Did you know that nearly every job you can think of can be found within the Federal workforce? With 461 Federal Agencies & Offices and more than 70,000 Federal positions in the Bay Area and many more throughout Northern & Central California, there’s a good chance you could find your current & future dream jobs within the Federal community! Check out this SFFEB LinkedIn post to find out how many Federal jobs are currently available in Northern & Central California.
Benefits of Federal Jobs & Careers
Federal employees enjoy a wide range of benefits. Some details may vary based upon local union agreements, agency administration of programs/laws, or by county/state. Check out the programs & regulations for the specifics:
The Federal pension divided in to two parts:
- Defined Benefit Plan: Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
- Defined Contribution Plan: Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) with matching contributions
A mission you can believe in & a workforce committed to serving our nation!
Opportunities in the Bay Area & Northern California
The Federal community is the largest employer in the Bay Area & throughout Northern California. Positions can be found within the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of our Government as well as with a number of independent agencies, boards, commissions, committees, and quasi-federal agencies which carry out the work of the Federal Government: https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies.
USAJobs.gov is the first place to look for Federal jobs as most job announcements & applications will start there. Some agencies will have either a secondary process or occasionally a separate process for announcing jobs & for job applicants. Be wary of any 3rd party recruiters charging you a fee or asking for your personal information. It is a Best Practice to set up alerts so that you can be notified of job openings which match your specifications.
Nearly every agency will typically directly advertise their public job announcements in several ways including USAJobs.Gov, Agency Job Boards, on social media, to College & University Career Services offices & Handshake, and through HR & recruitment offices. The SFFEB LinkedIn page will often ‘like’ & share Federal positions in the Bay Area & Northern California and promotes multi-agency Career & Hiring Fairs which typically are held multiple times every year.
Preparations: Resume, USAJobs Profile, and Interviews
Do you know which position or career path that you’d like to pursue? Federal service? Do you know what GS (or comparable) payscale and/or career level position you should pursue?
- CareerOneStop – The US Department of Labor’s website for career exploration, training, and jobs
- DOL – Match your skills with career options
- USAJobs – Match your skills with career options
- Pros and Cons to Federal Careers – (Go Government/Partnership for Public Service)
- Classification of Federal Occupations and Military Occupation Equivalents in the Civilian Service
- Meeting Job Level Qualifications, Classification Qualifications
- Pay and the General Schedule – (Go Government/Partnership for Public Service)
Do you know that Federal resumes require different and/or additional things as compared to non-Federal resumes? Did you know that many Federal resumes are more than 2 pages long?
- USAJobs resume writing video
- Create your Federal resume – (Go Government/Partnership for Public Service)
- Federal Resume Tips #1 and Federal Resume Tips #2
- USAJobs.gov – How to build a resume and How to create a resume
- USAJobs Guide #1 and USAJobs Guide #2
- Matching your Resume to USAJobs Job Announcements
After applying and waiting for the return call/email (as per your USAJobs profile preference), it is a good practice to start preparing for the interview stage. It is common for the Federal interview process to include more than one interview and most positions/agencies/offices will incorporate two interviews into their process.
- Making the Most of your Federal Interview – (US DOE)
- The STAR Method and The CCAR Method
- Interview Tips – (US DOL)
- The philosophy behind Structured Federal Interviews – (OPM)
- Tips for a phone interview – (GovLoop)
Understanding the Federal Hiring Process
- Applying for a Federal Job (Go Government/Partnership for Public Service)
- What to expect after you apply – (US DOL)
- Federal Hiring Process: FAQs
- Applicant Hiring Process Handout
Special Hiring Authorities & Programs
There are hundreds of programs that provide status, preference, or Special Hiring Authorities. Please find a list of various government programs (not all provide status, preference, or Special Hiring Authorities) as well as a broader discussion of these programs. Info sheets regarding some of the programs which provide status, preference, or Special Hiring Authorities are listed below.
- Pathways Program Factsheet, Pathways Internship Program Tutorial, and Pathways Recent Graduate Program Tutorial
- Tips for Applicants with Disabilities – (From the EEOC)
Background checks for Federal employment are designed to make sure each person hired to a government job is “reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States.” There are different types & levels of background checks & security clearances. Certain positions & agencies will require higher levels of background checks or security clearances. Regardless of background check level, specific reviews & questions may vary based upon position, duties & responsibilities, agencies, etc.
Some positions & agencies will allow new hires to start working with an interim background check (with the option to terminate employment with certain adverse findings), but some require a complete background check or security clearance before a start date is permissible.
While the standard background check often takes 1-3 months or 3-5 months (depending on regional workload) for the interim background check, there are several things which could cause a delay such as extensive overseas travel, extensive criminal history, bankruptcies, lying or hiding information on your resume/background check, or having unexplained gaps of time with no work or other responsibilities. Timing will vary, but complex situations which require a lot of follow up can take several months.
There are several positions & agencies who report that the complete background check or security clearance can take more than a year – you can ask an HR office or agency contact on what the current or expected time will look like for the position you are pursuing.
A more in depth discussion can be found at the Go Government/Partnership for Public Service website to help job seekers learn more about the process of pursuing a Federal career.
Info for College & University Deans and Career Services Professionals
Please contact us if you would like to be on our mailing list for Career & Hiring Fair announcements, collaborative opportunities, or to have awareness of other College-&-University-to-Federal-Hire pipeline activities in the Bay Area & Northern California.