The paperback scoop on landing a federal job

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

In telling Federal News Radio about “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Government Jobs” from the Partnership for Public Service, vice president of policy, John Palguta wanted to make it clear “People who buy this book are not idiots or complete idiots.”

Hopefully, said Palguta, the people who buy the book are those looking for useful information for getting a government job. After all, there’s a lot more to it than just finding an announcement and submitting an application.

Now more than ever, with hiring reforms taking place, Palguta said it’s critical to figure out how to stand out from the crowd.

There could be, for some jobs, thousands, not just hundreds, but thousands of applications that you’re competing against so you need to figure out “what are the jobs that I’m really competitive for” and then “how do I convey that to the selecting officials.” And then knowing you have to get past that first screen.

The first step of the 18 in the book, said Palguta, is to figure out what are the best job matches for you and tailor your approach for those jobs. The start networking to find out what the agency is looking for in a candidate.

And even though KSAs may go away, “that doesn’t mean that agencies can not ask you for additional information after the initial application via resume” so you still need to know how to highlight your background and accomplishments.

Palguta said the book helps to understand what goes on behind the scenes of federal hiring and will, in turn, help applicants figure out how to write their applications and what kind of information to put in there.

For example, what applicants do as volunteers can be “quite relevant and folks don’t always think about highlighting those things.”

Another quick tip from the Partnership is to remember to emphasize “your understanding and appreciation for public service and serving the American public and the greater good.”

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