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Federal Government Employment

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Some elements of searching for a federal government job or experience during college are the same as searching for a job or internship in the private for-profit and non-profit sectors. Some elements are different. Here we offer you advising, workshops, information, and resources specific to the federal employment search.


Advising and workshops

Federal jobs by college major

Federal agencies | VT grads first jobs

Locations of federal jobs

Federal jobs posted

Volunteering, internships, entry-level jobs

Federal recruitment on campus

Federal resumes and how to apply

Security clearances

GS Pay Scale


Advising and workshops

For advising on seeking federal jobs and internships, please make an advising appointment. When you call, indicate that you would like assistance with a federal search. We have advisors with training in the federal job search process, including completion of training for the Federal Advisor Certificate Program through the Partnership for Public Service.

Each semester we offer workshops, including webinars and guests speakers, on federal job search topics. For the webinars, if you are not able to attend, we can send you the webinar(s) after the event(s), to view at your convenience! See the most recent semester federal workshops for details.


Federal jobs by college major and interests

Federal Jobs by College Major [pdf on]

Federal Occupations by College Major [on]
Includes four-digit serious number for jobs; you can use these codes to search in USAJobs.

In Career Services Career Resource Center are Federal Academic Quick Guides (and other publications and books related to federal opportunties); students are welcome to visit and view these during office hours.

Find your fit in the federal government [on Go]
Select "browse information by field" for a dropdown of fields; these take you to agencies with employees in those fields, positions that exist in those fields, and "job series codes" you can use to search for jobs.
Fields include: Admin services, creative arts, biological and environmental sciences, business and finance, education, engineering, foreign service, info technology and computer science, legal, mathematics, medical and public health, physcial sciences, security and protection, social sciences, transportation.

Handbooks to find federal occupations [on]
Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families
Gives numbers/codes you can use to search for types of jobs.


Federal agencies | VT grads' first jobs with federal government

View all federal agencies and departments:
A-Z index of U.S. government departments and agencies on

If you want to know which federal agencies and departments have been reported by Virginia Tech grads as their first employers after graduation, you can view this in the Post-Graduation Report. This is based on our survey of all grads to learn their FIRST job or grad/prof school destination.

In the Post-Graduation Report > View employers, job titles, locations.
- SORT on "Employing Organization" heading
- Scroll down to "U.S." to see federal employers reported by grads.
For each graduate who responded to the survey, you'll see undergrad major, employing organization, job title, and location (if the graduate provided that info in the survey).


Locations of federal jobs

Go Government > FAQs discusses locations of federal jobs.

Percentage of Federal Jobs by Region on Making the View larger version.

9% of federal jobs are in the Washington, DC, metro area,
according to Go


Federal jobs posted

.gov for students and new grads: > Pathways to federal careers, for students and recents graduates

VT-exclusive resource for our students:

In one place, find jobs from many sources, including USAjobs, agency websites, and more; includes private sector jobs also.

.com sources:


Federal Jobs ( Jobs

Washington > Jobs > Government and Public Service


Volunteering, internships, and entry-level jobs:

Students and entry-level job seekers [on Go]
About entry-level and internship programs, including Pathways Program, Internship Program, Recent Graduates Program, Presidential Management Fellows Program, volunteering, and more.
Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn about "other internship programs," including:
- Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Internship Program [HNIP]
- National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education Internship Program [NAFEO]
- Washington Internships for Native Students [WINS]
- Washington Center for Internships and Academic Affairs

Volunteering [on]

How to search for federal jobs and internships [on Go]

Partnership for Public Service |
Articles and information about working for the federal government.

Best places to in the federal government
Includes rankings by agency size, demographics, occupations, and more.

Do federal agencies recruit on our campus?

Yes; some do.
Some post jobs.
Some recruit through On-Campus Interviewing.
Some attend career fairs.
Some may do a combination of these recruiting methods.

