship Program: Designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions with opportunities to work in agencies and explore federal careers while still in school.

Presidential Management Fellows Program: An entry-level, two-year government-wide flagship leadership development program for advanced degree candidates (graduate and professional). Designed to attract and select from among the most competitive candidates in the country. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be eligible for conversion to full-time federal employment.

Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) for students with disabilities: A direct hiring program managed by the Department of Labor, WRP connects public and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated current students and recent graduates with disabilities who are seeking summer or permanent jobs. The WRP is run on an annual basis (fall semester) and requires an interview with a recruiter during an on-campus recruitment visit. If you are interested in this program, contact the Career Center’s recruitment coordinator at 410-455-2216 for more information.

For a list of important steps to follow when searching for job and internship opportunities in the government, see Job and Internship Search.