USAJOBS Website – Opportunities and More

USAJOBS is an official Government site that provides a wealth of information about federal job opportunities. The myriad of resources available help links job seekers and agencies with the ‘right’ matches and opportunities for employment; as part of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), USAJOBS fosters recruitment and retention building of a world class government workforce for the people.

With hundreds of federal agencies and organizations taking advantage of all that USAJOBS has to offer, their hiring processes are better streamlined and efficient when it comes to finding the right applicant for the right job. USAJOBS fosters service and commitment, representing more than two million Americans and foreign nationals who are successfully working and fulfilling essential duties in Civil Service positions.

Since the website offers easy to follow steps, individuals can create a USAJOB profile through the portal, where favorite jobs and searches can be saved along with resumes and critical documentation for applications. Resumes would then be visible to potential employers searching the database, and finally, individuals can apply for any jobs posted by USAJOBS online. There is also an explanation of the federal application process and opportunities listed by industry to include: social sciences, engineering, math and more. Also offered are insights into unique hiring paths that represent diversity to include: veterans, native Americans, those with disabilities and more. Lastly, hiring events with specific dates/times are offered at the bottom of the site for planning purposes. There is even a help center and FAQ which serve as additional resources to include salary information, to help with your job search, among other critical tools, articles and links.

To date, many positions are in high demand, like cybersecurity professionals, nurses, human resource managers and more. There are over 750 jobs available and showcased as critical hiring opportunities right now in cybersecurity and more than 890 nursing positions alone! Go now, to www.USAJOBS.gov and see for yourself. Create a profile and explore opportunities that are available, or just upload your resume and let the site do the work for you. It’s quick, easy, secure, searchable and streamlined so that it is easy to use, organized and helpful; it’s a one stop shop for employment …and a must for federal job seekers.

Reference:

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Understanding Cyber Security Positions – New Guidance from the OPM

Cyber security employment is expected to increase dramatically for the foreseeable future due to concerns about cyber security crimes and the war against terror. These concerns have spurred the demand for cyber security professionals across the board and the need to fast track the recruiting process.

Agencies are now able to more easily identify, recruit and retain cyber security professionals that are highly qualified. With guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), roles and responsibilities have been clearly identified and explained in accordance with an HR/OPM memo dated October 15, 2018. In addition, many positions will fall within the administrative work ‘standard’ of information technology group 2200. A title of “IT cyber security specialist” for example, within the 2210 series of management position listings, will include cyber work.

Organizations are now able to include ‘cyber security’ as a designated title for other occupations that perform this type of work so it helps them to recruit and meet mission goals and objectives more easily. With a myriad of laws, orders, strategies and frameworks, OPM has been able to work with other agencies, Chief Information Officers, and other stakeholders to understand the need for a comprehensive and robust cyber workforce and streamline the guidance.

Definitions of cyber security positions have been challenging and organizations like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have struggled to place identifiers, markers and codes for required positions; OPM has made a lot of this guesswork easy with new clarification and identifications. Given that cyber security is multi-faceted, and on the cutting edge of technology, the guidance had to be steadfast and sustainable; in addition, it had to co-exist with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) positions.

Qualifications include following traditional procedures for ranking, and individual organizations who can determine whether or not additional knowledge, skills and abilities are required and/or competencies should be added as part of their cyber security standard position.

Specific certifications as well must be agency-implemented, as required and become part of the organization’s selection criteria. Finally, organizations must continue to define their factors for ranking and quality of applicant selection for their developing cyber workforce. Subject matter experts in these organizations can use the guidance, to include general and technical competencies set forth by OPM to make this happen by reviewing specific duties, tasks, and competencies required for cyber positions.

These criteria will then serve as the foundation for job analysis and the cyber security workforce build out. Applicants will also be expected to portray creative and strategic thinking, problem solving, negotiations and customer service skills as key soft skill competencies for cyber security professionals. Technical skills, for example, may include computer forensics, surveillance or counter-intelligence for certain agencies.

If you are interested in cyber security / intelligence positions now is a good time to start your job search. Seek out relevant job announcements and apply for all positions that you qualify for to improve your changes of employment.

Reference:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

The Federal Government Workforce is Shrinking

If you are a current employee looking for a change, or perhaps interested in federal employment, don’t let politics impact your decision. Even though total federal employment is expected to decrease in the near future, many opportunities still exist as agencies must recruit highly skilled workers to replace those who retire or move on to other jobs. Look for the facts; research what interests you, and what is best for you in that career field.  There are many opportunities in both contracting work and federal employment.  By doing a little bit of research, keeping up with the federal news, as well as networking with peers and colleagues, discovering opportunities can be easy.

