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Working for America: Getting a Federal Job is Near Impossible

Updated on May 27, 2012

 President Obama wants America to get back to work!

Trillions of dollars have been infused into the system and filtered out amongst the hardest hit states with high unemployment. these are all great, lofty concepts and ideas. They are great sound bites and photo ops. It brings hope to the despair and may even help prevent needless suicides.

It is obvious that Obama nor most of the Senators have never even applied for a Federal job, you know, work for the US Government. If you have never worked for a Federal or State before, was never in the military, or are not married to a member of the military, your chances of getting a Federal job is close to nil. Even if you do qualify, odds are only a little better.


The Federal and State have something called Status Candidates. Simply put, there are about nine of them for the Feds. They cover a wide range of catagories that a job candidate MUST fit in to apply for the job they find on USAJOBS.GOV.  For example, there is one exceptional students with a degree and a 4.0 GPA, another is a spouse of an active duty person in the military, people with disabilities, former members of the armed services, etc. When a vacancy is open to “all sources” or "Public", it means anyone may apply. While there are no restrictions on the groups of candidates who may apply to these types of announcements, in most cases, U.S. citizenship is required. “Status applicants” refers to those individuals who are current or former Federal civilian employees who hold or held non-temporary appointments in the competitive service. These people can be reinstated in Federal service. If you have no prior Federal civilian service and are not eligible for any special appointing authority (you fit into one of the special status catagories), you may only be considered for announcements which are open to the public or all sources or U.S. citizens.

So, if you are have all the skills and education in the world on a specific job you find on USAJOBS.GOV, and it states: Status Candidates only, you cannot apply for it. If it states: Open to public or US citizens, you can apply for it.

The thing is, even if you fit into one of the status catagories, the competition is keen as there are a lot of people that fit into those status catagories for that one job. The situation is worse for the jobs open to the public. Now, anyone with the mininum experience who is a US citizen can apply. The odds are like winning the lottery. In a sense, the US Government by using the status catagories to weed out applicants is only hurting the economy worse, especially if an applicant is well qualified yet cannot apply for it because he has no Status. Temporary gigs with the Federal Gov are much easier to get than permanent positions. Temp jobs are usually not more than a year, no benefits.

At the State level, it is referred to as Civil Service. And like the Feds, it has its own similar categories to weed out applicants. Only those jobs open to the Public can be applied for if you do not fit into the civil service category. With the State, you take an exam, and even if you score 95%, you are probably not likely to get the job because that 95% score may be actually on the 4th tier level and on that tier, there are another 500 or 3000 with the SAME score! So, there is one job to be filled, you get the point. Even at the 110%, there may be 20 others. Unless your exam score puts you in the top 3 tiers for a State job you qualify for, odds are you will not get it or even get close.

It is all false hope. If you get a Federal or State job consider yourself VERY lucky. Another thing, if you do get the job, it seldom happens fast at the Fed level, you are talking months before you would start.

Apply for your job electronically. This is really a must. Federal jobs use different online job applications depending on the job. Some use the US Army job database, others, the Naval job database. You may have to re-apply to each of them.


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