History is constantly in the making in Washington, and never before has that been more apparent than in the past several months, with major legislation addressing topics like health care reform and the military’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy.
Behind every bill is a team of government workers. Did you know that the government employs over 1.8 million civilians? That’s not even including contractors!
Working for the federal government means that you can have a say in this nation’s laws. For example, you can work for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to help create policies involving border protection or check out Environmental Protection Agency jobs to work toward laws that prevent oil spills from happening in the future. Whatever your passion, there are ways for you to get involved with a federal government job.
Landing a federal government job isn’t easy. Here are some tips for getting hired:
- Start in a low-level position to gain experience. Working in the government is all about climbing the corporate ladder. You have to make a lot of coffee before you can start making laws.
- Network as much as possible. The saying, “it isn’t what you know, but who you know,” is not truer in any other industry, and meeting someone at a rally or charity function could land you an interview with a friend of a friend.
- Work outside of Washington. Although many government departments are headquartered in D.C., you can find federal jobs in every state, and local and state government jobs are great for experience as well.
- Make smart decisions during your everyday life. Having bad credit or a mark on your criminal history record (even for something like a DUI) can disqualify you from certain positions.
You can also get a job working for a lobbyist group, government-funded nonprofit organization, government contractor, or political party to get your feet wet in the world of government. Remember, the military is part of the government too, and working in a field like military intelligence could be your ticket to a job in the FBI or CIA, positions that are notoriously competitive.