Volume 85 Issue 11 | Web Exclusive
Issue Date: March 12, 2007

Federal Job Search Resources

Don't wait for Uncle Sam to come knocking
Department: Career & Employment

If you're curious about working for the federal government, here is a list of resources to get you started.

USAJobs (www.usajobs.gov): This is the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) centralized job search and career website. The site was established to simplify the process of finding a federal job by posting job listings from all federal units in one location. On March 1, a search of the job database using the keywords "analytical chemist" yielded 12 hits, including jobs with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Washington, D.C.; the Army in Hawaii; the Agricultural Research Service in Fairbanks, Alaska; the Department of Homeland Security in San Francisco; and two positions with the Army Medical Command in Landstuhl, Germany.

At USAJobs, you can set up an account to create and post your résumé and set up a search agent to notify you when jobs matching your interests are added to the system. You can refine your search by location, specialty, or job title. The site also offers help with finding government jobs according to your interests, investigating jobs on the basis of tasks that you like to do, and determining the minimum qualifications necessary for a particular job.

Caveat: USAJobs is a portal. All federal job listings can be viewed there, but job seekers are often directed to apply on the individual agency's website, and some agencies, such as DIA, use a different résumé builder and application system. To manage and keep track of your own job quest, you might use a spreadsheet to log each search, to track your applications and when you applied, and to keep a record of your login information.

Federal Résumés: The federal résumé is different from the résumé you would use to apply for a job in the private sector because it includes information you would not normally include, such as your Social Security number. To help you, OPM publishes "Applying for a Federal Job" (opm.gov/forms/pdfimage/of0510.pdf), which lists all the information you need to provide in your applications for federal employment, such as:

Announcement number, title, and grade(s) of the job you are applying for.

Personal information, including your Social Security number, citizenship (most federal jobs require U.S. citizenship), and whether you are eligible for veterans' preference.

High school and college graduation information.

Paid and unpaid work experience related to the job that you are applying for, including salary information.

Additional qualifications, such as job-related training, skills, licenses, and certificates, as well as any job-related honors you received.

In addition, the job announcement may ask you to answer questions pertinent to the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are specific to the position. When a job announcement asks for KSAs, you must answer the questions as completely as possible because you're evaluated on the basis of both your application and your KSA narrative. Responding to a request for KSAs is like writing a cover letter: Each question asks about responsibilities and accomplishments that you can claim and that show why you're qualified. Make sure your responses are complete and concise. It also helps if you use the same keywords in your response that are found in the job announcement. There are books on the market to help job seekers navigate the federal application process.

Government Executive (govexec.com): This monthly magazine is the publication to read to learn about the business of the federal government. Its target audience includes senior executives and managers in the federal government, and it aspires to be the Fortune magazine of the federal sector. GovExec covers developments in the executive branch, reports on management innovations to help federal executives and their agencies, explains agencies' problems and failures to help other agencies avoid similar pitfalls, provides a sense of community among federal workers, and helps improve the image of public service to nongovernment readers.

Partnership in Public Service (ourpublicservice.org): PPS is a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., that seeks to revitalize public service as a career. PPS's activities include educational outreach, policy research, public-private partnerships, and legislative advocacy. One such effort is "Call To Serve" (calltoserve.org), a network of 550 academic institutions and 60 federal agencies that have promised to educate college students about federal career options. A new initiative is "Fed Experience," which is designed to recruit retiring baby boomers to establish second or "encore careers" with the federal government. More information about "Fed Experience" is available at PPS's website (ourpublicservice.org/pressroom/pressroom_show.htm?doc_id=441426).

YoungFeds.org: YoungFeds.org is a networking site for young professionals working in and with the federal government. The site is a project of the Council for Excellence in Government.

 

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