Employee in the Spotlight:
The Office of Law Enforcement's Jessica Douglas started with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2010 as an intern under the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), which has since become Pathways. In additiona to attending school at night, she works as an Investigative Case Specialist in Portland, Oregon. Jessica shares her insights on the Federal hiring process in this article from Portland State University prior to a recent career fair.
Story by Austin Maggs, Portland State University
If you’ve ever thought about applying for a job with the federal government, but stopped in your tracks when you tried to start the lengthy, complicated application process, now may be the time to reconsider.
Senior management and human resources double major Jessica Douglas—who is also a student ambassador for the U.S. Department of the Interior—will hold a workshop during Wednesday’s career fair.
Douglas’ workshop will focus on developing job-hunting skills, including writing a federal resume and learning the difference between a federal and a regular resume.
“You have to include so much more,” Douglas said. “Many people get kicked out of the applicant pool because they didn’t correct stuff on their resumes. So we try to teach people about [them].”
The career fair will feature more than 60 different organizations, including representatives from private industry and government agencies.
Portland State Director of Communications Scott Gallagher feels that students should attend the fair to help broaden their knowledge of available jobs and internships.
“The more knowledge you have, the better off you’ll be,” Gallagher said.
Aside from being a student, Douglas’s position as student ambassador is a volunteer position. Douglas’ task is to create awareness of opportunities for working with the government. This includes informing people of internships and jobs available with the federal government, and helping staff and students find and apply for those positions.
“The goal is really to get some new, talented individuals in the government and create change,” Douglas said.
This is Douglas’ first project to market the government and collaborate with PSU. Douglas is the first student ambassador for the Department of the Interior in the Pacific Northwest, which includes Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Idaho and Guam.
Douglas also works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is promoting opportunities in that agency and the Department of Interior.
“When people think [of] Fish and Wildlife, they immediately think of biology and natural resources. But, ultimately, we still need accountants, engineers and human resources specialists,” Douglas said. “There [are] opportunities for every type of major.”
Douglas will represent USFWS with her diversity and civil rights department in the upcoming career fair. She will inform attendees about internships and positions her company will be offering between this month and March.
“It’s really just sharing with people…what federal service entails,” Douglas said.
Douglas is part of a group that used to be called Student Career Experience Program, which is now transitioning to Pathways, which Douglas promotes. She found her internship through the Portland State career advising center. She’s been there since 2011.
Pathways offers paid internships. Pathways interns work for 640 hours until they receive their degree. They then switch into a permanent position.
“One of my favorite things about it is [that] nine months after I transition [to] permanent, I’ll be investing my retirement with the federal government, because it started when my internship started,” Douglas said.
Once Douglas completes her internship, she may be able to transition to permanent status since there no one currently fills the spot. However, she does plan to continue school to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.Learn more about the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement
"Here is your country. Cherish these natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children" ~Theodore Roosevelt