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:

Healthcare Insurance, Life Insurance, Dental and Vision Insurance, Long-Term Care Insurance, Other insurance products, and Flexible Spending Accounts

The Federal pension divided in to two parts:

  1. Defined Benefit Plan: Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
  2. Defined Contribution Plan: Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) with matching contributions

Several Leave Programs, Flexible Work Schedules, and Federal Holidays

Work/Life Balance Programs, Employee Assistance Programs, Elder Care Workplace Flexibilities, and Leave to Care for Family Members

 Child Care Subsidies and Child Care Workplace Flexibilities

Career & Personal Development Programs (IDP/PDP – Agencies have $ set aside for your development)

Pay equity via standardized Pay Schedules

Transit/Commuter Benefits

Reasonable Accommodations

Student Loan repayment

 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?

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?

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.

Understanding the Federal Hiring Process

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.

Background Checks

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.

Other Resources