government jobsThe federal government has a tremendous amount of jobs across the United States. However, there are many myths associated with working for the federal government. These can drive students away from considering the federal government when looking for jobs and internships, leading them to miss out on great opportunities. By the end of this article, I will debunk these four myths.

Myth #1: Federal employees are paper pushers and are caught up in bureaucracy.
The federal government has more than 300 departments and agencies, and each performs different tasks, such as improving our education, advancing science, insuring our security and health, and preserving our environment. None of them is restricted to paperwork. Last summer, I had the privilege to intern at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the home of seven Nobel Prize winners and one of the sub-agencies of the federal government. This was not just an internship. I gained hands-on experience with cutting-edge devices, performed scientific research, made many connections with world-class scientists, and attended a wide variety of scientific lectures and career development workshops.

Myth #2: Salaries for federal employees are low and you are better off in the private sector.
The pay scale for many federal jobs uses the general schedule system and is graded from 1-15. The grades depend on the type of degree and several other factors such as class standing and GPA. For example, an undergraduate would be a GS-5, an undergraduate with honors GS-7 and graduate student GS-9. Each grade has ten steps, allowing for a range of salaries.  For example, an employee with a GS-7 step 1 salary gets paid $33,979 per year, while an employee with a GS-7 step 10 salary receives $44,176.

On top of these salaries, there is the student loan repayment assistance program. Some agencies may repay up to $10,000 of student loans per year. In 2008, 35 agencies provided 6,879 employees with $51 million in student loan assistance.

Myth #3: All federal jobs are located in Washington, DC.
In fact, only approximately 16% of federal jobs are located in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The rest are located throughout the United States, not to mention the more than 50,000 jobs overseas! The Department of Energy, for example, has office locations in 30 states across the U.S., and when I interned at Brookhaven, I was working in New York.

Myth #4: The application process is complicated and overwhelming.
I have met many students who find the application process through overwhelming. It definitely can look that way but it isn’t once you create an account and start navigating the website. The basic process of applying for a federal job is as follows:

  1. Find a job that you’d like to apply for.

When applying for a federal job, the first thing you must do is to look for available jobs before even creating your résumé. Nearly all federal jobs are posted on

  1. Create your résumé.

The federal résumé, like private sector résumés, should be tailored to each specific opportunity. That is why you have the option to build up to five résumés in USAJobs. Federal résumés have different structures and more detail than private sector résumés. When building your federal résumé, you have two options: you can create one and then upload it, or you can build one through the website. The second option, from my point of view, is the easier one, because it only requires filling in your information by using an online form. This ensures that all the necessary information has been included in your résumé. After you are done with these two steps, you are left with questionnaires and, for some jobs, essay questions.

Overall, the federal government provides lucrative job opportunities for any level of experience, from an internship while you’re in college to a senior executive. Don’t let these four myths stand stop you from achieving a meaningful career in the private sector. Check out for your opportunity today.

Posted by Ahmad Mohammad, U.S. Department of Energy Student Ambassador

NOTE: This post was written by a guest blogger and the content for the post approved by Oregon State University Career Services. We are not responsible for the content of  the websites linked in the post.

Blog photo (LinkedIn)LinkedIn has become known to be one of the best social networking websites for people in professional occupations. Some of the main purposes of LinkedIn are to make connections with other people in the professional world. Once this takes place and people upload their resumes to showcase their work within their communities, it can then be used to look for jobs. Employers can also list jobs and search for potential candidates based on what people put on their personal profiles. It is highly recommended to have a LinkedIn profile. It is important to stay on top of your profile; you want to make sure it is up to date so you look like the “ideal candidate” for your possible future employers. Here is a list of 5 ways/ tips to get noticed on LinkedIn, using that profile you worked so hard to create and keep polished.

1.)   Spruce up your career summary with relevant keywords. Recruiters and employers often look for skills and expertise a candidate obtains so highlight your qualifications by including certain keywords in your career summary.

2.)   Participate in discussions. LinkedIn is full of different groups you can join, so find ones related to your industry and occupation and respond to comments and questions using the discussion and message boards with intelligent/articulate answers, these may attract recruiters which may lead to a possible interview or job offer down the road.

3.)   Build up your connections. Connect with as many people as possible, from entry level employees to vice-presidents. Recruiters look at the number of connections you have, as well as who you are connected to, to evaluate your networking skills.

4.)   Post recommendations on your profile. If you solved a problem or contributed to an important project at work and a co-worker of yours writes a recommendation about you, make sure it gets posted to your profile as well, not just theirs.

