Government agencies at the federal, state and local levels administer thousands of grant programs a year, with hundreds of thousands of applicants. Agencies are always looking for competent reviewers to help select grant recipients. Grant reviewer positions at the federal level are almost always paid, while positions at the state and local level are sometimes unpaid. Getting hired as a grant reviewer is often highly competitive, and it can be difficult for your credentials to stand out in a sea of applications. Apply for opportunities where your topical experience is in line with the subject matter of the grant for the best results.
Search for government agencies that provide grants in your areas of expertise. Use the Internet to review the websites of government agencies which administer grant programs that relate to your education and job experience. Review the online versions of the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, the Federal Register and your state and local government publications to familiarize yourself with upcoming grant proposal solicitations.
Update your resume. Prepare versions of your resume that highlight the specific experience that targeted grant reviewer positions want. Some grant reviewer positions look for people with subject-matter expertise, while others look for people who have the functional skills to conduct an appropriate review according to guidelines. Do not use a generic resume for all positions, as this will be very unlikely to make your credentials stand out from the pool of applicants.
Register with the government agencies that are most likely to need reviewers with your credentials. Many government grant programs have an electronic registration process for potential reviewers through the agency website. Upload your resume or credentials to the system and indicate the type of proposals you are willing to review. The system will typically notify you of opportunities that meet your criteria.
Monitor the agency websites for opportunities. Create a system that allows you to keep track of updates and announcements by your targeted agencies and programs. Sign up for their electronic alerts, use news feeds and visit the websites regularly so you can be one of the first to apply when opportunities become available.
Submit your credentials for consideration when opportunities arise. Contact the grant adminstrator directly using the information provided with the grant announcement for any program that doesn't seem to have a published process for selecting grant reviewers. Ask the grant administrator to accept your application directly for a paid reviewer position. Be persistent and do not get discouraged if you do not hear back from an agency or do not meet with immediate success.
State and local governments often have unpaid grant reviewer positions available. Serving as a volunteer for a few of these opportunities will help make your resume more competitive when you are first starting out. It is easier to get selected as a paid reviewer with some experience under your belt, even if it is unpaid experience.