Applying to a Federal Job

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Topic Author
JBeck
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:54 am

Applying to a Federal Job

Post by JBeck » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:00 am

I'm 35 years old and worked in the private sector for 12 years after graduating college

Last year I obtained my first government and I work for a medium sized city

I saw posting on USA JOBS for a Federal position I'm interesting (same city)

Questions
1) Will having a local government job help me in obtaining a fed government job or will it be the equivalent of applying from the private sector?

2) Should my resume be presented differently than if I was applying to a job in the private sector? Note that for my current job I was contacted thru a recruiter via LinkedIn because the city was having trouble filling the position, I didn't have to change the format of my resume

Thanks in advance!

Swansea
Posts: 758
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:16 am

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by Swansea » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:54 am

1) There is no advantage given to folks who have local government experience, except that the experience, just as if it came from the private sector, matches the skills for the federal job.

2) You should get a copy of the position description for the job, if possible. Then use that information to high light how your current qualifications match up.

gclancer
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Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:34 am

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by gclancer » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:00 am

Swansea wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:54 am
2) You should get a copy of the position description for the job, if possible. Then use that information to high light how your current qualifications match up.
+1 understand that you have to get past an HR generalist before the decision makers in the work unit you’re applying to will even see the application; you’ll need to prepare a resume that’s narrowly tailored to the job posting to get past HR while also adequately identifying your expertise within your particular field which will most likely be over HRs head but of interest to the hiring decision makers.

PolarInvest
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:57 am

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by PolarInvest » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:19 am

Also for your Federal resume, you should note that there are no points for being concise. It's just the opposite, longer resumes with a lot of description of the relevant experience from your previous jobs are good so that HR can support your stated qualifications on the questionnaire part of the application. Try to use keywords from the job description in your resume if possible.

gr7070
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by gr7070 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:22 am

All the above the posts have some good info in them!

cochlearboy
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:11 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by cochlearboy » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:26 am

gclancer wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:00 am
Swansea wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:54 am
2) You should get a copy of the position description for the job, if possible. Then use that information to high light how your current qualifications match up.
+1 understand that you have to get past an HR generalist before the decision makers in the work unit you’re applying to will even see the application; you’ll need to prepare a resume that’s narrowly tailored to the job posting to get past HR while also adequately identifying your expertise within your particular field which will most likely be over HRs head but of interest to the hiring decision makers.
+2 - the above poster is absolutely correct. You must rewrite/revise your resume to match the words in the job posting description. The HR generalist usually knows nothing about the actual job requirements, and they screen based on the words in the resume matching the job posting description. Once you get past the HR generalist, you then conduct the actual job interview in which your credentials will be vetted.

rich126
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by rich126 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:00 am

You probably already figured this out but the process is extremely tedious and lengthy. I've never gotten far with USAJOBs but I had a late friend who did get interviews and a job offer (which he turned down).

Depending on the type of job, some federal jobs you apply directly to the agency (e.g., CIA, NSA, DHS, etc.).

One of the keys is persistence. Don't apply once and then give up if you don't hear anything for a while. Apply, apply, apply. The government hiring process is pretty messed up, openings change all the time, managers change, things get lost, etc.

And if the job requires a clearance, then you need even more patience since that can take 12-24 months, especially for a high level clearance.

Good luck.

retiredjg
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by retiredjg » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:09 am

Unless things have changed, applying to a federal job requires that you use their application form. You can use a resume as an attachment, but you might do better reformatting it.

There will be a list of things they are looking for. Best to address each one (knowledge, skill, and abilities) on a separate page, even if that means having the same info on different pages. Use bullet statements, not paragraphs.

So if what they want to know about is your experience with chainsaws....you want to tell them all your chainsaw training, that you have 13 years of weekly experience with a chainsaw, the fact that you have used different sizes and brands, electric and gas, and that you have cut trees from 4" to 40" in diameter and that you even do some chainsaw carving for a hobby.

You will be "rated" against a rating sheet, not against the other candidates. The more detail you give, the easier it is to rate you. Just saying "I'm competent with a chainsaw" does not give them anything to work with. The details will tell them the depth and breadth of your abilities.

