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03/10/2010

Tips on Finding Government Jobs


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Federal JobsNYSSA held a Federal Career Day for members. For those who did not get a chance to attend, we have put together this note to help you apply for those jobs that interest you. Some general comments heard from many HR professionals at the fair are below, followed by more details about each of the 13 agencies in attendance.

General Comments from Attendees

  • Government jobs do not pay as much as many private sector positions. There is a fairly rigid schedule which determines the level you enter – level 5 for a bachelor’s degree ($34,582 in NY plus benefits), level 9 for a master’s ($52,398 per year), with some bumps up for experience. The highest level positions can pay $240,000 per year or more.
  • Government jobs are much more stable than private sector positions.
  • Once you get a government job and complete a year of service, it becomes fairly straight forward to apply for other, more rewarding jobs within the federal government.
  • It is not who you know, but how well you write your resume and application for a position (more about that below).
  • It’s a numbers game. Apply to several positions to increase your chances of being accepted.
  • Many sites and USAJOBS.gov allow you to sign up for automated updates on jobs that become available. The federal government is by far the largest employer in the US.
  • Tailoring Your Resume for a Federal Job
  • The resume for a federal job should be quite different from the one you most likely currently have. Detail is very important. Spell out all of your duties and accomplishments in each of the positions listed in the hope of matching as many “key words” as possible. At times you may want to focus your resume’s wording to reflect the criteria being looked for in the particular position you are applying for. Many successful resumes tend to be 4 pages or longer. Include in it all the information required on a federal resume, much as you’re walked through when you fill out your resume on USAJOBS.gov.

Applying for a Federal Job

Many agencies require that you register and apply on their own website for a position, while others accept the general registration on USAJOBS.gov. Many jobs require extensive questions to be answered. Pay close attention to what is being asked of you. One HR person said that a good application can take 6 hours or more to complete.

Most of the 13 agencies in attendance mentioned that USAJOBS.gov is the best place to find their positions listed. There were a couple of exceptions, and most others list positions on both their own website and––with a several day delay––on USAJOBS.gov.

Here are the 13 agencies that were in attendance and some information on how to apply for jobs with them:

  1. CFTC – Commodity Futures Trading Commission: The CFTC is looking for financial professionals with experience in the futures markets. Information on all job openings can be found on the web at www.cftc.gov by following the “Careers” link at the bottom of the page. If you’d like to email your resume, please send it to [email protected]
  2. CIA – Central Intelligence Agency: The CIA is looking to fill hundreds of positions throughout the U.S. and abroad. While the variety of positions is very large, most financial professionals would fit into one or another category under "Analysts" such as economic analysts or some of the many positions assigned to look over the international financial community and foreign financial markets. Apply online at www.cia.gov.
  3. FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation: The FBI is looking for primarily financial analysts and various intelligence analysts. One of the most common ways to enter the FBI is as a Special Agent, which is limited to people 23 to 37 years old.
  4. FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: All FDIC hiring is done through their automated system at www.fdic.gov. The FDIC has dozens of jobs available at any one time. They are hiring at all levels from entry to mid-career, to senior and executive level positions. Experience with FDIC insured entities is important, either working at one or analyzing them. Some of the positions the FDIC was looking to fill were statisticians, economists, compliance analysts, compliance examiners, risk management examiners, loan review specialists and many others. One position they were handing out details for was for three (3) Capital Markets Corporate Experts in New York or DC with a starting salary of $178,750 to $240,000.
  5. Federal Reserve Bank of New York: The Fed came in with printed list of over a dozen positions they were looking to fill. They promised that each and every resume gets looked over carefully and forwarded to the proper hiring manager. To see a complete list of jobs available, you can go to www.newyorkfed.org/careers/index.html. The list of positions changes almost daily and it is a good idea to check back once every week or so to see what is available.
  6. FHFA – Federal Housing Finance Agency: Information about FHFA hiring can be found at www.fhfa.gov at the top left of the page under “about FHFA” and the tag is “careers at FHFA”. All FHFA positions are listed on www.USAJOBS.gov.
  7. GAO – Government Accountability Office: The GAO is watchdog arm of the Congress. While www.gao.gov/careers gives you some information, all jobs and applications are submitted through www.USAJOBS.gov. Should you wish to send your resume directly, Charles Wilson, Jr., the assistant director of financial markets can receive them at [email protected]
  8. GSA – General Services Administration: The GSA is the support arm of the U.S. Government. All jobs available are listed at www.gsa.gov under "Careers." Many jobs are not open to non-government employees, and there are relatively few finance related positions. Paula Reuben was one of the HR specialists on hand, and her email is [email protected]
  9. IRS – Internal Revenue Service: The IRS has jobs for accounting professionals with a minimum of 24 semester credits of accounting education, economists, revenue agents and revenue officers. All jobs are listed both on the IRS website as well as www.USAJOBS.gov.
  10. NAIC – National Association of Insurance Commissioners: If you’d like to help set the insurance regulations across the 50 states, have we got a job for you. The NAIC has positions available for people with insurance industry experience, as well as credit analysts or people with other fixed-income analysis experience.
  11. OCC – Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: The OCC oversees the operations of bank operating nationally, as well as U.S. operations of foreign banks. The OCC has positions available for bank examiners, accountants, financial economists, and research analysts. Go to www.occ.treas.gov and click the "Careers" link on the left side of the page to learn more. A member of the Compliance Risk Analysis Division at the fair was [email protected]
  12. SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission: The longest lines of the day were saved for the SEC which is actively hiring financial professionals. More information is available on the SEC jobs web site. They have a user friendly method of submitting a resume for any position. All resumes submitted to the SEC are read and forwarded to the appropriate person.
  13. SSA – Social Security Administration: Social Security is looking for several positions including Claims Representatives and Authorizers. If you are interested in a position, you can search current openings by geography at the above address or email your resume to [email protected]
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