Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Getting Started » How Are Federal Job Searches Di ...
How Are Federal Job Searches Different?

How Are Federal Job Searches Different?

Wondering how searching for a government job is different from searching for a job in the private sector? Here are answers to some of your most popular questions.

What should I expect to be different when searching for a federal job?

When you start, search for all jobs, because many job titles are different in government. In addition to searching Monster for jobs, search the government's official jobs Web site, USAJOBS. You'll learn where the jobs are, the agencies that are hiring, the salaries they pay, the duties of the job and the job titles. Spend some time to find jobs you're interested in. Then you can start thinking about writing your federal resume.

Wouldn't searching for all jobs give me too many listings?

You can refine your search by city, state and salary. If your degree is in accounting and you're interested in accounting, budget and finance, you can narrow your search, because those titles are available in government as they are in private industry. But if you're flexible or if you're not really sure of what your job title would be in government, the best way to search is by all jobs.

Can you give me some examples of job titles that are different in government?

One that's very important is "office manager." That's the job title in private industry, but in government the title is "administrative officer." Another title found almost exclusively in government is "program and management analyst." In private industry, the title would be "business analyst," "marketing analyst," "marketing specialist," "researcher," "project analyst," "writer/editor" or "program analyst".

I've been told that when you apply for a federal job, you have a pretty good idea of what it will pay, unlike in the private sector.

That's right. The salaries are posted on every announcement. The government has strict requirements for qualifications a person must have to earn a certain salary, so the question is, "How much money can I make in government?" not "How much do they pay?" If you want a human resources job, for example, you can read vacancy announcements to figure out what salary grade you'd earn based on your experience. Then, go to the government's pay scale, called the General Schedule, to find out what that salary grade pays, which varies depending on the cost of living in a given area.

What about the interview? Is it like a private-sector interview, or is it different?

It could be a phone interview, it could be one-on-one, or it could be with a panel of two or three people. The most popular format now is the behavioral interview, which relies on situational questions such as, "Can you give me an example or a time when you had to lead a team?" As in the private sector, you may be asked what your biggest weakness is or something else, but be prepared for interview questions about your experience. Interviews can be rigorous, so practice and prepare ahead of time.

Once the interview is over, how do I follow up? Does following up work?

In government, busy recruiters often appreciate an interview follow-up. It is worthwhile and always helpful if you send a thank-you letter to the person or people who interviewed you as well as to the HR specialist who coordinated the application. Those post-interview thank you notes do not come very often in government, so they stand out. Don't make it long -- five lines, max. Then two weeks later, contact the HR person who set up the appointment to find out if all the interviews are finished and whether someone has been selected.

Learn more about government careers.

Latest Jobs

Zimmerman's Auto Repair
Posted: 05/25/2015
Newville, PA, 17241
Posted: 05/25/2015
Clifton Park, NY, 12065
Akron Central Engraving
Posted: 05/25/2015
Akron, OH, 44312
QTI Group
Posted: 05/25/2015
Green Bay, WI
Michael Page USA
Posted: 05/25/2015
Hunters Creek Village, TX, 77056

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-203