Office of Personnel Management offers ‘pathways’ for students

Amanda Heersink
August 30, 2012

By Amanda Heersink | University Communications

DENVER – Getting a job can be difficult. Getting a
federal government job can be twice as difficult, but members of the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) were on the Auraria Campus to give students tips on how to
navigate, how to write a resume for the government sector and the
opportunities for students in the government. The workshop was put on by the
School of Public Affairs.

Director of OPM John Berry described the government job
sector: “It’s an amazing operation. Anything you can imagine, the government has
a position for it.”

Under President Obama the process for students to get their foot in the federal
door has become easier. Previously students competed in open competition with
people who had numerous years of experience. Now there are three ‘pathways’
that students can take.

The first pathway is for students currently enrolled in an undergraduate
program. The intern pathway gives students a paid internship and, after 600
hours, the student can be hired into a permanent position. In order to be
eligible, students must be enrolled in an accredited school, ranging from high school
through technical, vocational and traditional four-year colleges/universities.

The second pathway is for students who have already graduated with an undergraduate degree. Individuals are eligible for as long as two years after their
degree is received, unless they are on active duty in the military; it is then
extended to six years.

Especially beneficial for graduates is the fact that this pathway is not
an open competition, so there are only other recent graduates applying.

“In open competition, students will always lose,” said Berry.

The final pathway is for students enrolled in graduate studies. This program is
called Presidential Management Fellows Program​ (PMF). This pathway is more
directed to making the next generation of high-level management. The PMF program
is very competitive, but places students in a mid-level management position when

Todd Floersheim from the Recruitment Policy and Outreach team walked through
how to find and apply for jobs on

“Read the whole description, that alone will put you in the upper 10 percent of
applicants,” Floersheim said. He added, “Don’t just send
out 100 resumes that are all the same. Really take the time to tailor to each
job description.”

There are also programs for veterans to obtain government jobs. Shelley
Anderson described the process: “Currently there are 570,000 veterans working for the United States
government, and we always want to increase that number.”

In addition to Veteran Affairs, representatives also were at the session from the U.S. Forest Service and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

The pathways program just went
into effect in mid-July. Floersheim said the goal is to have every agency fully updated and on board with the new recruitment system by the end of the year.

Berry said, “I am so pleased with students these days. They want to know ‘where
can I make the biggest difference’ and that is really uplifting.”

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