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12 Biggest Mistakes of Federal Job Seekers

76 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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    jarobi1

    over 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

    over 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

    over 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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    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.

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    wachrist

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

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

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    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....

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    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.

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    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)

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    tinasinclair

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    @sdclark; Thanks for the list of websites!

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