Your previous government job will not count any more or less than a previous private job. It is on the experience of the job that counts.
Last edited by retiredjg on Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

scout80
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by scout80 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:11 am

There is usually an initial screening based on how you answer a set of questions during the application process. These questions usually ask you to rate your skill or knowledge about certain topics or areas of expertise. I may be wrong but I don't think anyone even looks at your resume unless you rank highly enough based on those questions. Some federal job announcements will identify what they call "selective factors" and those are specific questions that they weight more highly than the rest. There can be one or several selective factors and I don't think they have to tell you what they are but some do. If you can judge what they are asking in the questions you might be able to further glean some insight into what to emphasize in your resume.

Also keep in mind that, depending on the job and location, you may be competing against people with hiring preference (those with disabilities, veterans, veterans with disabilities, displaced former federal workers, etc) , so it's important to rate yourself generously when answering the questions if you want to be competitive. I know this sounds dishonest but you don't have to lie. You just have to overcome the human tendency to under-rate your self assessment.

I also know firsthand that some folks get career counseling where they are told the key to getting further in the selective process is to rank yourself the highest you can on all questions. Keep this in mind and realize that many people will lie on these questions. If the selecting official is worth their salt, and they care about doing the right thing, they can spot these types a mile away by comparing their resume, work experience, and history to their answers on the questions. The main thing to keep in mind is that if you don't rank highly enough nobody will ever see your resume so make sure you don't undersell yourself on the questions.

Good Luck!

Topic Author
JBeck
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:54 am

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by JBeck » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:28 am

Just the kind of info I was looking for guys :)

Swansea
Posts: 758
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:16 am

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by Swansea » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:35 am

scout80 wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:11 am
There is usually an initial screening based on how you answer a set of questions during the application process. These questions usually ask you to rate your skill or knowledge about certain topics or areas of expertise. I may be wrong but I don't think anyone even looks at your resume unless you rank highly enough based on those questions. Some federal job announcements will identify what they call "selective factors" and those are specific questions that they weight more highly than the rest. There can be one or several selective factors and I don't think they have to tell you what they are but some do. If you can judge what they are asking in the questions you might be able to further glean some insight into what to emphasize in your resume.

Also keep in mind that, depending on the job and location, you may be competing against people with hiring preference (those with disabilities, veterans, veterans with disabilities, displaced former federal workers, etc) , so it's important to rate yourself generously when answering the questions if you want to be competitive. I know this sounds dishonest but you don't have to lie. You just have to overcome the human tendency to under-rate your self assessment.

I also know firsthand that some folks get career counseling where they are told the key to getting further in the selective process is to rank yourself the highest you can on all questions. Keep this in mind and realize that many people will lie on these questions. If the selecting official is worth their salt, and they care about doing the right thing, they can spot these types a mile away by comparing their resume, work experience, and history to their answers on the questions. The main thing to keep in mind is that if you don't rank highly enough nobody will ever see your resume so make sure you don't undersell yourself on the questions.

Good Luck!
Let me comment on the selective factor issue. I started rating federal applications in 1974, so have seen my share. While I left federal service is 2005 so am not current on current application processes, I expect selective factors remain an "in/out" decision. If you don't meet the criteria in the factor, your application is ruled ineligible and no further evaluation is performed. Say for instance the SF requires fluency in French for a scientific position (I had one of those), if you were not fluent, your scientific accomplishments ,no matter how relevant would not be evaluated.

delamer
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by delamer » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:27 am

Lots of good advice above.

Make sure in your application and resume that you use the same keywords and phrasing that appear in the job description. As noted before, you have to get past the HR screening and that staff doesn’t have subject matter expertise.

For instance — forgive the silly example — if the description requires experience “shearing rabbits” use “shearing rabbits” in your materials when discussing your skill set.

Don’t say “shaving bunnies” even if that is the jargon you normally use.

And make sure you include all required supporting materials (including college transcripts) or you’ll be disqualified from consideration.

Good luck.

