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12 Biggest Mistakes of Federal Job Seekers

72 Comments
12 Biggest Mistakes of Federal Job Seekers

If you are a first-time federal jobseeker, feeling desperate for a good, stable job, read this list of mistakes and avoid them. You will waste valuable job search time, energy and enthusiasm if you are doing it all wrong. In the current job market, it is better if you slow down, read the announcements for the qualifications, carefully review the questionnaires, and write good answers to questionnaire essays and KSA narratives. Consider the federal job search your “job”.

Your mission: To get a GOOD Job.

This article is a collection of the biggest mistakes that I am seeing when reviewing and critiquing resumes from private sector candidates seeking federal jobs or coaching people in federal job search who are out of work right now and want a federal job.

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    ViciousKnives

    over 1 year ago

    2 comments

    @ shaniak04

    Reservists are not and never will be equal to Active Duty. I have been around multiple Reserve Units not that I am no longer Active Duty and have to say "WEEKEND WARRIORS" best describes it. I can never say this to general population but Reservists are exactly as the job description implies, civilians in uniform that do a weekend a month. You don't live it 24/7, and the way things are run is a joke. Night and Day difference. I am soooo glad that there is a difference in law and in benefits. Just like a Reservists to toot that he/she has 2 degrees. Night and Day.

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    ghostofthepast1986

    almost 2 years ago

    2 comments

    ok...so um...what are theses 5 sites you can use to find jobs?

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    shaniak04

    almost 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I feel like it is absolutely ridiculous that I can’t even claim 5 pts as a service member for a job just because I am a reservist and have chosen not to be active duty. I took the risk and signed the contract but a spouse who has never worn the uniform can claim spousal preference. I am not saying that they shouldn’t be able to claim that my mother stood behind my father for 30 years as he served and she deserves the credit also but acknowledge those are serving in the Guard and Reserve to. I have two degrees and have been serving in the reserves for 6 years and still cannot get a government job because everyone else takes presence over me. My suggestion to anyone joining the military is to go active first, knock out your 180 consecutive days of serving so you can use your benefits to help further your career. Now a day’s being a reservist only doesn’t mean anything it’s like we don’t exist.

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    Josue88

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    Well unfortinatly i almost already had a government job but since the whole issue with the governmetn not signing the budget bill. i was scheduled to show up on monday but later received a call not to! and than the next day they called back around 7:30 in the morning on a sunday! apperantly i missed the call and since i read in the newspaper that the money would not arrived until the middle of the week i waited till tuesday to check in but apperantly it was too late for me to go the next day!

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    phantasyconcepts

    over 3 years ago

    8 comments

    @whigrose
    I understand your frustration with the hiring process. You, however, need to understand why the veterans' ten point preference was instituted. After World War II, we had so many young men (and more than a few women) returning home from war. The US had just used WWII to springboard back into a position of economic prosperity after the Great Depression. Such an influx of unemployed young men hitting the workforce would have drowned the country. Let's not forget that the wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends of the servicemen had been filling in for the men while they were overseas fighting Germans or Japanese or Italians, or whichever enemy chose to take advantage of the situation. So, now we not only have men who are capable of working, but women, and the women have been trained and show as much skill as their male counterparts. So, do you just fire all of these women who kept your companies going for the duration of the war so you can hire back the men? Where is the justice in that? Well, there were jobs that needed doing, for which the women had shown an aptitude, and some men also were less able (amputees, the blind, etc.) to return to previous jobs. They needed a purpose. The government needed people who could do certain jobs that it was difficult to find people to do. It was mostly a convenience. Now, that is the main reason for the civil service, but the ten points came in when the government realized that they could not pay as well as the private sector. In order to attract veterans to the civil service positions, they instituted an incentive program as a sort of 'thank you' for the service of these veterans (again, some had lost limbs or worse in the service of their country).

    Now, when you claim that you should be given ten points preference because you worked for a government agency, I am not unsympathetic, but you do have to admit that you did not lose a limb, get injured, or have to endure physical hardship in order to work there as an intern. If you did have a hardship, trust me, I will put my four months in the Persian Gulf against your '2 full semesters of grad school" any day (I have only two semesters of grad school left myself). I will, however, take your side to a degree. You are right. You should have some right to preference. As a former state employee, I would have a five point preference without the military service if I wanted to go back to work for the state. The thing is, I was a full-time employee for four and a half years. Do you think we should be considered on equal footing for a job? How much civil service time should you have to put in to get the preference? A day? A week? A year? Five years? Should you need to be full-time, or should a part-time employee get the same preference? You feel one way, but many civil service employees - past and present - feel differently.

    Oh, and to recap, yes, I am a veteran. Yes, I did get ten points preference when I applied for my civil service job, but I did not need it (I scored high enough on the civil service tests before the ten points were added in). I no longer work in civil service, but can go back at the drop of a hat if I choose to take a salary cut. No, I am not going to do that any time soon.

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    msgdonlutz

    over 3 years ago

    4 comments

    The federal civil service is very good about promoting from within. Often, folks will apply to jobs at a much higher entry point than feasible, i.e. a Transportation Supervisor with 8 yrs experience making $65,000 per year applied for a GS-9 position paying $48,000, thinking he was sacrificing to become a civil servant. His packet was "Forwarded to the hiring manager", meaning it was one of 3 in for final consideration. Highly qualified - but competing against 2 GS-7's currently working in the department. Unless it is one of the professions (Medical, nursing, attorney, etc), entry into federal service is usually at the GS-5 level. Remember, they promote from within. Met a GS-12 who had started 9 yrs earlier as a GS-4.

