If you didn’t already know, I work for the federal government as an investigator. I like to think my job is pretty cool and apparently a lot of other people do too. I get asked pretty frequently, both here on the blog and in real life, how I managed to snatch up a sweet gig at such a young age. Like this email I got the other day…
I’m a 23 recent graduate working as a Talent Acquisition Specialist. I studied psychology in school (Industrial Organizational Psychology) and wanted to know what career you took in the public sector since you yourself was a psychology major.
I’ve been trying to apply for HR jobs in the public sector since I was in school, but almost all HR jobs go to vets. I know most of your current topics are about the married life, houses, etc., but I’d love to hear your advice.
Let me tell you the story…
The week before I graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, I got an email from one of my psych teachers that said something along the lines of “Hey this job looks pretty cool, you should consider applying for it.”
At first I was a little offended. Although my degree was in Psychology, everyone knew my plan was to go to medical school so I could become a Psychiatrist. Instead of taking surfing, bowling, or pottery as my general electives in college, I suffered through Calculus, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Microbiology. My professor knew my plans, so why would she send me an application for a job in a completely different field?
Maybe because the job sounded awesome!
These were a few of the highlights from the application:
- Be a special agent (yes please)
- Work from home (is this a joke?)
- Travel the world (who doesn’t want to do that)
- Get a work car (I want to save gas money)
- Make reasonable money (might not ever be rich, but I’ll make enough)
My world was rocked. The job seemed too good to be true. But was it worth giving up my dreams of being an MD? Obviously I ended up getting offered, and accepting, the government job.
Goodbye medical school debt, hello income!
So Mr PDITF reader guy, how can you get a government job like me? Two words…
Allow me to explain, per congressional requirements, veterans must be given a preference when applying for government jobs (often a ten or fifteen point advantage on each application).
Say I score 100 out of 100 on a certain application, a veteran also applies and scores 91 out of 100. Since they are a veteran, they get a 10 point bump netting them a total score of 101 out of 100. They get the job, I get a rejection letter. The priority is hiring veterans, not necessarily hiring the most qualified candidate.
To be honest, I got really lucky and graduated at the right time. My job was announced through a short-lived hiring model called the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP). The FCIP was created by Bill Clinton in 2000 with the goal of attracting “exceptional men and women to the Federal workforce” and preparing them “for careers in analyzing and implementing public programs.”
Or in other words, it was a way for the government to hire unexperienced college graduates, instead of being forced to hire veterans, to backfill all the pending baby boomer retirees.
About 100,000 people in total joined the federal government through this program. That was until March 2011 when Obama signed an executive order ending the FCIP, basically saying it was unconstitutional and veterans needed to be given preference for federal jobs.
Now when people ask me how they can get a job like mine I tell them this,
- join the military
- serve a few years
- get out
- pray you get deemed most qualified