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4 Steps to Understanding the Federal Hiring Process

4 Steps to Understanding the Federal Hiring Process

Kelly Johnson | Military.com

Applying for a federal career in the same fashion that you would apply for a private-sector job is not going to get you very far. There are some stark differences between the public and private sector, and that includes the way you submit a resume and application for a federal job.

The Partnership for Public Service – an organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of working for the public sector – wants to help you understand the federal hiring process, so that you not only know what to expect from this practice, but to also learn to become a better job candidate.

Here’s how you get started:

Step No.1: Apply online.
The PPS warns that you should know that the application process for virtually all federal jobs is conducted online through USAJobs.gov. After you select the job you’re interested in apply for you proceed to the next step.

Step No.2: Select Carefully.
Applications tailored to specific jobs that are a good match for your skills and talents will be more successful than sending out a standard resume for many jobs. Make sure to read about building your federal resume and knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) writing, on Military.com’s Career Center, before you apply.

Bonus tip: Keep in mind that your skills must match the position’s prerequisites. Private-sector employers may have the flexibility to adjust the requirements of the position to a preferred candidate. This is not the case in the public sector. Federal hiring managers adhere to strict qualifications and if you’re not familiar with those standards, it will hurt your chances.

Step No.3: Plan ahead.
The federal application process will have more steps than you may be used to. Allow plenty of time to thoroughly complete your applications.

Step No.4: Prepare for to wait.
It can take weeks before you’ll hear back about an application and there may be little or no communication from the agency, reports the PPS. Every federal job requires a background check, and if the position is related to national security you’ll need to complete the security clearance process once you receive an offer. This may prolong the time period even more.

After you have submitted all of the necessary paperwork, the agency you applied for will review your application. The public sector review applications using the KSA process. Once the evaluation is complete, those who meet the minimum/basic qualification are ranked in order of scores (with veterans’ preference applied) and referred to a hiring manager. If you don’t meet the qualifications for the job, the agency will let you know.

If you want to get a more in-depth understanding of the federal hiring process, Military.com’s Veterans Career Network has mentors that work in the public sector that can give you more information about the process.

Search for hundreds of thousands of jobs now at www.govcentral.com/careers


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    jehovanissi

    almost 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I just summited my application for goverment job and they found me qualifyed. I know that I have to wait maybe a long time before they call me for interview but I know they traying to do the best they can. We just must remain with hope that things will get better. Positive mind in those hard times is the only way to keep us in the right road.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tmwilliams

    about 3 years ago

    4 comments

    I start my new gig Feb 14.

  • Don_max50

    donlaf

    about 3 years ago

    4 comments

    Very informative! Yes! I have been applying for quite a few positions, so far one position that I have been referred. The only thing is this position has 100 openings with no cut-off date (so far). I am still plugging away at it.

  • 100_0623_max50

    coburncliff

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I've been job hunting for seven months. At first I applied for local jobs only, now I've broadened my search to anywhere I have relations. None of the federal jobs I've applied for have panned out. The only local jobs I've found were part-time or low wage menial labor. I've even stopped listing my degrees on applications and resumes unless they are required. Oh well... back to the job search.

  • Unclesam_max50

    editor

    over 3 years ago

    28 comments

    @bforbes. Congratulations!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    bforbes

    over 3 years ago

    18 comments

    I was just hired by the government. Huge factors are location, education, and experience. I retired from the Air Force in 1997 and finally settled in the Metro DC area in July 2010 after supporting my wife's military career. There are plenty of government jobs here. It's best to be in a geographical area that has an abundance of government jobs. Competition is high anyway but much higher in areas with just a few vacancies.

    I decided to go back to school in the last few years after noticing that most jobs these days pretty much want you to be over qualified. What I took seriously were my grades while I was in school. I worked hard to earn that 3.9 GPA; heck I had to pay the tuition out of pocket anyway so I might as well do my best. On government applications you will find that your GPA is a huge factor in hiring process to get the job in the first place and also to determine your starting salary.

    Your experience is also a large factor. You have to be able to convey how well your experience matches what they are looking for. The hiring process has become easier at least for most of the jobs that I applied for. There are not as many KSA or essay type questions being asked. Most of those questions are now being asked at the interview.

    All in all, a good balanace of experience and education is great, but you MUST have at least the level of education required for the job.

    I still believe to a certain extent "who you know" will get you in faster, but that is the issue with most jobs anyhow. I've had so many government applications in that I lost count and have received positive news from only a couple of them.

    Good luck!

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    Eric_52

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    Is not what you know is who you know.

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    mitchgoody

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I'm very qualified and have applied for literally about 80 positions over the last 18 months. Of those I've received about 5 acknowledgements. Yes frustrating is the truth! I've all but given up. Good article though. Thanks

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    sandrare

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    yes the wait is frustrating!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    dianearreola

    over 4 years ago

    10 comments

    I have applied to jobs and heard nothing back at all. It's like all your info was sucked into a black hole and disappeared.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    StuartH

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Great Article!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lanijacot

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    very clear and informative

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