Student Timeline for Federal Government Careers

During your collegiate experience you can prepare yourself for a federal career after graduation. You can use this year-to-year timeline as a guide to getting yourself ready for a career in public service.


Freshman Year: Inquiry and Awareness

It’s your first year in college! This can be an overwhelming time for you, maybe your first time living away from home. The transition can be very stressful. First year students may still be undecided about their focus and major. This year you should try to find yourself by engaging in different campus activities, workshops, and classes. In addition, you should familiarize yourself with CDS resources.

  • Choose a major that fits your interests and personality. Take Strong Interest Inventory and Type Focus assessment online to help you with decision making. Visit our curricular advisor if you are unsure of your major.
  • Start researching different agencies in the federal government that have opportunities related to your major. ( What Can I Do in Federal Government With a Major In?, )
  • Participate in campus activities and community service that will develop transferable skills for your resume.
  • Create a resume and have it critiqued by advisors in CDS.
  • Talk to individuals you know who are affiliated or employed by the federal government.
  • Network! Get to know faculty, an academic advisor, and administrators who have received federal grants.
  • Look at government-wide career/ intern opportunities through the Pathways for Students and Recent Graduates Program.
  • Familiarize yourself with the CDS federal government homepage and


Sophomore Year: Assessment and Exploration
Just finished your first year of college! So many things can change in a year. In your second year, follow these steps if you’re still interested in the federal government.

  • If you haven’t already taken the Strong Interest Inventory and Type Focus assessment online, be sure to do so to help identify your interests, skills, abilities, and values. Check with your career advisor to help you interpret the results.
  • Continue to research the Federal Government agencies. (
  • Research specific occupations offered by agencies, and learn about their requirements and qualifications (read carefully!)
  • Update your resume. Be sure to tailor your resume to reflect skills required for specific jobs that you identify.
  • Continue to develop your skills through classroom experiences and volunteering.
  • Apply for internships with the federal government, to gain a foothold in an agency for the future. Best time to apply is in the fall if you are seeking a summer internship.
  • Check with your career advisor for helpful tips and to review your career plan.
  • Continue to use CDS federal government webpages.



Junior Year: Testing Career Decision

In your third year of college you should have a better idea of what you can do with your major. During your freshman and sophomore years you have been developing some skills and abilities through academics, volunteering, and work experience. Junior year is the time to focus on finding a major-related internship.

  • Continue to develop pertinent skills (leadership, team playing, communication, etc.) through classroom and extracurricular activities.
  • Attend NJIT Career Fair and other fairs that include federal agencies.
  • Attend federal government workshops and panel discussions on campus.
  • Network with federal government representatives who come to campus and friends who were hired by the government.
  • Schedule a practice interview.


Senior Year: Job Search

Congratulations, graduation candidate! You have almost completed your college career and this realization can be both exhilarating and stressful. This year you will be completing major projects and searching for a full time job. In your senior year you should be focused on applying for federal government jobs and crafting your resume to show off your skills. Let them know you’re the best candidate for the job!

  • Search for jobs on, to explore current job openings.
  • Search on the website of agencies where you have a particular interest. ( Use as a resource).
  • Attend NJIT Career Fair and federal government career fairs.
  • Learn techniques for articulating your strengths to representatives. Schedule a practice interview with your career advisor if you haven't done so already.
  • Research how to submit a good application, and make sure you understand and meet the required qualifications. Be aware that each job application process can be different. Use your career advisor as a resource.
  • Start application process early and pay close attention to DEADLINES!


CDS has the resources and links you need on our federal website homepage. This will save time and make the search a little easier. Remember we are here to help. Please feel free to contact your CDS counselor for additional assistance.

Back to the Top