Monday, November 30, 2009

Department of State Summer Clerical Program-- now taking applications!

Summer Clerical Program

Receive E-mail Updates
Click here to enter the Gateway to State online application system
Visit for details

How to apply

We are now accepting applications for the 2010 Summer Clerical Program. Please click here, or on the Gateway to State button above, to start the online application process. Please note that the deadline to submit completed applications is January 4, 2010.
Get acquainted with the challenges and opportunities at the U.S. Department of State through our Summer Clerical Program. Why do we offer this program? The reasons are twofold. First, it allows us to get you interested in a career with us. It also helps us to relieve staffing shortage when our employees are away on summer vacation. It's a win-win situation for everyone. We get the summer staffing we need. You get work experience and earn money to help with continuing your education. There's also something else that comes along with the job: the feeling of satisfaction when you know you're doing something really worthwhile for your nation.
Office support duties include but are not limited to: answering telephones and other receptionist-related duties; filing and maintaining office files; typing and/or using a computer terminal to perform various office functions including initial entry of drafted materials using a variety of computer software packages; reviewing outgoing correspondence for correct format, grammar, punctuation and typographical errors; and photocopying and assembling reports and briefings for distribution.
It's our policy to provide an open, systematic and equitable assignment process that assures that positions are filled with the best-qualified individuals. New-hire applicants for the Summer Clerical Program are appointed on a competitive basis according to Office of Personnel Management guidelines. Selections are based on job-related criteria in line with merit principles.
Eligibility requirements
To qualify for a Summer Clerical position, you must be:
  • a U.S. citizen, age 16 or older at time of appointment
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree (diploma, certificate, etc.,) seeking student
  • taking at least half-time academic/vocational/or technical course load in an accredited high school, technical or vocational school, 2-year or 4 year college or university, graduate or professional school
  • able to complete a background investigation to determine eligibility for a security clearance
Positions at the GS-1, GS-2, GS-3 & GS-4 levels also have varying minimum requirements for school and/or work experience.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What About Your Major?

Are you an undergraduate or grad student, super interested or kinda-sorta interested in federal work, but just not sure how your academics "fit" with the vast amount of federal agencies / opportunities? 

If so, you are not alone. 

Check out this list, which provides a convenient glimpse into connections between federal job titles and college majors.  Also, curious about federal hiring trends?  Click here and learn more about hiring trends related to location, occupations, agencies.  Click here to explore how your interests fit with federal opportunities.

Continue [or start!] attending UW Making The Difference events, explore web links featured on this blog, and when you find federal internships and jobs that interest you, GO FOR IT.  Let advisers in your department know how they can support you..  Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try my best to point you in the right direction.  Cheers!  Patrick Chidsey, The Career Center:  chidsey [at]

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Federal Agency Attorney's Perspective

I'm going to speak from my own experience, which is that of an attorney who didn't really know about federal job opportunities until I was almost through with law school. I think some of the plusses and minuses of federal work (on the whole, there are far more plusses in my experience) might hold true for members of other professions: for example, engineers.

Oftentimes one gets to a certain stage of career development where the worry of "can I get a job at all?" is accompanied, or replaced, by "can I get a job that has any meaning to me?" As an attorney joining the Bar, I knew I would be able to find a job, but I worried that I wouldn't get one that would enable me to both a) make the kind of contribution I wanted to make to society, and b) enable me to have work-life balance (this is a code phrase that law students use for "not wanting to spend the best years of their life chained to a desk every weekend doing document review, in the name of maximizing billable hours.")

Enter the federal government! Working for the Social Security Administration, I was allowed to handle complex cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and other courts, at a very early stage of my career. By attorneys' standards, I have a great deal of schedule flexibility. And, without getting too corny about it, I go home every day happy about who my client is (to wit, the American public) and the fact that I've put my skills to work on that client's behalf.

The major negative is simply this: one is working on a government pay scale. At the upper end, this is not comparable to the upper end of compensation available to attorneys in private practice. So you are not going to become wealthy working for the federal government, or anywhere in the public sector, as should be obvious to everyone. However, if you're considering federal employment in the first place, that's probably not your first concern; and even then, it is not as though you are living on a poverty wage by any means in these positions.

I've enjoyed my government career tremendously and would be happy to recommend it to anyone.

David J. Burdett
Assistant Regional Counsel
Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration
Region X, Seattle