Are you wondering how to land a federal job? Have you been discouraged by naysayers? Are you wondering if the federal government is really hiring thousands of people? Well that one I’ll answer now. YES! So if you are not incorporating federal jobs in your job search strategy it’s likely you have been misinformed about the process and about the reality of the federal job market. Here are seven more myths I’d like to dispel to help you conquer your federal job search.
1. Myth: All government jobs are in Washington, DC.
Fact: Only 15% of federal jobs are actually in DC. That means 85% of the federal jobs are outside of DC throughout the US and the rest of the world.
2. Myth: Federal government salaries are low.
Fact: Actually, government salaries have risen faster and higher than private sector salaries. In most cases you will find they are very competitive. In fact, it’s been reported from 2000 to 2008, the pay for federal civilian employees skyrocketed 57%, while the pay for workers in the private sector grew by only 31%. And the White House recently proposed a 1.4% pay increase for federal employees.
3. Myth: To get into the federal government you have to be connected; all the jobs are wired.
Fact: If that was the case, then the government wouldn’t currently have over 60,000 job openings worldwide. Don’t you think the people that know the current government workforce would have networked their way in if that was the case? Networking always helps. But my federal resume writing team has helped hundreds of clients land federal jobs that were not networked.
4. Myth: The government is not hiring for what I do.
Fact: The OPM (Office of Personnel Management) uses a classification of 21 occupational groups and families for all GS (General Schedule) positions. That’s just for white collar jobs. There are so many ways to make a difference to America doing this work. Here is a very short list of federal job titles: Accountants, Business Operations, Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Administrative Assistants, Secretaries, Assistants, Civil Engineers, Airline Pilots, Computer Systems Analysts, Program Managers, Construction Managers, and Social Workers. This is a very short list. Believe me. There are literally hundreds of job titles.
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5. Myth: The federal government is one huge bureaucracy.
Fact: The Government is made up of several entities. Each of the over 300 departments and agencies operates as their own stand alone “corporation” within a network of agencies designed to serve the best interest of America. Some do operate more efficiently than others, and are more progressive than others.
Based on your agency research, consider 3-5 agencies you would like to further explore.
6. Myth: All federal jobs are posted on USAJOBS.com.
Fact: Only about 70% are on USA Jobs. Many jobs (permanent, temporary, special) are on each federal agency website. And some are not posted on the sites at all.
7. Myth: The federal hiring process is so long and complicated.
Fact: The federal hiring process differs from private sector hiring, and federal resume writing is different. But the process does not have to be long. There are programs, tips, and opportunities that drastically speed up the process. I have clients that are getting hired at record time compared to their private sector counterparts.
Dr. Daphne Houston is the founder & CEO of the National Association for Federal Career Advancement where federal leaders and those who aspire to be, empower their careers and their impact in the world, while serving America.
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