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Government Jobs: Extra Effort Can Pay Off

Government Jobs: Extra Effort Can Pay Off

Caroline Levchuck, Monster + HotJobs

Tailor Your Resume

You may need to tweak your resume a bit when applying for a government position. Uncle Sam needs lots of details — your Social Security number, the job code for which you’re applying, dates and addresses for each of your employers and educational institutions, and more. Oftentimes, a federal agency may have a resume-building program you can use to apply. If not, make sure your resume is rich with details so your credentials can be easily confirmed.

Follow Instructions

Federal job listings follow stringent requirements in terms of where they’re listed, how to apply, who is eligible and by what date applications must be received. You must adhere to the listing’s instructions. If you don’t, you will not be considered for the position, no matter how qualified you may be.

Follow Up

“Navigating the system is the next step,” says McManus. “There may be some additional things that are required for federal employment [as compared with private-sector job searches],” he points out.

If you’ve applied to a government agency through the agency’s online portal, you may well be able to check the status of your application online. If this isn’t the case, wait a month or so after the closing date and make certain your materials have been received and that your application is complete.


As with any job search, waiting is involved when pursuing work with a federal agency. Depending on the resources available, it may take weeks or even months for human resources workers to review all the applications and narrow a smaller pool of people to interview.

“You have to stay with it,” McManus advises federal job applicants. “If you look at the end result, the time and effort is worth it — especially for people who want to make a difference. Working for the federal government is how they can make the biggest difference.”

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