Dream jobs come in all shapes and sizes, from working in an indie bookstore to managing a cat cafe. But in these tricky economic times, there's something to be said for job security — and a pension. Federal government jobs offer both, but breaking in can be tough. 

Here are three tips to help you land a job with the federal government. 

1. Take advantage of federal internships and jobs for current students, recent graduates, and those with an advanced degree.

The Internship Program is designed to provide current university students with opportunities to work in agencies and explore federal careers while getting paid for the work performed. Students who complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. 

USAJOBS has a federal internship portal listing current internships. Many of the opportunities align with degrees offered by CSU Global, including computer science, human resource administration, and financial auditing.

For inspiration, check out the story of CSU Global alumna Jamie Lambert and learn about the U.S. Digital Corps. This initiative leverages the power of early-career technologists to tackle pressing national issues.  

2. Craft a solid resume aligned with federal job announcements.

Every industry has its unique language, and the federal government is no exception. A resume tailored for a technology company might be totally unsuitable for a government role, even if you meet all the job requirements. 

The resume builder on USAJobs can be a valuable tool to help you structure your resume effectively for federal applications. To ensure your resume aligns with each specific job announcement, consider the following strategies:  

  • Incorporate keywords: Use keywords from the announcement to highlight your skills and experience.
  • Complete every single section: Leave no field blank on the resume builder. Meticulously filling in each section increases your chances of making it past automated systems and into the hands of hiring managers. 
  • Set up notifications: Sign up for notifications to stay informed about future job openings that match your criteria. You can create and save up to 10 searches and sign up to receive daily, weekly, or monthly email notifications. 

CSU Global offers complimentary career navigation services to help students and alumni reach their professional goals, including resume development and interviewing preparation. 

“CSU Global offers a wide array of self-help and personalized career-focused resources to meet our diverse student population where they are in their career journey,” said Jerid Counterman, interim assistant VP of student achievement and services.

It’s also a good idea to check with the USAJOBS events page for online workshops that provide an understanding of the nuances of federal hiring and for job fair information. 

3. Leverage networking, and maybe set your sights more local. 

Connecting with individuals already working in federal government positions can provide valuable insights and increase your chances of landing a job. What you’ll probably learn is that while breaking into a federal job can be time-consuming and challenging, it can be worth it in the end. 

Having said that, city and county jobs also typically offer pensions and decent job stability, and they might be quite a bit easier to get through the application process. You might want to bookmark the job listing page of the International City/County Management Association if you're interested in administrative or managerial jobs. Most states have a “league of cities” type organization, such as the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, which list all levels of positions. You can find yours and see what’s available. 

Bottom line — get curious about the people in your world — what do your neighbors do for a living? How did Uncle Bob get that cushy county job? If your world is lacking in pension-holding resources and you’re connected with CSU Global, make use of Global Connect. Its main goal is to connect the university’s community of  students, recent graduates, and alumni with each other for mentorship, unique job opportunities, and resources.