The United States federal government usually has around one hundred thousand job vacancies every year, excluding  military services.

Many of these jobs vacancies go unfilled because a lot of people believe that applying for a federal job is extremely difficult as well as a highly complicated process. However, that is certainly not the case. On the contrary, it is entirely achievable if you know how to go about it.

The only real drawback is the extended waiting period that may last up to a year and a half. While this may feel like a really long time, it is well worth the effort and the wait.  This is because a typical federal job now includes paid vacation, healthcare, sick leaves, life insurance, training, pensions, and several other benefits.

However, it is of critical importance that you should only apply for those jobs for which you are truly qualified.  You will have to use a specific federal-style resume and pass the relevant federal jobs tests. Apart from that, you have to be really patient as well.

Federal government jobs are generally divided into 3 broad categories:

  • The Competitive Service

The competitive service is the largest repository of federal jobs and is the most popular option when people want to apply for government jobs.

  • The Excepted Service

This service is exclusively reserved for positions that are outside the “traditional” government job sector. The ‘excepted services’ include positions in the intelligence sector and other agencies that work in the same field.

The Senior Executive Service— SES

This is the top executive level of the US government. SES are ranked only below the elite Presidential appointees. There are only 8,000 members who belong to the senior executive service nationwide

The US Postal Service

The United States Postal Service (USPS) also conducts potential employee tests and exams on a regular basis. These jobs are separate from the three services mentioned above.

How to Apply for Federal Government Jobs?

There are multiple ways you can apply for jobs in the federal government. Many jobs require the candidate to take an exam first. This is especially true for jobs in the postal services.  The USA jobs portal can be of great help in this regard.

The Federal Job Salary Structure

Most of the common federal agencies typically use the General Schedule (GS) pay system for determining the pay grade of a job holder. However, there are many other salary systems that are followed by different government departments. And they all follow their own departmental procedures for determining salaries and seniority.

As a general rule, GS grades 5 to 11 are considered to be entry-level jobs; grade 12 and 13 are mid-level, and grades 14 and 15 are reserved for senior officers and executives.


Getting selected for any number of federal jobs is not an easy task and you have to go through many different exams before you may be considered good enough to be welcomed in the ranks of the federal bureaucracy. However, once you bag that coveted job, you are pretty much set for life.