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Opportunities for Government Job Seekers Soars to New High

Opportunities for Government Job Seekers Soars to New High

First Time Federal Job Applicant? Here's What You Need to Know About Landing a Government Job under Obama.

Kathryn Troutman | Federal Career Coach

Between the possibility of getting a job in the Obama administration as either a political appointee or a civil servant, there is now – FINALLY – great interest and excitement among the general public about federal employment. Just in time.

With baby boomers retiring (while some are staying to save up for all that they have lost recently in retirement), the Office of Personnel Management is now projecting that over 180,000 of the current 1.85 million employees will be walking out the revolving door over the next three years. Room for you and maybe even a promotion. Particularly in demand will be the more highly skilled and executive level employees.

And then there’s the real excitement about new programs and leadership under President Obama. He will need new employees to implement some of the new ideas and programs created by his administration.

But there’s a challenge for first-time jobseekers in the federal marketplace, and that will be the resume. FEDERAL RESUMES ARE NOT THE SAME AS PRIVATE INDUSTRY RESUMES.

The federal resume is longer, and it must include some of the keywords from the federal vacancy announcement to have the best chance of getting noticed. And don’t forget to add what I call the “Obama keywords”: change, creativity, and customer service (you can look for other Obama keywords in his writings and presentations on the website Also, the federal resume includes at least twice the amount of description for each of your duty sections for the last 10 years – the federal human resources specialists want DETAILS and EXAMPLES! And it wouldn’t hurt to brag a little about your great, thoughtful and intuitive contributions to your last employer.

It is well known that the federal vacancy announcements are long, seemingly unreadable and intimidating. Here’s a big tip: slow down, print the announcement, read it for keywords, and carefully follow the directions on “how to apply.” The jobs are out there and there is huge competition. There is an average of 30,000 civil service federal jobs posted on the website,, every day. There are 300,000 resumes in the website for the appointee positions, which is a different than the civil service work.

The numbers are HUGE, but applying for a federal job is still a great idea. The federal government is a place that offers stable jobs with career advancement and an annual cost of living raise! All federal employees will receive roughly a 3% raise this year, plus possible merit increases.

Here’s how you get started: Begin with to look for job announcements in your geographic area and in your salary range. Read the vacancy announcements to see if you are qualified. Write a “federal style” resume (which, as I explained above, means longer with more details about your job duties). Submit this resume to the USAJOBS builder. Follow the directions. And then keep applying for lots of positions. You can track your job applications on USAJOBS also. FINAL NOTE: Be sure to change the resume slightly for each job announcement, adding in a selection of crucial and relevant keywords. This is a job search campaign, not just a job application!

Kathryn Troutman is the author of more than 8 federal career guides. Her latest, Ten Steps to a Federal Job, 2nd edition, lays out the basic steps first-time federal job seekers need to take to land a great federal job. With over 30 years of experience in this job market, Troutman has packed the new Ten Steps book with insider background, tips and insights. The print version of the 2nd edition of Ten Steps to a Federal Job will be released January 20th.

Pre-order it today, or buy the e-book which is available right now. Learn more at: The Resume Place.

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