An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  • Many family members return to the Washington, DC metropolitan area after one or more overseas’ assignments. For family members, there are several free and inexpensive job search resources available. Before returning, you can do many things to prepare for your job search, including starting the process about four to five months before arriving back in the United States. While most of the following information pertains to employment in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, much of it is applicable to other areas of the United States as well.


Employment in the DC Area
Federal Employment
Employment Resources
Returning to Washington DC: The Job Search

Employment in the DC Area

Identify your skills and employment goals:

  • Take a fresh look at your skill set and work with your Global Employment Advisor to develop an employment strategy.
  • Start setting goals for future employment options. What do you need to do now (e.g. professional development, obtain new skills, update certifications) for future employment in the U.S. and/or at your next overseas assignment?
  • What is your plan A, B and C? What skills do you need to focus on while in the U.S. to make you more marketable in the future?

 Conduct pre-departure research:

  • Begin searching for job opportunities before you leave post.
  • Visit the Family Member Employment page for employment resources.
  • Watch GCLO’s employment webinars. They cover topics such as qualifying on paper and understanding the federal job application process.

Sign up to receive The Network job postings:

  • The Network is an email subscription service designed to connect family members with federal hiring managers and private sector employers.
  • To subscribe to The Network, send an email with your personal email address and employee sponsor’s name and agency affiliation to

Prepare for your job search:

  • Before leaving post, identify your post (e.g. CLO and HRO), bureau, and former employment contacts. Reach out to them when you begin your job search.
  • Contact your regional Global Employment Advisors (GEAs) who can provide private sector and federal employment resume support and guidance.
  • Print off copies of all of your employment documents from your electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) on HR Online before you leave your position, if working at an embassy or consulate.
  • EFMs not employed directly by the Mission, should ensure that they obtain copies of relevant documents related to their position. Some examples are:  performance reviews, employment contract, references, and the equivalent of an SF-50 showing length of employment.  These documents will be helpful when applying for another position and may be difficult to obtain after departing post.
  • Consider using social media such as LinkedIn to expand your network and job opportunities.
  • Explore private sector contractors and non-government organizations to broaden your employment options.

Learn about non-competitive eligibility (NCE) and the federal hiring process:

  • NCE is a special hiring authority through which Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFMs) can be appointed to federal positions without competing with the general public.
  • GCLO’s NCE webpage contains information about eligibility, regulations, and FAQs.
  • Ensure that you have the necessary documents for verifying your NCE: personnel actions (first and last SF-50s), the most recent EPR (Employee Performance Report, JF-57) and NCE verification letter from HR.

Federal Employment

The federal hiring process is markedly different from private sector hiring due to the many laws, executive orders, and regulations that govern federal employment. Applying for federal positions is very competitive, and it is essential for the applicant to demonstrate their eligibility and qualifications. Following are a few of the resources available for learning about the federal hiring process and employment in the Civil Service.

Preparing for Federal Employment
  • Understand the basics about the Civil Service: appointments  and services .
  • Develop a federal resume and seek the help of your Global Employment Advisor. Overseas DOS direct hire employees and his/her EFM spouses or partner are also eligible to use the Career Development Resource Center.
  • Gather necessary documents such as: Notification of Personnel Actions (SF 50), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214 in order to demonstrate veteran’s preference), federal resume, transcripts, etc.
  • Subscribe to The Network, GCLO’s email subscription service for Foreign Service family members seeking employment in the Washington DC area.
  • Create a profile on USAJOBS .
Determining If You Have Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE)

Family members seeking federal employment should first determine if they earned non-competitive eligibility (NCE) while working at a U.S. Mission overseas. Executive Order 12721 enables certain eligible family members (EFMs) to be appointed non-competitively to a position in the competitive service once they return to the United States.

Applying for Federal Employment

Most, but not all, federal agencies post their job vacancies on USAJOBS  so it is essential that individuals applying for federal employment understand the process and follow the instructions that are provided in the vacancy announcement. Most Civil Service positions are in the competitive service, but read the vacancy announcement carefully as some advertised positions might be for a limited time appointment in the excepted service or might be a temporary or term appointments.  Jobs advertised on The Network can also be any of the aforementioned appointments types.

Helpful Links


Additional Employment Resources

The Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) resources do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any particular organizations by GCLO or the Department of State.

Training Courses
Job Fair Websites


Listings of private entities on this page are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department State or the U.S. government of the entity, its views or the products or services it provides. The order in which names appear has no significance, and the links may be removed at any time at the discretion of the Department.


U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future