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How to Find Government Jobs Online

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United States Capitol dome Peter Gridley/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Finding government jobs online is easy if you know where to look. There are countless websites that pull in information from official sites and look as though they are genuine government sites. These sites are created by professional associations, companies that government agencies have contracted with to post jobs and companies or individuals simply trying to make money from website visitors viewing or clicking on advertising. You do not need any of these ancillary sites if you can navigate to the official sites without them.

The sites run by professional associations are typically reliable and can take you to the official job postings in one click. As for the sites run by companies or individuals, it is harder to tell whether they are legitimate.

Government organizations are required to advertise jobs that are open to the public. This advertisement can be as minimal as uploading the job posting to the organization’s website and leaving it up for a predetermined period of time. Anyone who is interested in applying must have the same opportunity to apply as anyone else.

Jobs that are only open to current employees of the organization must be advertised to the organization’s workforce but not to the public. Such jobs may include positions that supervise a highly specialized group where the new manager must have knowledge, skills or abilities that only someone currently working in that group would have. If someone outside the organization could do the job just as well as someone inside the organization, the job should be posted externally so that both internal and external candidates have the same chance to apply.

Finding Federal Government Jobs

All civil services jobs with the US government are posted on USAJobs. Anyone can search for jobs without setting up an account. However, website users must set up an account to apply for jobs. Creating an account is simple, and it requires a minimal amount of personal information.

Much more information is required, of course, to apply for a job. Once a person’s information is loaded in the system, that person can use the same information over and over to apply for federal jobs. More often than not, an applicant would customize their information for each job posting.

USAJobs is maintained by the Office of Personnel Management. Federal agencies are free to post job information on their own websites, but they must post jobs on USAJobs.

Finding State Government Jobs

Just like the federal government, each US state has its own central website for job postings. Job boards for all 50 states allow you to see postings across the various agencies within the state. As a convenience to applicants most states have a job application form that can be used with most if not all agencies within the state. Applicants can keep a master application and tweak it to fit each position they apply for.

Finding Local Government Jobs

There is no single place to find local government jobs. If you want to work in local government, professional association websites can be helpful, especially if you are not limiting your job search geographically. Look for state or regional chapters of professional associations in your field or in local government generally, such as the International City/County Management Association.

If you are interested in a particular city, county, school district or other local government, your best option is to go to the organization’s website to find their job postings. If you apply to more than one organization, you will almost certainly have to fill out a different application form for each entity. This can be frustrating, but it is necessary if you want to give yourself the best chance of landing a local government job.

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