Federal government employees work across the U.S. and around the world playing a vital role enhancing the lives of people. There may not be a better way to give back to your country and the world than to work for the United States federal government.
The federal hiring process is known to be tedious and is often the greatest turn-off for job and career hunters. However, federal employment opportunities offer competitive salary and benefits that are often superior to the private sector offerings. In addition, the multitude of job types are sure to appeal to a vast number of job seekers. There's a job for every interest!
If you are contemplating working for the U.S. federal government, consult the GoGovernment.org site for free resources that guide job seekers in the federal career exploration and job search.
The Federal Employment Process
Applying for a federal job requires preparation, time, and attention to detail.
USAJOBS.gov is the best place to look for a federal job. The vast majority of federal jobs are required to be posted on USAJOBS.gov, but some agencies and specific fields list their job opening elsewhere. Watch a 5-minute video created by USAJOBS.gov to get started.
Step 1: Create a USAJOBS.gov account
Step 2: Build your profile completely
Step 3: Start conducting a job search
Step 4: Read job announcements thoroughly
Watch or review segments of this 55-minute video from the American Military Partner Association to gain valuable insight about how to use the advanced search, resume do's and don'ts, and much more.
The Federal Resume
Federal job seekers must approach their search with a different resume than would used to seek employment in the private sector. A federal resume requires more information than a typical civilian resume, therefore, it is usually longer than two pages. It is customary for federal resumes to be 3-5 pages in length. Consult the USAJOBS help center to learn what should be included in the federal resume.
The Federal Government's Employment Information System, USAJOBS.gov, provides worldwide job opportunity information for federal positions, employment information fact sheets, job applications and forms on-line. It has two methods for job seekers to allow the system to access their resume:
1.) Build a resume using the USAjobs Resume Builder (step-by-step wizard)
2.) The capability for seekers to upload a previously created resume
It is strongly suggested that job seekers use the "Build resume" option as opposed to the "Upload resume" option. The resume builder will give job seekers the assurance that the document is formatted and ordered exactly like it should be.
The builder uses a screen-by-screen wizard that asks for certain information to be entered. Upon completion, the builder converts the data entered into a .pdf document. It takes about 30 minutes to build a minimally populated resume using the builder. It will ask for Work Experience, Education, References, Job Related Training, Language Skills, Organizations/Affiliations, Professional Publications, and Additional Information. Once the wizard directs the user through these fields, the last step is to click "Finish."
It is critical that the federal resume be tailored to the job announcement. Accordingly, job seekers will have to spend more time after clicking "Finish" (minimally populating the resume fields) to go back to the job announcement looking for keywords and aligning them to their qualifications. Users can go back to the resume as many times as necessary to edit the 5,000 character box labeled "Duties, Accomplishments and Related Skills" located in the "Work Experience" section to customize content to the job announcement they are targeting.
Note: USAJOBS only allows 5 resumes per user. Accordingly, it is necessary to change out the documents as needed to customize to new postings.
Tip: content can be typed in MS Word, spell-checked, and pasted into the box. Word is often preferred by job seekers at this stage of the federal resume development since the view is better and spell-check is offered.
Inside the "Duties, Accomplishments, and Related Skills" box, use the outline format discussed in this article. 5,000 characters is ample allowance for a job seeker to hone in on specific keywords and qualifications. Do not use bullets or hyphens.
Tip: Get noticed by recruiters by making your resume "Searchable." If users make their resume searchable, the profile is searchable too. Recruiters can search your profile and resume to match your background to the positions they are trying to fill. Users can only make one resume searchable at a time. It's a simple as clicking the box under the resume preferred.
Unique Hiring Paths
The federal government offers unique hiring paths to help hire individuals that represent our diverse society. Learn about each hiring path here.
Students and recent graduates, along with veterans, military spouses, and individuals with disabilities are among those who are eligible for a unique hiring path. Job seekers who think they are eligible for any of these paths should carefully note their USAJOBS.gov profile accordingly.
The Center for Career and Professional Development is also available to assist federal job seekers. For assistance contact:
Kim Meredith, Assistant Director
Located at the Mercer Henry County Regional Academic Center
Stefanie Swanger, Career Consultant
Located at the Mercer Macon Campus, CSC
Schedule an appointment with either staff member using Handshake.