We investigate the performance of a class of compact and systematically improvable Jastrow–Slater wave functions for the efficient and accurate computation of structural properties, where the determinantal component is expanded with a perturbatively selected configuration interaction scheme (CIPSI). We concurrently optimize the molecular ground-state geometry and full wave function—Jastrow factor, orbitals, and configuration interaction coefficients—in variational Monte Carlo (VMC) for the prototypical case of 1,3- trans-butadiene, a small yet theoretically challenging π-conjugated system. We find that the CIPSI selection outperforms the conventional scheme of correlating orbitals within active spaces chosen by chemical intuition: it gives significantly better variational and diffusion Monte Carlo energies for all but the smallest expansions, and much smoother convergence of the geometry with the number of determinants. In particular, the optimal bond lengths and bond-length alternation of butadiene are converged to better than 1 mÅ with just a few thousand determinants, to values very close to the corresponding CCSD(T) results. The combination of CIPSI expansion and VMC optimization represents an affordable tool for the determination of accurate ground-state geometries in quantum Monte Carlo.