Job Options: Should I Look Into Working for the Government or the Private Sector?

Should I Look Into Working for the Government or the Private Sector?

The federal, state, and local governments in the United States currently employ nearly 22 million people. The private sector, on the other hand, employs approximately 102.6 million people.

Are you interested in working for the government? Or, do you think the private sector is the way to go?

If you’ve been wondering which type of job is a better fit for you, keep reading. Explained below are some of the pros on cons of both options. 

Working for the Government

You can do a lot of different things as a government employee. Some people assume that only politicians and political-hopefuls want to work for the government, but that’s definitely not the case. 

Teachers, librarians, school counselors, police officers, and firefighters all fall under the umbrella of government employment. You can do just about anything while working for the federal government or for your state or local government.

Pros of Government Work

Despite what Ron Swanson would have you believe, there are actually benefits that come with working for the government. 

One of the greatest benefits of government work is the fact that it comes with a lot of stability. The government will never go out of business (although, short-term government shutdowns do happen from time to time), so you’ll always have a place to work. 

Government jobs provide a lot of flexibility, too. There are lots of different positions available, so it’s easy for workers to find one that fits their needs and provides them with a good work-life balance.

Government benefits can also rarely be beaten. Governments typically provide excellent health care and great retirement plans. There are generous leave time accruals, too, and you get to enjoy a day off on all federal holidays, as well as many state and local government holidays.

Cons of Government Work

There are plenty of perks to government work, but there are downsides as well. For example, government employees typically don’t see the same amount of salary growth that private sector employees do.

As a government employee, there won’t be as many opportunities for major salary increases unless you apply for a different, higher-paying position. This capped earning potential can be a major de-motivator and source of job dissatisfaction for a lot of government employees. 

You don’t have a lot of control over your job as a government employee, either. There’s a lot of bureaucracy involved, which makes it hard for you to get things done quickly. You’ll likely do a lot of waiting around for approval when you work for the government.

Working in the Private Sector

There are many different job opportunities available through local and state governments, as well as the federal government. However, there are many more positions available in the private sector, and new jobs are being created every day.

Explained below are some reasons why you might or might not prefer working in the private sector.

Pros of Private Sector Work

One of the first major benefits of private sector work is the opportunity to earn a higher salary. There are more opportunities to grow your wealth working in the private sector since you’re less likely to be tied down by salary caps. 

When you work in the private sector, you can do almost anything. There are plenty of opportunities to take on new challenges and explore different types of jobs.

As a private sector employee, your benefits package might not be as generous as that of a government employee.

At the same time, though, many businesses are starting to offer unique benefits that employees value more than the traditional benefits the government offers. This includes things like subsidizes child-care, on-site gyms, and access to company cars.

Cons of Private Sector Work

If you’re someone who values stability and job security, you’re probably going to be better off working for the government.

The private sector job market can be more volatile, and a greater level of risk is required. Sure, the reward can be greater, too, but that’s not always worth the lack of security for some people.

When you work in the private sector, it can be harder to maintain a good work-life balance, too.

You may find that you have to work longer hours to stand out from your competition and get noticed for promotions and raises. This can take a toll on your personal and family life. 

Tips for Getting Hired

Whether you want to learn more here about applying for government jobs or you’re ready to try your hand in the public sector, there are a lot of things you can do to increase your chances of getting hired.

Listed below are some tips that will help you stand out and start working your dream job:

  • Be specific and only fill out applications for jobs you really want
  • Have someone proofread your resume and cover letter to eliminate errors
  • Spend more time on your cover letter (it’ll get more attention than your resume in most cases)
  • Keep your resume and cover letter short and simple
  • Dress in a professional way for all job interviews
  • Follow-up with interviews and thank them for their time
  • Focus on your talents and accomplishments and tell stories that exemplify them

Remember to be engaged during the job interview, too. Make eye contact, smile, and act enthusiastic. The interviewer will be much more likely to remember you if you do this.

Get Hired Today

As you can see, there are benefits and drawbacks to both options. Now that you know more about working for the government and working in the private sector, which one is more appealing to you?

Whichever approach you decide to take, be sure to keep these tips for getting hired in mind.

Do you want to learn more about different types of careers? Do you want to learn how you can be a better, more effective worker in any field?

If so, be sure to check out some of the other articles on our site today.

The Business and Finance section is full of helpful articles that will teach everything you need to know about making it in the professional world.

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