Reductions in hiring are taking place across the federal workforce, and much of it is due to a requirement to reduce government spending. From December 2016 through March of 2018, federal employment has decreased minimally from 2,093,868 to 2,075,006. specifically, there are just 18,862 fewer workers today than what was on board in December of 2016.

“The Department of State is down 9.28 percent, Education is down 12.94 percent, Labor is down 8.25 percent, and Housing and Urban Development is down 5.97 percent.  Homeland Security up 3.72 percent (mostly disaster recovery workers in the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and Veterans Affairs is up 1.73 percent. The Small Business Administration is up by 54 percent, also due to temporary employees required for disaster recovery work​” (Neal, 2018).  The agencies that are hiring made up for most of the losses in other agencies. Congress can do very little since they do not make the rules when it comes to hiring and spending in the executive branch.

There have also been modest staffing decreases in: Labor, Energy, Justice, Education, Housing, Transportation, and the Treasury.  There have also been modest increases in Commerce, Agriculture, Interior, and the VA according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Seek out opportunities at all agencies regardless of which ones have had staffing cuts over the past two year.  Agencies must fill critical vacancies and competed for the limited applicants available. The tight job market and low unemployment rate may prove to be an opportunity for those seeking federal jobs.  Agencies may have to offer hiring incentives such as reimbursement for college tuition, relocation allowances and higher starting pay.

Many politicians look at the federal workforce as an overall drag on the budget, making it burdensome for taxpayers.  Prior presidents struggled with just how to balance the federal workforce with attrition, hiring freezes, and more.  President Trump recently focused on efficiencies, and he made promises to reduce the federal workforce through hiring freezes and attrition as well, but he looked to spare the military, public safety officials, and employees in the health industry.

The military and federal civil service combined equals a total workforce of approximately 4 million. Additional challenges are introduced since many are in ‘required’ positions, are deployed, and located at sensitive operations posts. Also,  The overall federal workforce as it stands under President Trump has decreased minimally.

Trump’s plan for attrition may also lead to outsourcing, which is a critical factor surrounding federal employment.  Contractors actually exceed the number of official federal employees. With 1/3rd of federal workers in their mid-50’s, 13% are 60+, and only 6.5% are under 30; we can see how the millennials aren’t fans of federal employment. There are several websites that provide data, statistics, job vacancy listings, and recommendations on federal employment. Visit USA Jobs. This federal jobs website serves as a great one stop source for information and federal employment data. Also visit Federal Jobs Network. This site consolidates information from many federal sites including USA Jobs to streamline your job search.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages

Material Engineer GS-0806 – Working For the Federal Government

The federal government employs 1,325 materials engineers. The Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air force employ 825 civilians followed by NASA with 284, and the DOD with 90. The Department of Commerce employs 80 and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission employs 56. A few other cabinet level agencies employ small numbers for this occupation.

This series covers positions managing, supervising, leading, and/or performing professional engineering and scientific work to:

  • Determine and advise on a material’s essential composition, atomic and molecular configuration, and processing;
  • Relate the material’s essential composition to its properties, end use, and performance in engineering, architecture, and scientific applications and programs;
  • Examine the interaction of materials in their processes and applications, taking into account the associated equipment, systems, components, and their fabrication, design, or use;
  • Develop, maintain, and apply materials and material solutions to meet certain mechanical, electrical, environmental, and chemical requirements; and/or
  • Test and evaluate substances for new applications.

Government Requirements:

You must be U.S. citizen to apply.

The yearly salary for a GS-13 is $87,252 to $113,428.

Typical Duties and Occupational Profile:

Materials engineers work with metals, ceramics, and plastics to create new materials.

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a range of products from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and biomedical devices. They study the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, nano-materials (extremely small substances), and other substances in order to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. They also help select materials for specific products and develop new ways to use existing materials.

Duties

Materials engineers typically do the following:

  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and managers as necessary
  • Prepare proposals and budgets, analyze labor costs, write reports, and perform other managerial tasks
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists
  • Design and direct the testing of processing procedures
  • Monitor how materials perform and evaluate how they deteriorate
  • Determine causes of product failure and develop ways of overcoming such failure
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to the design objectives of processes or products
  • Evaluate the impact of materials processing on the environment

Materials engineers create and study materials at the atomic level. They use computers to understand and model the characteristics of materials and their components. They solve problems in several different engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.

