– Government Contract Jobs –
Have you ever wondered how individuals or businesses are able to win government contract jobs?
Make sure you read along to find out how government contract jobs work, and the steps you should take to win more government contract jobs.
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Why Work for the Government?
You might have considered working for the government at the local, state, or federal level. Here are five compelling reasons why working for the government might appeal to you:
1. Generous Compensation
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management estimates the average federal worker’s annual salary to be above $79,000.
The minimum hourly wage was also raised from $7.25 to $10.10 in 2014 for all new government contracts.
Many federal government positions with salaries are also part of the Federal Wage System, which means employees are mandated raises or “step increases” at least once every three years.
Due to these statistics, mandates, and hourly wage increases, government jobs tend to pay more generously than non-government jobs.
2. Better Benefits of Government Jobs
Most government jobs come with health and dental insurance, and many offer low-cost life insurance. You may also find more retirement pensions in government jobs.
3. Working to Better the Public
Employees in every sector of government work for the good of the people. They created government jobs with the objective of making life better for the people that encompass the government.
Choosing a career in any sector of government can be extremely rewarding when you know you are working to improve the community or nation.
4. Governments are Always Hiring
As long as a government exists, it will be hiring. If funding diminishes in one sector, another sector can be growing.
Different from a private company, governments will exist in society forever, and you can find a job in one area of the government or another.
5. Job Security
Government jobs provide a sense of security because of the eligibility for permanent appointments in many sectors and government industries.
Many federal jobs offer permanent appointments after three years of consistent work. Many federal, state and local agencies also consist of ongoing programs that can last indefinitely.
Types of Government Jobs
You can find a government job in a variety of industries in every sector. Whether you choose to work in the local, state, or federal sector, there are jobs in almost any major industry you decide to pursue.
Here are some popular types of government jobs:
1. Law, Law Enforcement, and Security
You can find a job in law enforcement or national security in any sector of government.
Although it is a demanding job, a law enforcement career can be rewarding as you keep your community or nation safe.
You can also pursue a government career in law with a legal degree as an attorney, judge, or paralegal.
2. Medicine, Social Work, and Education
Public health and health policy are essential to governments of all levels, and working in a medical or educational field within the government can prove to be rewarding as you work to keep the public healthy.
3. Science and Engineering
Science and engineering fields have a variety of sub-fields and specialties that you can pursue.
There are agencies, departments, and institutions within every sector of government that are looking for a science and engineering majors that have specialized in one or more areas of study.
You can find jobs in civil engineering, electronic engineering, and mechanical engineering or work in agriculture, environmental studies, astronomy, and biology.
4. International Relations and Foreign Language
The federal government is always in need of fluent multilingual speakers for international relations.
You may find a government career as a linguist, analyst, officer, or intelligence specialist.
5. Business and Technology
One of the most critical areas of government is the business and technology field. Governments need business specialists to manage the economics, finance departments, human resources, and accounting.
As technology continues to advance, governments will be more in need of programmers, information technologists, and computer science specialists.
Governments need administrative workers to help keep their government organized and progressing.
Whether you work as a database administrator, administrative assistant, or office clerk, these sometimes overlooked jobs can be just as rewarding as other government fields.
Local Government Jobs
If working for your city, county, or local community interests you, here are a few local government jobs you should consider:
National average salary: $15.99 per hour
Primary duties: A treasurer can work at either the city or county level of local government and is either elected by the voting public or appointed by the city manager or city council.
A treasurer’s duties include managing cash flow and revenue, banking on behalf of the agency, overseeing pension investment management, issuing and repaying debt, creating financial reports, and disbursing municipal funds.
National average salary: $44,868 per year
Primary duties: A firefighter can work at either the city or county level of local government and ensures the safety of the public.
Primary duties include putting out fires, finding and rescuing victims of emergency situations.
Also, driving fire trucks, preparing emergency incident reports, treating injured or sick people, maintaining equipment, and providing public education on fire safety.
3. Police Officer
National average salary: $51,476 per year
Primary duties: Police officers work for the city to keep the community safe.
Primary duties include protecting people and their property, responding to emergency calls, patrolling neighborhoods, controlling traffic, preparing and submitting incident reports.
