Hot Federal Jobs in a Cool Economy

Get a customer service rep in India the last time you called a credit-card company? That's just one sign America is losing jobs. Forrester Research predicts that US employers will migrate roughly $136 billion in wages to workers in other nations by 2015. But one US employer is still hiring: The federal government. Take a look at five of the hottest opportunities in today's federal market. Scientists Uncle Sam is anxious to hire more scientific staff, primarily because of its aging workforce. Job announcements may even mention recruitment bonuses and incentives.
  • Education Required: Degrees in a specialized field of science, such as chemistry or biology. In addition, a vacancy announcement could mention particular coursework within a specialty.
  • What the Government's Looking For: Strong verbal and written communication skills. Ability to advise and consult, as well as interpret changing regulations. Work well on deadline. Presentation skills and experience with PowerPoint software.
  • Agencies Hiring: National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fish and Wildlife Service, Goddard Space Flight Center, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Department of Agriculture, etc.
Logistics and Supply Specialists The need in this field has grown tremendously due to the expanded role of our military operations abroad as well as increased security at home. Jobs in this field involve acquiring and moving supplies to defense and homeland security posts.
  • Education Required: No particular college major required for most positions; experience may be substituted for education.
  • What the Government's Looking For: Creativity and innovation that can be applied to researching supplies and planning their movement. Strong communication ability, including negotiation skills. Customer service experience a plus.
  • Agencies Hiring: Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Defense Logistics Agency, etc.
Investigators As the terrorist threat has intensified, more investigative work is required both at home and abroad.
  • Education Required: No particular college major required for most positions; experience may be substituted for education.
  • What the Government's Looking For: Resourcefulness, creativity and strong intuition. Individuals must be cautious, disciplined, dedicated and team players. Willingness to navigate unfamiliar environments.
  • Agencies Hiring: Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, US Postal Service, Agency for International Development.
IT Workers Technology jobs are hot in government, because the public sector is so computerized. Positions tend to have a specific focus, such as networking, programming, Web site management, database management, telecommunications or user support.
  • Education Required: Major study in computer science, information science, information systems management, mathematics, statistics, operations research or engineering, or coursework that required the development or adaptation of computer programs and systems and provided knowledge equivalent to a major in the computer field. Any field of study if the applicant passes a written exam is also acceptable.
  • What the Government's Looking For: You must communicate clearly and be able to listen and assess the IT challenge at hand. Capable of making recommendations for off-the-shelf programs as well as creating problem-solving custom programs. Teamwork skills.
  • Agencies Hiring: Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Peace Corps, Office of the Secretary of Commerce, Department of the Treasury, etc.
Administrative Personnel The government hires extensively for admin positions, from administrative assistants and clerks to administrative officers. The variety of government agencies can make it possible to match up with a mission that's meaningful to you.
  • Education Required: No particular college major required; experience may be substituted for education.
  • What the Government's Looking For: Strong computer skills. Ability to handle multiple projects. Work well with deadlines. Outstanding communicator. Good at problem solving and research. Patience in working with multiple supervisors and other employees.
  • Agencies Hiring: Many agencies, including the Peace Corps and the National Gallery of Art.
If none of these jobs fits your skills or objectives, don't worry -- the government is hiring for all kinds of positions, not just the ones listed above. Some additional fields include human resources, management and accounting. To stay on the cutting edge of opportunities, pay attention to the President's priorities and initiatives, and regularly check USAJOBS for new listings. Right now, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are two of the government's largest employers.
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