Page updated 11/1/2016
Steps to get a federal job today
There are six steps to finding federal employment for qualified applicants:
You can learn from rejections by contacting the selecting official and/or the HR specialist that is listed on the job announcement. Ask what training and/or experience would have enhanced your application package for future positions. If the selecting official or HR specialist suggests obtaining certain education, training or experience, work to achieve their recommendations. A rejection may also be due to things beyond your control such as funding restrictions, a hiring freeze, or your selection may have been blocked by a military member claiming veterans’ preference.
You may discover that you did have the specific skills needed, however you either neglected to capture required key words and phrases (skills needed) in your work descriptions or didn’t include critical work history in your application. This happens frequently. It doesn’t pay to debate your qualifications over spilled milk. The job has already been filled. Thank the selecting official for his/her candor and time, then revise your bid for the next opening.
Evaluate your federal resume using the techniques listed in Chapter Six of The Book of U.S. Government Jobs to ensure you properly covered in detail your work history, accomplishments, and skills. You must address over 40 specific areas in your resume and include details that prove without a doubt that you have the required skills to be successful and excel in the position. Remember, the federal resume is nothing like the simple 1 page private sector style resume that you are accustomed to.
Write the selecting official a BRIEF letter of thanks and explain that you neglected to incorporate the recommended skills in the original application. Send him or her a copy of your revised application for future reference. Managers appreciate dealing with rational and mature individuals, and you will be remembered.
The author of The Book of U.S. Government Jobs used the Individual Development Plan (IDP) process throughout his federal career to target promotions and to work with management to obtain valuable career-enhancing lateral assignments and temporary details. You can do the same once hired. During his tenure as a manager for the Federal Aviation Administration he encouraged employees seeking promotions to develop viable IDPs in concert with management to achieve their career goals.
If you should get frustrated, and many do, just think of this: The average annual total compensation for federal civilian workers is $123,049, compared to $61,051 for the private sector. The benefits are outstanding and according to the Congressional Budget Office, Characteristics and Pay of Federal Civilian Employees report, federal employees’ benefits ranged between 26 percent and 50 percent of pay based on time in service, the employee’s age, and retirement system. Federal jobs are well worth the time and effort that you INVEST in the process.