College is a period full of opportunities. Young people can use their undergraduate years to refine whatever skills they need for their dream job, especially if they’re pursuing federal employment after college. These are a few things current students should consider while in school and steps they can take after graduating to secure the job they want.
1. Start With an Internship
Companies look for college students when they post available internships. They seek people who want college credit or may become full-time employees after graduation. Universities often partner with local businesses to make that search easier for business owners and students.
Young people can work with employment offices on their campus to find opportunities that are only open to students. They’ll have less competition to secure roles, leading to more experience on their resumes before graduation.
2. Look for Student Jobs
There are many jobs available to students in addition to internships. They guarantee an hourly wage so students can continue attending classes while paying their bills. They also provide invaluable professional experience in whatever field a student wants to pursue after college. Student jobs on-campus may include housing assistance as well.
Federal and state-government roles may be open to students with work experience, depending on the job’s responsibilities. Students can look for entry-level positions near their campus to find out more.
3. Pick the Right Degree
Careers require specific academic training from recent graduates. Federal employment after college is no different. Current students should reflect on their chosen degree or change educational paths to align their studies with recommended degrees like:
- Computer science
- Political science
- Business administration
Someone who wants to shape federal policy may receive better training with an economics degree rather than studying computer science. The reverse is true for a student who wants a career as a cybersecurity specialist with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Students should consider how they want to use their skills or interests to match their dream job with the best degree.
4. Research Each Branch
When current college students consider where to apply after graduation, they should spend some time researching jobs within each branch of the federal government. Their interest may push them toward legal cases within the judicial branch, while their passion for helping underserved communities could point them toward the legislative branch. Every moment spent weighing options with interests will serve curious students well.
5. Consider the Recent Graduates Program
Many young people don’t know what they want to do with their careers until closer to graduation or even walking across the stage. Anyone worried about picking the wrong job under a time crunch can consider the federal Recent Graduates Program.
Graduates from qualifying educational institutions who received their diplomas less than two years ago can apply for federal training and employment through the program. If someone’s interested and still a student, they can apply for a paid internship with the Internship Program for the same opportunities.
6. Double-Check Personal History
Any federal job will come with an extensive employment process. Candidates will need excellent recommendations from previous jobs and no criminal history. They also need to pass financial background checks so they aren’t at risk of becoming compromised by bribes.
Some positions will also require security clearances, intelligence tests, physical exams and other related screenings. Becoming federally employed is a much longer process than starting a traditional job, but it’s easier if students start preparing while still in school.
Start Pursuing Federal Employment After College
Pursuing federal employment after college is an option, even if someone is unsure about what they want to do as a career. Taking steps like researching roles, starting internships and considering interests will make the process more manageable from start to finish.