If you’re thinking you may be laid off in the next few months and are longing for the security of a government job now may be a good time to start applying.

It can take months to go through the hiring process because of background checks and security clearance procedures. And your resume may have to follow a different format. Check out USAJobs.gov for openings.

Local, state and federal governments have added more than 50,000 jobs this year so far, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a global outplacement consultancy firm. The firm announced that it believes the federal government has at least 100,000 current openings.

If you visit local and state government Web sites you’ll likely find additional job opportunities.

One factor impacting the government’s strong hiring drive is impending retirements. Fifty-eight percent of supervisory and 42 percent of non-supervisory federal workers will be eligible to retire by the end of fiscal year 2010, Challenger says, citing the Partnership for Public Service.

Other reasons to consider federal employment include pension opportunities and educational benefits. Harvard is offering to waive $41,000 of law school tuition for those who plan to work in the public sector, according to Challenger.

There are, of course, downsides to working in government, but for many it can lead to a fulfilling career.

Published: Jun 2, 2008