5.)   Regularly update your status. Everyone you are “linked” to or who is in your network sees your updates when you post them, so make yourself more visible. It’s not a bad idea to post the fact that you are looking for work because all it takes is getting noticed by one person, the possibilities are endless!

Take these tips and suggestions into consideration when you start or continue to use LinkedIn. They could be extremely helpful to you getting more connections and hopefully getting that dream job you’ve been searching, waiting, and working so hard for. Good Luck!


 Posted by Carly Larson, Career Services Assistant

networkingWhen it comes to networking, some of us are exceptionally great at it and some of us tend to struggle with this skill. Yes, networking is a skill that we all must work on and build.  Especially when it comes to finding a job; having such a huge but diverse networking group is very essential. The more people you know, the better it is for you.

Social networking is the most common way to establish, maintain and promote your skills, achievements and goals to new and old networking groups. Here are 5 ways to network and why you should network.

1. Online Profiles and Other Online Networking Sites:
Online profiles are a good way to network; believe it or not Twitter is becoming the “go to” place to advertise to employers about your skills and achievements. Also, by having online profiles you’re able to maintain relationships with your old networks while building new ones. Online is a great place to have a resume portfolio that potential employers can look at. LinkedIn is also a great place to network yourself; it’s a place for employers to see your skills. Here you can start to establish relationships and connections with potential companies that you are interested in working for.

2. Communicate Changes in Career:
Changes in your career choice is inevitable, track them down and let people know of the positive changes that you’re making in your career or positive changes that have happened in your career. Twitter is another great way of getting the word out about your changes. Shoot a #tweet, believe it or not employers do check out tweets.

3. Go and Discover Career Paths that You Wouldn’t Normally Go For:
Having a dream job is not bad, it’s good to have a dream job that you work for, but sometimes going into a profession that you would have never thought of before may be a good thing, too. Exploring will lead to more options, the more options you have the better skilled you may become and the more you can put on your resume. Having the same job can become boring; exploring will help you to find something that you may actually like to do.

4. Through Your Friends and Families, Make More and Newer Contacts:
Family and friends can be really helpful when making connections. If you’re going for a position and they know that person it could be very beneficial for you. Your network can become so much bigger if you take the time to contact and connect with the people your family and friends know. Again, don’t use or contact people only when you need them; this is where having a weekly or monthly check up with someone is useful. That way you maintain the relationship and when help is needed, you can ask your networks for assistance. If you have an uncle who works for a hotel industry that you are interested in, ask him if he can set you up with some of the people he knows to just have lunch and talk about things you are interested in. Ask them how they got to where they are at, talk about your goals with them and what you need to know about the industry. Then after the meeting, keep in contact with them and thus your networking circle just grew and now you have a relationship with that person in your desired industry.

5. Let the Job find you:
Sometimes, well most times, we get so stressed on finding that perfect job that pays a lot, has great benefits and is something that we desire to do every day. Yes, preparing and finding the right job isn’t wrong, but sometimes just letting the job find you is all you need. The internet is an advanced piece of technology that has changed the world forever; the internet always supplies you with ongoing things in the world. Set up accounts for jobs or companies that you prefer; if they have an opening let them tell you about it. Or with your built network you could possibly gain a job from that network circle you built. Everything ties in, social networking, networking, and resume building; they all play a vital role with each other. Letting the job find you may not be easy, but it will happen if you network correctly and effectively.

Networking is very crucial, the more time you invest in making those “right” connections the more beneficial it is for your future. It is never too late to start building your social network. Remember, whatever you put on the internet is for all to see, so keep it professional, fun and don’t forget to sell your skills!

These are just some ways to network yourself, there are many other suggestions out there. Find the ways that best compliment you!

Posted by Hulali Kaapana, Career Services Assistant


Falling and Flying

You are graduating! Congratulations! Think back on the enormous amount of work, time, and energy you put in to achieving this goal. You should be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. But, maybe in addition to the relief and excitement and pride you feel, the whole idea of finishing college and starting something else is scary. It was for me.

Even with all the celebration, it’s important to realize that this is a huge life transition. You may be moving, which entails possibly losing touch with some of your friends and best supporters here at OSU. You may be entering industry or the job market and unsure of what to expect. You may be continuing to graduate school and nervous about the academic rigor of a graduate level program. You may be starting a year of service program or traveling somewhere. Or you may not know what’s next for you. A lot of graduating seniors aren’t sure what’s next for them.

So, how can you manage all this flux and change? What is the best way to approach this transition?

