Federal Job Search Myths Debunked

Articles about writing federal military resumes, federal hiring trends, and landing a federal job have proven to be the most popular among MilitarytoCivilian.com readers and military job seekers who read the leading military transition publication, CivilianJobNews. Because the federal government has thousands of openings, grants hiring preference to most veterans (for more on this see “Federal Job Search Tips: Veteran’s Preference“), and offers many military-experienced job seekers the opportunity to directly transfer their military experience into the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, intelligence agencies, and beyond, this comes as no surprise. So when an article entitled, “7 Federal Job Search Myths Dispelled” by federal job search trainer Dr. Daphne Houston found its way into my inbox via Careerealism.com, I couldn’t resist discussing its key points. In summary, here are the 7 federal job search myths according to Houston, plus one of my own:

1. Myth: All government jobs are in Washington, DC.

Fact: Only 15% of federal jobs are actually in DC…

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…

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…

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…. there are literally hundreds of job titles.

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.gov.

Fact: Only about 70% are on usajobs.gov. Many jobs 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…

To these 7 myths, I would like to add an 8th.

8. Myth: If I apply to enough federal jobs using my standard military resume, something will stick.

Fact: As Houston stated in myth #7, federal resume writing, especially federal military resume writing, is different. Federal military resumes must be carefully key-worded. Unfortunately, this is a little known fact among veterans seeking federal employment. As a federal job search trainer, I know this to be true. I hear the same story time and time again: “I’ve been applying for federal jobs for 6 months and haven’t received a response.” But there is good news; this doesn’t have to be your fate. Consider hiring the professionals at MilitaryResumes.com. Our professional military resume writers are experts are targeting federal military resumes using federal resume writing processes that produce results.