Blog 7: Employment with the Department of Defense (DoD)

This blog will focus on the different components of the Department of Defense (DoD) and internships for students interested in pursuing a career with the DoD. The audience for this blog are college students majoring in Criminal Justice or with an interest in law enforcement who are specifically interested in a career with the DoD. Many students overlook the agency, because they think the agency only hires from the  military and not civilians which is incorrect.

Secretary of Defense
Source: DoD Website

The Department of Defense is one of the oldest and largest government agency with over 1.3 million men and women on active duty, 826,000 personnel who serve in the National Guard and Reserve Forces, and 742,000 civilian personnel. The Pentagon, headquarters of DoD, is one of the world’s largest office buildings and is still considered very efficient despite being built during World War II. The mission of DoD is to prevent any future war from happening by providing essential tools to the military forces and to keep Americans safe. Ashton B. Carter, the Secretary of Defense, is the defense policy advisor to the president and works under the direction of President. All three military branches, Army, Navy, and Air Force were placed under control of the Secretary of Defense after the creation of the National Military Establishment in 1947 which unified all three branches.


The Department of Defense (DoD) actively hires both civilians and military members. The agency hires 800,000 civilians from different fields and offers competitive salary, benefits, and training opportunities. Even the Navy, Air Force, and Marines have civilian positions available to help support the Armed forces. Civilian employee positions are available in wide fields including engineering, science, intelligence analysis, education, management, logistics, and many other areas.

One important thing applicants must note that along with many federal agencies, DOD also requires applicants to send their federal resumes when applying for positions. There’s a big difference between federal and private sector resume. A federal resume includes detailed information about all your jobs, volunteer positions, special skills, and education. Also, a federal resume is usually five to pages long whereas a private sector resume is only 2 pages along with many bullets containing few positions that directly relate to the vacancy announcement. Students can look at this website to further understand the differences between federal and civilian resume:

DoD offers many  part and full time student opportunities including internships, professional development opportunities, and scholarships for students. For internships, DoD offers pathways programs and internship program for high school students. Also, if students are thinking about applying after graduation then DoD offers careers at many levels including entry level positions, mid-career, and executive level positions. 

Students can find various DOD job opportunities on USAJobs using this link:;AF;NV;AR&ApplicantEligibility=all

Also, students can look at OPM website to look at eligibility requirements for students and overview of the pathways program. Pathway hiring program differs for each hiring agency and intern job duties are related to their field of study and career interests. Also, interns may be converted to a full time position after graduation depending on the agency needs and budget. Lastly, students should start early and start working on their federal resume. In addition, they should also look everyday at USAJob and apply for any opportunity that is suitable to their career interests. It is better to start early and get a foot in the door instead of waiting after graduation to apply to agencies in the very competitive process.




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