How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job: Your Complete Guide to Opportunities, Internships, Resumes and Cover Letters, Application Essays (KSAs), Interviews, Salaries, Promotions, and More! [NOOK Book]

Overview

If you've ever thought about applying for a government job, now is a great time to do it. With about 40% of the federal government's employees expected to retire in the next 10 years, a massive retirement wave has already begun, and Uncle Sam's door is now wide open for new hires. But with advantages like unbeatable job security, outstanding benefits, and salaries that are competitive with-if not better than-private sector salaries, competition...
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How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job: Your Complete Guide to Opportunities, Internships, Resumes and Cover Letters, Application Essays (KSAs), Interviews, Salaries, Promotions, and More!

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Overview

If you've ever thought about applying for a government job, now is a great time to do it. With about 40% of the federal government's employees expected to retire in the next 10 years, a massive retirement wave has already begun, and Uncle Sam's door is now wide open for new hires. But with advantages like unbeatable job security, outstanding benefits, and salaries that are competitive with-if not better than-private sector salaries, competition for federal openings is fierce.

How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job gives you all the tools and guidance you need to get hired for a government job (domestic or overseas), internship, or fellowship. Written by a leading authority on federal careers, the book draws on interviews with more than 100 hiring managers to provide true insider perspectives on what works and what doesn't when vying for a government job. Armed with the advice in this book, you'll become a master at steering your way through the entire job search and hiring process.

Use the secrets of the experts to craft winning applications; write irresistible cover letters; excel at interviews; negotiate your salary and benefits; and then speed your advancement up the government ladder. This reader-friendly book gives you:
  • little-known ways for finding openings
  • shortcuts for instantly impressing gatekeepers on paper, online, and in person
  • sure-fire tips for negotiating a top salary
  • expert techniques for landing quick promotions
A free companion CD is loaded with easy-to-customize sample résumés and worksheets. Whether you're seeking an executive position or a summer internship, this is the comprehensive guide that will get you that ideal federal job.

About the Author
LILY WHITEMAN is a popular contributor to the Jobs section of The Washington Post, the career columnist for Federal Times, and a senior writer at the National Science Foundation. As a federal career coach, she has helped hundreds of professionals of all levels -- from recent grads to executives -- land jobs and earn promotions. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Peppered with cartoons and a touch of wit, Whiteman's book is the layman's field guide to a federal job search." —Roll Call

"An easy read using everyday language, Whiteman explains the often difficult and hard to navigate human resource system within the government, making it easy for both the neophyte and the well-seasoned government expert to move through the book with limited bumps and hurdles.” —OhMyGov!

"Overall, a broad and optimistic view of federal jobs and the employment process that should both prepare readers for the job hunt as well as inspire them." —Career Opportunities News

"From lesser-known ways of finding openings to negotiating salary and getting quickly promoted, this is an outstanding guide recommended for any library strong in job opportunities and career guidance." —Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814401842
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 9/8/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Lily Whiteman (Washington, D.C.) is a popular contributor to the “Jobs” section of The Washington Post, the career columnist of Federal Times, and a senior writer at the National Science Foundation.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1:

A GOOD TIME TO GO FEDERAL

The best way to predict your future is to create it.

— Unknown

With about 2.7 million civilian employees, the federal government is the nation’s largest employer. Every year, about 200,000 new hires join the federal workforce and hundreds of thousands of current feds are promoted.

Do you want to land an interesting job that provides a top salary, unbeatable job security and opportunities to advance the public good? If so, you’re probably primed to work for the federal government.

What does the federal government do? The federal government literally runs this country. It safeguards the strength and vitality of the US economy…manages precious natural resources…predicts tornados and hurricanes…manages the nation’s planes, trains and highways…protects our food and water supplies safe…polices the banks…keeps unsafe products off the market…and funds most of the nation’s scientific and medical research, to name just a few examples.

To run the country, feds do everything that private sector employees do — and more. So like the private sector, the federal government hires engineers, teachers, IT experts, scientists, business managers, lawyers, PR specialists, policy wonks, medical professionals, accountants, auto mechanics, electricians, property managers — and more.

Plus, the federal government has jobs that you won’t find anywhere else. Feds work as spies, volcano watchers, park rangers, terrorist hunters, disease detectives, curators of precious historical documents and diplomats. The possibilities are endless.

