For This Issue
Featured Agencies:

army cpol
foreign agricultural
forest service
job scams
Pentagon Force

What’s The Chance of Finding Federal Jobs In Europe?

Dear Advisor:

I’d like to work for Uncle Sam in Europe. My wife is from Germany. I met her while I was stationed there in the Army. That’s how I know that the U.S. government has many jobs in Germany and nearby countries. How can I find out more about these jobs? Am I eligible? Will they pay moving expenses, if I am hired? Thank you for your time and interest.


Ft Dix, NJ

Dear B.G.,

The overseas job market is a hot one. You are far from alone in having interest in a job with the Federal government in Europe. As know the Federal government supports facilities throughout the world, in virtually every country. Hundreds of jobs open overseas every year. Consequently you can almost pick a country and sooner or later an opening will occur there. The catch is these jobs are not easy to land.

Competition for these positions is stiff. The screening process for new hires is even more rigorous than for positions in the U.S. The reason is that Federal regulations require the government, even if you did not ask, to transport you and your entire household including your spouse and dependents, your automobile, furnishings, maybe even the cat to your new location abroad. This is very expensive and as you might imagine is avoided by the government. Wherever possible, local people are hired to fill all but the most sensitive or difficult-to-fill positions. This leaves a small pool of jobs over which a large pool of candidates competes.

Each issue of the Federal Jobs Digest contains a listing of overseas positions which begins immediately after the Federal Jobs Nationwide section. On the website the overseas jobs are mixed in among the domestic jobs by occupation. Some of the phone numbers that appear in the overseas listings are local to the U.S. Many are foreign. Is there a way to avoid the expensive and usually inconvenient (often has to be made in the middle of the night) phone call? Some of the Vacancy Announcements may include an email address. You may also want to include the following site in your search.

Air Force



Department of State

However you obtain it, you need to get your hands on the full Vacancy Announcement for any job of interest. You should complete your application package as directed in the Vacancy Announcement. In the process you may want to call the personnel specialist who is handling the job. He or she may put you in touch with the hiring manager for the position. Getting in touch with the manager and discussing the job with him should help you make a better application. Of course, the hiring manager would much prefer to talk to a candidate on the phone, than to simply review written material. This is not to say you will not also have to submit written material.

Here is another way, albeit an expensive one, to make your candidacy more attractive. You can declare that you will already be in-country when the position begins. You can say that for reasons of your own you will already have re-located to the country. Consequently the government does not have to re-locate you. Of course, this is going to cost you money, but it may be the competitive edge you need to land the job.

Here are some other observations on overseas jobs with the Federal government you might find useful.

Appropriate Overseas Jobs
Most Federal positions overseas that are not filled by locals are concentrated at upper levels in hard-to-recruit specialties or are open only to current employees with competitive status or to employees who already have a clearance. (To have competitive status, an employee should have worked a minimum of three full-time years in a competitive service position.)

Furthermore, many of the overseas jobs listed at Army or Navy facilities are open only to Department of Defense workers. Lower-graded jobs, i.e. below GS-11, are often given to dependents of military or civilian employees of the host country already on-site overseas.

What To Do If You Do
Not Have Competitive Status
A good strategy for first-time Federal job seekers who wish to work overseas is to take the same job—or as close as possible to the occupation code and grade level sought overseas—in the U.S. first. Then, having established a good work record—at least one good performance appraisal—to apply for transfer overseas.

Beat Short Closing Dates
Be conscious of the closing date for the job. Agencies usually want the candidate’s application received at the APO (Army Post Office) or FPO (Fleet Post Office for the Navy) by the closing date, so candidates should be sure to contact the Agency as soon as they learn about the position.

Once you have established tenure in the civil service transfer overseas can be a lot easier than being a new hire. Many Federal Agencies maintain offices abroad. However, most jobs overseas are with either DoD or State. Become an employee of either and you could literally see the world as a Federal employee.

To submit questions to the Federal Jobs Advisor, write to: Federal Jobs Advisor, Federal Jobs Digest, 1503 Radcliff Court, Newtown Square PA 19073. We regret that not all questions may be answered. •