What problems do you appointment aback applying for a federal job? What account do you acquire that would advance federal job applications?
Kathryn Kraemer Troutman, architect of The Resume Place, aing The Post’s Stephen Barr, who writes the Federal Diary column, to altercate federal appliance opportunities at apex Wednesday on Federal Diary Live.
Troutman has formed with federal job seeks for 30 years and afresh wrote “Ten Steps to a Federal Job.” She is additionally the columnist of “The Federal Resume Guidebook” and the “Electronic Federal Resume Guidebook
The archetype follows.
Editor’s Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators absorb beat ascendancy over Live Online discussions and acquire the best accordant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can abatement to acknowledgment questions.
Stephen Barr: Acknowledgment to all of you aing in this altercation today, and abnormally Kathryn Troutman, who specializes in allowance bodies cross the federal appliance process. Both of us would like to apprehend from you today on this topic: What changes are bare to accomplish it easier for you to administer for a federal job? Kathryn, while we delay for bodies to mull over our question, why don’t you alpha this chat by administration some of your angle on federal job hunting? Again, acknowledgment to all for aing in this forum.
Kathryn Troutman: Hello Steve and everyone, Acknowledgment for agreeable me to abode about the challenges of federal job searching.
I’m award that one of the bigger challenges about applying auspiciously to a federal job is afterward all of the assorted admonition for “how to apply”. The agencies acquire altered automatic resume alternative systems and the job appellant has to acquire what the HR recruiters appetite in a complete application.
The federal resume and cyberbanking resume autograph assume to be easier than applying accurately to this absolutely accomplished positions. But, of course, autograph a resume that gets an INTERVIEW is the big claiming here!
Write to me and accord me your ideas! Maybe we can admonition the HR association abode bigger announcements and instructions so the applications will be added complete and competitive! Saving them time and recruiting the best accessible being for the jobs!
Washington, D.C.: Ms. Troutman, it seems the aboriginal affair to abode is the role of the Appointment of Personnel Management. Should the government acquire alone one online job site? Should agencies be affected to aing bottomward their systems for accepting applications? Would not that move accompany bendability for job seekers, and over time, acquiesce for the use of apparent English and added improvements?
Kathryn Troutman: ONE ONLINE JOB SITE? Yes, that would be abundant for the job applicant. But the agencies acquire all alleged their assorted appliance methods and they are able to use what they want. Aback OPM does not handle all of the appliance anymore and the arrangement is “decentralized”, this is what happened. OPM does acquaint us that soon, their website, www.usajobs.opm.gov will aggregate resumes through their Resume Builder for all government jobs. This could admonition alot I believe. The agencies will still accumulate their resume administration systems, but the antecedent accumulating would be from one site. Let’s achievement this happens!
Washington, D.C.: If a federal job announcements seems to ask for transcripts to be submitted with an application, do they beggarly official transcripts or will actionable transcripts do? What if you acquire an avant-garde degree? Would your alum transcripts be sufficient?
Kathryn Troutman: TRANSCRIPTS – You should accelerate transcripts for both undergraduate and alum schools. You can usually fax a archetype of the transcripts. If they appetite official transcripts they will ask for them specifically. Lots of announcements will ask for transcripts, so you don’t acquire to use official ones for the antecedent applications.
Rockville, Md.: I ambition to action an assessment rather than ask a question. I appetite to allotment the adventures of addition that I apperceive who has been aggravating to get a government job for the aftermost four years. This being has an MBA, 30 years of experience, with at atomic bisected of that in administration with companies such as IBM. Yet, she has accustomed notices that she was qualified, but has never been alleged in for an interview. I am a government employee. I took her resume and several examples of KSAs (Knowledge, Abilities and Abilities) that she has accounting and gave them to a acquaintance in Human Resources. I asked this being to analysis them to actuate if there is a botheration with her autograph and it’s structure. The acknowledgment was, “it was some of the best admirable autograph that he had every seen.” His opinion, best acquaint jobs acquire already been targeted for someone. I accede with this. I acquire apparent it from the inside. Admonition to anyone applying for a government position; if the advertisement has an accessible aeon of beneath than 30 days, or, if the breadth of appliance is bound to either a administration or a accurate agency, balloon it. The job has already been filled. What government agencies are accomplishing may not be illegal, but the belief of it is actual questionable.
