There is just no sugarcoating it. The Great Recession is upon us, and if you’re looking for a job, join the club comprised of just over 8 percent (see chart) of the nation’s population currently unemployed and seeking work.
In the current job market, help wanted ads are few and far between. Fortunately, the nation’s largest employer hires thousands of entry-level positions every year. The federal government has jobs available, and knowing where to look for them is the first step on your path to becoming a United States federal worker.
Oftentimes, job seekers don’t even consider a federal job for a variety of reasons. They might think federal jobs are only for bureaucrats, physicists, or FBI agents. In fact, the government routinely offers over 400 different job specialties to 1.7 million federal employees working all over the nation.
As demand for services increase, and Baby Boomers hit retirement age, thousands of job opportunities have become available. In addition to a comfortable salary and a nice benefits package, federal jobs offer employees a chance to make a difference in someone’s life, as well as tackling critical issues facing Americans today.
Another big plus for federal employees is assistance in paying back a portion of your educational loans. Some federal agencies even go a step further and pay your entire tuition if you choose to pursue a graduate degree. The United States government also offers one of the most diverse work forces, allowing minorities and disabled folks equal opportunities.
Unemployment rate – Seasonally Adjusted
The process begins at usajobs.gov, where each and every federal agency posts their available jobs. Federal jobs are extremely competitive, so knowing what an examiner is looking for is key to scoring well on your application.
The resume builder at usajobs.gov allows you to completely build your resume, and highlight specific skill-sets you possess that are directly related to the job you are seeking. In the private sector, there could be as many as 10 or more people interviewed for one job. Federal jobs are much more competitive, and you could be up against hundreds of others applying for just one single job. Your federal resume and application package needs to be as thorough as possible to get your foot in the door, and get an interview.
Pay particular attention to the vacancy announcement at usajobs.gov, most notably two sections, which are the basic qualifications and the ranking factors. These sections will tell you what qualifications are mandatory, and how your application will be ranked, according to knowledge, skills and abilities. Highlight these skills on your resume in a concise manner that is easy to read and understand. Use all capital letters for important key words on your resume to draw special attention to your skills and experience.
Your federal resume and application must be detailed and free from errors. The average length of a federal resume is 4-5 pages, compared to 2 pages in the private sector, so make sure you proofread your resume carefully before submitting it.