Jewish World Review May 12, 2003 / 10 Iyar, 5763
Today's #1 hirer
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | In today's era of relentless corporate downsizing and state hiring freezes, it's easy to think no one's hiring. Well, one entity certainly is: the federal government. According to Kathryn Troutman, author of "Ten Steps to a Federal Job," in the next two years alone, the federal government is expected to hire more than 250,000 people!
I can already hear your doubts:
But aren't most of those jobs in homeland security? I just can't see myself in law enforcement." Troutman says federal hiring is extending far beyond Homeland Security, especially in information technology, administration, middle management, and human resources. Also, the feds are expected to hire hundreds of experts in Asian, Middle Eastern, and other languages.
But I don't want to be a bureaucratic pencil pusher. Yes, some federal jobs are like that, but many others are at least as dynamic and cutting-edge as those in the private sector. And in working for the government, your mission is often more rewarding than "making your number," which is the main goal of many private sector jobs. And remember, once you're in the federal system, you get an edge when applying for other federal jobs. Don't like what you first land in? Chances are there's something better you might qualify for.
But isn't the pay worse than in the private sector? Only at the top end. And unlike in the private sector, most federal jobs are full-time, with benefits and lots of paid vacation and holidays. Plus the federal government is restructuring thousands of jobs to accommodate telecommuting and flex time.
Doesn't it take forever to get hired by the government? Almost forever. It typically takes two to six months, which, today, isn't much different than the private sector. These days, many corporations subject applicants to three or four interviews, after which, the employer too often decides not to hire or to reopen the search.
Okay, so how do I land a federal job?
If you're willing to relocate, visit http://www.firstgov.gov/Agencies/Federal/All_Agencies/index.shtml. It has links to all of the federal agencies' websites. Each of those sites lists that agency's job openings plus a wealth of information about the agency that can be valuable when you apply for a job.
Most federal jobs are listed not just at the agency's website but at www.usajobs.opm.gov. But because that site is so visited, jobs listed there tend to get more applicants. So, check usajobs.opm.gov but focus on listings at the target agency's website.
If you want to stay local, go to the blue-tipped federal government section of your White Pages. It lists federal agencies that have a local office. Then do a google.com search to find its website.
Once you've identified a target agency, ask everyone you know if they know someone who works for that agency. An insider could give you a real edge in landing a job. The selection process isn't as objective as it may seem. Yes, your application gets scored on a numerical scale, but as in the private sector, who you know can matter as much as what you know. You might even walk into the human resources department of that agency and ask for some advice on how to maximize your chances of getting hired.
When applying for a federal job, your regular resume won't do. Create the special federal resume. Also take great care in writing the usually required KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) narrative. For help in creating a federal resume and KSA, see Troutman's book, "Ten Steps to a Federal Job."
Advice I'd Give My Child
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
04/30/02: What Are You Good At, Really?