Federal Employment Resources & Entry Points Explained
The Federal Government offers unique hiring paths to help hire individuals that represent our diverse society. Hiring paths include the general public of U.S. citizens, current or former Federal employees, veterans, military spouses, national guard and reserves, students and recent graduates, senior executives, individuals with a disability, family of overseas employees, Native Americans, and Peace Corps & AmeriCorps volunteers.
To find additional information about Federal Government job openings, internships, and fellowships, visit the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on USAJOBS.
The Federal employment and application process is different from the private sector in many regards, and can be highly specific and obscure to most first-time applicants. OPM shares helpful information clarifying common myths about the hiring process here. Take the time to learn more about the process of preparing a Federal resume and applying to Federal Jobs below to get started.
For additional support consider visiting GoGovernment, an initiative of the Partnership for Public Service that is designed to be your guide as you consider, apply, and secure federal employment. They’ll help you research federal agencies and government careers as well as provide practical tips for completing your application.
MAPS Mentorship and MAPS Academy programs aim to shed further light on the Federal application, employment, promotion, and advancement process. Contact our Professional Development Director to learn more or check out our Events for upcoming workshops .
Apart from career positions in the Federal government, applicants interested in serving in a political appointment in the Biden-Harris administration may apply for these non-career positions here.
International Development Implementing Organizations & Staffing Contractors
U.S. Foreign Assistance programs, while budgeted and coordinated through the U.S. Department of State, is implemented all over the world by a number of specialized Federal departments and agencies (such as USAID, CDC, DEA, etc). These agencies often rely on U.S. based contractors to serve as implementing organizations on the ground alongside Federal employees that manage, monitor, and evaluate the contracts.
In addition, due to the difficulty of getting congressional support for full-time permanent staff (hired via USAJOBS), many agencies rely on individual contractors or personal services contractors hired through so-called “body shops.” These firms recruit qualified candidates as part of their staffing contract bidding process and offer short to medium term contracts, usually of up to four years. Unlike with most project implementing organizations, contractors with these firms are mostly based in Washington, D.C. or at Federal offices across the 50 States.
Both project implementing organizations and staffing contractors list vacancies on most popular job search sites like Indeed, Devex, etc. Candidates may also contact departments or agencies they are interested in working for and asking if they have contractors supporting them, and then apply through those contractors or make sure they have your resume for future reference. This is a great way to get in the door and work directly with full-time permanent staff who may be hiring in the future. It is also a good way to get a security clearance. Finally, many implementing organizations also compete and execute staffing contracts for U.S. based contract positions.
If you or your firm wish to become a Federal contractor, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides this helpful guide.
Selected International Development Implementing Organizations
- Chemonics International
Personal Service Contractors (PSCs)
When a government agency needs work done but doesn’t need a full-time employee, it might negotiate a personal services contract. It can contract with a business, which assigns its staff to perform the work. Examples of a personal services contract with a government agency might be the military hiring a private security firm to protect American contractors working overseas, or USAID contracting with U.S. citizens abroad.
These contracts must follow government guidelines to avoid the agency violating civil service employment rules and regulations. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has consolidated all federal award information and currently available PSC opportunities here.
There are many opportunities to enter or develop your career in public service by way of fellowships. These worthwhile programs serve as entry points into government for professionals of almost all career tracks and levels of experience. MAPS has compiled and arranged a list of selected fellowships for the benefit of our members and the general public here.
United States Congress