Finding public sector jobs is slightly different from a private sector job search. Here’s what you need to know to find a government job that is a good fit for your qualifications and career goals.
Jobseekers often limit their search to private sector employers. But for many job categories, there are similar career opportunities in the public sector, i.e. the collection of government employers at the federal, state and local levels.
Employment stability and good benefits drive heavy demand for government jobs. Yet despite the competitive nature of public sector employment, many job hunters eventually find meaningful work in a range of government agencies, departments and service providers.
With a few exceptions, the mechanics of a public sector job search are not unlike a private sector search. The key is to remember that government employers are looking for the same things as private companies – qualified applicants with the skills and enthusiasm to perform at a high level.
- Research Occupational Categories. A public sector employment search begins with research. Most government agencies offer resources to help job seekers determine how their skill set fits into the organization’s major occupational categories. Some agencies are better than others at guiding applicants through the process, but stick with it and don’t be afraid to contact the agency with questions.
- Surf Public Sector Job Boards. Public sector job boards are a niche segment within the online job marketplace. Sites like USAJobs.com and GovtJobs.com list a broad cross-section of public sector positions that can be sorted by keywords and location.
- Search Government Websites. Government websites can also be great sources for public sector employment opportunities. For example, the Department of Labor job website provides detailed information about open positions and the application process. State and local government websites usually offer similar resources for prospective applicants.
- Participate in Career Fairs. Public sector employers participate in general career fairs, as well as fairs that focus exclusively on government employers or subsets of the public sector hiring community. For example, job fairs dedicated exclusively to individuals with security clearances provide front row access to public sector employers that in security and defense.
- Contact Career Centers. University career centers are well versed in public sector job searches and usually maintain job boards full of government job openings. Many states also provide career centers to help their residents find employment in either the public or private sector.