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MillennialFinance19
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by MillennialFinance19 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:40 am

Federal employee here - virtually everyone above is correct in one way or another. Additionally - ensure you read the application requirements very carefully. Some agencies have specific requests for supporting documentation and it's often overlooked, thus, eliminating several applicants. Good luck!

bayview
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Location: WNC

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by bayview » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:44 pm

Disregard all the usual advice about keeping everything on one sheet of paper. Federal resumes can and should be multiple pages in length, listing all the wonderfulness that you have ever shown in a job, specifically how something you did there applies to the KSA's of the posted position. (Mine had gotten up to seven pages toward the end, and the two HRs that it went to plus the services that interviewed me thanked me for the detail.)

Wherever you can, show specifically how something you have done in the past relates to the new job. "Goal-oriented" and buzz words are received with a snort of amusement, while reviewers continue to dig for meat.

Your resume will be read by HR and advanced or tossed to the people who are actually interviewing for the position you are interested in. If HR doesn't find good matches in your resume, it will never be seen by the interview panel for the desired job. I've done both (applying and sitting on interview panels), and a ton of utterly useless stuff gets passed on by HR, while we sometimes heard anecdotally about someone who was probably a strong applicant who never get past the HR gauntlet.

And plan to submit it a good five days before the deadline, and early in a workweek. The application process can be a nightmare (required documents that you can't attach, etc.) You want to give yourself time to deal with this, talking to the HR contact via phone if nesscessry. At some point, I decided that the USAJobs site and process was the initial weed for federal employment. If you can't wrestle that beast to the ground AND come out sane, a federal job is not for you.

Note: all my experiences were in the VA.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

supersharpie
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by supersharpie » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:38 pm

JBeck wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:00 am
I'm 35 years old and worked in the private sector for 12 years after graduating college

Last year I obtained my first government and I work for a medium sized city

I saw posting on USA JOBS for a Federal position I'm interesting (same city)

Questions
1) Will having a local government job help me in obtaining a fed government job or will it be the equivalent of applying from the private sector?

2) Should my resume be presented differently than if I was applying to a job in the private sector? Note that for my current job I was contacted thru a recruiter via LinkedIn because the city was having trouble filling the position, I didn't have to change the format of my resume

Thanks in advance!
FYI...unless you are a military vet it is basically impossible to get a job with most Federal agencies at the moment.

delamer
Posts: 9289
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by delamer » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:55 pm

supersharpie wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:38 pm
JBeck wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:00 am
I'm 35 years old and worked in the private sector for 12 years after graduating college

Last year I obtained my first government and I work for a medium sized city

I saw posting on USA JOBS for a Federal position I'm interesting (same city)

Questions
1) Will having a local government job help me in obtaining a fed government job or will it be the equivalent of applying from the private sector?

2) Should my resume be presented differently than if I was applying to a job in the private sector? Note that for my current job I was contacted thru a recruiter via LinkedIn because the city was having trouble filling the position, I didn't have to change the format of my resume

Thanks in advance!
FYI...unless you are a military vet it is basically impossible to get a job with most Federal agencies at the moment.
It is very dependent on your occupation.

The jobs that I had were very heavy in math, statistics, economics, and computer skills, and there were very few veteran applicants.

On the other hand, I understood that it was impossible to get a admin support job unless you were a veteran.

Helo80
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:47 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by Helo80 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:20 pm

A quick glance at all the posts indicates that people are generally spot on.
A) Apply often, apply frequently
B) do not use a cookie cutter resume (you should not be doing that anyways)
C) There is no page limit on a resume for a federal job... though, if you submit 200+ pages, it better be 200 pages of awesomeness otherwise you can imagine how you would feel if somebody submitted 200 pages to you. Policy wise though, 200, 400, or 800 pages is acceptable
D) When you apply to a role, look at the bullets and critically think how you meet those bullets. E.g. if you do Comp Sci work and you're applying for an HR position just to "get in the inside"... yeah, good luck with that
E) Fortunately or unfortunately, it's true that being a vet helps. They get points on their application especially if they have a DV rating. Furthermore, people with disabilities and no veteran status get points as well.

scout80
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:20 am

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by scout80 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:53 am

supersharpie wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:38 pm
JBeck wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:00 am
I'm 35 years old and worked in the private sector for 12 years after graduating college

Last year I obtained my first government and I work for a medium sized city

I saw posting on USA JOBS for a Federal position I'm interesting (same city)

Questions
1) Will having a local government job help me in obtaining a fed government job or will it be the equivalent of applying from the private sector?

