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Guide to Federal Government Job Search

By Camille Carboneau Roberts

The U.S. Federal Government is a mammoth organization with jobs ranging from astronaut to zoologist and everything in between. As with most large organizations, policies and practices try to ensure consistency across all parts. When an organization is over 200 years old, those policies can be mammoth, too.

The U.S. Federal Government has a formal, methodical hiring process which tries to ensure fairness to all. Which means lots of rules, that must be followed and a process that must be navigated very carefully. Given the age of this organization, the process isn't simple, but it is well-documented.

Job-Hunt will try to break the process down into understandable steps, and guide you through it.

Tools for Your Federal Government Job Search

  • Federal Job Toolkit
    New hiring practices are being put in place, and Human Resource personnel are using a variety of sources to research candidates before the interview process.
  • Effective Federal Government Resume
    A Federal resume is similar to a private sector resume, with much more detail. The Federal resume is one of three documents that can be used to apply for Federal jobs.
  • How to Strengthen Your Federal Resume
    Does your resume include unsubstantiated claims about your skills, knowledge, or abilities? One of the easiest ways to weaken your resume is telling hiring managers how good you are rather than showing them.

  • Preparing Your Federal Application
    Preparing a high-quality application for a Federal position can take from several hours to a few days. So, before investing the time required to create an effective application, make the effort to determine if you are fully qualified before you apply.
  • What Is a KSA?
    You are applying for a job with the Federal government and you have noticed in the Qualifications and Evaluations section of the vacancy announcement on that you will be evaluated on your Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities, a.k.a. KSAs.
  • Update on KSA's
    In May 2010, President Obama issued an Executive Order asking Federal agencies to improve the Federal recruitment and hiring process. Since then, some agencies are allowing candidates to provide their resume in a .doc or .pdf as part of the initial application.
  • Preparing Your ECQ's
    When applying for a Senior Executive Service (SES) position in Federal government, be ready to invest a considerable amount of time in preparing your application package so you can get that call to interview…and ultimately, the job!
  • Using is the primary web site for Federal job announcements located in the United States and around the world. While it does not contain every job announcement from each agency, it is an excellent place to begin.
  • How to Use USAJOBS Saved Searches
    One of my favorite timesavers for the federal job search is the Saved Searches feature on

The Federal Government Job Search Process

  • How to Avoid 10 Common Job Search Mistakes
    When someone tells me they have been applying for federal government positions on for any length of time with no luck, this is where I start looking...
  • How to Escape the USAJOBs Resume "Black Hole"
    Are you wondering why you are not getting referred to the hiring official? Are you approaching the Federal job search as you would a private-sector job search? Are you applying at the last minute?
  • Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes
    If your federal resume is not producing results, i.e., getting you the “best qualified” ratings, interview opportunities, and job offers, what do you do? Do not give up!
  • Social Media for Federal Job Search
    Establishing a professional digital presence can help you land a federal job! The best method of finding a job is still networking—with a purpose. Social media will catapult your networking and help you land a job faster.
  • New Federal Job for the New Year
    Maybe your resolution for the New Year is to incorporate advice you have been given and land that dream job! If the job you have always wanted is not where you currently find yourself, perhaps now is the time to pursue it.

Transition to a Federal Job for Special Groups

  • The Military to Federal Government Career Transition Option
    Are you preparing to transition from the military? Are you wondering whether to pursue employment with the Federal government? The Federal government is an excellent employment option for our service men and women.
  • Federal Job Search for New Grads
    More than 300 agencies around the world employ about 2 million people! The Federal Government hires employees in almost every career field from Aviation to Zoology. Chances are…there is a position for you!
  • Federal Job Search for People with Disabilities
    Are you a disabled job seeker considering employment with the US Federal Government? Individuals with mental and physical disabilities can be hired under “Schedule A” hiring authority.

Specifically for Veterans

  • Online Job Search Guide for Veterans
    Re-entering the civilian job market after 3 or 30 years of service in the military (THANK YOU!) can seem daunting, even to the most battle-hardened warriors. Not to worry! You have faced - and overcome - much tougher situations, starting with basic training a while ago!

More articles and resources will be added every month.  Come back to see what's new.

Good luck with your job search!

About the author...

Job-Hunt's Federal Job Search Expert, Camille Carboneau Roberts, established CC Career Services in 1989 to provide total career management services to help clients land jobs faster. Expert services include federal resumes, private sector resumes, military-to-federal resumes, and social media resumes and profiles. Contact Camille via email at, through LinkedIn, Twitter (@CamilleRoberts), or Facebook (CC Career Services).


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