Federal Government Employment

Employment in the federal government can offer great opportunities for growth and advancement within your field of interest.  The options for employment within the federal government are extremely diverse and can offer tremendous benefits to you and your professional growth. 

However, the application process can feel very daunting in the beginning.  Here are some general things to consider as you get started:

  • Research.  Learn about different government agencies and target the ones you are most interested in working with.  You need to have a specific idea of where you want to work within the federal government before you can seek job opportunities- otherwise, the landscape is simply too vast.
  • Think about your skills and interests- where do these fit in a federal government job?
  • Consider the Internship Program (part of the Pathways Program) while you are still in school to get some experience.
  • Look for internship opportunities- either while you are in school or after you graduate.  Check out the government/legal section of our "Locating an Internship" page and the Internships, Fellowships and Other Work Experience Opportunities in Government publication.
  • Prepare a federal resume and learn how to write your KSA's (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities).  For help, check out our section on federal resumes below. 

A great resource for learning about federal government employment is the "Making the Difference" website, developed by the Partnership for Public Service.  This site gives you suggestions about how to approach the federal government job search, as well as helpful descriptions and information about different opportunities.  As you are ready to start searching for employment, the main site to visit is "USA Jobs", although we also include some additional websites that can be helpful in your search.

Below are some resources to help you get started in your research.

CDO Resources

  • Opportunities in Public Affairs
    The CDO has a subscription to this online resource for Capitol Hill, legislative, public affairs, and public relations jobs and internships in the Washington, D.C. area.  To access these listings, please click on the link above and enter the username (CDO) and password (gopher).

Also, the CDO has archived copies of the following webinars.  If you are interested in viewing either, please contact the office and we will be happy to provide them to you.

  • Federal Jobs: Find and Apply for Full-Time Work in 2011
  • Federal Internships:  Find and Apply for Summer 2011

Post-Graduate Internship Links

  • Governmentwide Acquisition Management Program
    The Department of the Interior manages this three-year internship program designed to recruit, develop and retain diverse future leaders in the federal government's acquisition management field.

  • Judicial Intern Program
    For those interested in law, management, or social sciences.  Unpaid opportunities for graduating seniors (and advanced undergraduates) working in the Office of teh Administrative Assistant to the Chief Justice.

  • Making the Difference
    Learn strategies for navigating a federal government job search, with information on jobs and internships.

  • Presidential Management Fellows
    Offers a two-year, rigorous leadership program with developmental fellowships at various Federal agencies.  Recruits outstanding graduate students from various programs of study.

  • Recent Graduates Program- COMING SOON!
    The Recent Graduates Program, which is scheduled to start in late 2011, will offer successful applicants who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs a two-year career development program wtih a cohort of peers. Applicants must apply within two years of degree completion (except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who will have six years after degree completion).  Stay tuned for more details.

  • Student Jobs
    Provides a one-stop site for information on internships with the federal government.

  • U.S. Department of State- Which Program is Right for You?
    Asks a series of questions to help you locate the internship or fellowship programs suited to your level of experience and education.

  • White House Fellows Program
    Intended for "young professionals who have demonstrated academic and professional excellence."  Accepted candidates are placed in Cabinet-level agencies, the Executive Office of the President, the Vice President's office, or in smaller federal agencies for one year.  Applicants must have finished their undergraduate degree and be working in their chosen field.

  • White House Internship Program
    Provides unpaid opportunities to learn more about daily systems in the White House..  To apply, you must be a U.S. citizen and recent graduate (or current student) in a college or university.

Full Time Employment Links

  • 15 Tips for Acing Federal Job Applications (from JobWeb)
    Offers some helpful suggestions for successfully completing federal job applications.

  • Call To Serve
    Provides general information on federal jobs. Lists links of jobs in civil services. Extensive list of federal agencies.

  • Federal Government Jobs
    Comprehensive site that offers a search base for federal government jobs, advanced location matching technology, and a free job search results by email.

  • Federal Government Job Search
    Offers over 30,000 government job postings that are separated by federal, state or local government jobs. Also able to search by career field or location. Must be a member to the site in order to access most of the job openings.

  • Making the Difference
    Learn strategies for navigating a federal government job search, with information on jobs and internships.

  • Military to Federal Jobs Crosswalk
    Helps military personnel to translate their skills and expertise into federal jobs.

Agencies/Departments of Interest

Federal Resume and KSA Writing Tips


The following books are available for review in the CDO library.  Students are allowed to checkout books from the CDO library- visit us for details on our checkout policy.

  • Book of U.S. Government Jobs, by Dennis V. Damp
  • Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the U.S. Foreign Service, by Harry W. Kopp & Charles A. Gillespie
  • Career Opportunities in Politics, Government & Activism, by Joan Axelrod-Contrada
  • FBI Careers, by Thomas H. Ackerman
  • Federal Jobs: The Ultimate Guide, by Dana Morgan & Robert Goldenkoff
  • Federal Law Enforcement Careers, by Thomas H. Ackerman
  • Federal Resume Guidebook, by Kathryn Kraemer Troutman
  • Government Job Applications and Federal Resumes, edited by Anne McKinney
  • Government Job Finder, by Daniel Lauber
  • How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job, by Lily Whiteman
  • Government Jobs in America, by the editors of Government Job News
  • The Insider's Guide to Political Internships, edited by Grant Reeher & Mack Mariani
  • An Insider's Guide to Political Jobs in Washington, by William T. Endicott
  • Real People Working in Government, by Blythe Camenson
  • The Student's Federal Career Guide, by Kathryn Kraemer Troutman & Emily K. Troutman
  • Ten Steps to a Federal Job, by Kathryn Troutman
  • Washington Internships, by Deirdre Martinez, Ph.D.