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Thinking of a Government Job?

In 2001 Kathryn Troutman wrote Ten Steps to a Federal Job, which was honored as the “Best Career Guide of 2002” by the Publishers Marketing Association. Kathryn has more than 35 years experience in guiding careers and has written six career guides.

She recently updated Ten Steps to include information on how to get a federal job in the Obama Administration. Women For Hire asked her Five Questions.

1) You wrote the first Ten Steps to a Federal Job in 2001. What has changed so much that you felt you needed to update?

The 2001 version was based mostly on the paper Federal Resume. The 2nd edition is all about the online federal resume, the USAJOBS federal resume. Today, 95% of all federal resumes are submitted through an online resume builder at USAJOBS and other federal websites.

Also another important element that is still important — always has been — is the inclusion of keywords from the vacancy announcements. Jobseekers are still not reading announcements closely and they struggle to understand the language in the announcements.

2) If I am thinking about going from the private to government sector, what is One Big Thing I should know going in?

The private industry resume is an average one or two pages; the federal resume average is four pages. This is amazing to most resume writers becuase it has always been the practice to keep your resume short and concise. But with the fedreal resume, the document is expanded into more descriptions, more keywords and more accomplishments. This is important because the HR specialist/reviewer has to see information that proves you are qualified for the position.

3) I have been laid off after many years from a large for-profit corporation. Why should I consider a government job?

The government benefits are excellent. I devote a chapter to benefits in the book.

4) The small (under 50 employees) firm where I worked for the past 20 years folded and I am looking for a change. What opportunities are there in the government sector for people like me?

USAJOBS just posted a brand new search page, the Basic Search page. It is so interesting. You can see in just one minute the total number of jobs that are open by agency, state and occupational series (career series).You will see why you would want to learn about federal jobs by looking at these numbers.

5) Are there avenues in the government these days that might be considered “ripe” for employment opportunities? For example, we hear a lot about “green” initiatives? Are a lot of green jobs going to evolve in the government? What other government areas are hot?

The green jobs will be in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and other environmental agencies. There are many recovery jobs that are part of the Recovery Act. You can search for recovery jobs in the Basic Search box. This is very interesting to see so many new positions supporting the Stimulus Act. Positions are in every occupation.


  1. Adebanke

    I work as a substitute teacher in Michigan and I would like to change my career because I am tired of not having enough to survive how do I change my resume to reflect the change.

  2. Mandi Brown

    Six months, nearly 700 applications, untolled number of resumes and other documents sent to those who required them and yet notta! Medically I’m limited to inside work that does not require much lifting or standing. I have a Masters and have been told to leave that off of the resume’ and skinny down the work knowledge area. Is this acceptable? I desperately need to work or soon, very soon, I’ll be moving into my truck!

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