Materials engineers may specialize in understanding specific types of materials. The following are examples of types of materials engineers:

Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products, from high-temperature rocket nozzles to glass for LCD flat-panel displays.

Composites engineers develop materials with special, engineered properties for applications in aircraft, automobiles, and related products.

Metallurgical engineers specialize in metals, such as steel and aluminum, usually in alloyed form with additions of other elements to provide specific properties.

Plastics engineers develop and test new plastics, known as polymers, for new applications.

Semiconductor processing engineers apply materials science and engineering principles to develop new microelectronic materials for computing, sensing, and related applications.

Materials engineers plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with others as necessary.

Materials engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering or in a related engineering field. Completing internships and cooperative engineering programs while in school can be helpful in getting a position as a materials engineer.

 

Education

Students interested in studying materials engineering should take high school courses in math, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; and in computer programming.

Entry-level jobs as a materials engineer require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs include classroom and laboratory work focusing on engineering principles.

Some colleges and universities offer a 5-year program leading to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a post-secondary teacher or to do research and development.

Many colleges and universities offer internships and cooperative programs in partnership with industry. In these programs, students gain practical experience while completing their education.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Materials engineers often work on projects related to other fields of engineering. They must determine how materials will be used and how they must be structured to withstand different conditions.

Math skills. Materials engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Materials engineers must understand the relationship between materials’ structures, their properties, how they are made, and how these factors affect the products they are used to make. They must also figure out why a product might have failed, design a solution, and then conduct tests to make sure that the product does not fail again. These skills involve being able to identify root causes when many factors could be at fault.

Speaking skills. While working with technicians, technologists, and other engineers, materials engineers must state concepts and directions clearly. When speaking with managers, these engineers must also communicate engineering concepts to people who may not have an engineering background.

Writing skills. Materials engineers must write plans and reports clearly so that people without a materials engineering background can understand the concepts.

 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure for materials engineers is not as common as it is for other engineering occupations, nor it is required for entry-level positions. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Certification in the field of metallography, the science and art of dealing with the structure of metals and alloys, is available through ASM International and other materials science organizations.

Additional training in fields directly related to metallurgy and materials’ properties, such as corrosion or failure analysis, is available through ASM International.

Other Experience

During high school, students can attend engineering summer camps to see what these and other engineers do. Attending these camps can help students plan their coursework for the remainder of their time in high school.

Advancement

Junior materials engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers may receive formal training in classrooms or seminars. As engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects where they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, materials engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Many become engineering managers or move into other managerial positions or sales work. An engineering background is useful in sales because it enables sales engineers to discuss a product’s technical aspects and assist in product planning, installation, and use. For more information, see the profiles on architectural and engineering managers and sales engineers.

GS-0806-Materials Engineer

General qualifications excerpted from Job Announcement WTHI176993975616

Responsibilities

  • Provide technical consulting services to Corps Districts, Department of Defense Major commands and installations relating to airfield and roadway pavement materials and construction.
  • Provide technical consulting to Architect-Engineers (A-E) relating to airfield and roadway pavement materials and construction, with emphasis on materials testing, mix design development and review and batch plant inspections.
  • Provide technical oversight of concrete and asphalt batch plant inspections; concrete uniformity testing; preparatory inspections for all aspects of airfield and roadway paving projects.
  • Inspect and evaluate concrete and asphalt paving test sections.
  • Perform review of construction submittals to include paving equipment, paving plan, and paving materials test results.
  • Perform review for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) and Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) mix designs.

Qualifications

Basic Requirement for Materials Engineer (transcripts are required at time of application):

  1. Degree: Bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) in engineering.

(1) lead to a bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) in a school of engineering with at least one program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET);

(2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

  1. Combination of Education and Experience: College-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished:

(1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering.

(2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:

  1. Professional registration or licensure – Current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT), or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration. For example, an applicant who attains registration through a State Board’s eminence provision as a manufacturing engineer typically would be rated eligible only for manufacturing engineering positions.
  2. Written Test – Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, or any other written test required for professional registration, by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico.
  3. Specified academic courses – Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and that included the courses specified in A above. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program.
  4. Related curriculum – Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least

One year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions.
pavement construction.

2) quality control/quality assurance of paving materials testing.