2) Should my resume be presented differently than if I was applying to a job in the private sector? Note that for my current job I was contacted thru a recruiter via LinkedIn because the city was having trouble filling the position, I didn't have to change the format of my resume

Thanks in advance!
FYI...unless you are a military vet it is basically impossible to get a job with most Federal agencies at the moment.
This is generally true but there are exceptions based on job series and grade - as you go higher in the GS scale the veteran's preference applies less. Also if you get lucky enough to find a job that has direct hire authority the veterans preference does not apply. There are several other conditions which veterans preference does not apply but I am not familiar with them.

delamer
Posts: 9289
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by delamer » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:54 pm

scout80 wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:53 am
supersharpie wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:38 pm
JBeck wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:00 am
I'm 35 years old and worked in the private sector for 12 years after graduating college

Last year I obtained my first government and I work for a medium sized city

I saw posting on USA JOBS for a Federal position I'm interesting (same city)

Questions
1) Will having a local government job help me in obtaining a fed government job or will it be the equivalent of applying from the private sector?

2) Should my resume be presented differently than if I was applying to a job in the private sector? Note that for my current job I was contacted thru a recruiter via LinkedIn because the city was having trouble filling the position, I didn't have to change the format of my resume

Thanks in advance!
FYI...unless you are a military vet it is basically impossible to get a job with most Federal agencies at the moment.
This is generally true but there are exceptions based on job series and grade - as you go higher in the GS scale the veteran's preference applies less. Also if you get lucky enough to find a job that has direct hire authority the veterans preference does not apply. There are several other conditions which veterans preference does not apply but I am not familiar with them.
What do you mean by “veteran’s preference applies less?”

Helo80
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:47 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by Helo80 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:10 pm

delamer wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:54 pm
What do you mean by “veteran’s preference applies less?”

This is where HR and/or OPM HR would help, but I can give you a high-level overview of how it works.

The higher up you go in the GS scale, the fewer Veterans there are chasing those roles because they do not qualify with A) Time in profession, B) education, C) job skills, and likely other things I am likely missing. Being a veteran is not an end-all, be-all to getting offered the billet. It helps, a lot with opening yourself to as many opportunities and having choices, but you still have to qualify for the role.

Then, the billets are either Competitive or Except service. Competitive is as the name implies, you compete on bullets... e.g. veteran, education, professional experience, etc that are rated numerically for fairness. Excepted service is as the name implies, all that other stuff does not necessarily apply, because the government has a hard time filling the role.

A lot of this stuff can be Googled to better figure the ins and outs. Competitive, Excepted, Direct Hire are all terms (at least Competitive and Excepted are) codified into federal law and not just terms made up by HR. With government, there is policy/guidance for everything. It's the nature of the beast. There is absolutely some policy I am under right now commenting, unofficially, on government hiring.

IMHO, much like private sector, the "easiest" way to get into government is through STEM majors, engineering, and the like... usually the same high-income sectors that the private sector has difficulty finding qualified applicants for.

delamer
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by delamer » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:21 pm

Helo80 wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:10 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:54 pm
What do you mean by “veteran’s preference applies less?”

This is where HR and/or OPM HR would help, but I can give you a high-level overview of how it works.

The higher up you go in the GS scale, the fewer Veterans there are chasing those roles because they do not qualify with A) Time in profession, B) education, C) job skills, and likely other things I am likely missing. Being a veteran is not an end-all, be-all to getting offered the billet. It helps, a lot with opening yourself to as many opportunities and having choices, but you still have to qualify for the role.

Then, the billets are either Competitive or Except service. Competitive is as the name implies, you compete on bullets... e.g. veteran, education, professional experience, etc that are rated numerically for fairness. Excepted service is as the name implies, all that other stuff does not necessarily apply, because the government has a hard time filling the role.

A lot of this stuff can be Googled to better figure the ins and outs. Competitive, Excepted, Direct Hire are all terms (at least Competitive and Excepted are) codified into federal law and not just terms made up by HR. With government, there is policy/guidance for everything. It's the nature of the beast. There is absolutely some policy I am under right now commenting, unofficially, on government hiring.