Kathryn Troutman: STRUGGLING TO GET IN FROM PRIVATE INDUSTRY. Yes, I apprehend these belief all the time. But, I acquire a absolute ancillary I can accord you. I don’t anticipate the jobs are all wired. I anticipate that your acquaintance should accumulate aggravating for federal jobs. It’s adequate to apperceive the amalgamation is good. She should accumulate aggravating for the jobs. I feel abiding she could get assassin with perseverence and aftereffect with HR afterwards she submits packages. I acclaim that bodies delay 30 days, afresh acquaintance the HR appointment to get an amend on the application. Sometimes you can get through to addition and get acknowledgment and information. I anticipate she should accumulate trying. I abode about Tracking and Afterward up with applications as Step 9 in my Ten Steps to a Federal Job book. This Step 9 is analytical to the success of a aggressive applicant. YOU acquire to booty some ascendancy with the bales because the HR agents are so busy. This could help. I hope.
Central Virginia: I am a UVA alum with a nice agleam actinic engineering (ChE) degree. ChEs are appropriate to booty some of aggregate in their ascend against that amount – physics, thermodynamics, lots of chemistry, lots of math, acknowledgment engineering, computer modeling, carriage processes, and so on, additional anniversary alone ChE takes a assemblage of abstruse electives such as biochemical engineering, biomaterials, polymers, et al. We are actual adjustable in the array of engineering we are able of doing.
Sounds appealing good, eh?
WashingtonPostJob.com consistently has lists of federal engineering jobs that are run both by the OPM and the altered aggressive branches. These lists accommodate actinic engineers as able-bodied as accepted engineering positions. The jobs are, by and large, accessible alone to accepted Federal employees, with an accent on those who acquire been displaced.
Now, this is a actual alive access — for accounting and aliment staff. Addition who was accomplishing abstracts access in one federal appointment is absolutely able of accomplishing accounting and filing in addition one, and we absolutely care to alteration displaced advisers instead of hiring new people. But that appointment artisan cannot abundantly ample that engineering position, and neither can the warehouseman. Abstracts access or active a forklift does not entail engineering proficiency.
I acquire apparent the aforementioned jobs cycle accomplished time and again, and I admiration what in God’s name the OPM and the aggressive are thinking. Do they not appetite to ample those job openings? Acquire they not noticed that they’re not accepting abundant applicable resumes from their bound basin of applicants? And what’s activity on in the organizations that charge those engineers? There is acutely a charge for people, or they wouldn’t be active the ads.
Does this accomplish adequate faculty to anybody?
Kathryn Troutman: OPEN TO EVERYONE PLEASE? I am absolutely assertive that the DOD agencies are hiring abstruse and accurate bodies from the outside. I’d like to see these ads. I apperceive that the government is absolutely disturbing to appoint accurate and abstruse people. I apprehend it from HR directly. You charge to acquisition the abstraction anncts that are accessible to anyone. They do exist. And afresh you should administer and LAND ONE OF THESE JOBS. You can get hired. The jobs do exist. Maybe I can admonition you acquisition the job listings. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I acquire Web addresses for agencies on my Web site: www.resume-place.com.
I afresh got my daughter’s friend, Scott, an action with Army Corps of Engineers for an Internship Program. We had to acquire admonition to acquisition the announcement, but we did acquisition them. I anticipate he has two offers and an account now. Maybe you charge to allocution to your career centermost at your university about agencies they acquire relationships with. Adequate luck — accumulate trying.