3) conducting inspections of airfield/roadway paving projects. This definition of specialized experience is typical of work performed at the next lower grade/level position in the federal service (GS- 12).

Job Prospects

Employment of materials engineers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Materials engineers will be needed to design new materials for use both in traditional industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, and in industries focused on new medical or scientific products. However, most materials engineers work in manufacturing industries, many of which are expected to have declines or little change in employment.

Demand for materials engineers is expected to come from growing fields, such as biomedical engineering and three-dimensional printing. For example, materials engineers’ expertise is crucial in helping biomedical engineers develop new materials for medical implants.

Research and development firms will increasingly employ materials engineers as they explore new uses for materials technology in consumer products, industrial processes, and medicine.

Prospects should be best for applicants who gained experience by participating in internships or co-op programs while in college.

Computer modeling and simulations, rather than extensive and costly laboratory testing, are increasingly being used to predict the performance of new materials. Thus, those with a background in computer modeling should have better employment opportunities.

Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

OPM Working To Assist Agencies With Updated Skill Development

Federal Agencies are seeking ways to become more streamlined, efficient and effective in our new era of cyber-security. Given this, jobs are being reconstructed to satisfy the need for technology, innovation, automation and security, just to name a few key areas. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is offering assistance as part of this preparation with training, education and skill enhancement opportunities. Other sources such as the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center  assists management and their employees to develop viable Individual development Plans (IDPs).  This service offers individual career development assessments and guides federal employees and management through the process using their interactive Career Planning Checklist.

OPM has also crafted a new strategic plan that provides specific information on this endeavor that includes a focus on ‘soft’ skills as part of the holistic approach for employees. With numerous challenges, to include knowledge management and transfer, this assistance is critical for all agencies and particularly those facing cybersecurity objectives. OPM will work with these agencies to enhance their internal processes, procedures and policies, supplement training and provide expertise and coaching so that they can better equip themselves with the tools they need to shape a skilled and prepared workforce.

Becoming “cyber-security compliant” is a critical task moving forward for these agencies and OPM promises to do everything in their power so that their current challenges can become opportunities for growth, protection and hardened security postures.

Agencies aren’t typically experienced with looking ‘inside’ their organizations to strengthen, streamline and enhance processes, procedures and policies, particularly when it comes to employee skill development and the strategic needs of the business. That’s where the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center can help.

OPM recommends perhaps looking at work roles and billet structures as a first step; along with a strategic vision, clear goals and objectives, these work roles and billets can become the foundation for a successful mission. Pay for performance is another area where organizations can work to capitalize on knowledge, skills and abilities throughout the organization; employees are then able to be rewarded for their increased responsibilities, heightened work activities or acquisition of additional skills, training and knowledge through coursework, for example. The Federal Aviation Administration initiated a core compensation pay plan in the 1990’s that rewards employees for outstanding performance.

A sound education and training program is another element for successful skill development. Organizations must ensure they leverage flexible telework options, training courses, academic partnerships and more that foster a holistic learning environment. A variety of opportunities that include online learning, self-paced courses, briefings, and more not only bring employees together, but foster collaboration and information sharing among colleagues that will in turn, enhance organizational missions. Finally, senior leadership buy in and support are paramount when implementing a new ‘skill development’ program; employees will look to them as the pillar for the change. Mentorship, coaching and professional development programs are a must in any organization. By looking internally to determine what the key objectives for the business are, how billets and work roles are aligned and arming employees with the right tools and resources to fulfil them are a productive mix. OPM will continue to work with agencies as they are interested, to map soft skills with technical opportunities and more for a robust and solid approach to enhanced employee skill development throughout the federal community and beyond.

Reference:

Ogrysko, N. (2018, Mar 6). Retrieved from https://federalnewsradio.com/your-job/2018/03/opm-says-itll-help-agencies-re-skill-federal-employees-for-jobs-of-the-future/

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Federal Job Hunting Tips – Your Roadmap to Landing a High Paying Government Job

Many apply for federal jobs each year. How can you stand out from the crowd when you apply? There are many ways for you to get at the head of the line if you know a few of the tricks of the trade.  Many applicants simply don’t follow the explicit “How to Apply” directions that are available with every federal job announcement and end up submitting inferior applications that don’t make the grade; literally. With the new Category Rating application evaluation process if you don’t make it to the “Best Qualified” list you won’t be considered for the position.

Why is it that some who land jobs with Uncle Sam have half the experience, education, and special qualifications that you have — and you’re still looking? Many who approach the federal sector fail because they didn’t take the time to understand the federal hiring process. Others get frustrated by the required paperwork and give up prematurely.