IMHO, much like private sector, the "easiest" way to get into government is through STEM majors, engineering, and the like... usually the same high-income sectors that the private sector has difficulty finding qualified applicants for.
Actually, my thought was not that it “applies less” but that in many occupations, both at low and high GS levels, there are just not many veterans who meet the basic qualifications.

As you said, it isn’t that preference applies less, but that the demographics are such that there are not many veteran applicants.

Helo80
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by Helo80 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:25 pm

delamer wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:21 pm
Actually, my thought was not that it “applies less” but that in many occupations, both at low and high GS levels, there are just not many veterans who meet the basic qualifications.

As you said, it isn’t that preference applies less, but that the demographics are such that there are not many veteran applicants.


True -- and I think that is the benefit of having a specialized skillset regardless of whether you seek public or private sector employment.

user9532
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by user9532 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:28 pm

If you are a 5-point veteran, you will get selected for an interview. But that doesn't mean a job is guaranteed. But if you are a 10-point veteran and meet the requirements to do the job, you are guaranteed the job.

Helo80
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:47 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by Helo80 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:31 pm

Also, another tid-bit is to only chase Full-Time Permanent positions.... it should be somewhere on the USAJobs page. They also have roles on USAJobs that are Temporary that can be either Term (1 to 4 years), seasonal, summer, etc. The problem is that that money that is funding that billet is not guaranteed beyond the period of time that you agree to. Plus, I do not think that you are eligible for TSP or FERS while you're on a Temporary appointment. Seasonal and summer are very self-explanatory, but if you see Term, 36 months.... yeah, be aware that you might be looking in 36 months. Though, there is nothing stopping you from making a good impression and hopefully getting hired on full-time perm.

RockyMountainSlim
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Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by RockyMountainSlim » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:16 pm

Veterans' Preference applies to specific hiring authorities and not others. Generally speaking, it makes it difficult for a non-veteran to get their first federal job, but after that often does not have an impact. Veterans' preference shows up mostly in regard to jobs that are hired as "DEU" or "All Sources," meaning any US Citizen can apply. Certain veterans receive extra points, and these veterans must generally be offered the position first. However, when a job is hired under "Merit Promotion" it is open only to current federal (or agency or department) employees, but there are no extra points awarded, the hiring offical may hire the best candidate regardless of veteran status. Of course, the more generalist the position, and the more anyone can apply to it, the more veterans you'll find at the top of the list. When a position requires a very specific skill set or education, that narrows the field considerably.

As far as the resume goes.... you have 2 audiences, the HR official, and the hiring official. For the HR official, you need *everything* in there. Resumes 10 pages or longer are common. You must get past the HR official to get your resume into the hands of the hiring official. But for the hiring official, who just received 300 10-page resumes (seriously), while they are going to look at each one, they're not going to read 3,000 pages. So you have to figure out how to make the information that they care about stand out.

retiredjg
Posts: 38433
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by retiredjg » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:31 am

RockyMountainSlim wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:16 pm
As far as the resume goes.... you have 2 audiences, the HR official, and the hiring official. For the HR official, you need *everything* in there. Resumes 10 pages or longer are common. You must get past the HR official to get your resume into the hands of the hiring official. But for the hiring official, who just received 300 10-page resumes (seriously), while they are going to look at each one, they're not going to read 3,000 pages. So you have to figure out how to make the information that they care about stand out.
Welcome to the forum!

Your description skips one of the steps that I was accustomed to - the rating panel. Maybe this is agency specific or maybe it has changed, but it used to be this way in my agency....

First cut - HR would determine which applicants met the basic requirements of the job. Things like high school diploma or equivalent, college degree, ability to speak a language, ability to type 40 words per minute, etc. All applicants who met those went to the rating panel. Those that did not were not passed on.

Second cut - a rating panel (consisting of several people including a subject matter expert, probably an EEO counselor or person with similar training) - this group rated the applications against the KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) that the job is looking for. The candidates were listed from top rating down...and the top bunch (usually at a natural cut in the list) were passed on to the hiring official.

The hiring official only got a small number of applications - 8 to 25 or so, not the 300 who made it through the first HR examination.

So for us, there were actually 3 audiences.

