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Thread: Any recent federal hirees?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    Any recent federal hirees?

    I'm interested in getting into the federal government for a long term position. Over the years, I've applied for open positions via the USAJobs website. Trouble is, I never even get a confirmation that my information has been received, let alone ever hear back as to how I ranked or scored for positions.

    Am I missing something? How can I get into the Federal Government? Would it be benficial to get into a state job beforehand?

    If anyone who's gotten at job at the Fed in the last few years could tell how they did it, I would certainly appreciate it.
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    Here is a link to a previous thread.

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...ht=federal+job

    The one thing that I do is that the Feds like you to explain what you did in detail. For example, if you were the PM for something, provide details about who you worked with, what you did, etc.


    Good luck!!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    Wow. That's inspirational.
    Seriously- thanks for the link to that thread.
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    So if a federal job (not really caring in what field) is my ultimate goal, would it be benficial to just get any federal job and then try to move around within the system?
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  5. #5
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    You have some hiring preferences if you are already a permanent federal employee, so taking any old permanent position might help get you in the door. You should also apply for "term" and temporary positions which are project funded. Permanent federal employees will rarely apply for these positions because they would have to give up their permanent status to do so. It's not unusual for a term employee to transition to a permanent position over time.

    Your next best shot is to become a disabled veteran.
    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by chupacabra View post
    You have some hiring preferences if you are already a permanent federal employee, so taking any old permanent position might help get you in the door. You should also apply for "term" and temporary positions which are project funded. Permanent federal employees will rarely apply for these positions because they would have to give up their permanent status to do so. It's not unusual for a term employee to transition to a permanent position over time.

    Your next best shot is to become a disabled veteran.
    I spent several weeks over the summer refining my KSAs while going after several planning jobs. Many of my friends in DC told me that most people start as contracted employees, although they still receive benefits. Full time jobs are very comfy so the retention rate is very high, so competition is fierce especially for higher-ups. Personal connections make a huge difference in who is hired. The only place worse for advancement is the UN, where people might stay at desk jobs for decades.

    As for starting in any federal job to get your foot in the door, that might work for some jobs. There are plenty of resarch positions in various agencies that don't require specialized degrees, and it might be a way to gain entry and make the right connections for advancement. However, I would try to get a job more closely to what you want to do. If you ultimately want to work for the Bureau of Land Management, working as a custodian in the General Services Administration probably won't help you long term.

    The current administration is working at reducing the response rate from 6 months to 45 days. Politics aside, always be aware that the federal job structure is very bureaucratic, extremely antiquated, and has not adapted easily to changing market conditions like private corporations and some municipal/state agencies. Rather than layoff employees, many federal agencies simply work with smaller budgets, which may mean less money for new hires. Due dilligence requires open positions to be advertised. However, there is no promise as to when the position is actually filled. Some positions have a close date and remain shelved after that.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Politics aside, always be aware that the federal job structure is very bureaucratic, extremely antiquated, and has not adapted easily to changing market conditions like private corporations and some municipal/state agencies. Rather than layoff employees, many federal agencies simply work with smaller budgets, which may mean less money for new hires. Due dilligence requires open positions to be advertised. However, there is no promise as to when the position is actually filled. Some positions have a close date and remain shelved after that.
    Well put.I worked in local government and contracted with state government in Australia previously. I was paid a bit better than the private sector, but I got tired of taking heat for bad political decisions and defending people higher up than me. Personally I am a free market person and believe too much govt interferes with things and makes it more open to corruption as within any organization that has too much power. It depends on the individual. I got into planning thinking I could improve people lives and make a difference, but as I got older I could see that many policies benefitted those with political connections and $$. While this might not be true in some areas, I have found the same in the UK and Oz. I enjoy working in the private sector as your ultimate goal is to make $$ for everyone.To each his own though.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Clore View post
    So if a federal job (not really caring in what field) is my ultimate goal, would it be benficial to just get any federal job and then try to move around within the system?
    Within reason. Get a job generally in your field, like engineering/planning/technical positions, and then work around to get to what you want to do. Be prepared to do work that isn't really what you want to do, to the point of frustration. Also look into any intern programs offered by agencies. That is often an easier way to get in, with a schedule for training, raises, and promotions, that offers pretty decent pay.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    Thanks for all the tips. I think I may be at the point where my end goal is a decent job, with a solid retirement. I'd like to cut back on the night meetings and get outside once in awhile. Really, I'd like to have more time to enjoy my outside interests.
    I waffle between wanting a job that means something and finding meaning outside my job.
    nrschmid- that is very good news about reducing the response time. Very good news indeed!
    I notice that there is now a way to follow up on applications that I didn't see in the past few years. This is a great improvement also. At least I know my information was received and possibly what next steps await.
    Any more tips would always be valued and I'm going to dig deeper into the ones given.
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    So let's say hypothetically that I currently have a job doing zoning, full time and I've decided ultimately I'd like to work on something like regional greenways. At the end of my career, I'd like to work somewhere like the Department of the Interior.
    Now, say I get offered a term, part time position at a state Department of Natural Resources. The job will just cover my bills, I have no family to support, and I am looking to move because I want to be closer to my family.
    Would I be an idiot in this day and age to give up my current job to make this switch, hoping to get a foot in the door?
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  11. #11
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    A term, part time position with a state department of natural resources would get you in the door with a state department of natural resources and not with the Dept. of the Interior. For federal hiring purposes you need to get your foot in the door with a federal agency, not a state agency.

    If the state job you mentioned is in an area with a large federal prescence, it might help you a bit.

    Example: if your greenway planning work for the state led you to interact with people from the National Park Service RTCA program you would have a personal 'in' with that group and could network your way into something later on. (My MLA thesis was on regional greenway planning and I worked with RTCA on it and they gave me a positive reference when I applied for a planning job with the NPS, so it can happen).

    I expect there to be a reduction in the federal workforce once the economy recovers a bit. This will, however, coincide with a massive pulse of retirements so your odds may improve over the next few years even in the face of eventual budget cuts.
    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

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