With more than 1.6 million civilian employees, the US Government is the largest employer in the country. There are many ways to build internationally-oriented careers within the governmental system; and in the US Government section on the main MyWorldAbroad site (for registered users), we outline five possible career focuses: international affairs, development, intelligence, trade and the military. Applying to government jobs is different than the private sector. The tips below will help provide some insight to the recruitment process.
- Connections go a long way: Hiring is merit-based, but it is also based on who knows you. While the government recruits based on merit, personal relationships through internships and voluntary experiences are important for finding out about upcoming opportunities and give candidates the edge. Landing an internship can be the perfect kick start to a career in the US Government.
- Having language skills is a key advantage: A premium is often paid for students with these skills and tuition assistance is sometimes provided, particularly in the intelligence and defense communities.
- Study or work for a term in DC: While there are government employees throughout the nation, key policy jobs are located in Washington, DC, particularly those relating to international affairs. A summer or school term spent in Washington allows you to be close to the action, build connections and find out valuable information.
- Smaller agencies count: Everyone knows about the State Department, the CIA and USAID, but dig deeper and investigate the smaller agencies as excellent internships are often offered and there is significantly less competition. There is more than one government department or agency in each international stream. Broaden your horizons!
- Start here: A great place to begin a job search is the USAJOBS site, which links to the Pathways program for students and recent grads. This site gives access to federal career opportunities and internships for young people.
Related Articles on the main MyWorldAbroad site (for registered users):
- Overview of International Opportunities, Student Hiring and Language Skills
- International Internships With the US Government
- The Four Key International Streams
- Federal Departments and Agencies With Fewer International Responsibilities
- Congress and the Judiciary
- The US Armed Forces
- Political Jobs in the US Government and Congress
- Other Related Government Opportunities
- The Hiring Process
- Interviewing and Testing
- A Last Word