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Despite Sequestration, Government's Still Hiring. So How Do We Help People Get Hired?

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Is government still hiring? The short answer is "Yes."

Last week I was quoted in an article that appeared here on the Huffington Post in which the author indicated that "nearly 2,200 job listings available to the public were posted on USAJobs.gov, the federal government's recruiting site. Add in new postings open only to current or former federal workers...and the number of new openings jumps to more than 4,600."

Every week, I review and analyze dozens of government jobs each week to pick the "Top 10" in several typical government positions -- from program analysts to public affairs to information technology -- from USAJOBS data for our GovLoop Jobs site. What I have found is that the numbers during the sequester pretty much align with the averages over the last six months. While the majority of openings are still at the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, there are a significant number of opportunities in other agencies as well such as Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and National Institute of Health.

Not only is government still hiring, but candidates are clamoring to launch and advance their public service careers. As one concrete example, GovLoop recently held a virtual career fair where over 6,000 people registered to learn about getting a government job. The problem is that potential public servants are confused about the application process. In a live chat during the event, I received over 100 questions -- many of which were about USAJOBS and the unique government language used in vacancy announcements.

Knowing that one of the major hurdles to getting hired is simply navigating the government hiring process, GovLoop recently partnered with the Robertson Foundation for Government to create a comprehensive resource for promising public sector prospects to get into government positions. Our new Getting Into Government Guide for High Achievers is a blend of succinct information and anecdotal insight from more than a dozen top career experts as well as current government employees who know how to navigate the cumbersome government application process. From a step-by-step walkthrough of setting up a USAJOBS search to a behind-the-scenes look at what happens to resumes once they're submitted, our guide demystifies the process and equips job seekers to launch a career in the public sector.

For instance, Doris Tirone, Human Resources Specialist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, told us she doesn't "recommend that people search for a specific job title unless they are absolutely certain they want to do one kind of work. The reason for that is because there are so many jobs in the federal government with overlapping responsibilities for which individuals possess skill sets that might qualify them for those job titles."

By breaking down special hiring programs, grade and series terms, the application review process, government resumes, and proactive network building, we are confident that this guide will assist people in finding their niche in the public sector. For example, did you know that not all government jobs are on USAJOBS? Or that in addition to the U.S. Foreign Service, there is also a Foreign Agriculture Service, a Commercial Foreign Service, and even a USAID Foreign Service? Or that there are more than 10 times the number of IT job vacancies in government than public affairs openings.

For example, Katherine Ernst, President of Robertson Foundation for Government noted, "We know that when we attract more high achievers into public sector careers, everyone benefits. But we also know that navigating a complex, bureaucratic federal hiring process presents its own set of challenges."

While concerns around hiring during sequestration and budget cuts are realistic, the government will always need smart, passionate people. Together, GovLoop and Robertson Foundation for Government are determined to help highly skilled, qualified people to serve our nation through a public sector career and hope that this guide will help demystify the process.