  • First, remember to talk to your friends and family about how you feel about graduating; sometimes the easiest way to relieve anxiety is to simply tell someone else about it. If you’re nervous about losing touch with a particular friend or group, let them know that you don’t want that to happen and make a plan to stay in touch.
  • Second, get that job preparation process underway! Do research on your industry. Perfect your resume and cover letter. And work on figuring out what’s next. If you have something, travel or work or an internship, lined up, you will feel less fearful. It is never too early or too late to put together a plan. (For more on this, check out our website.)
  • Third, begin imagining yourself as a non-student, especially if you don’t remember a time when you weren’t one. One way to do this is to list the differences you see between student life and professional life. Once you have your list, you can find substitutes to fulfill the needs that these essential student characteristics fill. For instance, if one of your favorite things about being a student is the social group you’ve established through the Management Club, than finding a regional professional organization in your field and attending their meetings can provide a substitute.
  • Fourth, you will want to really think about these kinds of questions: How will you grow and continue to learn? Who are you without your major to define you? What could you do with your time now that you will be without papers, exams, and group projects? What skills do you have to give to your community? You may not come up with full formed answers yet but asking is still important.
  • Lastly, if you can look at finishing college and beginning your professional life as an adventure, instead of as something to fear, you will probably relax about the process. In an adventure, you don’t always know what will come next, what will be around the bend, or what’s in store. Instead of fear, what we feel when we’re on an adventure is excitement and exhilaration. We feel alive and awake! Inspire yourself to look at this transition like a fabulous adventure movie with you as the star. The difference is you only get to do it once; so try not to spend your time worried about what’s to come. Just live it!

Posted by Jessica Baron, Graduate Assistant Career Advisor


Attention Graduating Seniors: Are you looking to explore options outside of Oregon after graduation? There are many great cities within the United States that are looking to hire recent graduates. If you haven’t already made plans for after graduation start the job search process using our checklist.

mapAnd check out this list of the top 10 cities recruiting new graduates:






  1. Seattle, Washington: Famous for its coffee and outdoor markets, the average income is a little over $54,000 and rental for a one-bedroom averages around $1,300.
  2. Atlanta, Georgia: Head to the heart of the south in a big city where the cost of living is definitely reasonable for a recent college graduate and the possibilities or careers vast.
  3. Washington, D.C: Are you looking to get into politics? Than this is the place to be, although it can be a little more expensive once you get started here it will be hard to leave, and with the unemployment rate being only 5.2% it’s no wonder why.
  4. Denver, Colorado: Not only worthy of its outdoor appeal but city and recreational activities too, with the average income of $50,300 and average cost of housing being $970.
  5. Boston, Massachusetts: This city pretty much has it all, rich culture, museums and history anything you could really imagine and the average income is around $57,000.
  6. Dallas, Texas: This city is full of culture all its own, with food, cowboys and of course its very own charm. If you are a recent college graduate this city has it all jobs, fun and immense opportunity.
  7. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: If you are the type of person that is drawn to small town charm these may be the cities for you. Minneapolis and St. Paul are also very environmentally friendly and known for their values.
  8. Houston, Texas: Looking to get out of the rainy season, Texas is known for its hot weather and the city of Houston especially. If that is the environment for you, it may be time to head south!
  9. St. Louis, Missouri: Another city filled with southern charm, excellent food and of course lively music scene. With average income of $44,200 and the average cost of housing at $960 for a one bedroom.
  10. Raleigh, North Carolina: There is so much to do in this town it will keep you busy and having fun whether you work or just vacation here. There are plenty of opportunities for employment and this city really has the best of both worlds with activities and southern charm.

So, although Oregon is a wonderful place to live, there are also opportunities across the US! If you need help with the job search, Career Services is here to support you.


Posted by Ciara Lynn, Career Services Intern

crop380w_istock_000003608048xsmallSalary negotiation is an important step of the job hunt, especially for recent college graduates – your very first salary sets the bar for your salary for the rest of your career. It’s important to know how to successfully navigate salary negotiation so that you can set your bar at a reasonable level.

The whole process might feel uncomfortable, especially since negotiation isn’t really a big part of our culture like it is in other countries, but just keep in mind that salary negotiation is a normal part of the process. Just be confident and prepare beforehand, realizing that the employer is probably going to start low and expect you to negotiate.

The first thing you should do is figure out the minimum amount you need for living costs: food, rent, transportation, etc. This should be your baseline and while it typically doesn’t directly factor into your negotiations, it’s good to know just for the sake of awareness. Then, do some research on your job and what a typical salary range for your position would be. A good resource for this is the NACE Salary Calculator.  This salary range is what you’ll base your salary negotiations on, to make sure you’re receiving at least the market rate based on your position and experience. Come up with your “magic number”, aka your ideal salary that you aim to negotiate towards. It might even be a good idea to bring a hard copy of your research and your salary request to the meeting with the employer.

