The economic downturn has forced private industry and state and local government to shed jobs, but one major employer in the country is hiring: The federal government.
With 11 million unemployed Americans, and millions fearing they might lose their jobs, many are arguing that Washington will be cutting jobs, too. However, economists claim that a strong federal work force will be the key to economic recovery. Were President Obama to put any of the nearly 2 million federal civil servants out in the street in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the consequences could be dire.
With Obama's proposed $800-plus billion economic aid plan only weeks away from passing, it's time to take a look at the job opportunities Uncle Sam can provide you with. With heavy spending on public works and alternative energy, the stimulus plan is expected to increase the ranks of government workers (although mostly at the local and state level).
Where to Find the Work
Here are five guides offering more information about applying for government jobs:
Federal agencies fill job openings like the private industry: most agencies are responsible for their own hiring actions, and often deploy "hiring sprees" in order to fill a large number of essential positions rapidly.
Important tip for federal job seekers: keep on track of the agencies that hire the most, and what positions they are hiring for. Since the federal government keeps track of the job vacancies at each agency, we can give you an accurate picture of where the most job openings are.
The government's civilian, nonmilitary work force peaked in the late 1960s at about 2.3 million. It was 2 million or more through the mid-1990s, when the government cut more than 400,000 jobs -- many through military base closings. Since 2001, civilian employment in the executive branch, excluding postal employees, has edged upward from 1.7 million to about 2 million, largely because of new homeland security jobs.
More federal job openings are on the horizon.
Are you ready to actually apply for federal jobs?
Many first-time federal job seekers do not realize that there is more than one federal resume builder website where jobs are posted for various agencies. It's a good idea to get ready to apply for federal jobs by posting your resume at more than one website. The USAJOBS site is the most popular, but there are others.
Did you know that the Federal government provides access to over $500 billion in annual grant programs and rewards? Here are 26 agencies currently offering grants to job seekers and government workers like you.
Are you a passionate person? Do you synthesize information well? Do you write in a compelling, reader-friendly way? Do you have a liberal arts and/or advanced degree in law, business, international relations, public administration, public policy, environmental policy, public health or a variety of other fields? If so, you may be what is referred to as a generalist.
Federal agencies offer fantastic employment opportunities for generalists at all levels -- from entry level to management level.