How to apply for government jobs and public sector positions

If you’re interested in finding out how to apply for government jobs, you may be looking to move from the private sector to the public sector and be a little apprehensive about the changes. The stipulations depend greatly on the type of role you’re after and which government agency it’s with.

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If you fancy yourself a bit of a James Bond and want to spy for a living, you might find a position with MI5. Nowadays you don’t have to be educated at the very best public schools in the land to get a job with the secret service as a lot of their more commonplace positions are advertised in much the same way as you would expect for non-government institutes. Looking at theguardian.com/jobs and indeed.co.uk will open you up to positions within the public sector.

Foreign and Commonwealth office

Maybe you’re thinking about a position with the government’s department responsible for protecting and promoting British interests around the world. If so, you will find a selection of jobs at gov.uk. The main FCO building is in London but there are 270 diplomatic posts in 160 countries around the world so this is a job that could truly allow you to “go places.”


Perhaps a position within government is your plan. If that’s the case, you’ll find positions advertised on local authority websites. Getting into a graduate scheme for a local government could be the start that leads you towards Westminster.

How to apply

No matter which post you’re interested in, you’ll have to undertake nationality, residency and security checks before you’re taken on. The severity of the checks depends on the position you’re applying for and the organisation you’ll be working for so don’t be surprised if you take a fair while longer to get a placement in this sort of public sector work than you would in the private sector.

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