You should avoid mentioning salary and compensation before receiving an actual job offer, that’s jumping the gun a bit. If the recruiter brings it up prematurely, try to smoothly change the subject to further discussing your qualifications. Once you receive a job offer with an initial salary offer, present your salary research and request. If the employer can’t or won’t meet your magic number, explore the possibility of non-cash compensation to bridge the gap, such as vacation time or benefits. Give them time to think about your counteroffer, they might have to consult with their higher-ups or decide if they even have the budget for your counteroffer. If your counteroffer gets rejected, don’t be disappointed; talk with the employer about what you can do in terms of performance to assure an increase later, or if it’s really a problem then it might be best to politely reject the offer and try again elsewhere.

Lastly, you can always make an appointment with a career counselor to discuss salary negotiation and get deeper into the etiquette and details of the process. Good luck!


Posted by Deirdre Newton, Career Services Assistant

Ready to get inspired for your job, internship, or career search? Each month we will spotlight an OSU student that has inspired us when it comes to their career development. Check out their success stories—besides inspiration, they also show that academic major does not have to restrict your goals and that there are many ways to define success.

Want to nominate an OSU student or alum for the Student/Alum Spotlight series? Or do you want to share your own success? Then please fill out this quick form and Career Services will contact the person nominated.

Name: Maria Garcia
Major: Human Development and Family Sciences
Year in school: Senior
Graduate Program: College Student Services Administration (CSSA)


1. Tell us about yourself (include your background, career goals/aspirations, etc.).

I am a first generation student who comes from an agricultural family. I was introduced to the idea of Student Affairs as a career from one of my mentors during my first year as an undergraduate.  I loved the idea of working with students who come from marginalized groups and providing the support that they need to succeed in college/higher education.  I hope to one day work within student recruitment, orientation and retention and provide students the resources they need.

 2. How did you decide to apply to grad school and what did you do in your undergrad to make you a strong applicant?

I applied to graduate school because the thought of having to look for a job after I finished my undergraduate scared me.  I feel like I need the specific information that only a program, such as CSSA, can provide.  I also really liked the cohort model and ability to have assistantships and internships as I completed my master’s.

I can definitely say that I took the extra time to put myself in different experiences that would shape my ability to work with others as a whole.  I volunteered my time at the local elementary and high school and ensured that I was involved on campus.  My two main jobs as an undergraduate also shaped my opportunity to learn as I engaged with others at the OSU Writing Center and the Campus Visitor Center.  Two of my internships at the Dean of Student Life at OSU, and the Independent Living Program at the Corvallis Community Consortium, influenced me to help others who might need extra help.

 3. What advice do you have for others when it comes to their career search and ways to find out their passion?

Explore!  Go out and try new things.  Sounds easy, but you will only know what you like and don’t like if you give it a shot.  You also have to prioritize stuff when it becomes too much or have additional responsibilities.

4. Did Career Services assist you anyway? If so, how?

Career Services was part of my success in the process of filling out my application!  Initially I worked with Jessica Baron on my resume, and later on established a partnership with Jen Busick to work on my essays.  I found it amazing to work with Career Services because they were flexible and willing to help.  My appointments were also very personalized to my needs and was able to be very productive.

Thanks Maria for being our Student Spotlight! If you are interested in graduate school there are many resources available to you on the OSU Career Services website, including a specific section on graduate and professional school. Be sure to check it out!

flowersGraduation is fast approaching for many at Oregon State, and with friends here and elsewhere attaining jobs, you may find yourself worrying and stressing over your lack of opportunities, or perhaps over your lack of a life goal in general. To you, the directionless majority, I am here to say, “Don’t worry. Stop stressing. Enjoy the ride.”

You have spent the last 4 years of your life attending class, studying for exams, and writing papers, and yet there is a good chance that what you majored in is now vastly different from your life aspirations. This is normal. This is ok.

I graduate next month with a Master’s in History, and yet now, after 4 years spent working towards a Bachelor’s and an additional 2 to get my Master’s, I know categorically that a career centered on History is not for me. This, too, is ok.

While many of us, including myself, are stressing over what our first post-college job will be, know that that job does not need to be the job you have for the remainder of your professional career. It is ok to try jobs outside of your comfort zone or away from your academic discipline. What we have learned in college is important and will continue to shape our personal and professional lives, and yet too often we allow our college education to shape and dictate everything about ourselves, sacrificing our creativity and personality along the way simply in order to obtain that first job that society approves of.