Feds work in every imaginable setting, from offices, laboratories, museums, libraries, hospitals, parks, forests and marine sanctuaries located throughout the United States to embassies located in far-flung countries. And they access and control resources  including huge budgets  that are unavailable to private-sector employees.

Another important advantage: the federal government provides one of the precious few workplaces where you can work exciting jobs, earn competitive salaries and still have a life. Most feds stick to a 40-hour work week. The federal government also offers these first-rate perks:

 Job Security: The federal government continuously hires for all types of jobs and internships — even when other organizations are laying off. And while non-governmental employees may be “pink-slipped” when the economy falters, feds are rarely laid off. Also, it is generally much harder to fire federal employees than employees in other sectors.

 Top Salaries and Advancement: Many types of feds earn more than their private sector counterparts. Plus, federal employees receive regularly scheduled promotions, merit-based promotions, and annual cost-of-living salary increases. For more information about federal salaries, see Chapter 14.

 Generous Vacations: Full-time federal employees enjoy 10 paid holidays, and 9, 13, 20 or 26 days of vacation each year, depending on their previous work experience. They can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to attend to a birth, adoption or seriously ill family member.

 Top-Notch Health Insurance: Feds choose from the nation’s best health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, long-term care, and life insurance programs.

 Stay Close To the Kids: Many agencies have on-site childcare facilities.

 Coverage for Health Care and Dependent Care Costs: Feds can pay up to $4,000 annually for child care and up to $5,000 annually for adult dependent care expenses from tax-free set aside accounts. This option helps feds save up to 40 percent in out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses.

 Excellent, Secure Retirement Packages: As corporate scandals and cutbacks erode private sector pensions, feds remain covered by generous, secure pensions that feature cost-of-living increases, a defined benefit based on length of service, and a 401(K)-like investment program with matching. Moreover, unlike most private sector employees, feds get another coveted benefit: lifetime health insurance coverage.

 Flexible Schedules: Flexible work schedules and telecommuting options are freeing feds from the straight jacket of nine-to-five schedules. Such programs, for example, currently enable about 20 percent of federal workers to work from home or from a nearby telework center at least one day per week —a figure that is increasing as telecommuting programs mature. In addition, many feds can opt to work nine hours per day in exchange for taking off every other Friday.

 Loose Academic Loans: Some feds receive up to $60,000 in the student loan repayments.

 Be a Do-Gooder: The ultimate aim of most federal jobs is — in one way or another — to better the world. In the words of a Peace Corps staffer, “I am doing what I love to do, and it’s all for a very good cause.” Moreover, even entry-level employees can wield tremendous responsibility in the government. “I have only been out of college for a year-and-a-half, and I am influencing huge budgets on environmental programs,” observes a Program Analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency.

RIDE THE HIRING WAVE

Linda Springer, the federal government’s top personnel manager, says that the federal government is about to be hit by an unprecedented “retirement tsunami.” During the next ten years, 60 percent of federal employees — including 90 percent of senior federal managers — will be eligible to retire, and about 40 percent of employees are expected to retire, according to Springer.

To backfill for the impending retirement tsunami, the federal government is vigorously recruiting all types of professionals at all levels of their careers. Indeed, large percentages of new federal hires are now mid-career professionals.

Moreover, every retirement at top grades is expected to trigger multiple staffing actions as lower level employees ascend to fill the resulting power vacuum. This means that the retirement tsunami will make it easier than ever to move up in the federal government.

NEW BLOOD

When you think of government employees, do you visualize dowdy, school-marmish women and frumpy, pocket protector-clad men toiling in musty offices? If so, your perceptions are due for an update.

Indeed, the Office of Personnel Management’s statistics show that the federal workforce is steadily becoming more skilled and more educated. Largely because of the approaching retirement wave and because of renewed interest in government service inspired by 9/11, “a potential for a quasi-youth movement in the government job sector” promises to infuse the federal government with new, revitalizing blood and fresh ideas, according to Monster.com. In other words, the feds are registering lower and lower on the stodgy-meter.

