Prospects: Government is still open for business — and hiring

October 23, 2013

Lately I have gotten a lot of similar questions: Is the government still hiring after the partial shutdown and budget cuts? Is the government still a good place to work? Why should I work for the government when it seems that Congress has no respect for federal employees?

Yes, recently, the U.S. government’s reputation has taken some hard hits.

But I have three quick answers: Yes, it’s still hiring and always will be, so if you are interested in government service, keep trying. Yes, the government is a great place to work because the mission is about national service, and some of the work you can rarely do anywhere else. As for Congress, they are fickle bunch — sometimes they love government, sometimes they hate it — so you can’t rise or fall on their words.

Now to the nitty-gritty. Where to look for a job if you want one:

Health care: The government is definitely hiring those with skills, whether you’re a doctor, nurse or some other specialty. Agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bureau of Prisons, Health and Human Services and others are looking. If you want a career in which the government will be hiring, health care is one to consider. (Those technical Web site issues ultimately will be resolved. Who knows when, but they will.)

Auditing: Federal spending has to be accounted for and examined to prevent or stop misuse, fraud or waste. Places such as the Defense Contract Audit Agency and others are seeking those who can exam contracts, spending and various programs.

Recreation, sports and children and youth: Not an obviously hot area, but if you have been on any military base then you know better. Those communities of military and civilian workers have schools and sports and recreational activities for service members’ children. Agencies such as the Army Installation Management Command have positions, including in its child, youth and school services section.

Forest Service: Under the Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service is the agency that cares for more than 193 million acres of our nation’s land. It also conducts research through a network of forest and range experiment stations and they are hiring. Positions range from administrative to forest technician to fire management. Some positions require experience and some don’t.

Building and maintaining ships: The U.S. Navy is one of the busiest branches of the military with ships around the world. New ships have to be built to maintain operations, and when these ships come off of deployment, they need repairs. The Naval Sea Systems Command is hiring everything from engineers to mechanics to painters and more.

Internships: They are always good door openers, with paid and unpaid opportunities. Some aren’t running because of budget issues, but explore and see what’s available.

The federal government isn’t dead, and now more than ever it could use great people to keep it and the country alive and well.

Dortch is president of the Diversa Group, which specializes in federal employment.

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