Don’t leave college thinking that your time here at Oregon State was a waste simply because you were unable to relay that newfound diploma into a high paying job. Look back on your time here as an experience in which what you learned outside of the classroom – living on your own, adjusting to a new city, meeting new friends – was just as important in shaping who you are and what you will do, as the courses you took and the pedagogical understanding you gained from them.

And to you, the few and proud who have a post-graduation job lined up, well you shouldn’t be reading this anyway. Get back to work.

Posted by Peter Rumbles, Career Services Assitant

The Beloit Mindset List, created at Beloit College in 1998, is an annual publication that aims to reflect the world-views of the year’s entering college class. The appeal for this list is widespread, mainly because it’s helpful for those who wish to gain a better grasp of what our generation is all about: teachers, advisors, and even potential employers.

Ours is a generation largely disillusioned with the American Dream. We’ve grown up accustomed to recession and an ever-increasing unemployment rate. Gone are the days when a college education was a definite guarantee of a good job, and concerns over student debt are steadily mounting. These factors have led to a generation of young adults that are much more anxious and risk-averse than their predecessors, which generates criticism because we’re not doing things the way they used to be done. The problem is, we inherited a different world. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a research psychologist at Clark University, says this about Generation Y: “I think part of the answer is that it does take longer to grow up than it used to…Older adults are still comparing them to a standard that really is obsolete and really not fair anymore.”

Ron Nief and Tom McBride, the authors of the Beloit Mindset List, have expressed their belief that generation gaps have always needed glue. That glue is what they aim to provide by making us aware of our differences while clearing up damaging misconceptions about the younger generation. Like many aspects of life, generations aren’t better or worse than each other, just different. Those differences can make it hard to relate to one another, which is challenging when there’s a generational gap between you and a professor or a potential employer. Awareness of mindset differences and what kind of impression you give off to the preceding generation is the glue that will connect you.

All-in-all, I’m proud of my generation. I’m proud of all the young adults paying their own way through college, which is more expensive than ever. I’m proud of the importance my generation places on family and work/life balance. I’m proud of how technologically savvy we are, leading to a curious and innovative generation. I’m also proud of the renewed focus on balancing ambition with finding what you love to do, rather than focusing on just making the most money possible. Dear Generation Y – be confident! There is such a thing as being too cautious if you’re never putting yourself out there. Dear Generation X – You helped raise us to be totally awesome, thanks! We’re all in this together.

Check out the most recent Mindset List.


Posted by Deirdre Newton, Career Services Assistant

While the economy is still mired in a recessive state, slowly working itself back towards high employment and higher wages, it seems that the students who find it hardest to get a job upon graduation are those who major in the humanities or liberal arts. While engineers, scientists, and accountants slot easily into new jobs, English, history, and philosophy majors find themselves only able to apply for jobs that are marked with the dreaded “All Majors Welcome” label. This is not a slight on those who receive a job, merely a factual statement that demonstrates the complete reversal the United States had undergone since C.P. Snow’s “The Two Cultures” – Science vs. Humanities – in the early 1960s.

I myself am a historian, someone who got his bachelor’s degrees in 4 years and then graduated in 2010, right in the middle of the worst recession since the 1920s. My options were few and far between, and no matter how hard I looked, jobs never appeared. Instead –and perhaps against my own best judgment – I chose to return to school, again choosing history for my graduate program. As I plan to graduate in June of this year, I find myself stressing over the thought of looking for and applying to jobs. It is not the process that scares me, but rather, the fear of being told “No” or, worse yet, not being told anything at all.

While this may seem somewhat depressive and very much not arguing for the humanities as the title implies, the realization that students in the humanities have a harder time finding a job has actually changed my perspective and opened my eyes to the possibilities that we sociologists, historians, and language majors can offer to the professional world.

As a history student, the skills that I have learned and the knowledge that I have gained may seem like little more than a memorization of names, dates, and facts to an outsider. However, to me, I know that I now possess critical thinking skills that allow me to synthesize and evaluate a variety of sources and compile them into a larger body of work that conveys a new importance and a new meaning. I have gained a knowledge and appreciation for different cultures and their histories, allowing me to connect with their stories and better understand what they have gone through. Similarly, I now have better communication and collaboration skills, working efficiently and effectively with others to succeed in ways that others cannot.

When I graduate from OSU, I may not become a historian and my understanding of a war or a famous historical figure may never again come in handy. That does not make my degree in the humanities a failure or a waste of time, rather it demonstrates that sometimes the content of what we learn is not the most important, but rather, it is the context, the process, and the manner in which we learn that will truly help us in the future.

Posted by Peter Rumbles, Career Services Assistant