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Unread 12-06-2010, 04:19 PM
 
320 posts, read 262,365 times
Reputation: 133
Default Tips on becoming federal?

Hi everyone!

I have been a government contractor for a few years now and it seems impossible to become federal. Any tips on writing my resume and answering the questions or is it just luck of the draw! Please educate me people! I wish there were a preference for contractors!

Thanks
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Unread 12-07-2010, 04:57 AM
 
5,546 posts, read 4,739,235 times
Reputation: 2146
I was a contractor and made the move almost three years ago.

In my experience, the best way to get in is to go on under the same project you are supporting. People want to hire a known entity, especially in the government where it is VERY hard to get rid of an employee that doesn't work out well. You need to make it known on the project you are supporting that you are interested so that you can be considered for those jobs. In that way, you are known and you will be applying for a job that where you are extremely qualified.

After that, it is very hard to get into an agency where you have no proven track record. It happens but more often at the lower end of things.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
1,218 posts, read 1,649,042 times
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Start with a good federal resume - build it on usajobs.gov

Lots of good information in "Federal Resume Guidebook" by Kathryn Troutman

BTW - I am white and have been hired by the feds twice.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 09:30 AM
 
1,211 posts, read 3,827,014 times
Reputation: 463
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
In my experience, the best way to get in is to go on under the same project you are supporting. People want to hire a known entity, especially in the government where it is VERY hard to get rid of an employee that doesn't work out well. You need to make it known on the project you are supporting that you are interested so that you can be considered for those jobs. In that way, you are known and you will be applying for a job that where you are extremely qualified.
I agree with Christine. In most cases, when a vacancy is posted to "all sources" and it isn't an entry level position, the selecting official has someone in mind. If you do apply for an entry level position, you have to prepare a solid resume and KSAs and keep in mind that, unless you have veteran's preference, it is more difficult to be among the "best qualified" based on how the applications are rated.

It has been many years since I've worked in federal HR, but here are a few pointers I can offer. When applying for jobs, make sure you meet the minimum qualifications, submit all the documentation required, and meet the deadline. Otherwise, your application is automatically dismissed. When preparing your resume and KSAs, avoid cliche phrases (e.g., I'm a team player, I work well with people, I can multi-task, etc.) and be specific and concise about how your accomplishments match the KSAs. As I used to tell applicants, "don't tell me how hard you've worked, tell me what you've accomplished." Anyone can be in a position for X number of years and not accomplish much.

Keep in mind that the process is bureaucratic and lengthy. A vacancy is advertised and the selecting official waits for the "certs" of best qualified. He/she reviews the lists and determines if anyone should be interviewed (and in some cases the agency requires you interview all versus the one or two who looks promising). After the interview, he/she makes a decision based on the budget situation. Personnel extends the offer and then the process begins for a security clearance. It can all take months and the certs are only "good" for a short amount of time so if there are any delays in making a selection (or a hiring freeze or budget constraints), the selecting official has to readvertise.

If you ever wonder what happened with your application, call the HR point of contact or the person who interviews you, if you get to that level. Many agencies are notorious for leaving people in limbo (something I never understood). Good luck.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 10:49 AM
 
Location: the hometown of the 21st century
2,184 posts, read 1,658,162 times
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Be a veteran, be a prior fed, or know someone involved in the hiring decision. The KSA's make the process too time-consuming for my tastes.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Novastan
384 posts, read 470,787 times
Reputation: 158
I have really simple advice. Spell check your resume and check your grammar. I've reviewed applications that were incomprehensible due to bad spelling and lack of editing.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 06:18 PM
 
606 posts, read 595,264 times
Reputation: 1060
Just stopping by to say I saw the thread topic and thought OP wanted tips on becoming feral. Guess not.
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Unread 12-08-2010, 09:10 PM
 
Location: NoVa
26 posts, read 39,097 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JfromReston View Post
Start with a good federal resume - build it on usajobs.gov

Lots of good information in "Federal Resume Guidebook" by Kathryn Troutman

BTW - I am white and have been hired by the feds twice.
+1 Good news is that (theoretically) KSAs are gone. My 2c: treat it like any other job: research what your prospective employer is looking for (that's the Troutman part), deliver a polished resume, and brush up on your interview skills (realize that federal interviews may be structured interviews).

Good luck!
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Unread 12-10-2010, 02:28 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,166 posts, read 4,300,773 times
Reputation: 1281
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYerinLondon View Post
+1 Good news is that (theoretically) KSAs are gone.
That's right. KSAOs (supposedly) are no longer needed effective Nov 2010.
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Unread 12-10-2010, 02:55 PM
 
212 posts, read 329,662 times
Reputation: 340
As someone who a little more than three years ago made the switch from contractor to a relatively-high level federal employee within the same agency, my advice is to focus your efforts on your current agency. From my own experience:

1. Bust your ass now. Work, work, and then work some more. Do an outstanding job, and make sure they notice.

2. You need allies, so get out there and network, network, network. We hear it all the time and it's become so cliche, but it's important. Think seriously about forging a relationship with a powerful, respected, sought-after federal employee in your agency who would mentor you.

3. Take your unique skills and volunteer them for special projects and initiatives that are both within your branch/division/department, or outside of it. Anything you can do that positively impacts the agency/division/department overall, and that has your "signature" on it will get you name recognition, draw interest to your capabilities, and make them want you. Essentially, differentiate yourself from everyone else by creating a niche that no one can touch.

4. Don't be bashful about looking for a fed position. Tell your boss, your colleagues, anyone who will listen. Walk straight up to a senior official or the department head where you want to work and just ask (that's what I did, but I knew they needed me).

5. Keep applying for opportunities that interest you...but...and I can't stress enough...you might find it easier to try to jump to the federal side within your current agency than to compete against countless applicants for other agencies.

6. Don't give up.

Good luck!

Last edited by Iggier; 12-10-2010 at 03:10 PM..
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