Navigating the Federal Job Search Process, AGU Webinar

Federal Government

If you are interested in working in the federal government, learning how to navigate the job search is important. Start with the basics of searching the federal hiring website ( and applying with this IRIS tutorial. More information on hiring pathways and navigating the federal hiring process can be found on the USGS website
Also read the Union of Concerned Scientists' guide to Becoming a Federal Scientist

Next, check out the federal Pathways Program, which offers opportunities for students and recent graduates to get their foot in the door with paid internships and early career employment. Visit the resources below to learn more about programs that can help you find a career in the federal government.

Pathways Program
A federal program for students and recent graduates to get started on career paths in government.

GeoCorps™ America
A partnership between GSA and federal employers to provide paid geoscience experiences on public lands.

NOAA Internships
Internships in research, resource management, and policy at NOAA facilities and offices. 

Scientists in Parks
A National Park Service work experience program, providing a potential pathway to federal employment.

Mosaics in Science
A National Park Service internship program for underrepresented youth to build skills for a federal job.

USGS Pathways 
Opportunities for students and recent graduates to work with USGS, with pathways to full employment.



State, Local & Tribal Governments

While the federal government has a single portal for searching and applying for jobs, the resources for finding positions in local, state or tribal governments will be specific to the organization. Your first step should be to identify your geographic criteria -- for which states, counties, cities, or tribal nations would you want to work?-- followed by a search of the government organizations' websites. Most states have a career portal (for example, CalCareers in California) for job searching. If you are searching at the local level, identify potential employers in your town or city and search their websites for job listings. Networking with professional contacts is also important for finding jobs that are not advertised. 

Ready to apply?

Check out the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Career Learning Center and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology Career Resources for advice on writing job applications and preparing for interviews. 

For more resources, check out your university's career center or library. Most universities have published guides for resume/CV writing, interviewing, negotiating, and more. You can also look online for contacts in your campus career center or reach out to mentors for support with your applications. 

  • GROW is a collection of career resources for undergraduate and graduate students in the geosciences, intended to help students identify and pursue career paths beyond academia.
  • This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (Award #1911527) and our many contributors who generously volunteered their time and knowledge to assist our team.

  • Any opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation nor of contributor employers.
  • We welcome feedback from the geoscience community. Please contact us with your suggestions, including new career resources and Ask an Expert contacts.
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