Don’t let this happen to you. Take your time and learn how to apply before going online and submitting your first federal resume and application. Many simply go to USAJobs.gov and start submitting their resumes without knowing the significant differences between a private sector and federal resume and lose out in the process.  The following tips that can help you make the interview list:

  • Looking for federal jobs takes time and patience and it is best to apply early and often.  Applications can take six to eight weeks or even longer for processing after the closing date. It can take even longer if written tests are required. From the time you first identify an opening to actual interviews and hiring can take months in some cases even under recent hiring reform initiatives.  There is a new twist to this scenario, many agencies are issuing federal job announcements with short open periods, often a  week or less,  because they receive so many applications. It will still take time after the closing date to process and rate all applications. However, if you don’t check for vacancies frequently you may miss out on good opportunities.
  • Many apply for only one job announcement. Seek out all available job vacancies and continue to send in applications with every opportunity. Don’t limit yourself to USAJobs.gov. This excellent site does advertise the majority of all federal jobs, however, you may be passing up job opportunities in your own back yard by not visiting individual agency recruitment sites in your area.  Also review consolidated job listings that include federal, state, and private sector job vacancies for your occupation.
  • Read the job announcements thoroughly. These important documents provide all of the information you need to apply including qualifications required for the position. When I say read it thoroughly I mean word for word and don’t stop if at first you feel you don’t meet the qualifications. Many jobs, especially in the administrative and management fields, often require a BS degree OR 3 years of general experience for an entry level job.  Many applicants read BS degree and immediately think they won’t qualify; keep reading and you may be surprised that your work experience is as valuable, in many cases, as a 4 year college degree.
  • Prepare a professional and comprehensive federal resume and application. Too many applicants take shortcuts and revert back to the private sector resume format ─ a HUGE mistake.  The most popular application method today is the federal resume, for a number of reasons. First, most people are familiar with resumes and secondly, with the increase in online submissions, the resume format makes the most sense because it is easy to copy and paste from your federal  resume into online resume builders.  The differences are significant. Considerably more detail is required for the federal resume and if you don’t provide the required federal resume information  your application may be rejected. At the very least you risk not being placed in the highest category rating and less likely to be referred to the selecting official.
  • Prepare for the job interview. Today, the selecting official can interview as few or as many applicants in the “Best Qualified ” list as they desire.  Learn about the agency by visiting their web site and learning about their mission and current activities. Most publish press releases that will also help you understand their mission and responsibilities.  Even under the best of conditions, interviews are often intimidating, and going to an interview without knowing the “rules” can be downright frightening. Understanding the  interview process will help you throughout your career and just knowing what to expect will improve your mental stability as well.

In the final analysis, agencies hire someone who has the abilities and talents for the position.  It is up to the applicant to demonstrate they are the right selection by submitting a comprehensive and thorough application package and by doing well in the interview. Don’t leave the interview to chance. Proper preparation can mean the difference between success and failure.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Federal Job Vacancies

Federal jobs comprise approximately 2 percent of this country’s total workforce and Uncle Sam is this country’s largest employer by far.  If you are out-of-work or looking for a higher paying, benefit loaded, and secure job consider applying for federal job vacancies in your area.  The average salary exceeds $83,000  and when you add pay plus benefits that figure increases to over $125,000 a year compared to less than half that in the private sector.

Federal Job Listings

Federal job vacancies are available in all major metropolitan areas and in many rural locations as well. I started my competitive federal civil service career with the Federal Aviation Administration working at a small airport in central Pennsylvania. You will find federal job listings by occupation and by agency plus OPM offers extensive job search and guidance on their USAJobs site.

Federal Job Announcements and Occupations

You will find federal jobs in almost all occupations, from direct sales to nuclear scientists and everything in between. There are over 900 occupational titles to consider and what most federal job seekers don’t realize is that a published qualification standard is available for all occupations that outlines specific skills, knowledge, experience,  and education required for the position. The qualification standards along with the federal job announcement provide considerable information for the applicant and they should be read thoroughly prior to applying for any job.

Careers and Job Exploration

To locate federal job vacancies and to explore opportunities at agencies in your area visit their web sites:

More Information

How to Apply For a Federal Job
Step-by-step guidance on how to apply for government jobs

Do I Have to Take a Civil Service Exam?
Discover if a civil service exam is required for your occupation