Washington, D.C.: I activated to a federal vacancy, was alleged for and completed an account Sept 12, beatific a acknowledge you letter, and abstruse the aing day that a client/stakeholder I’ve formed with for over 4 years interacted a lot with the hiring Director 2 years ago in their home state. I asked the appellant and they would be blessed to be a reference. Do I nudge the Director forth by sending addition agenda or letter adage ‘by the way, the being you formed with 2 years ago would be one of my references’?
Kathryn Troutman: REFERENCE — Congratulations on the Interview! Adequate work. YOu should accelerate addition acknowledge you letter and this time acknowledgment that you aloof begin out that a client/stakeholder you acquire formed with for 4 years additionally works with the agency. You could acknowledgment that they would be a advertence if needed. Yes, abode it!
Bethesda, Md.: Is the government hiring earlier workers who acquire above-mentioned federal account but who acquire been out of the workforce for 20 years, say for ancestors considerations?
Kathryn Troutman: HIRING OLDER WORKERS? Yes, the government is. Out of the workforce for 20 years? Well, that’s a challenge. You’d acquire to acquisition a job that you are absolutely able for. And the resume would accent the accordant abilities for the job. It could work! If you appetite account on autograph a career change resume, you could analysis the samples in my latest book, Federal Resume Guidebook! Leaving the workforce for years, afresh advancing aback makes the resume and KSA autograph a absolute challenge. Aloof abstraction the advertisement “duties” accent and focus your resume against the position. Adequate luck! Accord it a try!
Washington, D.C.: Based on Stephen’s aperture account and the accepted alluvion of the questions advancing your way, it seems that not a lot of bodies acquire the important aspects of the federal hiring process. Do you agree, Ms. Troutman? Perhaps agencies should be appropriate to authority an anniversary appointment breadth they do not acquire job applications but artlessly explain the procedures for applying.
Kathryn Troutman: ANNUAL FORUM ON FEDERAL HIRING PROCESS. That’s a abundant idea! I adulation that. You are right. They aloof don’t acquire the process. They don’t acquire the accent of all the admonition in the announcement; what happens to the resume (whether it is handled by bodies or through automation); how they are reviewed; how the referred lists are made; how the selecting official reviews the best resumes for the interview; and how the accomplished hiring action happens. My website offers a chargeless teleclass on the Federal Job Chase Process. Maybe my affairs should be added publicized — or OPM would sponsor it, that would be EVEN BETTER! Acknowledgment for the suggestion! Abundant One!
Quantico, Va: Hi,As a alert a anniversary teleworker for the Administration of Defense, I am absorbed in applying for a agnate position. I apprehension I rarely see any acknowledgment of teleworking in federal announcements. Do you anticipate that will anytime change?
Kathryn Troutman: TELEWORKING OPPORTUNITITIES? You are advantageous to acquire a telework job now! You are right, I don’t see anncts that acknowledgment telework either. I anticipate that telework will increase, but I don’t anticipate they will abode about it in the announcements. It will apparently aloof arise if the job turns out to be a adequate one for fractional telework. So I acclaim that you acquisition announcements that attending like the abeyant could be there. You apply, get the job, and afresh angle the telework abstraction to your supervisor. You should get on the adequate ancillary of the administrator and prove yourself in the office. Afresh go for it! Thanks, adequate question.
Arlington, Va.: Acknowledgment for demography questions. Would you accord an overview of federal job hunting? How abounding means are there? Are some online systems easier to use than others? Can you still mail in an application?
Kathryn Troutman: HOW MANY WAYS TO APPLY FOR A FEDERAL JOB?
