Capitol Alert

The state of California is hiring, and it may want people like you


Every day, California government officials are looking for people to fill thousands of full-time vacancies. Their recruiting is heating up. Forty percent of state employees are eligible to retire, and only about 10 percent of the workforce is under age 30, compared to about 25 percent of the overall workforce in California in that age group.

The state’s human resources department, CalHR, is looking for new ways to reach out to people. For those willing to wade through the complicated public-sector employment process, including exams and a difficult-to-use website,, the trends provide more opportunities for a stable job with benefits.

Here’s some information about a few of the jobs available as of last week and some tips on how to land one.

Entry level

Jobs requiring no college education or a generic degree:

Staff services analyst

Pay: $38,268-47,904

Duties: Analyze data and study department procedures.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, no experience.

Vacancies: 219

Office assistant, typing

Pay: $26,892-33,672

Duties: Transcription and dictation, mail handling, etc.

Education: High school diploma, no experience.

Vacancies: 45

Program technician

Pay: $28,608-38,436

Duties: Variety of tasks, including manning call centers.

Education: High school diploma, some clerical experience or college.

Vacancies: 5

Correctional officer

Pay: $38,064

Duties: Prison guard

Education: High school diploma

Vacancies: 7 (CalHR expects to fill 7,000 vacancies by 2016.)

For the more experienced

Jobs requiring some specific training:

Senior auditor evaluator

Pay: $62,172-$81,732

Duties: Oversee auditors doing field work for the California State Auditor.

Education: College degree, three years of experience in auditing.

Vacancies: 6 openings expected in the near future.

Certified nursing assistant

Pay: $26,844-33,612

Duties: Helps nurses care for patients at Department of Veterans Affairs.

Education: Certification, six months of experience.

Vacancies: 22; 15 similar positions also are available in jails.

Exam tips

Five tips for taking the exams required to apply for state jobs, from CalHR representatives and state jobs consultant Michelle Allen:

▪ If you have an oral exam, read up on the agency’s policies and standard operating procedures. According to Allen, what you see as a positive – saying you’ll take work home to get it done or work under difficult circumstances – may sound like a violation of standard operating procedure to your examiners.

▪ On written assessments of your experience, remember that you can often list unpaid work. If you’ve given a presentation to your child’s PTA, you can count that as public speaking experience, as long as the question doesn’t specify that you can only count paid work.

▪ Take exams around the state. Often, according to CalHR, a generic exam in San Diego will allow you to jump to the top of the list to apply for jobs in Sacramento, even if the test isn’t being offered here.

▪ If no open exam is listed for a position you want, CalHR recommends calling the agency to which you’re applying and asking when an exam will be open, or, for more common positions such as “office tech,” call CalHR. Exams are often scheduled far ahead of time.

▪ Some people choose to hire private consultants to help them get state jobs. Consultants also usually offer less expensive group seminars. A consultant may know about state classifications that fit your interests, or have experience working in a certain department themselves. CalHR offers lunchtime seminars – call Brandon Littlejohn at 916-324-9379.