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    Soarineagle

    over 3 years ago

    10 comments

    Whigrose, or is that whinerose, I am a vet and I have a ten point preference as well, I also have been best qualified and yet to have an interview as you state. So your point is well taken but it is that way for every one apparently. A lot of it I do not believe is the applicants but the HR personnel. Like HR personnel every where they are only justifying their existence in order to save their positions. Any HR personnel out their want to deny that and explain to the rest of us on the skinny.

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    whigrose

    almost 4 years ago

    8 comments

    Vet4hire, I don't know what your problem is. I only read a few other posts, but boy yours jumped out quite quickly. I have applied for many federal jobs, even been rated as 'best qualified' a few times, so you know I'm doing the application process right. How many jobs, or even just interviews have I had? Zero on both counts! So I do feel I have reason to complain about the federal hiring process overall (and possibly even the 10 pt preference, though it may not affect me as much in my particular field). Still, here is the thing which ticks me off the most. I WORKED for a federal agency--the EEOC--as an intern for 2 full semesters of grad school. When I graduated, there was a hiring freeze due to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. I can't seem to get back 'IN' with the agency, and yes it makes me very, very mad. Why shouldn't prior interns get a 10 pt preference, at least with the specific agency where they interned? I'm going to try again, but yes, I am very, very skeptical. So don't just assume that everyone who has had trouble getting a federal job is lazy, unqualified, and out to get YOU and all the other vets. We just want a fair chance, is all, and I don't feel as though I've ever gotten one.

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    AbInk

    almost 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Thanks for tip. I think this will help with the confusion that a lot of people have when looking for federal jobs.

    personalized cocktail napkins

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    LuisaCRowe

    almost 4 years ago

    6 comments

    can you please share with us the list of other websites to check federal job vacancies? thank you very much for your kind help.

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    just_comment

    about 4 years ago

    8 comments

    You have to know somebody to get a government job. The USAJOBS website is TOTALLY & COMPLETELY useless.

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    jarobi1

    about 4 years ago

    8 comments

    Here is some info that may help. Had it for a while so I don't remember where I got it. HTH!!

    Government sites:
    www.avuecentral.com
    www.cia.gov (they have their own application process)
    www.cpol.army.mil
    www.usajobs.gov
    www.navy.mil
    http://www.whs.pentagon.mil/
    www.applicationmanager.gov (profile and account)
    www.un.org

    Government Jobs
    · About 85% of federal jobs are not in D.C. They're typically in major cities, both around the country and overseas.
    · To access the federal-job postings, start with http://www.usajobs.gov/, which, as of this writing, lists 47,059 openings. That site has recently added a link for positions created by the stimulus package. Many of those positions will be filled through accelerated hiring procedures. To access that directly, go to http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/a9recoveryjobs.asp.

    · Visit the individual Web sites of your favorite federal agencies. You can access the major ones from http://dcjobsource.com/fed.html. An agency may have special positions and recruitment programs listed only on its site. That means you'll be competing with fewer job seekers. Also, some federal agencies -- for example, the FBI, Federal Reserve, Government Accountability Office and CIA -- don't have to advertise their jobs on http://www.usajobs.gov/.

    · An even more under-the-radar source of federal jobs is http://www.fedbizopps.gov/. It lists positions, including many overseas (Iraq or Afghanistan, anyone?), that are filled via personal service contracts. Those jobs are less secure than government jobs but usually pay more.

    · Federal agencies, especially the EPA, State Department, FBI, FDIC and Treasury Department, often fill unadvertised openings at job fairs. Some are listed at www.govcentral.com/careers/articles/1871 and at www.fedjobs.com/chat/jobfairs.html.

    · Some private temporary agencies staff federal temp positions. Some of those agencies are listed on www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21666.htm.

    · If you're a student, a good route to a permanent government job is a federal internship. The site http://www.makingthedifference.org/ lists 200 federal internship programs. Also see http://www.studentjobs.gov/.

    · There's a directory of federal jobs set aside for veterans and people with disabilities: apps.opm.gov/sppc_directory.

    · For state, county and city jobs, visit your local government's Web site. To find yours, enter, for example, "government jobs" and "Chicago" in a search engine.

    · Lots of stimulus dollars are going to federal contractors -- independent firms that the government hires to do its bidding. Want to become one? The government's portal for potential contractors is http://www.fedbizopps.gov/. Also see http://www.recovery.gov/, which reports where stimulus dollars are going. Want to work for a government contractor? The 100 largest are listed at www.usaspending.gov. Smaller contractors list openings on their own site. The good news is that many or most such openings are aggregated, along with literally millions of other job openings, at http://www.indeed.com/ and http://www.simplyhired.com/. Another approach: Regularly check the business section of your local newspaper or a dedicated business periodical, such as Crain's or Business Times, for announcements or articles about companies that have just received government contracts.

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    bettertown

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I agree with several commentors that it would be ESPECIALLY useful if you share the web sites other than USAJOBS PLEASE!

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    commonsenseguy

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    "There are at least five major sites where you can create a profile, set up a resume builder, answer questions, and apply for a federal job:"...but don't fu cking give us any of those 5 major sites...this article was absolutely WORTHLESS!!

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    aikan625

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    @punanamous Wow, I couldn't have said it better...LOL!

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