For those people interested in pursuing a career in national security, mark your calendars for Aug. 20 as American Military University (AMU) will be hosting a Virtual Career Fair featuring federal and private sector employers. AMU employee Jaymie Pompeo offers some pointers in preparation for the Virtual Career Fair.
Government Employee Or Government Contractor: Which Path Is Right For You?
While you may be familiar with the pros and cons each sector offers, making the decision to work as a federal employee or contractor can still be challenging. Reflections on your personal preferences regarding job availability, geographical locations, salary, work-life balance and professional agility – can all be determining factors in your decision.
Knowing what motivates you can also make all the difference in weighing your decision. When considering opportunities in each sector, take some of the following into consideration:
Are You Pressed For Time On Getting Hired?
The hiring process for a government position, especially a competitive one, can be long and arduous. Even if you manage to make headway in the federal application process, you may have to wait months before hearing an update on the position.
Conversely, being hired as a contractor can often provide quick access to various positions that need immediate filling with quality talent. If a government position is in your career goals, contracting can provide you with the networking opportunities to start reaching that goal, as well as providing hands on experience the government is actively seeking.
Have You Considered Your Work Preferences?
Whether you ever move to a government position or not can also depend upon your long-term goals. For example, if oversight and managerial work is something that gets you excited and motivated for the workday, the government’s professional development and structured career paths may offer a more appealing route.
On the other hand, if you thrive on implementing creative solutions using the latest technologies, you may enjoy the flexibility that government contracting has to offer in developing mission critical skillsets. The government often contracts out the technical expertise to foster innovation, and private companies pay top dollar and compete to retain that type of talent.
What Are The Potential Benefits And Drawbacks?
Federal agencies are typically less subject to budget funding shortfalls, which offers more stability and job security. While there is a sense of pride in government service for work to be meaningful and make a difference; there may be less flexibility in transferring career paths on a whim due to the more structured promotion ladder.
With contracting, there is always the chance you may be out of a job through lost contracts or rebids. While jobs are still more readily available in this sector, priority is given to experts in the field. An investment in continuing education and industry certifications is instrumental in staying marketable. Contracting also typically allows for greater professional agility as you look to transfer career pathways as your skillsets evolve.
So which is the better choice for you? Regardless of the path you choose, personality and work preferences are often at the heart of your decision. Take time to reflect on your career aspirations and target the best match for your situation.