Friday, May 17, 2013

Four Steps to a Successful Federal Application

One of the biggest misconceptions about obtaining employment with the federal government is that it is the same process you go through in the private sector. Although there are similarities, there are glaring differences in the process of landing a federal job. Let's look at a step-by-step process that you will need to go through in order to land that job with the federal government.

Step 1 - Determine your Target Position
Just like in the private sector, it is best to have a target position in mind when you begin your federal search. Keywords are just as important in a federal resume as in the private sector. The biggest difference is that when you submit a resume in the private sector, it is probably scanned by a computer. However, in the federal government, a person reviews your resume to determine your level of qualification.

Step 2 - Read the Job Posting
The federal job posting can be intimidating and overwhelming. However there are some key areas to look in the job posting to get the most important information. To find key words and the key skills you want to highlight in your resume look in the Duties and Responsibilities section, the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) section, and review the job description. In addition, before you begin to write your resume, click on the link that takes you to the Qualifications Questionnaire. This questionnaire will give you valuable insight about what must be contained on your resume.

Step 3 - Prepare a Federal Resume
This is where the differences between the federal government and the private sector stand out the most. The federal resume is a completely different ball game from the private sector. The federal resume is longer and more information-intensive - it is typically 3 to 5 pages long. You must include details such as employer address, month and year of employment, salary, hours worked per week, and supervisor name and contact info for each job on your federal resume. When listing education, you must include the school name and location, month and year of completion, number of credit hours, and GPA.

Step 4 - Track your Progress
If you have completed your application through, then you can track the status of your application. Be prepared for the process to take a bit longer than standard private sector companies. Remember that making it to the "Cert List" is only one step along the way. Once you are deemed as highly qualified and put on the cert list, the hiring authority has the discretion as to whether or not they will call you for an interview. Keep in mind, no matter how much they want to hire you, if you don't make the cert list (i.e. your resume is not up to federal standards) the hiring authority can not move forward with you as a candidate.

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