Information for Students, Recent Graduates, and Entry-Level Jobseekers

Information for Students, Recent Graduates, and Entry-Level Jobseekers

There are several different ways entry-level talent can begin a career with the federal government.

Pathways Programs

The Pathways Programs offers clear paths into federal service for students and recent graduates through federal internships or full-time jobs. These opportunities also provide meaningful training, mentoring and career development for employees.  

There are three types of programs for jobseekers at different points in their careers. Choose the right program for you: 

Internship Program 

The program provides current high school, college, graduate and advanced degree students with paid opportunities to work in federal agencies. Internships may be part-time or full-time, and they may be yearlong or limited to the summer. Agencies hire interns on a temporary basis for up to one year on a specific project or for an indefinite period until the intern completes his or her degree.  

Recent Graduates Program 

This program is a one to two-year developmental program designed for individuals who have received an undergraduate, graduate or advanced degree from a qualifying educational institution or program. Candidates must apply within two years of receiving their degree, except for veterans who have up to six years to apply due to their military obligations. Program participants receive at least 40 hours of training and professional development and complete an individual development plan. They are also assigned a mentor they can work with during their time on the program. If they meet certain requirements, participants may be eligible to convert to full-time federal employment.   

Presidential Management Fellows Program 

This program is the federal government’s premier leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. Individuals are eligible for this competitive program if they received a qualifying advanced degree within two years of applying. This two-year fellowship includes 80 hours of training each year, a senior-level mentor, a mandatory four to six-month developmental assignment, and optional rotations of one to six-months duration. It is designed to provide challenging work assignments and opportunities to network with other future leaders.  
 
The application takes about three hours to complete and consists of a resume, transcript, online assessment and essay. Useful application tips are available on the PMF website.  

To search for these positions, simply use the “students” or “recent graduate” filter when searching USAJOBS.gov. 

Volunteer Opportunities

Many federal agencies and departments offer unpaid training opportunities to students currently enrolled in an academic program. As a student volunteer, you will gain valuable work experience in the federal government as it relates to your field. If you are interested, you should look on agency websites’ career pages for volunteer opportunities or contact the personnel office at the federal agency or department of your choice. These volunteer positions may be posted on USAJOBS.gov, but there is no central listing of student volunteer opportunities.