Hokies4Hire job posting is open all year for employers to post jobs and for Virginia Tech students to view and apply for jobs. Go to Hokies4Hire and the On-Campus Interviewing Program to learn more.

On-Campus Interviewing Program runs during fall semester (for 10 weeks) and spring semester (for eight weeks) with:
(1) advance deadlines for students to apply for jobs, and
(2) advance sign up for interviews by students who are selected by the employer.
There are many opportunities! Go to Hokies4Hire and the On-Campus Interviewing Program to learn more.

Job | career fairs:
There are many job and career fairs on the VT campus each year. Each one is different.
Each is typically a one-day or two-day event sponsored by a college, department, or student group.
Career Services sponsors Fall Connection job fair (October) and Spring Connection job fair (February). These fairs are open to employers seeking students in any major at Virginia Tech.
The majority of the fairs are held in September, October, February and March.
At almost every fair there could be federal agencies among the employers in attendance. View the website of each individual career/job fair to learn which employers will be attending. Research employers in advance so you can present yourself as a prepared candidate. (Saying, "hi, what does your agency do?" won't be an effective approach.)
Avoid using the generic term "companies" to refer to employers; government agencies are not companies.
Employers at fairs may require you to apply online to officially be a job candidate; it is still valuable to take the opportunity to meet recruiters in person to learn more and to present yourself effectively.
Some fairs conduct next-day interviews scheduled during the fair; these are not the same as the On-Campus Interviewing Program described above. So don't overlook either; do take advantage of both!


Federal resumes, how to apply, other tips

Resumes written for federal jobs require different information and presentation than is expected on a resume for the private sector; expectations can vary by agency.


Go Government > federal resume writing tips

Go Government > create your federal resume > Login for resume builder > video: Writing your federal resume

Sample federal resume for fictional Virginia Tech junior: MS Word | PDF

USA Jobs videos on federal job search.


Security clearances

Many jobs in the federal government require some sort of security clearance for employees once they are hired. A security clearance is a license issued by the government to authorize an employee to handle classified or top secret information that relates to national security.

You can only get a security clearance by being hired by government, hired by military, or hired by a government contractor. A student cannot initiate this process in advance. However, you can organize information that will be requested, including: all past residential addresses (domestic and abroad); addresses and phone numbers for character witnesses; and addresses and phone numbers for individuals who can confirm each of your past and current residences (no one individual can serve in more than one capacity of residence confirmation or character witness).

To obtain security clearance, an interested applicant must first apply for a job that requires clearance. Once hired, the employer will begin the clearance process by submitting paperwork to the Defense Security Service where a background check is initiated on the employee. The background check typically includes citizenship verification, fingerprinting, and a National Security Questionnaire. After these steps, the government then runs credit checks, medical record checks, etc. The government then checks for illegal drug use and investigates family and friend relationships, especially those relationships with foreign citizens. Once all personal information is gathered to the government’s satisfaction, the prospective employee will then be interviewed, and possibly issued a polygraph test. Upon completion, clearance is either granted or denied.

The entire security clearance process can take from a number of months to longer than a year, depending on the level of clearance and other factors. For your security clearance process, it is important to be honest and thorough in providing requested information. Clearances require periodic reinvestigation after one is employed. provides some FAQs about security clearances.

If you have a security clearance from prior employment, include that information on your resume.


GS (General Schedule) Pay Scale

Typically, a new graduate with a bachelor’s degree and no previous experience will start around the GS-5 level, while a graduate with a master’s degree can expect to start around the GS-9 level.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management > Salaries and Wages shows:

> Locality pay area definitions

> Locality pay tables

[Note if calendar year is part of the URL, sometimes you can change it to view a different year.]



Fall 2015 federal events

Spr 2016 federal events


Alumnus note:

Chris Ramos, 2012 VT graduate, was our federal student ambassador to help VT students learn about federal internships & jobs. More about his partnership with Career Services.