How second chance applicants can find a job working for the Federal government

working for the Federal governmentIn honor of Second Chance Month in April, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management issued a Guide to Federal Employment for Second Chance Applicants. And those interested in working for the Federal government should download the guide and read it carefully.

The Federal government is the nation’s largest employer and offers countless jobs of nearly every type within its hundreds of departments and agencies. In addition to the tremendous number of job opportunities it provides, the government is serious about hiring people who’ve been incarcerated.

Federal government is a second chance employer

In a memorandum to its chief human capital officers, Kiran A. Ahuja, the Office of Personnel Management’s director, made that very clear.

“Securing stable employment is a key component for successful reentry, and the Federal government, in its role as the nation’s largest employer, takes seriously its commitment to assist in this effort. America is at its best when qualified individuals with diverse perspectives – including formerly incarcerated individuals – come together to meet our greatest challenges,” she wrote.

“The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the lead human resources agency of the Federal government, is committed to advancing these values to develop a strong Federal workforce. Fundamental to this commitment is outreach to and recruitment of formerly incarcerated individuals – because we know that qualified individuals, despite past criminal records, not only deserve a second chance, but also have much to offer the Federal government.”

Study guide before applying for Federal jobs

The Guide to Federal Employment for Second Chance Applicants goes over just about everything someone who wants to apply for a federal job needs to know.

The topics it covers include:

  • Eligibility – How to determine whether you are eligible for a particular position.
  • Qualifications – How to figure out the qualifications required for a particular job and what jobs you might be more qualified for than others.
  • Education – How to find out whether you need a college degree. Most Federal positions do not require one.
  • Veterans’ preferences – In some cases veterans receive preference over nonveterans in the hiring process.
  • Applicant ranking – How candidates for some positions are ranked.
  • Apprenticeship programs – The Federal government offers more than 150 apprenticeship programs with 1,500 apprenticeships in skilled trades, health care, transportation and other fields. And the qualification system for these jobs is separate from that for white collar workers.
  • Applying for jobs with a criminal record – Some crimes prohibit candidates from being hired, but most do not. A background check is not conducted until the hirer issues a tentative offer.
  • Federal application process – A section of the guide covers how to create a USAJOBS account and profile, and search and apply for Federal jobs.
  • Interviews – The guide outlines the types of interviews applicants may be required to go through.
  • Resumes – The USAJOBS website features a resume builder designed to ensure that all of the necessary information is included in an applicant’s resume.
  • Interview tips – The publication offers advice for how to do your best in the interview process.

The Office of Personnel Management also offers bimonthly webinars on writing resumes and interviewing for those who want to find a job working for the Federal government. Check out the department’s website to find out when the next ones will take place.


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