They also include testifying in court, delivering warrants, arresting criminals and violators of the law, and providing crime prevention education to the public.
4. Land Surveyor
National average salary: $71,847 per year
Primary duties: Land surveyors work for cities or counties to ensure they take proper measurements for a variety of reasons.
A land surveyor will prepare sketches and maps, verify data and calculations of complex site measurements, accurately record survey results.
Also, conduct descriptions of property boundaries, analyze survey records and land titles and research legal documents for clarification.
5. Database Administrator
National average salary: $93,125 per year
Primary duties: Database administrators are responsible for maintaining local government databases, securely storing data, evaluating and managing database software purchases.
They also include modifying existing database software, maintaining and improving database performance.
Plus, informing other local government workers and management of database changes, and ensuring the security of government and public data.
State Government Jobs
Working for the state can provide you with similar work to local governments but with concerns and challenges related to the federal sector. Here are a few state government jobs in various industries:
1. Records Clerk
National average salary: $14.77 per hour
Primary duties: A records clerk working for a state government holds the responsibility of performing data entry.
Completing forms; processing applications; updating file information; archiving files; destroying files.
Also, helping the public to retrieve information; process, and scanning data into a digital database.
Converting forms, reports, and receipts into electronic format; faxing files, and extracting file information from computers.
2. Social Services Assistant
National average salary: $44,950 per year
Primary duties: Social services assistants and assistant social workers work for the state.
They help keep families updated, provide support to social workers, analyze and assess care plans, interview new clients, create treatment plans, recommend community services, manage social service information.
They also provide consultations, determine eligibility for services, help clients complete paperwork and apply for assistance programs, monitor progress, and facilitate group activities.
3. Elementary School Teacher
National average salary: $57,015 per year
Primary duties: The primary duties of an elementary school teacher include teaching a class of students, effectively implementing the curriculum.
And creating a positive learning environment.
Also, discussing education-related issues with students and parents, attending staff meetings, administering exams, providing progress reports, distributing and grading assignments, creating discipline policies, and supervising students and student teachers.
4. Purchasing Manager
National average salary: $72,504 per year
Primary duties: Purchasing managers and agents help state governments purchase products, services, and other assets.
Primary duties include evaluating suppliers based on quality and price, learning about various products and services, analyzing financial reports and proposals, negotiating contracts.
Also, maintaining strict purchasing records, managing staff, determining corrective actions for unacceptable goods or services, monitoring and evaluating current contracts, and reviewing fiscal records.
5. Civil Engineer
National average salary: $82,505 per year
Primary duties: A civil engineer helps a state government with designing.
And operating, maintaining practical construction projects, including buildings, roads, bridges, and tunnels.
Primary duties include submitting permit applications; complying with local, state, and federal regulations. Overseeing soil testing and foundation strength; providing cost estimates for projects; designing engineering systems using the software.
Also, surveying and overseeing operations; supervising and communicating with crews and staff; testing building materials, and managing the repair and maintenance of public infrastructure.
Federal Government Jobs
The federal government has the broadest range of jobs and industries. Here are a few federal government jobs that you can pursue:
1. Mail Carrier
National average salary: $18.95 per hour
Primary duties: A mail carrier works for the federal government within a local precinct.
Primary duties include delivering mail and packages to residences and businesses, creating or maintaining routes, retrieving and returning mail to the post office, ensuring signatures for deliveries when required.
Also, leaving notices for undeliverable packages, providing postal forms when requested, assisting individuals with heavy packages, and operating mail carrier vehicles.
National average salary: $50,319 per year
Primary duties: A linguist working for the federal government can work directly with people as a peer translator or in an office setting as a document translator.
Primary duties of a federal government linguist include completing language translations and interpretations, transcribing audio or text, analyzing foreign documents.
Aiding in foreign or international relations, communicating and collaborating with other linguists, and providing translation and interpretation services when requested.
3. FBI Special Agent
National average salary: $98,942 per year
Primary duties: An FBI special agent works in the criminal justice department at the federal government level.
Primary duties include investigating suspected criminals or terrorists, making arrests, executing search warrants, working undercover when needed, identifying and monitoring organized crime groups.
