How easy is it to get a government job?

BigToneBigTone Member Posts: 283
Obviously I'm looking forward, I really enjoy the company I'm at but down the road I know its not somewhere I want to be long term. I'm located in the chicago area. I've heard a lot of great things about government positions.

I'm just wondering what kind of experience do you really need to get a job with the government, I'm not really sure how my current work experience translates into GS-7,9,1000 etc.

Is the applicant pool huge? From the limited number of IT jobs on usajobs, at least in the chicago area right now, it seems like a bunch of people are all trying to get that one needle in the haystack.

That and any other knowledge you guys can shoot out I'd appreciate.


  • cdad2000cdad2000 Member Posts: 323
    Big Tone,

    I know the gov't likes candidates with Cert's. The pay may not be great, but u have great benefits. The best advice I can give you is "apply" and get to the back of the line. They will call maybe 1 or 2 yrs from now, but you have to apply. Good luck amigo
  • famosbrownfamosbrown Member Posts: 637
    I have to disagree with the government liking certs. I only disagree because the OP mentioned GS levels which are Federal positions.

    Federal Governement love candidates with degrees. Each government agency have numbers and stats they try to achieve for people with 2 year, 4 year, and higher level degrees. The money is great in my opinion...check out other threads on the forum, and the pay isn't a GS-Pay scale. Most I.T. personnel get paid under a special pay rate for the 2210 series, so say a GS9 step 6 would be over doesn't stop there becuase GS9 is just a stop on the way up.

    The majority of the government I.T. jobs I've seen are developers/programmers. A lot of the infrastructure stuff are usually contracted desk, sys/net admin, etc. There are a few government agencies who have infrastructure type jobs opening up, but a lot of these positions are still filled as noone wants to leave or retire yet. Money is GREAT for the level of work at the GS level. Government contracting is different in my opinion. Contractors usually lead to a GS position if you do well.

    How do you get a job? Apply, apply, apply. Some Federal Governemnt agencies offer internship programs where they take 4 year degree graduates and mold them for 2-3 years to become a leader and learn many different areas of expertise. During this time, as long as you don't commit a felony, you are automatically advanced. They are degree hunting. There is also some things a lot of people do not know on the outside...a lot of jobs come open, but not released to the public through USAJobs. The hiring manager has the requisition, but gets it filled without even releasing it to the public...depending ont he requisition. If the requisition is required to go public, that doesn't mean they already don't know who they want. Some jobs are only for status candidates meaning current Federal employees, and some require you to be at least 10 point preference veteran or at least 30% Disabled Vet to qualify. For the most part, contractors or family members find about the jobs internally and usually fill them before the are even released.

    The candidate pool is may be in Chicago, but someone in Maryland might want to move to Chicago and fill that position. They might have more experience than you or could be a status candidate. Someone like me might have 5 point or 10 point Vet preference and get that extra nudge. Nonetheless, once you are in, you are in. Experiencing translating into the GS-7 or GS 9 levels is based on the requisition, HR, and the hiring manager. If you have 10 years of I.T. experience, and they want someone with a Master degree...that is what they want, and you might not make it to the Hiring Manager's desk that may want you based on your skills. So many may have years of experience doing a particular job, but the Hiring Manager may feel that you don't have enough in what they are looking for. Federal Government has tons of applicants so they usually aren't in the position to just settle in the I.T. selection.

    I hope I answered some of your just have to apply and get some stuff on the paper, so at least you can get the hits on the resume scanners and get to the Hiring Managers desk.
    B.S.B.A. (Management Information Systems)
    M.B.A. (Technology Management)
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    Worked in a federal agency, and I completely agree. They LOVE degrees. ANY degree often will do. I got hired over a bunch of other people because I had a college degree and they didn't, and I didn't hide the fact it was a Master's Degree in Education. They hired another guy for the job who simply had an Associate's Degree, and he was I kid you not one dumbest person I've ever met while working in IT. For example, took down payroll print server for 2 hours on payday of all days, watched me fix it, but still went to lunch for an hour instead of sticking around to explain to management what happened, and...wait for it...didn't bother to take his cell phone or gov't issued pager with him! Needless to say, he didn't last.

    Certs also help, though.

