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