Also, questioning suspects and witnesses, tracking stolen property, gathering evidence of criminal activities, and investigating public corruption.
National average salary: $99,020 per year
Primary duties: An economist requires exceptional mathematics, finance, and communication skills to explain economic data to the public.
An economist’s duties include analyzing financial, historical, and economic data, following market trends, advising the federal government about economic decisions.
Also, understanding the economic impact of regulations and laws, creating economic models and forecasts, creating and presenting technical reports, and contributing to economic journals and publications.
5. Aeronautical Engineer
National average salary: $100,788 per year
Primary duties: Aeronautical engineers work with a team to design aircraft, satellites, missiles, and spacecraft for the federal government.
Primary duties include designing, manufacturing, and testing aerospace creations, assessing project proposals, understanding and communicating environmental challenges.
Also, maintaining engineering principles in correspondence with government requirements, maintaining quality standards, inspecting damaged products, and developing new aviation or defense system technologies.
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Federal Government Contract Jobs vs. the Private Sector
Government contract jobs generally involve more complicated planning and reporting than those in commercial contract management.
Government agencies are not always structured like businesses in the private sector, and they typically abide by more stringent regulations because they are accountable for spending taxpayers’ money.
For these reasons, most government contract jobs require professionals who have the right training to manage the complexities of these relationships.
Types of Federal Government Contract Jobs
On the government side, certified contract managers can fill a variety of specialized roles.
Positions like procuring contract officer, termination contract officer, and administrative contract officer are examples of government contract jobs.
Professionals generally work under and report to a contracting officer who is responsible for overseeing the entire process.
Within the private sector, companies may have different designations for the person responsible for handling their government contracts, or they may have several specialists handling government contract jobs.
Depending on the size of the company, these workers may specialize solely in government contracts or they may have commercial contract management responsibilities as well.
Duties of Federal Government Contract Managers
The specific responsibilities of government contract jobs can vary considerably.
For instance, entry-level personnel is usually required to operate within the framework of established business practices and work under the supervision of an experienced contract manager.
They generally have little freedom to make independent decisions, but must still be able to comprehend and apply the principles of government contract management in their daily activities.
Mid-level contract managers, on the other hand, may be able to exercise more independent judgment and often adapt standard contract management procedures to suit specific situations.
At the highest level, contract management supervisors oversee and coordinate the work of the various contract specialists in their departments. They also ensure employees comply with government regulations and adhere to industry best practices.
Staffing Strategy to Win Government Contracts
1. Leverage Past Experience
One of the most important factors in a winning bid is recent and relevant experience in conducting the same or similar scope of work as the contract requires.
Demonstrating successful completion of similar work, or positive performance metrics if the work is still in progress, provide the best proof points that you can accomplish future work.
2. Evaluate Workforce Costs
Calculating workforce costs is challenging, and never more so given today’s record-low unemployment.
It requires a deep understanding of market-rate wages, the size of the candidate pool, and other employers competing for the same talent.
If nationwide candidate sourcing is required, how much should you estimate in per diem and/or relocation expenses?
A staffing partner with expertise in labor market dynamics will provide authoritative data on what your talent will cost, helping you maximize your profit margins and price to win.
3. Provide Resumes for Key Personnel
Optimal contract execution relies on having the right people in the right positions. One of the primary benefits of working with a staffing partner is access to a vast network of qualified and experienced candidates at all times.
Whether the contract is awarded immediately or there are delays in the selection process, you’ll know you can fulfill the work when and where it happens.
4. Build out a Winning Team
Building a winning team means knowing how each role fits into the scope and schedule of the contract and contributes to the achievement of the ultimate goal.
Especially if you’re working with over one subcontractor, you need to fill in the talent gaps to best fulfill your win strategy.
5. Provide Transition Planning Support
Do you have a transition plan ready to deploy upon successful program award? A consultative staffing partner will ensure you have the qualified workforce in place to meet your early headcount milestones.
It can also keep staff engaged and performing at the highest level over the life of the contract.
In addition to providing transition plans, identifying inefficiencies, tracking performance goals, and helping course-correct if necessary to ensure maximum performance.
6. Help you Rebid and Win the Contract Extension
Achieving all deadlines and meeting expectations is the best way to earn an extension, renewal, or new contract.
