How to Successfully Compete for State Employment

Following are some tips to assist you in your search for State employment. Additional information is available on the Office of State Employment Relations website at:

Positions are posted in the State Current Opportunities Bulletin, which is updated weekly online and can be found at:

Most State employment opportunities are civil service positions, which require a competitive application or examination process in order to be eligible for consideration for interview. Some exams are only offered once or twice each year. Others are offered only as positions become available. Some entry level professional titles have ongoing recruitment. As a job seeker it is to your benefit to check the bulletin weekly for new opportunities. It is advantageous to compete for more than one position in order to increase your opportunities for employment with the State. In fact, agencies sometimes are able to share their list of eligible applicants with other agencies with similar positions. It is beneficial to apply for as many opportunities as interest you, and for which you possess the qualifications.

In conjunction with all examination or application procedures the applicant will be required to submit an Application for State Employment. The application can be found online at or in paper format at local libraries, job centers, State office buildings and campus career centers.

taking an exam graphicRead the announcement and follow the application information carefully. A separate application must be completed for each position in which you are interested. is important to use the exact job title and job code number that appears in the announcement.

There are several different formats for exams. Not all require that you test at specific location. In fact, many can be completed at home and sent in for review.

Exam formats include:

In some cases applicants will be required to compete in stages of exams, perhaps beginning with an Application Materials Review process and then moving to an Oral Examination prior to the interview process.

As an applicant, it is important to remember that only you know about your training, experience, skills and knowledge as it relates to the position you apply for. When responding to questions in any exam format, it is important to be truthful, yet thorough in your responses. It is also important to be concise in your responses since there is typically a limit to the length allowed for your responses. Fully articulate your training and experience as it relates to the position. This is your opportunity to "sell" yourself as the best candidate for the position.

After the exam you will be sent a Notice of Examination Results. For each exam a list is created of applicants who pass the exam and are eligible to be interviewed. The list is then used to provide hiring agencies with the names of applicants they can interview. Generally applicants who score the highest may be interviewed or receive further consideration. As positions are filled, we move further down the list of eligible applicants. We normally use employment lists for 3 to 12 months.

We hope that you find this information useful and that it will assist you in successfully competing for State of Wisconsin employment opportunities!

March 17, 2004