Eight Federal Government Job Myths Debunked

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Want a job with the federal government but think the odds are against you? Not necessarily. According to Kathy Troutman, owner of The Resume Place, a federal resume writing and federal career consulting firm, and author of 'Ten Steps to a Federal Job: How to Land a Job in the Obama Administration, 2nd Edition,' there are enormous opportunities with the federal government, but there are also several myths circulating about the federal government jobs process. AOL Jobs recently spoke to Troutman to debunk eight of these myths.


1. Veterans are getting all the federal jobs.

The veterans do qualify for additional points added to their application / resume scores of 5 or 10 points, but they definitely do not land all the federal jobs in government. Federal applications are graded. You can get a score of up to 100. Veterans can receive up to 105 or 110 (disabled veterans). So, the goal is to get a high score, know what your score is, apply for many positions, and be persevering. Non-vets can get hired, but it does take more applications today because of competing veterans.


2. KSAs are eliminated.

Even though federal hiring reform by President Obama was supposed to eliminate KSAs as of Nov. 1, 2010, the KSAs are still listed in the announcements and sometimes you will still have to write separate narratives. There is incremental change with the elimination of KSAs. It is recommended that you prove that you have Knowledge, Skills and Abilities in your resume. The new format is called KSAs in the resume. The KSAs in the resume will be short accomplishments that prove your KSAs.


3. Since hiring reform on Nov. 1, you can apply for a federal job with just a resume and cover letter.

The President did state in his executive order that applicants should apply for federal jobs with a resume and cover letter, but there are still instructions that you will need to submit your resume through USAJOBS, complete a questionnaire, fax other documents and add a cover letter if you like.


4. You have to know someone to get a federal job.

You do NOT need to know someone to get a federal job. It could be very helpful, but if you are qualified for a federal position, you can write a competitive federal resume. Make sure you add the KSAs into the resume and answer the questionnaire giving yourself all the credit that you can. You have to apply correctly following the directions. The application process is complicated, but you CAN get "best qualified" and "referred to a supervisor" without knowing anyone in the government.


5. You need a clearance to get a federal jobs.

You do NOT need a clearance to walk into the door of all government jobs. Some jobs DO require a clearance, and those positions are usually filled by former military and former government contractors. But many positions do not require any kind of clearance. And some position announcements will state that you have to KNOW THAT YOU CAN GET A CLEARANCE. So, once you are interviewed and tentatively hired, they will begin the clearance process. Sometimes you can start the position while they perform the clearance. You will perform tasks that are not security-oriented. You can negotiate this with the agency.


6. The government isn't hiring because of the hiring freeze.

The government will be hiring even if there is a hiring freeze. There are positions called critical mission positions that the agencies will still need to hire in order to carry out the critical mission of the office or organization. Even if there is a freeze, there will be positions.


7. You never hear from anyone after you apply for a federal job.

You can usually find out the status of your applications if you check your USAJOBS Application Manager account. The HR specialists are making big efforts to give you more feedback about your qualifications, referral to supervisors, or whether you met minimum qualifications for the position.


8. All resumes, including federal resumes, should not exceed two pages.

Federal resumes are an average of four to five pages. The federal resume must contain more information about your duties, qualifications, accomplishments, knowledge, skills and abilities in order to demonstrate -- in writing -- that you have the qualifications for the position. The private industry resume does not have to contain all of this information in writing, but the federal resume is basically an important document that must PROVE your qualifications for the position.

Next: What It's Like to Work for the State Department: An Inside Look

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