A staffing partner can help you apply learnings from your initial contract performance to inform you’re rebid and help you compete successfully.
7. Save Time and Money
Working with an experienced staffing firm can save you time and effort in sourcing, recruiting, hiring, and retaining the staff necessary to fulfill your contracts.
By taking care of budgeting, reporting, billing, and time and expense tracking, a staffing partner can ease your responsibilities so you and your internal staff can focus on core business.
In addition to the front-line responsibilities of helping you win contracts, a staffing partner can provide additional overall value to your business.
A staffing firm with a national footprint can help you expand your business into new markets by providing you with access to local talent almost anywhere you want to bid on business.
Or help you avoid bidding on contracts that are nearly impossible to fulfill, whether it’s due to an unrealistically low pay rate or other issues.
What Government Contracts Require
1. Time and Resources
Independents need to be aware of the number of hours and resources required to pursue and manage a government contract.
For example, part of the process to apply for federal contracts involves completing Representations and Certifications.
These provisions require you to represent and certify to a variety of statements ranging from environmental rules and compliance to entity size.
They designed representations and Certifications to ensure that you are in compliance with laws and regulations and are an extremely detailed part of the process.
In addition to taking a great deal of time to complete paperwork, there are legal implications as well.
If you’re going through this process for the first time or on your own, it’s advisable to get a legal review.
2. Liability Insurance
In addition to the time, resources, and credentials needed to obtain a government contract, there may be additional requirements.
Government contracts, similar to many large commercial contracts, may require additional liability insurance.
3. Special Invoicing and Payment Terms
Invoicing and payment terms may differ from standard business contracts. It’s common for government contracts to be monthly, net-60, which means you may not receive payment for 90 days.
Any mistakes can lead to a delay in payment for several months.
There may also be special invoicing requirements. Government contracting requires you to keep track of your funding and notify the government when you’ve reached 75% of your funding.
Failure to do so may carry a penalty. It’s therefore important to read contracts very carefully to ensure that you understand your responsibilities as a contractor.
Relationships will help you stand out among many available vendors/contractors.
Continue to apply the same practices of networking and relationship-building to government contracts as you do to other business opportunities.
The Importance of Contract Management Certification
Whether professionals aspire to work for a government agency or government contractor, becoming a certified contract manager is one important step on the path toward obtaining government contract jobs.
Holding certification as a Certified Federal Contract Manager (CFCM), Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM), or Certified Government Contractor (CGC) is preferred or required for most government contract jobs.
Working on government contract jobs may be very different from commercial contracts, so it is usually essential for professionals in government contract jobs to have the proper professional training.
Industry certification from the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) or National Association of Government Contractors (NAGC) can demonstrate a proven level of expertise and an in-depth understanding of the specifics of government contracts.
How to Get Government Contract Jobs in the USA
1. Register Your Business
In order to win government contract jobs, you will need to take several steps to register your business in the System for Award Management(SAM).
SAM is an official website of the U.S. government that houses a database of companies interested in government contracts. You’ll need to create an account and complete your profile to become searchable.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Establish a physical address
- Obtain a D-U-N-S Number
- Determine Your NAICS Code
- Establish a Contractor and Government Entity (CAGE) code
2. Explore Active Opportunities
Now you’re ready to explore active federal government contract jobs. There are a few different ways you can go about this:
- Register with Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) to search and bid on open opportunities.
- Search the Government Services Administration (GSA) Schedules program. GSA Schedules spends approximately $50 billion per year in federal procurement, much of which goes to small businesses.
- Check out SUB-Net, where you can find subcontracting opportunities.
3. Consider Small Business Certifications
If you are a socially or economically disadvantaged business, you may benefit from obtaining 8(a) status. These certifications do require a formal process with a third party but may create additional opportunities for you.
In order to begin this process, you must first be registered in SAM, and then you can start the application process through the SBA (Small Business Association).
Once you obtain your certification, you will be able to compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts, including other perks.
Government contract jobs are big tasks and not very easy to land. It is important to assess the requirements before deciding if pursuing a government contract is right for your business.
However, while the process may seem overwhelming, opportunities do exist and could be the right fit for you.
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