How to get a government job

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Wondering how that guy with the cushy 9-5 job in that air conditioned government office building with great benefits and a retirement plan got his job? Wonder no more! There is hope, but you have to know how to play the game!

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • A solid resume
  • Understanding of keywords
  • The best site for job searches, bar none, is www.usajobs.gov. This is where most government jobs are posted. Other good sites include www.cpol.army.mil (Army civilian jobs) and www.chart.donhr.navy.mil (Navy civilian jobs). Register on the site and put in a resume.

  • Read up on how the Resumix system works as most applicants' resumes are now scanned by Resumix. Some agencies use other scanning programs, but essentially it boils down to key words and key phrases. Because most government jobs receive hundreds or even thousands of applications, many agencies use keyword searches to narrow down the applicant pool. The best way to get the keywords they are looking for is to read through the job description thoroughly and pick up on key phrases and terms that seem to be used and use those phrases in your resume. Tailor your resume specifically for each job posting you apply to. If you are not great at writing tailored resumes, this may be a good time to actually invest in paying someone to write your resume. Usually this will pay off -- particularly if you use an agency that is accustomed to writing government resumes. It can certainly be worth the money to have a professionally written resume when applying for a government job.

  • Apply. Search for government jobs according to geographical preference or by job title, description, etc. Again, before you apply, tailor your resume with keywords and phrases specific to each job. This can be time-consuming, but if you really want that job, you can do it.

  • Follow application instructions, exactly. I can't stress this enough. Many well-qualified people lose out on government jobs because they don't follow the application instructions, which can be very specific, depending on the job. Tailor your KSA statement(knowledge, skills, and abilities statement) to the job. Again, utilize keywords and phrases. A KSA is essentially a mini-essay questions on why you are qualified for the job. Each job posting will give instructions on how to do the KSAs.

  • Apply and wait. It can take months or even longer to find out if you are in the running for a government job, so be patient. You will probably receive a statement saying if you were referred or not. If you were referred, the referral will give you instructions on what is next, in most cases.

  • Good luck!

Tips & Warnings

  • Spell check your resume!
  • Cover letters are not necessary in most cases, but if you are mailing in your resume (if the instructions say to do so), it might be a good idea to place a cover letter in your packet as your resume will most likely be seen by a human being rather than simply scanned by a computer program.
  • Don't lie on your application. Totally not worth it.

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