• Career Center

  • Call to Serve

    OVERVIEW
    WHY CONSIDER A FEDERAL OPPORTUNITY?
    INTERNSHIPS
    APPLICATION PROCESS
    FEDERAL RESUME
    QUESTIONNAIRE OR KSA
    IMPORTANT WEBSITES  

    We are very happy to announce that Yeshiva University is a Call to Serve Member School. The addition of this program is a direct result of your feedback regarding wanting more information about internship and career opportunities that truly make a difference.

    Call to Serve is a joint effort of the Partnership for Public Service and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management with the goal of educating college students about the importance of a strong civil service and providing you with key information about federal jobs.

    Being a Call to Serve Member School means that YU is linked to a community of 670 other schools nationwide who have also made a commitment to bringing their students targeted programming about public service and Federal careers. Future programs you can expect to see include Federal agents speaking and holding information sessions on campus, panels of speakers working in the public service sector, and targeted seminars on the application process, among others.


    WHY CONSIDER A FEDERAL OPPORTUNITY?

    The Federal government is expanding its hiring with several hundred jobs becoming available in the next year alone. Working in the public service sector is rewarding, has great benefits and can bring a wonderful sense of job security in an unsure time. 

    Entry-level starting salaries are around $40,000, which is on par with many positions in the business sector and higher than many fields. This salary usually doubles within 3-5 years (depending on performance). In addition, student loan repayment is available up to $10,000 per year for up to 6 years.

    Federal jobs offer VERY flexible work schedules. Many government agencies run fairly independently and don’t have the red tape which people anticipate. This is especially true when it comes to flexible work arrangements, such as time off and working from home.

    The vast majority of jobs are NOT in the DC metro area, but spread across the US with 50,000 jobs abroad.

    The government is looking for majors/experience of all types. Just as an example, recent job postings asked for an economist, anthropologist and accountant!

    There are 1.9 million Federal employees. As of 2010 half of them are eligible to retire. Translation: many, many job opportunities are now (and will continue to become) available!


    INTERNSHIPS

    PATHWAYS PROGRAM

    The best way to enter the process for a federal opportunity is through the Pathways internship program, which provides talented individuals who are in school or who have recently received a degree with greater access to federal jobs and internships, as well as meaningful training, mentoring and career development opportunities. 

    - Internship Program

    The internship program offers current students with paid opportunities to work in federal agencies and explore different career paths. Upon successful completion of an internship, including 640 hours of work, participants will be eligible for conversion to full-time federal employment. Agencies may waive up to 320 hours of the work experience requirement for outstanding performers. 

    - Recent Graduates Program

    This is a dynamic, one-year developmental program designed for individuals who have received undergraduate or graduate degrees from qualifying educational institutions or programs. Candidates must apply to the Recent Graduates Program within two years of degree or certificate completion, with the exception of veterans, who have up to six years to apply due to military service obligations. Participants in the Recent Graduates Program will receive a minimum of 40 hours of training and professional development, complete an individual development plan and be assigned a mentor. Additionally, upon successful completion of the program, they will be eligible for conversion to full-time federal employment.

    For more information on these programs, visit the Office of Personnel Management.  


    APPLICATION PROCESS

    Students graduating with a Bachelor’s degree will apply for “GS-5” or “GS-7 jobs.” Most government jobs are assigned grade levels according to the experience of the applicant. GS-5 means you have a bachelor’s degree and no prior experience. GS-7 has the same requirements, but asks that you also have high academic achievement or demonstrated leadership. 

    You can search for jobs by region, agency, “series” (which is really job function and is closely related to academic major) or keyword. 

    The same networking, informational interview, and follow-up rules apply as to the private sector job search. See the job search section of our website for more information. 

    **Tip: if the opening and closing dates for a job posting are 7-11 days apart it generally means that the posting was created with a candidate already in mind. DO NOT bother applying. 


    FEDERAL RESUME

    Applicants do not submit a typical resume, but rather build one through the system on usajobs.gov.

    Tips for building the resume:

    The same basic components of a resume are required: personal info, education, experience, activities

    You can list unpaid work or activities in the experience section

    Applicants have control over the order in which experience is input, so it might make sense to place an older yet more relevant experience toward the top.

    Be as specific as possible using the same key words that are used in the job posting as this will help get your resume through the computer-based selection process. 

    Click here for a sample resume. 


    QUESTIONNAIRE OR KSA

    All jobs will ask for either a questionnaire or a KSA (which stands for Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) in lieu of a cover letter, and the job posting will specify which is needed. The questionnaire is very straightforward, and applicants MUST use keywords from the posting to describe their experiences. Don’t be modest on the questionnaire! As a candidate, you should really sell yourself and your experience. Use concrete examples and be sure to quantify. Usually, the questionnaire is filled out through a different website and the link will be provided for you. Specific instructions for filling it out can be found in the job posting on usajobs.gov. 

    KSA= Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (these are supposed to be phased out in the coming year)

    KSAS are short essay questions required for many of the applications with the federal government. Applicants will be given a list of KSAs and Core Competencies for the position. For example: excellent written and oral communication skills, leadership, and proficiency in another language. For each of these, the applicant will write a paragraph describing their competency in these skill areas. For each skill candidates should try to come up with more than one example of a time they have used/demonstrated that skill. They should devote 1-2 paragraphs per skill. 

    The recommended technique for writing KSAs is CCAR:

    Context: describe a specific problem you had to address

    Challenges: describe the factors that contributed to a particular challenge such as budget cuts, new legislation, institutional reform, new goals from upper management, etc.

    Action: describe the steps you took to solve the problem.

    Result: outcomes of your actions; where possible, use numbers to highlight your accomplishment. Think time and money!

    Each KSA should be no longer than one page in total. Be concise and always use keywords from the job announcement. If you are having a hard time writing the KSA, the Career Center has sample packets to help you get started.

    The process of applying for positions can take some time, so be sure to plan well in advance. Many federal positions can take months from the initial application to the time an offer is presented. Visit the Career Center for more information and to get started on your application.

    You can also review samples and learn more information about KSAs.


    IMPORTANT WEBSITES

    www.usajobs.gov
    The main job search and application website for Federal jobs. All open postings should be here, although some will also be on specific agency sites as well.

    www.makingthedifference.org
    The Partnership for Public Service's student website with info about agencies and major specific guides.

    www.usa.gov
    The government's official web page with an A-Z agency index.

    www.bestplacestowork.org
    The most comprehensive rating of employee satisfaction in the Fed government. Can search by demographics here to see where women, minorities, etc. rate their workplace the highest.

    www.wherethejobsare.org
    Identifies nearly 273,000 mission-critical employment opportunities that will be available in the federal government from October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2012.

     SCW Political Science Department Listing of Internship Websites 

     

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