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Six Common Myths of Federal Job Hunting

Six Common Myths of Federal Job Hunting

Most federal job seekers spend a majority of their time hunting for positions online, using websites such as USAJOBS.

Shannon Kelly & Dan DeMaio | Monster.com


















Myth 5: “My Application Disappeared into the Black Hole of Government”

The federal government has a target of 45 days to hire, but it can take up to six months before they actually do hire someone. In most cases, you will need to be patient. Many job seekers assume they have not been selected and delete or dispose of their federal application package. As a result, when they are contacted by an agency, they are completely unprepared for the next hiring steps.

Print full copies of all federal job postings to which you apply and make copies of all additional documents you submitted. Keep all materials for each job posting together along with the date you applied. Don’t mix materials for different applications. Store your application packages in one place where you can easily access them. This kind of organized record keeping will ensure you are fully prepared when you get the call.

If you apply to a position using your USAJOBS resume, a record of and link to the original job posting is stored in your account.


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    charlesriggs

    over 2 years ago

    8 comments

    soarineagle and kidckedout and tekctrl or all I can't believe that you are surprised that people in the government are dishonest and lazy. They have training at the family service center; I was told that yeah they hire cousin Billy or whatever first. I was also told to cut and paste because the moron HR people don't know the job so they just match up the description. I say it is likely they do this with little effort as they do all things. I have wondered, well, statistically how could it be that every job posing goes to cousin Billy or the guy with the right ethnicity or the doctorate in light physics and so on. I have a secret, and worked on the base as a contractor for five years. I saved someones life on a dark road near the base and have the military skills and experience and yet I am not fit to even mow the lawn. ...

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    tmwilliams

    almost 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I have to say after reading these postings, I agree with lljacobs.
    The reality is this: getting a fedgov job IS NOT easy, painstaking, demoralizing and extremely frustrating. Having said that, you have 2 options; except this or walk away and look for a job in the private sector. I chose to except this and do everything in my power to reach my goal. This means taking the time to learn the process, researching, being increasingly persistent, and constantly tweaking your resume' to fit the job description. I read one post that wondered why they should have to upload/build a resume' when they are going to ask the same questions in the KSA's. Well, because that is what they require! If you don't like it then don't follow the procedure, then don't get a chance at the job.
    I read postings that complain that the FedGov is full of "good-old-boys" who only promote from within. Well, I would guess that is probably true on many occassions. But I doubt you would be complaining if YOU were the one in that spot getting promoted. Besides, that is what the private industry does as well. You take care of your people. Yes, this makes it harder for outsiders to get in, but that is the way it is. One day you will want the same courtesy- whoever you end up working for.
    Bottom line is if you want a FedGov job do what you have to do. Since you know that your application/resume' has to have "key words" in it to get past a computer, then tweak your resume to this standard. If the application contains KSA's answer them professionally and completely. If it take you 2 hours to complete an application, so what! Complete it.
    The system is not perfect, it never will be. Except this or press on to private industry. Either way it does not help your situation to blame others (OPM, USAJOBS, etc). Don't be lazy or disgruntled.

    Oh! In case you may be wondering if I am part of the machine that makes these decisions, No I am not. I am you. It has taken me a year and a half to get 2 interviews after countless applications, many of which were "forwarded to selection official", but nothing after that. I finally got a call from an agency to interview. I prepared myself to the fullest extent possible. I learned all I could about the agency, the job requirements, etc. I had a very successful interview and have been offered a tentative job pending the completion of my security clearance (in process now). I expect to start my new career early 2011. Was it easy, NO! But by the grace of God I stuck with it. Why? Because I wanted it bad enough, I had a goal and I was determined to reach it.
    So do your best. make sure your interview skills are up to par.Check your spelling and grammar on applications. Hang in there, stay motivated and prayerful. Out.