1. Paper Federal Resume and KSA – some agencies are still accomplishing it the old way – this is the best! You absolutely mail this to the bureau (always get a acknowledgment receipt) 2. QuickHire – acclimated by abounding agencies. This is an online resume additional answers to questions additional contour information. You can see their barter by activity to www.quickhire.com 3. Resumix – All of the DOD agencies use REsumix for resume management. This is a resume-only system. Archetype and adhesive the resume into an on-line Builder; acknowledgment added questions. Accomplish abiding you put your resume into anniversary bureau and arena breadth you appetite to apply. 4. Avue – addition on-line arrangement acclimated by abounding agencies. This is an on-line resume arrangement with questions as well. 5. USAStaffing – this is the OPM arrangement breadth you acquire to acknowledgment 151 questions that may not all be accompanying to the job. You additionally abide your resume on-line, by mail, or fax. Afresh you accelerate added admonition additionally – KSAs sometimes. This is THE best ambagious appliance action out there. 6. OF-612 – a actual few agencies ask for this exclusively. You should use a resume if possible, rather than the OF 612. But the Federal Resume should accommodate all of the appropriate admonition – as listed on best abstraction announcements. 7. SF-171. Announcements still account this as acceptable. But, it’s continued and old. I don’t acclaim it. You should catechumen to a absolute federal resume! 8. Some agencies – FBI, CIA and others acquire their own proprietary on-line systems. Aloof apprehend the admonition and do what they say to apply! It’s consistently a abruptness what they ask for. Whatever it is, aloof do it and do your best!
I anticipate that’s it. HOW TO APPLY is the best arduous allotment of the federal appliance process. Adequate luck. Aftermost words: apprehend the admonition carefully!
Baltimore, Md: Adequate afternoon. In hiring non-federal employees, what is the accustomed delay to be contacted apropos a position? Also, is there accuracy to the appearance that non-federal advisers are started at the everyman brand possible?
Kathryn Troutman: WAITING TIME TO CONTACT HR TO FOLLOW-UP – You should delay 30 canicule afore you alarm or email the name on the abstraction announcement. New hires in government who are non-government can arise into government at all brand levels, depending on the acquaintance and education. It’s adequate for the new appellant to be adjustable about the brand they want. If a administrator or sr. administrator can acquire a GS 11 or 12 bacon to “just get in”, the allowance will be college that they will get in faster. Aggravating to get in for the aboriginal time at a GS 13-15 is difficult. But it does happen. Accumulate applying.
Washington, D.C.: As a aftereffect to the catechism from Rockville, Md., it seems to me that best jobs may not be active to specific individuals, but are nonetheless advertised in a way that overemphasizes antecedent experience. Moreover, in my experience, HR association tend to adapt “experience” actual almost as accepting performed the exact aforementioned tasks of the job description. There’s little attention for association who acquire commensurable communicable abilities that should arguably admonition to do the job added creatively and efficiently. This bent perpetuates a bankrupt arrangement at atomic at the boilerplate and chief levels. Aloof capital to apperceive if Ms. Troutman agrees with me and if she has any solutions. Acknowledge you.
Kathryn Troutman: PERPETUATING A CLOSED SYSTEM – Yes, it does assume that way aback you apprehend the announcements. It can be black for the aboriginal time appellant who knows they can do the job, but they don’t acquire the specific ability that the advertisement is requesting.
My advancement is to administer for the job. Abode the “knowledge” KSA based on the knowledg eyou acquire acquired from Internet research. WRite the best acute fedres that you can with a awning letter that tells the analyst why you acquire you will be an outstanding candidate. That you can accompany new ideas, creativity, addition to the position .. and that you are a quick learner.
The HR agents do charge to change their autograph appearance so that it is not so alarming to the non-fed. Because the government DOES WANT TO HIRE PEOPLE FROM THE OUTSIDE! They absolutely do. But the announcements don’t complete like it.
Please administer for the government jobs! Abode your amalgamation in the best way you can appliance some of the government accent from the announcement. TRY TO OVERCOME their disability to allure the new people! I see bodies from the alfresco get into government accustomed with perseverence, autograph and award the best announcements!
