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Federal Jobs For the Young and Educated

A recent graduate holds a degree and smiles.

If you are still in school or have recently graduated, you may be missing out on a fantastic opportunity to work for the federal government -- especially if you are a young and educated military spouse, partner or Milso.

Even though cuts due to sequestration are currently in the news, federal employment has long been thought of as a good career track for military spouses. Getting hired the first time is the trickiest part. Your status as a young and educated spouse or partner may help. 

And the best part? Military spouses have hiring preference.

How does being a student or recent grad help me get a federal job?

Since coming into office, President Obama has made a concentrated effort to bring more young people into government positions. He has done a lot to simplify and change the hiring practices to make them more user-friendly, but he has also taken steps to help students and recent graduates join federal service.

Consequently, some of the things you may have heard from older spouses about the federal job hunt may no longer be accurate. Don’t be hesitant to explore these new programs now.

What are the Pathways Programs?

The Pathways Programs regulation became effective on July 10, 2012. It offers internship opportunities to high-school through post-graduate students, career opportunities for recent graduates, and meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals just starting a federal service career. The Pathways Programs for students and recent graduates include three different options:

The Internship Program is for current students enrolled at least half-time in high school/GED, vocational, technical, undergraduate, graduate or professional programs. It allows them to be exposed to government work through federal internships while pursuing their degree.

The Recent Graduates Program is for individuals who have graduated within the preceding two years. It provides developmental opportunities for recent graduates.

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a leadership development program at the entry level for individuals who are enrolled in an advanced degree program (e.g., graduate or professional degree), or who completed an advanced degree within the preceding two years. Opportunities are announced annually through USAJobs in late-summer/early-fall.

At the time of this article, there were more than 140 positions available all over the U.S.

Where are these positions announced and how do I apply?

You can find internship and recent graduates job opportunity announcements at Agencies post their Pathways job opportunity announcements at their own discretion. If you find that the application period for the current class of Presidential Management Fellows is closed, you will find the annual announcement available in late-summer/early-fall for the next class here.

Search for and apply to these jobs using USAJobs. Follow the same process as applying for any other federal position. When you are on the USAJobs homepage, select the tab that says, "Students and Recent Grads" for the most up-to-date information and positions.

Some experienced spouses swear by the opportunities provided all around the country by their federal jobs. Start now. Be persistent. And reach out for more help if you need it.

-- Tina Sims MA, ACRW, CPRW, GCDF is glad to answer questions about federal applications at her website. With more than 12 years' experience in the DoD as a federal employee, Tina Sims is highly sought after for her resume writing skills, transition assistance support and job search coaching for military members and their spouses. Sims specializes in writing federal and private industry resumes for military members, spouses, federal employees and DoD contractors.

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