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    Account Removed

    about 4 years ago

    This is quite interesting. I am now in the same boat with 20+ years of service with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, a highly experienced CPO/E-7 with leadership and management skills and possessing a B.S. in Information Technology - Security and Information Assurance. I went on terminal leave June 18th, and my official retirement date was October 1st. I had "assurances" from some people at work that they would be able to help me get into the federal job that I wanted, but it delivered nothing.

    I have applied to many positions that were IT or Communications Specialist related, and received rating scores of 98 or 99 percent, but was not selected for an interview. I had also heard that I should just apply for a GS position that is lower that what I am able to offer just to "get my foot in the door", but that has not worked out either. I have even had a couple of resume review officials tell me that I was not being selected because I was "overqualified".

    I am still searching, and now I am unemployed applying for compensation and what a nightmare that is! I am going to a Hiring Conference through a company called Orion International at the end of this month down in Maryland. They assure me that I will get a job since I am pre-screened and set up for interviews with companies that are looking for my education, experience, and skill set. This is great, however, I want to get into the federal system that will give me the best security, and an opportunity to draw another pension on top of my military pension in another 20 years or so. So far this has been a very frustrating experience. I allowed over 3 months so I could get out and transition into another job while still receiving active duty pay, and nothing has happened. I have written some pretty damn good resumes too, but I am also told that the federal hiring system is also a "good ole' boy network" meaning that they already know someone that they want to hire before the position is posted online. Any insight from anyone would help tremendously! Thank you!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lljacobs

    about 4 years ago

    8 comments

    I apologized for the delayed response; I have been busy preparing to start in my new position.

    I have a Bachelors’ degree and 2 grad certificates.

    My bottom line recommendation is "Don't Believe the Hype".

    Everyone said to me "just get in and then launch once you’re in".

    Most of those recommendations came from folks that apparently took the same advice.

    I even had a follow retired CPO recommend that I apply for GS-7 to GS-11 positions even though I was making certification lists for GS-13 through GS-15.

    If you know you are qualified for something more then don't settle you will undoubtedly regret it later.
    That is if you are not in dire need of a job today, but if you have a job and you can hold out for what you want then I suggest that you do so that.
    There are specialties that are looking for education, but all the top positions are more concerned with Experience.
    That is what I have seen in the majority of jobs that I have applied for. Experience trumps education, the education is you passport to get on the field, your well defined Experience will set you apart from the pack.
    Again good luck and I’ll see you on the other side.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    bforbes

    about 4 years ago

    18 comments

    lljacobs, I'm glad things are working out for you. May I ask what is your level of education? Most of the GS11 jobs and up claim they require PHDs. I've applied for many positions; some entry level and halfway through a masters degree. I'm also an Air Force retiree with 20 years service.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lljacobs

    about 4 years ago

    8 comments

    A Government job is possible if you are persistent. In January 09 I started applying for government position pending my upcoming retirement from 20 years of military service (CPO/E7). Following making the certification list for 25+ jobs with over 150 applications circulating and only 1 interview. I took a job with a government contractor, however I continued to apply for government positions and I continued to make the referral list and with 4 interviews; 2 in person and 2 on the phone.
    The 2 in person were at the same organization but different positions, I was given a tentative offer for the second position I interviewed for. I actually turned it down (GS-12, Step-1), it had no growth potential and they were getting way more skills and knowhow from me than they were willing to pay for, not to mention I had a job that paid substantially better.
    Also since I had been referred for high level positions (GS-13/14/15 and SES), I figured I could wait it out. As of June this year my resume seemed to pickup in visibility and I started making substantially more referral list and finally I got a call from a very nice Woman at DHS that had to have me on her team, as a GS13/14. So in a few weeks I will be starting a new position with them.
    Now to get to this point it took somewhere in the neighborhood of 500+ applications over 5/6 different websites.
    Process improvement was the key in my situation, constantly updating my resume to capture the key words and quotes to make it through the computer screening; to and through the HR person’s screening; on to the referral list; then to the selecting official’s desk; and onto the selecting officials must call list; and lastly the Selected Candidate. All from USAJOBS.gov
    There are a lot of high paying positions available in the government, however very few want to take the time to complete the application process to make it through all of the steps described above. In the private sector its simple, they like you, you can be hired in a week or two. In the government, you must in most cases have public trust, which takes substantially longer and is a much more detailed process.
    If you have done the job you are applying for then, take the time and effort to complete the application to get the call to an interview, if you don’t then don’t be upset when the call doesn’t come.
    Also if you don’t make the best qualified list and you have done the job or have been doing the job, you need to conduct some self evaluation and figure out what you have not identified about your skills in your application. Trust me I did a lot of this to finally get the job I have been offered.
    Good Luck and I hope to see you on the other side.

