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Federal Government Jobs

With more than one million employees, 400 occupational specialties, and 100 agencies and bureaus, the federal government is the nation's largest employer.

Hundreds of thousands of job seekers pursue federal employment for multiple reasons: making a difference in the lives of Americans; receiving competitive benefits and compensation packages; advancing quickly; job security; or the ability to move around geographically and between agencies. Whatever the reason, the federal government provides great opportunities for job seekers. U.S. citizenship is required for most federal jobs.

Pathways Programs

One of the best ways to start your career with a federal agency is to apply for one of the following Pathways programs:

Internship Program: Available in agencies across the federal government, the Internship Program offers paid work opportunities for current students in positions related to their field of study.

Recent Graduates Program: The Recent Graduates Program provides one-year full-time jobs in a variety of fields with opportunities for training and mentoring. Candidates are eligible to participate in this program for up to two years after the completion of their degree.

Presidential Management Fellows (PMF): As the federal government's most prestigious leadership development initiative, PMF offers recent graduates of advanced degree programs two-year fellowships with opportunities for management, training, and mentoring. Candidates are eligible to participate in this program for up to two years after the completion of their graduate degree.

For access to Career Center PMF preparation materials email with "CURRENT STUDENT" or "ALUMNI" in the subject heading. The email must include your full name, your AU school, and your graduation date. The 2022 online application and test period is September 28 - October 12, 2021.

More information about Pathways can be found on USAJobs and on specific agency websites.

Job Search Strategies

USAJobs is the starting point for most job searches in the federal government. This website allows you to search for openings by occupation, location, pay grade, government agency, keyword, and other criteria. You can even sign up for an email alert that informs you of new job openings.

Excepted service agencies - such as the CIA and FBI - are not required to post positions on USAJobs. Job and internship seekers interested in these employers should visit the specific agency websites to see vacancies.

Application Advice

Applying for federal jobs is not the same as applying for private sector jobs.

Resumes for federal employment are unique. Learn more and start crafting yours today.

Most federal jobs will require you to complete a questionnaire as part of your application. These questionnaires range widely in length and ask questions related to the core set of qualifications that the agency seeks in a candidate. When possible, the Career Center suggests reviewing these questions and drafting answers in advance to allow adequate time to thoroughly consider your responses.

Your resume and questionnaire will be reviewed and a numerical score will be tabulated based on the information you provide in your application. Points are given for related education, experience, special skills, and awards. The maximum score for most candidates is 100, while some veterans may qualify for a higher score.

Only the top two or three candidates are generally invited to interview. Your application will have an even greater impact on your chances for an interview with a federal agency than it would in the private sector.

The federal government can be slower than private employers to respond to candidates. You can try to check the status of your application on your USAJobs profile or contact the hiring manager three weeks after the closing date for an update.

Additional Resources

Go Government: Federal Employment Resource Website: A collection of resources to aid job and internship seekers. Use their Career Guides to find government jobs based on your interest and industry. 

Feds Hire Vets: Offers information on federal career opportunities and special hiring authorities for veterans.

Federal Hiring Authorities for Persons with Disabilities: Describes federal disability hiring programs for job and internship candidates.

Workforce Recruitment Program: Provides work opportunities in federal agencies for students with disabilities.

GovLoop: A social and professional networking site focused on government.