    However, the other biggie are criteria for any kind of government clearances. Even if the agency doesn't require a clearance, they still check the things that are checked should you get a clearance. No criminal record, good credit reports, no outstanding debts (stuff that would typically show on a credit report, etc.), US citizen, no history of drug abuse, squeaky clean past.
    Good luck to all!
  • phantasmphantasm Member Posts: 995
    Often times, the word easy and government job don't belong in the same sentence. lol. There's usally a waiting list, and don't forget the Veteran Preference.
    "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus
  • no limitno limit Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I don't know how it is in your state, here in California you have to take an exam for a certain state gov't position. If you happen to get a passing score, you'll be put on a list and then might get sent an employment inquiry. Obviously, the higher you score, the higher up you are on the list and job vacancies get offered to you first. You'll get additional points on your score just for being a veteran.
  • NetstudentNetstudent Member Posts: 1,693 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Getting a good job is never "easy". Whether it's Gov. or not.
    There is no place like BUT is my away from!
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 12,991 Admin
    Don't forget about city, county, and state government jobs. Look on the respective Human Resources Web sites for the jobs open to non-government employees (sometimes called Open Competitive Examinations):

    City of Chicago
    Cook County
    State of Illinois
  • Darthn3ssDarthn3ss Member Posts: 1,096
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    They hired another guy for the job who simply had an Associate's Degree, and he was I kid you not one dumbest person I've ever met while working in IT.
    Thanks for inspiring the confidence i'll need to finish getting my associates.
    Fantastic. The project manager is inspired.

    In Progress: 70-640, 70-685
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    The point of me mentioning that he simply had an Associate's Degree was that he had no real experience in IT, no technical knowledge of AD/Windows, etc. He literally had an Associates Degree and that's it, period. The dude lucked out and got to tag along for official Microsoft Advanced Active Directory Troubleshooting training for a week on his third week on the job. This was like everything you ever wanted to know about AD. He came back from that, and two weeks later was talking to the manager about our AD backup domain controllers. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Nothing wrong with Associates Degrees. There was just something horribly wrong with him!
    Good luck to all!
  • SnafuRacerSnafuRacer Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    However, the other biggie are criteria for any kind of government clearances. Even if the agency doesn't require a clearance, they still check the things that are checked should you get a clearance. No criminal record, good credit reports, no outstanding debts (stuff that would typically show on a credit report, etc.), US citizen, no history of drug abuse, squeaky clean past.

    That's something that you have to "worry"/care about. I worked for a while in San Diego with EDS as tech support for the Navy's tech support stuff. Many guys were let go because they didn't qualify to get a security clearance thus not able to service SIPRNET or any part of the secure side of the network. They also hired some dumb people too who didn't have any business being there (about a third seemed to be studying for their real estate license rather than something tech related). Perseverance is the name of the game with gov jobs I guess :)
  • aidan80aidan80 Member Posts: 147
    I don't know about Federal Government jobs as I'm not a US Citizen but I did manage to find my first job here in the US with a County Government but not in IT. I married my wife, a US Citizen who also works for another Government agency.. I don't know if that helped or not? I did work indirectly for the Government back home as an IT person.

    My first Government interview for an IT position.. all they were interested in was my current status as a citizen/resident. I believe they hired someone else over me as they where a citizen. This was in a County Government not Federal! Turns out that practice is actually illegal (as far as I'm aware) pity I didn't know at the time...

    I ended up getting my next interview by the same County Government but this time in a different department (not IT). I ended up getting hired in part because the manager hiring understood what it's like to be in another country and starting out and in part because of my IT experience from back home. I'm currently hoping they will move me into an IT position within the Dept as they appear to need a dedicated on site IT person. They also appear to have lots of issues with the IT dept as a whole.

    I applied at City level and got 1 thanks but no thanks in the mail, the rest ignored me! My last IT interview with a Government dept the interviewers basically told me that I was up against many over qualified people due to work drying up. I didn't get it but I'm glad I made the interview list at County Gov level again!

    It's not easy getting a job let alone a Government job! It's even harder getting a job as an immigrant with a shiny new Green Card (while the illegals were protesting!!) and no US work experience. I got very lucky (no charms involved!) first time around and could use this as a stepping stone up and away!! Benefits are good, annual days, sick time, overtime, paid time off for Christmas and other holidays.
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