Premium Content for Members Only

Career Guides >> Browse Articles >> Government Application Process

Career Guides >> Browse Articles >> Government Job Search

+9

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.

+9
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mwise1976

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    @ GreenieG: Wow. Bitter much? Also, that's an incredible stereotype you've got going there: "... for what? some military wife to work there with no degree?!?" There are plenty of military spouses who do have degrees and they have just as difficult a time as anyone else trying to land a job on base. So I'd check your facts before you go slamming folks you obviously don't have any clue about.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    wachrist

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Will someone please send me a list of Gov job sites? Thanks

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kdfuentes84

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I agree, it comes down to one thing, you gotta know somebody to get you in the door. Think about it....

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    geminis_rhule

    over 4 years ago

    8 comments

    man, some of you people are so bitter. im sorry you didnt get hired. youre absolutely right, its them not you. im usually a negative person, but when i graduate from college, i refuse to be negative about my job search.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    DanThoms

    over 4 years ago

    400 comments

    I enjoyed reading the article. I disagree with selling yourself short, granted i have not been lucky in selection to date. Other than making a pay grade, but that pends on the agency your filling them out for. My state is under hiring hold unless you know someone that works there already. (buddy system is strong in florida)

  • Sunset_at_hardy_max50

    guntertimb

    over 4 years ago

    18 comments

    I went through this stuff and I wonder if I were qualified for any of these jobs or wonder if I should bother to apply after reading what they all require. It was easier to land an interview in the state level. I would have a shot at it there.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    punanamous

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Ohhh please! Getting a Federal Job is like pulling wisdom tooth with your bare hands. Why is everything so secretive? Mistake #1. I only apply for jobs on USAJOBS. Even if you chance applying on another site...GUESS WHAT? It's sends you right back to USAJOBS.. Mistake #2. I only apply for jobs without KSA's. Well duh, after answering 5-10 KSA's per application and not landing an interview..why put yourself through the headache? Even worse...why submit yourself to some HR person deducting points for each answer he/she doesn't like. Mistake # 3. I have been using my regular resume, but I’m not getting anywhere. That's because HR looses most of the faxed in documents or can't find your application. Mistake #4 : I ignore specialized experience requirements. Why not? A friend of a friend usually gives your name to the hiring person and they search the Cert list...and yahoo...you got the job. Mistake #5. Sometimes, I sell myself short. If you can't land a GS 7+ job with a degree and experience ..do you really have a choice? Mistake #6. I apply for all jobs in my salary range and geographic location. Does "NO RELOCATION ASSISTANT" ring a bell. Who can afford a move in this economy? Mistake 7: I prefer a functional resume because I am a career changer . Half the HR people don't know the difference between a functional resume and a slice of pizza. Mistake # 8. : It’s great the USAJOBS is searchable. By the time you figure out USAJOBS, they change it! Go look...it's just changed yesterday. Mistake #9. I Fly Through the Multiple Choice Questionnaires. The correct term is Occupational Questionnaire. I was told by a HR person that answering one question wrong knocked me from consideration...geez thanks! Guess that's why people lie, huh? Mistake #10 I’ll Take Anything! If you're trying to get your foot in the door..then YES! Mistake #11 I cannot understand the job announcements. Are they in another language? Ever see " please apply online on the first page" then "we don't accept online applications online on the last page"? OOOH, don't try calling the contact name listed BECAUSE they never answer and don't return calls. Mistake # 12 If I like a job enough, I’ll apply even with an unfinished application, and without comparable experience. That only works if they ask for the supporting documents to be faxed...which they'll loose.

  • Nasrine_max50

    Nasrine

    over 4 years ago

    354 comments

    So which are the other sites besides USA JOBS? Can Ms. Troutman be more specific and to the point

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    aggie13

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I am a military spouse with a degree in organizational and strategic leadership, and I am pursuing my MBA. I have been unable to land a government job now for some time. I know many people have the misconception that spouses can now land jobs easily. However, this is far from untrue. We have to be the qualified for the job first to even be consider. We don't automatically jump to the first of the line. Unfortunately, in your case GreenieG, that spouse had to have been qualified, and possibly already in the government system. It is frustrating, but persistence and initiative pay off.

  • 162_162_max50

    putc2

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    As per usual Federal Gov procedure, the job application process is purposely made difficult and virtually uninterpretable by the vast majority of citizens outside the Federal Gov for the sole purpose of keeping it an 'exclusive club.' The comment made earlier is absolutely correct, why can't the Government accept normal corporate resumes and transcripts like every other oganization in the U.S.? A resume that's entirely suitable for ExxonMobil or IBM can't be used by the Federal Government? And of course entering the government is made even more virtually impossible by the mysterious line 'must be able to demonstrate having one year experience and knowledge of the position directly before the one advertised." Well that just about makes it specifically directed at only someone who already works for the government and applying for the new position. Promoting from within is great, all organizations generally encourage this in order to foster employee moral and to retain their experience base. But if a position IS advertised outside the organization, than there should be an obligation for fair and equal consideration.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tinasinclair

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    @sdclark; Thanks for the list of websites!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    almir00

    over 4 years ago

    6 comments

    Best case scenario is to go to Barnes and Noble and pick up a book for Federal Resumes. I am former military and have no idea about KSA's and jobs from Federal GOVT...so books help..I didn't list any because there are soooo many of them. I'm creating my military resume..and its a bit difficult putting all my achievements in words that the government wants it in..

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    sdrennan25

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Im Interest in getting started in a Federal position even if I have to start at the bottom of the barrel. I Currently have an associate in Admistration of Justice degree from Southwestern IL College in May of 2009. I'm currently working in a grocery store right now as a Courtesy Clerk where you bag people groceries and help them out to there vehicle with their food items. So I deal with the General Public daily. I like interacting with people and helping them out. I would like to set a goal to work in a mail room or office or something.

    Thanks,
    SD

    Need some Advice

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rhonda5003

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    It's great to know that there are additional govt job websites but it would be helpful if I knew what they were.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    LSJewell

    almost 5 years ago

    6 comments

    I've done a few of those mistakes in applying for a Federal Career position, but it would be nice for a response from the HR dept. on rather they denied you or if the position is closed. Eventually I'll be able to save the money for an professional to re-write my resume to suit government HR's.

Govcentral School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use GovCentral's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.