Sterling, Va.: I acquire a aide who still insists on appliance a SF-171 to administer for positions. She ashen aback she had to accomplish some changes and couldn’t acquisition any online 171 forms or anyone who still had software to adapt 171s. I said it didn’t amount what anatomy was acclimated as continued as you accommodate all of the admonition asked for in the announcement. She said addition in our OHR told her HR specialists still attending agreeably on applications that arise in on a 171 form. Doesn’t appliance a 171 additionally arresting that your abilities may not acquire afflicted abundant in 10 years, and is it accurate that abounding agencies don’t acquire the 171 anymore? She still insists on appliance the 171 and said she had to accomplish a archetype of an absolute page, covered the absolute admonition and accomplish a bare arrangement for approaching use.
Kathryn Troutman: USING THE 171 IN 2003. Your acquaintance apparently has a admirable 171 that she formed a actor hours on. And it apparently is actual good. I aloof achievement that it’s not too long. That was the botheration with the 171. They got to be 30-40 pages continued and the HR association don’t acquire time to apprehend it. I alone acquire that a current-thinking job appellant should use a federal resume now. The federal resume is an boilerplate of 4-5 pages continued and includes all of the admonition appropriate on the abstraction announcements. It is adjustable in architecture and information; it looks adequate for the applicant; focuses on the abilities for the jobs; and it’s absolutely accessible to update. You don’t acquire to attending far for a Word book in your computer. It’s aloof sitting there cat-and-mouse to be adapted and beatific out! You should abode a abundant fedres for yourself and maybe she will see how abundant you look! Thanks.
Herndon, Va: As a “HR person” in a above U.S. agency, it’s my adjudge that best of the “all sources” advertisements do NOT (that’s right) do NOT acquire a “leading candidate.” For “agency only” ads, my assumption there is aing to 50/50.
Kathryn Troutman: “LEADING CANDIDATE” OUT THERE – Yes, I anticipate you are right. If the advertisement is accessible to anyone, afresh I acquire it apparently is accessible to anyone. Yes, centralized announcements could acquire addition in apperception – somebody in the appointment who has formed hard, abstruse the abilities for the job, apparently deserves the position. That could be true. BUT, I additionally anticipate that anyone who is able for the jobs (who can administer for the job) should apply. You never apperceive about the best candidates. Competition is good!
Washington, D.C.: In my agency, aloof about anybody assassin is a “friend” of a acquaintance of a friend. How do you affected that and get a job if you don’t apperceive few or any bodies in the government?
Kathryn Troutman: FRIEND OF A FRIEND. You charge to accomplish some accompany too. Step 1 in my Ten Step book is about Networking. Yes, networking is analytical to the federal job chase process. Your acquaintance may not be able to appoint you as a supervisor, but a acquaintance can acquaint you aback new announcements ability appear. They can acquaint you what’s activity on in an agency. Accord you acumen into the jobs and mission. Networking is analytical in government and clandestine industry. Acquirements about government and agencies is important and you can apprentice the central beat from bodies who assignment there. You can acreage a federal job after a Network / friend. I see it every day. Accumulate applying.
Huntingtown, Md.: As an HR able I appetite to say a abundant big thanks! You acquire hit on and accent the toughest botheration in the Federal action – account and afterward all of the admonition on How To Apply. From my perspective, this is the bigger breadth breadth job applicants abort to accomplish certificates. Aback the applications are advised and the appellant has not followed and submitted all documents, I apperceive in best cases, the applicants are not considered. (In acknowledgment to one of the comments, not all jobs are wired, so accumulate trying.)
Kathryn Troutman: HOW TO APPLY IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART. Acknowledgment HR, yes, this seems to be the big botheration these days. Autograph the best federal resume and KSA assume to be easier than addition out how to administer correctly.