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    fubaragain

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    The OPM should be disbanded as useless and at least half of current government workers dismissed as incompetent

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    fubaragain

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    The OPM should be disbanded as useless and at least half of current government workers dismissed as incompetent

  • 24615092

    Soarineagle

    about 4 years ago

    10 comments

    I agree with kickedout and bforbes, I also am a 21 yr veteran from the AF and presently a 20% disabled Vet. I have a masters degree and have been trying to get in the federal government since retiring in 1992. So you tell me who is making the decisions when the government has so many jobs still available? I have applied to positions that I am qualified for have been sent to the hiring manager and after 6 months still waiting for a decision. Who is making the decisions what is so difficult to decide here. The problem is that the interviews i have been on are people who were there from longevity reasons. Positions held as a 14 or 15 with a high school diploma never went back to get a degree making the decision whether i am qualified or not. You explain this?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kickedout

    about 4 years ago

    12 comments

    I have written the white house about the government hiring process and I am still waiting for an answer. The major question that I ask them was why do they allow the people in charge of sections to do the hiring for that section. What do you think they are going to hire? Of course they are going to fill their positions with friends and family. They may hire a friend of a friend to incur favors from the friend but when you are not one of these people you are screwed. I have been trying to get hired into a government position for the last 12 years. I am a military veteran of 22 years. I have just recently received my bachelors degree in business with a 3.27 GPA and I am getting passed over for positions that require a GED. How much can you tailor your resume and cover letter? bforbes is right. The people doing the hiring in government agencies today are in those positions due to their longevity and I do not think that they can match up to the requirements that they set forth for the people that are to work under them. Are human resources people from the 60" and 70' more intelligent than human resources people? Why do I have to tailor my resume to get your attention? Cant they comprehend what they are reading. Yes I am talking about the private sector now. Since I graduated in Nov 2009 I have submitted hundreds of resumes with only two actual interviews. By the way I am six foot six, 350 pounds and black. Why am I telling you this well you have to see the faces of the interviewers to understand. State government id even worse then the other two. So from now on it is the federal government forced retirement or entrepreneurship. Can someone loan my Ten grand to get started?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tekctrl

    over 4 years ago

    24 comments

    The federal employment system is a SHAM! I retired from the USAF in '89 after spending 20 years working in telecomm, up to and including systems design and program mgmt. I hold a Masters degree from Webster in Computer Sysems mgmt. I held a spotless TS clearance until it expired for lack of work. I've had applictions on file without interruption since '89 for dozens and dozens of different computer systems positions, yet I've actually only gotten to ONE interview. Following that interview, the job description was pulled and re-written ... not surprisingly, I no longer qualified. You can't tell me that the vast majority of positions are not filled by candidates who're selected before the position is ever advertised. Federal law says that positions have to be advertised. It doesn't say that the positions can't be filled with pre-selected candidates or that job descriptions can't be written such that the pre-selected candidate becomes the only possible choice. Unless you're good buddies with a civilian employee with hiring authority, don't waste your time.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    cespin

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    bet most of the things in that article are wishfull thinking on the part of the government, Like Chuck says I too have met some real morons in Federal service and I can't for an instant believe they went through all the hassles to get their jobs. if the gov wants quality employees they should have to kiss my rear instead of the other way around.

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