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How to Get A State of California Job: Frequently Asked Questions

1) What does the State of California’s hiring process include?

The hiring process for the State of California consists of 2 broad and distinct parts. The first is the examination phase. In this phase, applicants must take and pass an assessment. After being successful in an examination, applicants have civil service eligibility for a specific classification and can start applying for vacancies.

Step #1 obtain eligibility for a classification through an examination. #2 apply for vacancies in that classification.

2) Where do I find available jobs with the State of California?

Any time a new job in the State of California opens up, it is posted on the CalCareer website, Open examinations are also posted here. The California Job Blog has articles to help people best utilize the CalCareers site, as well as better understand the State's hiring process.

3) How do I apply?

To apply, you’ll need to submit a State of California application (STD 678). First, locate a job you are interested in and qualified for on CalCareers. If you’ve already created a CalCareer account and have an application template ready to go, you can submit it online. There may be additional documents you’ll need to submit along with your application. In addition to submitting them electronically, the State of California allows for applications to be mailed in or dropped off.

Electronically submitted applications must be completed by 11:59 pm on the final filing date listed in the job bulletin. If you are dropping it off, it must be received by the hiring department no later than 5:00 pm on the final filing date. If you are mailing in your application, it must be postmarked no later than the final filing date. Job bulletins must always have addresses listed for where to mail in or drop off applications. The addresses might be different.

4) Where are California State jobs located?

California State jobs are located throughout the State. The largest amount are in Sacramento, however every county in the State has some great opportunities. Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties have the second and third most after Sacramento, respectively.

You can do an advanced job search from CalCareers and search by the county you’re interested in.

5) What are the benefits of jobs with the State of California?

There are a ton of great benefits of working for the State of California. California State employment provides: job security and stability, student loan forgiveness, retirement benefits, health and dental insurance, paid time off, group legal services and much more!

6) Is an interview required?

An interview will be required nearly all the time. It’s possible that a department will select the best candidate based solely on an application and other required documents, but this is rare. Job-seekers should plan on and prepare for a hiring interview.

It’s possible that the hiring department would allow you to do a phone interview, but they are not obligated to do so. Candidates should be prepared to explain why they are requesting phone interview, rather than in person.

7) How do I find a job with a specific department?

From the CalCareer site, click Advanced Job Search. Then, click the Department menu option and select the department you are interested in. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Search Job button. You’ll get a list of all the jobs the department is currently advertising for.

8) What resources are available to help with the hiring process?

You’ve found a great one right here on the California Job Blog! Additional resources include CalHR where you can find more information on the State’s various classifications. CalHR also has a YouTube channel with videos about the hiring process, including one on writing a Statement of Qualifications.

9) Are there special benefits for Veterans?

Yes! The State grants Veterans Preference Points for a lot of classifications. This benefit gives qualified veterans (and possibly their spouses) an advantage in the hiring process. In addition to hiring benefits, the State has leave programs available for military personnel during deployment or annual training. Some types of leave are paid, and some are not, but in either case your job is protected while you are on active duty.

10) What are the best entry level exams to take?

We recommend the Office Technician, Office Assistant and Staff Services Analyst exams for people looking to enter state service for the first time. There are many others, but these are common, and all provide a lot of chance for upward mobility. Keep in mind that for Office Assistant and Office Technician, a typing test is usually required.

The State also has jobs that are considered non-testing. These positions don't require candidates to take an exam before applying for vacancies. The Student Assistant classification is probably the most commonly used.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Hi, so I took and passed both the Program Tech II and III exams. When I search for jobs on CalCareers, most of the Tech III jobs require background knowledge for the particular department that is hiring. I don't have the particular background knowledge for quite a few of those positions. Should I not bother? I'm a very quick learner so I'm not afraid of the challenge of taking on a job I don't have a background in, but also don't want to waste everyone's time by applying if I don't have a chance to get the job. Any recommendations?

    1. Yes! You should definitely still apply. In the job posting, the hiring department is describing the skills their "perfect" candidate would have. They are aware that they probably won't get an applicant that has all of the qualifications they describe.

      Also, you're already qualified for the position. The hiring department is more concerned with finding a candidate that would work well with their team and is willing to learn.


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