Management Fellows Aren't the Only Ones Who Need Help Finding Federal Jobs

Guide aims to assist all students and recent grads.

Despite the federal government’s most recent efforts to overhaul the Presidential Management Fellows program and other programs designed to give agencies more flexibility in hiring students and recent graduates, many of these young applicants are still having a difficult time getting a government job.

That’s why the Robertson Foundation for Government and GovLoop again teamed up to create a new guide for graduate students who want to pursue a government career but may not have been selected as a PMF. In 2012, for example, 9,000 graduate students applied for only 628 available jobs in the PMF program. 

“That leaves over 8,000 smart, young, passionate folks who would be a great asset to our government, and who have an obvious interest in a public sector career, with no clear direction where to turn next,” said Steve Ressler, founder of GovLoop. “We found that many people -- not just PMF applicants -- have a hard time understanding USAJOBS and other hiring and fellowship programs.”

The new guide -- “Getting Into Government: A Guide for High Achievers” -- provides information and advice from more than a dozen career experts as well as current government employees who know how to navigate the federal application process. It provides a step-by-step walk-through of setting up a job search on USAJOBS and also provides information on what happens to resumes once they’ve been submitted to an agency. 

This effort is a follow-up to, launched last year by GovLoop and the Robertson Foundation to help prospective PMFs to navigate the application, interview and job placement processes. The online resource has had 1,750 guide downloads and 65,000 page views since its launch.

The federal government last spring rolled out the new Pathways programs, which offer agencies more flexibility in hiring students in high school, undergraduate or graduate programs, as well as recent graduates. Once of the Pathways tracks beefs up the PMF program by expanding the eligibility window for applicants and making it more student friendly by aligning it with academic calendars. The new Pathways programs have been called out specifically as an excellent resource in helping agencies recruit IT workers. 

Still, despite the government’s best efforts to reach and recruit the younger generation, there is still a need for assisting students and graduates beyond programs like PMF. 

“We know that when we attract more high achievers into public sector careers, everyone benefits,” said Katherine Ernst, president of the Robertson Foundation. “But we also know that navigating a complex, bureaucratic federal hiring process presents its own set of challenges.” 

Are you a student or recent graduate pursuing a government career? Has the government made the process any easier through efforts like the Pathways programs, or do challenges/barriers still remain?