How to land a top paying federal job

"Is the Government Still Hiring?"

Most job seekers are worried that, with budget cuts and sequestration, the federal government isn't even hiring. But that isn't true.

Lily Whiteman is the author of the book, "How to Land a Top Paying Federal Job." She told Chris Dorobek that, "the federal government is the country's largest employer and is constantly doing succession planning. So despite sequestration and belt-tightening this massive employer is still going to be pulling people in."

Government Application Process - The USA Jobs Black hole

"It's not a black hole anymore. Since President Obama streamlined the federal application process it has become more similar to other sectors. The dreaded KSA's (essays) aren't required anymore. Sure, the language on USA Jobs is still a bit bureaucratic, so you have to take a machete to hack through it. But overall it is much better," said Whiteman.

  • Response time for USA Jobs postings has decreased dramatically.
  • Every application submitted to USA Jobs will be reviewed by a person or machine. (Not true in the private sector.)
  • Much less nepotism in the public sector.
  • Can call the contact person listed for the job posting at USA Jobs to check status. You won't be labeled a nag if you call. It is part of their job to answer all your questions.

Pathways or PMF (Check out our Path to PMF guide here.)

"The advantage to an internship or the PMF program is that you will get more taken care of then if you just land a job on your own. There are many more opportunities for networking and mentoring but the salary may be lower," said Whiteman.

Preparing for your government job interview

"Practice, practice, practice. I've seen a lot of people who think they can just wing it. They can't. You should research your targeted agency. Check out the interviewer on Linkdln or other resources. You should also ask people around you what they think will be the likely questions you will have to answer. And then you should work out answers to those questions. When you have an inventory of success stories you will do much better.

Cover Letter Wins

"I've seen great success with applicants that put a table in their cover letters. On one side you have the agency's needs. On the other side you put your experience. That way they can visually see why you would be a good fit," said Whiteman.

Biggest Mistake?

"The number one mistake that I see almost 100% of applicants make is that people don't describe their achievements in impressive enough terms. You need to show your gold medals. Use descriptive terms. Don't assume people know what you did," said Whiteman.

For more tips on landing a federal job, check out GovLoop's High Achievers Guide. The Guide looks at the best ways to get into the federal government and success stories from people who have risen up the federal ladder. Download the free guide here.

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