There are over 400 U.S. federal agencies and departments providing a range of services with varying objectives. The government has agencies dedicated to security, international affairs, labor, health, environment, and too many more to list in a short blog.

Not only is there a slew of varying agencies, but the roles each agency needs in order to function is plentiful as well. For example, the Department of Transportation is not just staffed with subject matter experts. The agency (along with every agency) needs marketing experts to assist with communication targeting, human resource professionals to provide important benefits to employees, and accountants to make sure the budget is tracked and balanced.

With so many varying agencies and the multiple roles each one needs to operate, we are left with a difficult question: “How do I identify the right agency for me?” It’s a great question because it’s an important question! That is why we wanted to highlight some key advice below to help narrow down your search:


1. There is more to an agency than its name
Let’s say you love work revolved around recruitment marketing. At first glance, the
Department of Labor may seem to be the perfect fit for you. However, when looking at
this federal agency, you’ll see they are focused on worker safety, standards for wages and
hours, unemployment and reemployment services, and labor statistics. If you are a data
geek like me and passionate about improving worker conditions, then this agency may be
a great fit.

However, if your experience is in recruitment marketing and you are passionate about the
health affects for what Americans consume, you may want to look at the Food and Drug
Administration – they might have openings in their HR department to help market
themselves to potential candidates. That already sounds like a more relevant fit! This is a
perfect segue to our next piece of advice . . .

2. Find an agency that appeals to your interests
Candidates will often cast a large net by applying to every opening with a job description
relevant to their skills. This is one approach to landing a federal job. It is also an
exhausting approach.

You’ll want to narrow down the search by identifying areas you are passionate about and
be ready to demonstrate that passion. An agency will hire someone with the same
skillsets as you if that candidate can better engage the hiring manger with enthusiasm for
the mission and subject matter. Chances are, if you have enthusiasm for public service,
than there is a federal agency out there that deals with an area aligned with your interests.
So how do you find an agency that appeals to your specific interests? The answer is . . .

3. Research, research, research . . .
. . . and when you are done researching, do more research. The perfect agency for you
may be one you haven’t heard of before. Here’s a fun exercise: without research, write
down all the agencies and departments you can think of on the top of your head (include
sub-agencies). Chances are, you may be more than a few shy away from 400.
Calculate how many agencies you fall short of from 400. Don’t be discouraged by that
number. The larger the difference, the better – it means your world and career prospects
just got that much bigger! Then, after the exercise, delve into research. Spend time on
Google, go to agency websites to learn about their sub-agencies, and email and call
industry experts to get their point of view. This research will help you be more strategic
in your job search.


These are all great tactics to narrow down the right agencies for you. When you find an
agency providing a service you are passionate about, the application process becomes
significantly less challenging.

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