The outsider’s perception of government work is drab. Those of us who don’t work in government have a stereotypical view of “civil service jobs” – the very phrase is boring. We picture large rooms full of cubicles, dim and noisy fluorescent lighting, and bureaucrats dressed in white shirts or conservative business attire. Computer screens glow dimly in each workspace. Numbers are crunched. Everyone wears glasses. An exciting week involves checking out an aging Ford Taurus from the motor pool and going TDY.
If you like that sort of thing, it’s possible that you can find a federal job and a work environment that matches the image. Stereotypes are made to be broken, though, and actual federal job opportunities provide a broad selection of locations, work environments, and experiences that are far from boring. Some of them are fascinating and even exciting!
This week, we’re going for a ramble through the USAJobs website to seek out opportunities for interesting government jobs that defy the drab and boring preconception. You may already know that USAJobs.gov is the job board that federal agencies use for recruiting. Job seekers can register on the site and submit applications for about 20,000 job postings available on any given day. In 2015, position openings were posted by over 500 federal agencies. In total, 360,422 jobs were posted, located in 145 different countries, and viewed by over 1.1 million registrants on the site.
Sure, some of the federal jobs postings are pretty conventional. There were 588 current openings for accountants on the government jobs site the day this article was written. We also found lots of positions for nurses and IT folks. But then there was this one:
Who wouldn’t be tempted by the prospect of a stint as a bartender in Hawaii? Five slots are open and the job description is certainly appealing. Here’s an extract:
Aloha! Overlooking the turquoise waters of world famous Waikiki beach, the Hale Koa Hotel is nestled on a 72-acre tropical oasis fronting the finest stretch of beach in Waikiki. We invite you to treat yourself to an experience that will create lasting & cherished memories of your tropical vacation in the islands. The Hale Koa Hotel offers an array of dining experiences for you to enjoy on property. The Hale Koa also offers a multitude of entertainment opportunities beyond just “fun in the sun”. A perfect blend of impeccable service and affordable prices makes the Hale Koa Hotel an unparalleled value for your next vacation experience.
The location sounds spectacular, but the job requirements are more mundane. The successful candidate must be able to mix drinks, record sales, and manage bar inventories. He or she should possess the requisite soft skills, including the ability to “use tact and courtesy to deny further sales to persons whose conduct has become unruly or who appear to be intoxicated.”
Like the wide open spaces? There’s an opening for a mapmaker in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The position supports the Bureau of Land Management and involves “the acquisition and management of spatial information required to support the management of public lands.” The job pays between $60,000 and $92,000 – not a bad gig if you like maps and charts.
When you read closely, the BLM position has more to do with data and software than old fashioned cartography, but it looks intriguing. If you’d like to live out west, there are 113 other interesting government jobs available in Wyoming, including open positions in forestry, social work, information technology, and healthcare.
You can even be a cytotechnologist in Wyoming. There’s a position open at Warren AFB. While you might be able to pick up the requisite skills for the Hale Koa bartender position in your spare time, this field requires more focused training and requisite certification by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Cytotechnologists are the pathologists who examine human cells for cancer.
Several federal agencies are actively seeking to fill health care related roles. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and medical technicians are in demand by the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, and Health and Human Services. If you’re a cytotechnologist, there are 81 positions available across the US. Depending on the slot, the pay ranges run from around $50,000 to over $120,000. It’s not mapmaking, but the pay isn’t bad.
The Gardner (Advanced) Leader position advertised by the Architect of the Capitol isn’t a civil service gig. It’s an Excepted Service position that can be hired outside of the constraints of the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM). It’s not required that federal agencies advertise these jobs on USAJobs, but you’ll find a lot of them there.
The employees of the Architect of the Capitol are responsible for “the maintenance, operation, development and preservation of 17.4 million square feet of buildings and more than 553 acres of land throughout Capitol Hill.” For a gardener, that means steady work – lots of grass to cut, flowers to plant, and hundreds of thousands of shrubs to trim.
Would you like to be kennel manager and dog sled musher at Denali National Park in Alaska? Sorry, that position’s been filled, but it sure sounds fantastic. Jennifer Raffaeli, who currently has the slot, gets to drive the dog sled. She’s also responsible for the Sled Dog Puppycam and for writing a blog about her unique and fun government job.
How about volcanoes? Weston Thelen spends his days as a Seismic Network Manager at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The photo above provides solid (or molten) evidence that some federal jobs are hot. Thelen is included in a list of 13 of the coolest fun government jobs in a Fedscoop article that you might want to read. Here are a few other profiles included in the list:
–The Titan Supercomputer Operator at Oak Ridge, TN.
–A Dam Examiner for the Bureau of Reclamation.
–Internet Connectivity Manager with National Science Foundation’s United States Antarctic Program.
Managing networks in Antarctica could certainly be considered a cool gig, and USAJobs cover the gamut from the fascinating to the mundane. Currently, there are 131 cybersecurity positions open with federal agencies. There are over 1300 positions in the search results for healthcare; and if you’re really into white shirts and conservative business dress, there are 239 auditing positions available.
Exciting or drab, your federal government career path starts with a USAJobs application and a federal resume that directly addresses the description and the requirements for the position you’re seeking.
A Federal resume differs significantly from the kind of document you might prepare for work in the private sector. It should include information that goes beyond the standard job history and references. Depending on the requirements of the position, you’ll want to include details regarding certifications, degrees, awards, accomplishments, publications, and more.
You’ll also need to prepare work examples that provide evidence of your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
If you’re looking at USAJobs positions, you can find a lot of information about federal resumes and tips for landing a USAJobs position on this website. Another good resource for information about federal government applications is the USAJobs help center.
Do you need some hands-on help with your application? CareerPro Global’s team of professional federal resume writers understands the requirements and the art of USAJobs resumes and applications that result in “best qualified” ratings and interviews. We can work with you to build a federal resume that is keyword rich and focuses on your core competencies, your skills, and your accomplishments.
We almost forgot. The Maritime Administration has an opening for a High Voltage Electrical Worker at Fort Eustis, VA. The position requirements include high voltage cable splicing – above ground, underground, underwater performed on a floating barge and shipboard.
If you’re qualified in underwater high voltage cable splicing, CareerPro Global will be glad to help with your application and USAJobs resume. Whether you’re applying for a position as an astronaut or an accountant, we’d love to help you take the next step in your federal government career. Just give us a call for a free career consultation!
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Story and photo credit: 13 of the coolest jobs in government, FedScoop.com, November 2016.
Photo credits: Cubicles, Tim Patterson, Creative Commons.
Photo credits: Pixabay.com, Wikimedia commons