There has never been a more important time to work in government. State and local governments need technologists now, more than ever, to help them solve some of our biggest challenges. As you continue exploring our curated list of government jobs, use this guide to learn from past applicants and current government employees on what you can expect during the government hiring process.
Government job portals are each constructed, managed, and maintained differently. As you sift through opportunities that might be a good fit for you, you might notice that the application requirements vary. The instructions for formatting and inputting your resume might also be different. Remind yourself that every situation is different and the rigid instructions listed are to promote equitable and unbiased hiring practices.
It is common for your application to have to pass through multiple departments and review panels before you can move to the next step. This thorough process, combined with the fact that government departments rarely have dedicated recruiting teams, can cause hiring timelines to be much longer than in the private sector. Remind yourself that this delay is not a reflection on your qualifications or background.
Some departments communicate primarily through canned responses or public sector terminology that abides by fair and impartial hiring practices, but may be unfamiliar to you. You may receive an email or a letter that seems noncommittal and difficult to understand. Be prepared for this and recognize that public sector communication can be a learned skill.
Depending on the role you applied for, you might be asked to submit additional materials and/or fill out additional forms. Again, use this as an opportunity to learn how to best navigate the system and gather insight into what it will be like to work in public service.
Some roles will require a multiple-choice or written examination as part of your application process. These examinations are intended to give an unbiased comparison of different candidates’ abilities, and are often a very important factor in hiring decisions.
Congratulations, you’ve been offered the position! At this stage, it is common for you to have to complete background checks, fingerprinting, and/or credit checks. Everyone who works in public service has gone through some type of standard screening. Remind yourself that this requirement is not done to unearth your past, but rather to protect their future.