Beverly F. Johnson, Career and Industry Specialist, ASU Career and Professional Development Services
Unique Opportunities in State Government
What do you think of when someone refers to government work? Unfortunately, government work has obtained a negative association over the years. In the urban dictionary, you’ll even find a definition of government work that implies someone is taking care of personal business on work time. The term, government work, has also been associated with slacking off or doing a really poor job. If the urban dictionary definition isn’t enough of a discouragement, another misperception of government work is that it’s boring and lackluster, mustering up thoughts of drab, grey cubicles and endless piles of paperwork. Thanks to these misperceptions, government opportunities are often overlooked.
The truth about government work is that the opportunities are endless. Government employment normally comes with excellent benefits, high job security, and plenty of vacation, sick and holiday pay. In every state in the U.S. there are a multitude of departments, offering careers in a vast array of fields. In a recent interview with a recruiter from the State of California they stated, “We’re recruiting all sorts of different positions. Everything from accountants to zoologists and everything in-between.” For just one department of the California State government they hire over 300 types of positions.
State departments often run similarly to any other business. They all need to fulfill basic business functions in order to carry out their missions. Oftentimes, working for a state department is an amazing opportunity to support a mission that you’re passionate about by doing work in your specialty. For example, you could support the Department of Environmental Quality as a scientist in the field or a lab, or you could also find exciting opportunities as a human resource professional, business analyst, accountant or manager of organizational development.
The opportunities really are endless! At the time this article was written, the following unique opportunities in state government were found, and these are a small sample of thousands of positions being filled every day in local, state and federal government.
- Apps Developer (Arizona Department of Education)
- Assistant State Veterinarian (Iowa Department of Agriculture)
- Community Outreach Coordinator (Arizona Department of Revenue)
- Internal Investigator (New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities)
- Information Officer (California Office of Public Information and Media Relations)
- Project Manager of Architecture and Engineering (Texas Department of Health and Human Services)
- Registered Nurse - Tribal Relations Liaison (Arizona Department of Economic Security)
- Water Resource Control Engineer (California Department of Water Resources)
Another benefit to working in a government department is that they often hire from within before they’ll post job opportunities to outside applicants, giving you even more opportunities once you’re hired. In addition, while there are no formal transfer processes between departments and between states or agencies, you’ll be a stronger candidate for other government opportunities once you’ve gained some experience. All this means that starting in a government position will lead to additional opportunities you may not have even thought of yet. If you’ve never considered a position in state government, please take some time to explore your options. You never know what you might find!