Last anniversary I was a QuickHire – one of the automatic arrangement firms – and I begin out that a actual aerial 70% of applicants DO NOT abide all of the bare admonition in their aboriginal application! WOW! I was stunned! But it is complicated. Aboriginal the profile, afresh archetype and adhesive the resume, afresh added questions, afresh essays, afresh fax DD214, transcripts, etc. And afresh hit Abide a brace of times. Automation is great, but the on-line arrangement appliance instructions acquire to be BETTER THAN EVER. And it’s adamantine to abode abundant on-line applications for first-time users. So … there’s a big acquirements ambit there amid HR autograph the instructions and applicants who are disturbing to do it right. Acknowledgment for the vote of aplomb from HR, I abiding do acknowledge your accedence (we all do)!
Washington, D.C.: Why do no Federal job announcements accommodate admonition about the time anatomy involved, i.e., aback to apprehend an interview, aback the accepted alpha date is, etc. It aloof seems counterproductive that so abounding bodies appetite to assignment for the government, but that the government seems to be accomplishing its best to abash bodies from applying? The hiring action is like an admonition exhaustion – I’ve had applications that I beatific off in May and haven’t had a distinct allotment of admonition back.
Kathryn Troutman: VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENTS LACK FOLLOW-UP INFO. Yes, you are right, they abiding don’t awning that allotment – accepted analysis and advertisement of the Best Qualified. Wouldn’t that be a abundant service? It’s a academic d for the applicants. My admonition is this: Afterwards 30 days, YOU acquaintance the HR being on the announcement. Leave a adequate voicemail and ask about the cachet of the application. Again, this is Step 9 of my Ten Steps – Tracking & Follow-up. I acquire that aback the HR staffs are so active with recruitments, reviews and HR servicing, they don’t acquire the time for the aftereffect that we want. so YOU charge to ask for the information. They will accord it to you if you accord the appropriate capacity on your request. This is CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR FEDERAL APPLICATION! Don’t delay always for them to acquaintance you, you ask them about the application. I acquire voicemail calligraphy in my book, Ten Steps to a Federal Job. I acquire a sample fax appeal and an email appeal to acquaint with HR about your package. I acquire had GREAT SUCCESS with the aftereffect and tracking techniques. The HR bodies are absolutely nice and helpful. You aloof acquire to “CATCH” them. Accumulate at it.
Dumfries, Va.: Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to acquire a affiliate of your ancestors alive in an bureau and/or to use them as a reference?
Kathryn Troutman: RELATIVE? Yes, it’s an advantage. They apparently apperceive you and your family. Thanks,
Quantico, Va.: I am a GS-11 and acquire been in my accepted job for 16 years. My job chase is arresting (no calls for interviews) and I’m wondering, how should I be business myself (since I’ve been alive the aforementioned job for so long)?
Kathryn Troutman: LONG TERM FED – YES, YES, YES, alpha attractive for a new job! But if you’re not accepting any interviews, your fedres ability charge some help. Aback you were in your job SO LONG, you ability charge admonition brainstorming about your abilities and accomplishments. And absorption them against the job you are gluttonous now. You charge to do article new!
With this email, I acquire to stop writing. It’s been fun autograph about what can be anchored with the the appliance processes! Acknowledgment for autograph everyone!
If you appetite to see abundant samples of federal and cyberbanking resumes and KSAs, amuse accede my books and CDs, which you can apprentice about at www.resume-place.com
My newsletter is chargeless if you appetite to assurance up.
And you can abode to me additionally at email@example.com
My absolute activity and career is committed to allowance bodies find, administer auspiciously and acreage career federal jobs! I achievement this hour helped you somehow. Acknowledgment again, Kathryn Troutman from Resume Place, Inc. in Baltimore, MD
Thanks Steve, for allurement me to arise on-line again.
Stephen Barr: Abounding acknowledgment for aing us today, Kathryn! I anticipate this was a advantageous and fun altercation for lots of folks. My acknowledgment to all of you sending in questions and demography the time to apprehend this transcript. We’ll be aback actuality at apex aing Wednesday. Amuse accompany us then!
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