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface: Common Myths About Federal Jobs, ix

P A R T I

GEARING UP TO APPLY

1 A Great Time to Go Federal, 3

2 The Search Is On: Finding Openings, 7

3 Oodles of Internships, Student Jobs, and Fellowships for Experienced

Professionals, 27

4 Into the Capitol Hill Power Vortex: Working for Congress, 33

5 Those !@#! Vacancy Announcements, 43

6 Think Like a Hiring Manager: How Applications Are Screened, 53

P A R T II

CRANKING OUT YOUR APPLICATION

7 Your Bragging Writes, 65

8 Mastering Online Applications, 89

9 Crafting Irresistible Résumés, 97

10 Writing Killer Application Essays (KSAs and ECQs), 117

11 Cover Letters That Open Doors, 173

12 Waiting for a Response to Your Application, 185

P A R T I I I

THE TALKING STAGE

13 Interviews That Nail the Job, 191

14 Commanding a Top-Dollar Salary, 215

15 Responding to an Agency’s Decision, 227

P A R T IV

ACCELERATING YOUR ASCENT

16 The Fed “Get Ahead” Guide, 237

Appendix 1: Tip Sheet for Veterans and Their Families, 259

Appendix 2: Tip Sheet for Applicants with Disabilities, 265

Appendix 3: Formatting Tips, 271

Appendix 4: Glossary, 281

Index, 287

About the Author, 293

D O C U M E N T S O N T H E C D

Directory of Internships and Special Recruitment Programs for Young Professionals

Directory of Internships That Are Specially Recruiting Women, Minorities, and People with Disabilities

Directory of Fellowships for Experienced Professionals (Nonfeds and Current Feds)

Cheat Sheets for Application and Interview Prep

KSA & Interview Prep Cheat Sheets

Résumé Prep Cheat Sheets

Going Global in Government

Get Ahead Cheat Sheets

Lily Whiteman’s Washington Post articles on Federal Internships, Interview Skills,

International Opportunities, and Networking in Professional Organizations

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2011

    Very Useful

    If you are looking for a job, a change in careers, or simply want to know how to improve your chances when you do enter the job market, this is a wonderful guide.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    Not as thorough as I expected

    The interior of the book was like a workbook and was too "cutesy" for those seeking a thorough, professional guide to applying for government jobs. While the book provides a good overview of applying for federal jobs, and i would recommend it for the greenest of job-seekers, it could have provided more diverse job application techniques and a more professional layout.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2009

    The Best Federal Job Guide Book EVER!!

    I am extremely grateful for the wonderful knowledge that Lily Whiteman has shared with a recent "aspiring" federal employee. After hard preparation and intense reading of her book, I landed my first federal job on January 18, 2009!!! In addition, my friend also landed the same job with the same federal employer. We are both ecstatic and appreciative of the knowledge that Lily Whiteman has supplied us from her book.<BR/><BR/>We would be honored to stay in touch with Lily Whiteman as we go up the federal ladder and would like to seek professional guidance in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2009

    The most relevant federal job guide period !!!

    I am extremely grateful for the wonderful knowledge that Lily Whiteman has shared with a recent \"aspiring\" federal employee. After hard preparation and intense reading of her book, I landed my first federal job on January 18, 2009!!! In addition, my friend also landed the same job with the same federal employer. We are both ecstatic and appreciative of the knowledge that Lily Whiteman has supplied us from her book.<BR/><BR/>We would be honored to stay in touch with Lily Whiteman as we go up the federal ladder and would like to seek professional guidance in the future.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2009

    If you want to work for the feds, buy this book!

    I found the federal job application process to be mystifying, intimidating and downright maddening...in two years of applying to my target agency, I had one interview and subsequent rejection letter to show for it. I discovered this book and found out that while I was doing some things right, there were important mistakes and oversights that were standing in the way of my getting an offer. This book contains valuable information and tips on how to maximize one's chances of getting to that offer stage. And once you get the job (I did!) hang onto it, because it will tell you how best to move up that career ladder! I highly recommend this book to anyone who is considering federal government employment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2008

    Very useful resource for all job hunters

    I am not looking for a government job, but I found this book to be very useful in my hunt for a good position in the civilian world.<BR/><BR/>A friend gave me a copy and it really helped me break through in producing attention-grabbing cover letters , conveying my skills peruasively in resumes and preparing for interviews. It made a world of difference in helping me stay away from vague and long-winded answers and connect with prospective employers, including the one that actually hired me.<BR/><BR/>I would recomment this book to any jobseeker, whether they want to work for the government or a company.

