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Why You Should Work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

20 February 2013 No Comment

Posted by Guest Contributor

health-careThe aim of the United States Department of Health and Human Services is to aid individuals who aren’t able to care for themselves adequately. According to the HHS website, their agency administers more grant money than all other governmental agencies combined. There were approximately 63,429 HHS positions in 2004, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number is expected to increase, as is the median salary of many HHS employees. Learn about the benefits and opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and how to apply for a position.

The Necessary Qualifications

All governmental agencies, including Health and Human Services, use a code system named the General Schedule (GS). The system breaks up various job openings by the level of education and experience required to apply. For example, a level GS-1 requires no high school diploma. GS-2 and GS-3 positions require at least a high school diploma and, in some cases, relevant work experience. Earning a masters in human services allows candidates to apply for GS-7 through GS-9 positions. At this level, the benefits and pay scale are more impressive, as are the opportunities to help people in various communities across the United States.

How to Find Openings

Based upon your academic record and experience, you’ve determined which GS level positions you’re qualified for, but where do you find job listings? Begin your search by visiting the USAJOBS website, which is compiled by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and contains nearly every governmental position available to the general public. You can search USAJOBS by keyword, occupation, location, salary and GS grade level. The USAJOBS automated telephone line is another option that lists all available job openings. Both methods are convenient, but don’t forego the more traditional avenues of newspapers and job fairs. As a last resort, it’s possible to contact Health and Human Services directly to inquire about any job openings.

Reading the Vacancy Announcement

You’ve found a few promising job openings, or vacancy announcements. You’ll notice quickly the federal government’s job listings don’t look like any you’ve seen in the past. Thankfully, the listings are formulaic and very easy to decipher. The first section includes basic information such as the position’s title, agency’s name and who to contact if you need more information. As you read through the announcement, pay attention to the opening and closing dates. These are set in stone and in order to be considered for the position, you must submit your resume on time. Also, pay attention to the “Promotion Potential,” which is basically the highest attainable GS level associated with a position. If there isn’t one listed, this means there is little to no potential for advancement, so keep this in mind while applying.

Compiling Your Resume

As with every other facet of your HHS job search, filling out the application and compiling your resume are far more complicated than you might be used to. In general, it’s wise to be as specific as possible when it comes to your past employment experience and education. For instance, if you earned a master of public health online, highlight the various ways earning this degree has equipped you with skills to match the job description. Explain how your prior work experience, no matter how limited, makes you the best candidate for the position.

Opportunities for College Students

If you’re still in college and looking for a summer internship, many governmental agencies, including Health and Human services, offer summer internship and job opportunities through the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). Begin your search by visiting the USAJOBS website, but be aware that HHS might not list all available openings. Your university’s career counselor is another valuable resource. STEP spots fill up very quickly, so pay attention to submit your application before the deadline.

If you’re a recent college graduate, check the Presidential Management Fellow Program on the USAJOBS database. This two-year program is designed to help recent graduates receive on-the-job training and is open to anyone with a graduate degree. After the two years, you’re often provided the opportunity to accept a G-12 level position, which features a starting salary of approximately $77,000 per year.

About the Author: Denise O’Brien is a guest blogger and recent graduate. Denise is excited to apply for her first position with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.




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