Swansea
Posts: 758
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:16 am

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by Swansea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:13 am

retiredjg wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:31 am
RockyMountainSlim wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:16 pm
As far as the resume goes.... you have 2 audiences, the HR official, and the hiring official. For the HR official, you need *everything* in there. Resumes 10 pages or longer are common. You must get past the HR official to get your resume into the hands of the hiring official. But for the hiring official, who just received 300 10-page resumes (seriously), while they are going to look at each one, they're not going to read 3,000 pages. So you have to figure out how to make the information that they care about stand out.
Welcome to the forum!

Your description skips one of the steps that I was accustomed to - the rating panel. Maybe this is agency specific or maybe it has changed, but it used to be this way in my agency....

First cut - HR would determine which applicants met the basic requirements of the job. Things like high school diploma or equivalent, college degree, ability to speak a language, ability to type 40 words per minute, etc. All applicants who met those went to the rating panel. Those that did not were not passed on.

Second cut - a rating panel (consisting of several people including a subject matter expert, probably an EEO counselor or person with similar training) - this group rated the applications against the KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) that the job is looking for. The candidates were listed from top rating down...and the top bunch (usually at a natural cut in the list) were passed on to the hiring official.

The hiring official only got a small number of applications - 8 to 25 or so, not the 300 who made it through the first HR examination.

So for us, there were actually 3 audiences.
Yes, this is a good description of the process my former Agency used. A couple of differences: for applicants with status, I would normally refer 3 to 5, but could do up to 10. Back when I rated apps, we only referred the top 3 non-status applicants to the hiring official as selection had to be made from those candidates, if one or more declined, then others could be referred.

rich126
Posts: 932
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by rich126 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:58 am

Helo80 wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:10 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:54 pm
What do you mean by “veteran’s preference applies less?”

This is where HR and/or OPM HR would help, but I can give you a high-level overview of how it works.

The higher up you go in the GS scale, the fewer Veterans there are chasing those roles because they do not qualify with A) Time in profession, B) education, C) job skills, and likely other things I am likely missing. Being a veteran is not an end-all, be-all to getting offered the billet. It helps, a lot with opening yourself to as many opportunities and having choices, but you still have to qualify for the role.

Then, the billets are either Competitive or Except service. Competitive is as the name implies, you compete on bullets... e.g. veteran, education, professional experience, etc that are rated numerically for fairness. Excepted service is as the name implies, all that other stuff does not necessarily apply, because the government has a hard time filling the role.

A lot of this stuff can be Googled to better figure the ins and outs. Competitive, Excepted, Direct Hire are all terms (at least Competitive and Excepted are) codified into federal law and not just terms made up by HR. With government, there is policy/guidance for everything. It's the nature of the beast. There is absolutely some policy I am under right now commenting, unofficially, on government hiring.

IMHO, much like private sector, the "easiest" way to get into government is through STEM majors, engineering, and the like... usually the same high-income sectors that the private sector has difficulty finding qualified applicants for.
I'd agree. If you have a security clearance that also helps. And if the job requires a clearance, especially a TS, expect a very long process. Last time I heard it was 1-2 years to process a person. It was never fast previously but has gotten terribly slow. I was lucky (and maybe it helped that I had one previously although it had expired years ago) and regained it in about 3 months. That doesn't really happen any more.

Personally I'm not a fan of the government hiring process and you end up with a lot of people who can't do that job. Some offices are really bad and you may only have a management who isn't technical making the decision on a technical position. You end up with people they like personality wise but have no real technical skills. Or something else that doesn't work out for anyone, for example hiring someone who wanted to do Java programming in an office that doesn't do programming. That person didn't last long and why were they even hired?

In other cases you have people who have "equivalent skills" but don't have the STEM degree and our agency wouldn't hire them. I'd rather have someone with proven hands on experience than someone with a "soft" technical degree that can't do the work but that is the government (and large companies).

chalet
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:59 pm

Re: Applying to a Federal Job

Post by chalet » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:15 pm

Helo80 wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:31 pm
They also have roles on USAJobs that are Temporary that can be either Term (1 to 4 years), seasonal, summer, etc. The problem is that that money that is funding that billet is not guaranteed beyond the period of time that you agree to.

if you've never been federal, consider those term jobs. few current permanent federal employees will apply for a term job.
IMO, that means less competition from permanent fed employees.

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