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  • Posted October 19, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Must Read - Federal Employment

    I highly recommend this book. Lily Whiteman's book is to Federal employment what John Lucht's classic book "Rites of Passage at $100K to $1M+" is to employment in the private sector. Her book explodes the many myths about Federal government employment, and explains in a straightforward manner (1) how to research great Federal work opportunities, (2) how to land great Federal jobs, (3) how to negotiate Federal job offers once received, and (4) how to thrive in the Federal government when working there. <BR/><BR/>The book is well-written, easy to understand, and full of great examples and practical, easy to implement advice. Lily Whiteman is a Federal employee, and her examples are based on her experience and those of the other Federal employees. Her book is very valuable, and has been very helpful to me and many others. Whether you're looking to enter the Federal workforce or improve a current Federal employment role, this book is indispensable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2008

    Pivotal insider information

    The other federal career guides are woefully incomplete and mostly provide info that's available for free on the Internet. This book is comprehensive and loaded with tons of of career-boosting insider advice about every step of the application process. For example: this is probably the ONLY federal career guide that directs you to 100+ internship/recruitment programs, explains salaries, and strategies for quickly moving up the career ladder. It also provides comprehensive applicaiton and interview advice---including resume templates and techniques for churning out KSAs and common interview questions 'with great answers and other 'crib sheets''. I know for a fact that Whiteman's techniques work because she helped me significantly improve my resume and gave me great interview advice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2008

    EXCELLENT GUIDANCE FOR NON-FEDS AND CURRENT FEDS

    This book offers excellent, insightful advice for everyone from entry-level to senior professionals. I've seen a lot of the other career guides, and they just don¿t hold a candle to this one. This guide stands out because it: 1) explains how the people doing the hiring think so that you can win them over on paper and in person 2) has an engaging, reader-friendly style ¿ the book made me laugh out loud in some places 3) explains every step of the job-hunting process ¿ from little-known ways for finding openings to getting ahead on the job. This book covers everything, and does so in an entertaining style. Whether you are trying to get your first federal job or move up in the system, choose this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    Best 'How to' ever

    I used Ms. Whiteman's first book to help my daughter land her federal job. At the time, I didn't think anything could help. My daughter was a pysch major with no marketable skills. Ms. Whiteman's book worked. My daughter landed the job. This book is even more complete than her first book. I looked through it and I can't imagine that there is anything else that could have been included that isn't in the book. It is compact, concise and easy enough to follow. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about working in the federal government.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    A One-stop Source for Applying for Federal Jobs

    Anyone who wants to land a job with the federal government should make Lily Whiteman's book their 'Bible' and/or required reading. All the nuances and tips for success are here and they WORK, whether you're completing an application, writing KSAs or preparing for an interview.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    Finally, one book that has it all

    How I wish this book had been around when I began my federal service more than 20 years ago. For the first time, a book exists that compiles all the information candidates need to apply for their first federal job, or to apply for a better job if they are already in the system. What my husband and I found especially helpful are the worksheets. It is so much easier to write about a work experience using these outlines. It ensures that the narrative will follow a logical structure and reminded us not to leave out the most important points. With this book, my husband was able to revise his application into a much stronger document and I have updated my resume and related documents to be a step ahead for the next opportunity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2008

    This is a great job-hunting guide for everyone!!

    This is an extremely comprehensive and highly entertaining guide--and is not only for federal job seekers. So much of the guidance and advice is equally applicable to non-federal job seekers. This is a real soup-to-nuts manual, with great sample resumes and other documents. The companion CD is a great bonus.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2008

    The best book on federal careers available

    Other federal career guides are written by people who have either never worked for the government or are long retired. But this book is written by a very experienced, successful fed and career coach who knows the federal system inside out. As a result, this book is packed with savvy, insider advice available nowhere else about getting great government jobs and quickly moving up in the system. Plus, this book is written in a uniquely reader-friendly, engaging and even humorous style. I highly recommend this book to job-seekers of all levels and to current feds.

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    Posted January 12, 2009

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    Posted January 29, 2009

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    Posted May 13, 2010

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    Posted June 27, 2009

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    Posted June 29, 2010

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