Temporary Jobs in the Northern Region

Trail Crew Member Posing with Crosscut Saw

Temporary employees have a very special place within the Forest Service. Most Forest Service career employees started out in temporary positions, including as trail crew workers, fire lookouts, seasonal biologists, and many more. Seeking a temporary or seasonal job with the Forest Service is a great way to gain experience with the agency.

The Forests of the Northern Region fill a variety of temporary jobs annually, usually from January through March.  All positions are hired through the USAJobs system.  You can search www.USAJobs.gov to look at positions that are open come September 2018.

Tips to getting summer employment:

1.       Call the Hiring Manager – This is likely the single most important thing you need to do when applying for a Forest Service job.  Hiring manager’s contact information is found on the outreach for each job (see above).  The Federal application process is highly centralized and we can receive upwards of 200-400 applicants per job.  If you don’t stand out, you won’t.  Do not simply submit an application and hope for the best.  Hiring decisions are still made at the local level and influenced greatly by the local hiring manager.  You need to call or better yet, stop by and visit, with the hiring manager.  Be prepared to ask questions about the job, the location, housing, specific skill sets they are looking for, etc.  Also be prepared to tell them about yourself, why you want the job, what your future goals are, etc.  Hiring managers are also great people to ask questions about USAjobs.gov  You can find a listing of Forest Service districts at: http://www.fs.fed.us/contactus/regions.shtml

2.      Start Early with USAjobs.gov – This website is the only way to apply for Forest Service jobs.  The website is hard to manage, difficult, and unforgiving.  Although it is unfortunate this is the case, it is still the only means managers have to hire.  You will need to start with setting up a profile on USAjobs and get your documentation ready.  This can take a fair chunk of time and you need to plan ahead at least a few weeks in advance of a job coming open to ensure you have everything you need.  You must follow the instructions, include all documents that are required, and complete required fields to the letter or your application will not be considered for the position.  If you have questions about this, call the hiring manager for the position in addition to the HR number that is given.  Again, this is where you need to give yourself time in the process.  Take a look at similar jobs so you are familiar with what all is needed to apply and prepare in advance.  It’s also good to search USAjobs once a week for jobs you’d be interested in.  This is in addition to the outreach database.  Think of it like reading a newspaper or checking Facebook and get into the routine.

3.      Consider Summer Jobs to Get Your Foot in the Door – In Region 1 of the Forest Service (Montana, North Idaho, and parts of the Dakotas) we hire over 1000 people for summer jobs.  These jobs are a great way to get familiar with the Forest Service, the type of work we do, and the people.  Although this is slowly changing, the culture of the Forest Service is to hire people who have work experience with the Forest Service or related agency.  Getting a seasonal/temporary or summer job will make it much easier to come back again for seasonal work or to move into a permanent position.

4.      Consider Working in Wildland Firefighting Jobs - There are more fire fighting jobs in the agency than any other.  As such, if you apply there is greater potential of getting hired.  Firefighting jobs are demanding on many levels so you need to make sure you are physically and mentally ready for such a job.  Once you are hired as a firefighter, it can lead to moving upward or laterally into a position you want to do long term.  The experience in fire will forever be valued for any position you apply to within the agency.

5.      Be Persistent and Don’t Lose Hope – If you are serious about working for the Forest Service, stick with it.  Make yourself known.  Follow the process to the letter.  It will be worth it.


Applying for Federal Government Jobs using USA Jobs

Click here for Forest Service Job Descriptions.

The Forest Service has a document to help you apply for a job in USAJobs (pdf). http://www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/USAJOBS_Instructions.pdf

This Government Resume Checklist is useful for preparing your application.

You should also watch this video to learn about finding and applying for jobs in the Federal Government using USA Jobs.