How Do I Work for the Government?

Nicole Long

Finding work in the government requires a bit of persistence. Individuals hoping to work for the government should identify the available job opportunities, evaluate their skills, and seek out any additional qualifying education or skills that they may need. Once a candidate reaches a decision on the type of work they would like to do, he needs to view current openings and apply.

Candidates should evaluate their skills and educational background before applying to work for the government.
Candidates should evaluate their skills and educational background before applying to work for the government.

Governments on all levels hire individuals to help the government operate efficiently. A large percentage of the worldwide workforce is employed by various governmental agencies. Governments generally offer the same type of employment opportunities as one can find in the private sector, but government positions are often seen as more secure than private sector positions.

Individuals can find a myriad of positions when looking to work for the government. This ranges from administrative positions, such as administrative assistants, to highly skilled positions, such as accountants and lawyers. Each branch of government and agency will have some similar offerings, while others will be very specialized.

Identifying potential career paths is a good starting point for someone looking to work for the government. Research on each agency or branch of the government can uncover a number of possibilities. Candidates should take some time to evaluate the requirements of each position as well as the general requirements for government work in their respective locales. For instance, some government work may require candidates to be citizens or of a specific age before they can apply for work.

Candidates should evaluate their skills and educational background before applying to work for the government. Some positions may require the minimum of high school diploma, while others will require post-secondary education, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Those able to find an entry-level position as an administrative assistant should consider the possibility of continuing education while employed by the government to meet their future career goals. Others may choose to identify their desired position and work towards obtaining the desired education and skills before applying.

Gaining employment with a governmental agency typically requires a candidate to follow a pre-determined process. This process allows government agencies to identify the best candidate for the positions. After an initial application, several interviews may take place to help narrow the field. Preparing ahead of time by researching the requirements of the position and understanding the important of the position to the overall operation of the government is important when looking to land a government job. Candidates should also be ready and willing to submit to pre-employment drug screening, background checks, and reference checks.

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Discussion Comments


@Melonlity -- A great thing about government jobs is the benefits are great. I am talking about health insurance, pension plans and major job security (the government probably isn't going out of business any time soon).

Could you make more in the private sector? Absolutely. But that is never guaranteed. A lot of people seek jobs in government because they want that job security.


@Vincenzo -- The problem with that people can make significantly more in the private sector than they can with the government. You trade the ability to make a lot of money for security. That is why government jobs are often attractive to people relatively new to the workforce, but they tend to go into the private sector after getting some experience.

I know a lot of people move from the private sector to the government, but that traffic moves the opposite way, too. You don't always have to get noticed in a private sector job to wind up in the government. A lot of people start their careers with the government because they already have the skills and they want to establish their careers.


Getting a government job is rough and most of the people I know who have gotten one have kind of slid into the position. What does that mean? I know one woman who was a newspaper reporter for years and was hired as a public relations person for a government agency. It seems some individuals with that agency were impressed with her work and then sought her out.

What I am saying is that she developed a skill in the private sector that was attractive to some officials at a government agency and that landed her a job.

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