If lawmakers don't pass a funding extension by March 4th, the government will shut down all "non-essential" services.

Who'd be Affected?

Government employees engaged in military or law enforcement duties, providing medical care or protecting other lives and property - like prison guards or building security officers - are exempt, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Other agencies, such as the post office, may keep employees on the job if their compensation is paid for through a different appropriations process. Though workers whose jobs the OMB considers essential must show up for work, they won't immediately get paid because issuing checks is a non-essential function. Where does your department fit into this?

Not Your Father's Shutdown

The shutdown of the 1995 predated the IT revolution. While there were computers on every desk, they ran Windows 3.1 and 95, weren't networked, and the Windows domain was years away. Today, IT touches every sector of government including non-essential operations like national parks, museums, veteran's services and Social Security. Back then, of the $18 billion in D.C area contracts, $3.7 billion (over 20 percent) were managed by agencies affected by the funding lapse. Employees of federal contractors were furloughed without pay. Since then the government has restructured, creating the behemoth Department of Homeland Security, where contractors outnumber civilian employees. DHS employs more than 200,000 contractors, compared with 188,000 employees.

Should I Still Submit My Resume?

Though critical departments would remain in operation, HR would close and there'd be no new hiring until Congress approves a budget. Knowing this, you could send your resume and cover letter anyway. Would it hurt? No, but it might take much longer to be seen. Employees who returned to work after the earlier shutdown came back to stacks of backlogged paperwork. If the government closes for any more than a week, returning workers will be saddled with old and new tasks and full inboxes. Applications may get lost in a sea of data. -- Dino Londis