Graduating with a Call to Public Service? Consider a Federal Career
An Award-Winning Student’s Guide Walks You Through Applying,
Including How to Get Tuition Reimbursement
Graduates and current college students with a passion for public service are just what the Federal government is looking to hire today. The Feds want to nurture the talents of young people who would like to make the future of our country better. And they have an incredible benefits package to offer, including up to $60,000 in tuition reimbursement. Kathryn Troutman wrote the Student’s Federal Career Guide, 4th Edition, because the Federal government has so much to offer new grads and students currently in college.
“The benefits for these Federal jobs are really very good,” Troutman points out. “You start out with 18 days off a year. They have excellent health insurance. The majority of the jobs are telework now. And you can negotiate for tuition reimbursement if you are offered a position.”
The Guide explains how to get student loan repayment. Some agencies might offer this, but it usually isn’t automatic. You have to ask for it. In Step 9 of the Guide, Troutman covers how to negotiate any Federal job offer you receive, using a Superior Qualifications Letter (sample in Guide). In addition to tuition reimbursement, the letter can also address salary, recruitment bonuses, relocation incentives and more.
Although your student loan is not forgiven, agencies may make payments up to a max of $10,000 in a calendar year and a total of not more than $60,000 per employee. A student loan is eligible if it is made, insured, or guaranteed under the Higher Education Act of 1965 or is a health education assistance loan made or insured under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act.
To get the job offer, applicants need to understand that applying for work with the Feds is a very different process than in the private sector. Her Guide provides college students and new grads with the tools to be a successful Federal jobseeker.
“A big part of this is my Federal resume format, and how I emphasize education in it for this group,” notes Troutman. “There’s something I see all the time in the private sector. Someone has an average career. I get to the last page of the resume, and it says they got an MBA in the past year. They have that at the very end. Are you kidding me? We’re not going to do that.”
In contrast, the Guide’s 13 resume samples (all from actual successful Federal applicants) feature each person’s education by placing it right at the top. The book explains how to highlight accomplishments, qualifications and experiences by working with course descriptions, course titles, details about projects, papers, internships and college activities when writing your Federal resume. Also, some of the sample resumes are paired with the job announcement the applicant targeted. To be considered, it is essential that the resume matches what an announcement is looking for, and Troutman explains how to do that with keywords and more.
These kinds of details – course titles, school projects, and skills from volunteer and school activities – are the reason Savannah A. Smith was able to land her dream job as a Consumer Safety Officer (GS-7) with the Food & Drug Administration. Savannah had recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Her resume is in the book.
The Guide focuses on Pathways openings in government for recent graduates and current students. Pathways is a recent graduate program or internship, where you can apply with education, a new degree or whatever your major might be. At the time of this writing, there 265 open Pathways positions. College grads are eligible for the Pathway’s Recent Graduate Program if they received their degree within the last two years. Veterans get up to six years. Current students can apply for the Pathways Internship Program.
“These Pathways postings are in every field of work and every major,” says Troutman. “Graduates would start out temporary but can convert to permanent for certain positions. With internships, you can work part-time while going to school. There is a lot of growth potential for both new grads and students in government.”
In 2021, the Student’s Federal Career Guide, 4th Edition, took the prestigious Gold Award for Business & Career in the Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA’s) Ben Franklin competition. The book also was honored with the Best 2021 Career Book in the Independent Press Awards (IPA), and Best 2021 Interior Design Nonfiction in the affiliated IPA Distinguished Favorites contest.
“Go to USAJOBS.gov, type in Pathways, and see what jobs you find,” suggests Troutman. “Apply. If you get in, you could release yourself from the burden of your student debt, begin to build a very rewarding career, and help serve our democracy.”
Student Loan Repayment: The Federal student loan repayment program permits agencies to repay Federally insured student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for candidates or current employees of an agency.
The Book: The award-winning Student’s Federal Career Guide, 4th Edition, is available on the Resume Place website and on Amazon as a paperback or eBook. Inside you’ll find 13 excellent sample Federal resumes and a step-by-step process to help you write a winning resume and apply for a government position in your field.
The Author: Kathryn Troutman is the author of many award-winning career guides including Creating Your First Resume (Foreword Indie Silver for Career and three other honors) and the best-selling Federal Resume Guidebook, 7th Edition (Best Reference Book/Gold in the Independent Press Awards and more). Troutman is the Founder and President of The Resume Place, a groundbreaking Federal resume writing and job coaching service in Baltimore, MD.