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How To Obtain a Federal Government Job ... Quickly, Easily,
And Effectively With Little Possible Effort

Basics of Federal Government Jobs

Federal Jobs: America's Best

Whether you're a student, a recent graduate, or an experienced professional, working for the Federal Government can provide you with unique challenges and exciting career opportunities.

The Federal Government, America's largest employer, hires more than 300,000 people each year. No other employer can offer you the variety of career opportunities that are available in the Federal Government. There are more than 200 rewarding career fields across the country and around the world from which to choose.

The Federal Government is a competitive employer whose bottom line is service to the American people. What does this mean to you? If you are interested in finance, you can sign on with the Nation's largest business. Science and technology? We offer the most renowned laboratories, medical facilities and sophisticated computer systems to face today's extraordinary challenges. If you have an interest in protecting the public, becoming a federal law enforcement officer might be for you.

The U.S. Government offers you the career of your choice -- in fields like agriculture, transportation, social services, intelligence, commerce, engineering, and education. And every federal agency needs the best managers, administrators, and policy makers to keep this multi-billion dollar institution running with excellence.

As a Federal employee, you have the opportunity to change jobs, offices, and agencies and still retain your benefits and service years. You will find training and career advancement opportunities for your personal and professional growth. The possibilities are as diverse as your talents and interests. Read on to find out how to get started in the career of a lifetime!

Federal Pay Systems

The Federal Government has several different pay systems. The General Schedule (GS) is the largest pay system. It covers most white-collar jobs and consists of 15 numerical grade levels and their corresponding salaries. Under this system, certain jobs, such as engineers, accountants, and nurses even have special salary raters. Some jobs in the Federal service do not fall under the GS pay system. The Federal Wage System (WG) pay system covers blue- collar jobs in apprentice and journeyman trades and crafts occupations, for example, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, trades-helpers, etc. The Senior Executive Schedule (ES) covers high level managerial and supervisory positions in theFederal Government's Senior executive Service (SES). You can get a copy of current pay scales at the federal Job Information Center. Everything need will be found within the allfederaljobs.com source.

Finding Your Way Around the General Schedule

How do you know where you fit into the GS pay system? Eligibility for Federal jobs is determined by your education and/or work experience. With a high school degree or three months of general
experience, you will usually qualify for GS-2 grade level positions. To qualify for the GS-5 or GS-7 grade levels, you need a bachelor's degree or three years of increasingly responsible work experience after high school. If you have an undergraduate grade point average (g.p.a.) of 3.0 or higher, or membership in an academic honor society, you may qualify for the GS-7 grade level based on "Superior Academic Achievement." Applicants with master's degrees are eligible for the GS-9 grade level, and those with doctoral degrees may be considered at the GS-11 level.

Career Ladders and Promotions

Grade levels for professional and administrative positions under the GS pay system increase first in 2-grade intervals (that is, GS-5, 7, 9, and 11) and then in 1-grade intervals (that is, GS-12, 13, 14, and 15). Many Federal jobs offer a "career ladder" or promotion potential. For example, an entry-level position's career ladder might go from GS-5 to GS-11. This means than an employee in that job could be promoted from GS-5 to 7 to 9 to 11, after performing successfully for at least one year at each level. Each grade increase typically means a salary increase of several thousand dollars!

Work Schedules

As a Federal employee, you are not always limited to a traditional work schedule. You may be able to work a part-time, flexible, or alternate work schedule. "Flexitime," for example, allows you to have flexibility in your work schedule while still working a 40- hour work week. You should discuss these options with your supervisor once you have started your Federal job.

Excellent Benefits

The Federal Government offers benefits such as life insurance, retirement plans, a variety of health insurance plans, and paid leave. As a new employee, you will earn 13 days of annual leave and 13 days of sick leave. You will also be paid for 10 national holidays. Many Federal agencies also offer a number of special benefits which include child care arrangements, credit unions, fitness centers, and recreational activities.

Age/Citizenship Requirements

The standard age for permanent employment is 18, although you can apply for most jobs at age 16 if you are a high school graduate. For some fields, such as law enforcement, there is an age limit for applicants. With few exceptions, Federal employees must be U.S. citizens. However, some non-citizens may be selected for certain
positions under special circumstances. Contact individual agencies to find out about such opportunities if you are not a U.S.citizen.

Equal Opportunity

The Federal Government is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Hiring and advancement are based on qualifications and performance regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, politics, or disability.

The Competitive and Excepted Services

This brochure explains how to get a job in the Federal *competitive* service. This means applicants compete for positions based on a written exam and/or evaluation of their education and work experience. However, some occupations, such as lawyer and chaplain, and certain agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the General Accounting Office, are "excepted" from these procedures. Excepted agencies determine their own criteria for accepting and evaluating applications. If you want to apply for excepted positions or to excepted agencies, contact individual agency personnel offices.

How to Apply for Federal Jobs

Have you ever been told "get a rating from OPM" or "get on the OPM register" to get a Federal job? Well, applicants take note! OPM is no longer the "job bank" for all Federal job applications and very few jobs require a "rating" from OPM. In fact, agencies in the Washington DC metropolitan area fill their vacancies in a variety of ways, sometimes independently from OPM. For many Federal jobs, you must apply directly for vacancies advertised by agencies, and for others, you must take an entry-level test. First step: to find out which of the following procedures is the right one for your field, contact the FJIC. All Federal Information can be found within allfederaljobs.com source.


The SF-171

The Standard Form 171 (SF-171) is the application form used in applying for most Federal Government Jobs. The SF-171 provides an overview of your educational and work history and highlights your skills and abilities. Federal employers use the SF-171 to determine your eligibility for a position. You can get SF-171s at
the FJIC, or at most Federal agencies.

Clerical and Administrative Support Positions

Many applicants refer to the Federal Clerical and Administrative Support test as the "Civil Service Exam." There is mistaken impression that this test is required for all federal jobs. The test, which you can take at the FJIC, covers 64 different occupations at the GS-2 through 4 levels. Applicants can obtain sample test materials and the testing schedule from the FJIC. Applicants who get a passing score on the exam should attach a copy
of their notice of results to their SF-171 and apply directly to agencies. This is a good vehicle for recent high school graduates who are interested in beginning their Federal careers.

Bilingual/Bicultural Provision

If you can show fluency in the Spanish language or are very knowledgeable about Hispanic culture, you may be hired under this provision if you pass an ACWA exam or qualify for Group 7 positions. Contact individual agencies to find out about these opportunities.

Shared Case Examining

In Washington DC, many Federal jobs are filled through "shared examining" procedures. This means that agencies initially recruit and screen applications before sending them to OPM for final evaluation. OPM identifies the best qualified applicants and sends a list of these candidates back to the agency making the final selection. These jobs are typically financial, administrative, social and physical sciences occupations, for example, psychologists, economists, public affairs specialists, physicists, program analysts, etc.

Job vacancies are advertised individually in the FJOL. Each job listing gives the title, grade, career ladder, and location of the position. You should call the contact number listed there to receive a vacancy announcement that will describe the position and application procedures in detail. If you have applied for a vacancy and have questions about the status of your application,

you should contact the personnel office of the agency to which you sent your application; not OPM. NOTE: Senior executive positions and many wage grade positions are advertised in the FJOL, OPM publishes a separate SES Vacancy Listing that is available in the FJIC.

Delegated Examining

For occupations that are located primarily in one agency, the agency may be authorized to advertise, evaluate, and hire applicants independently from OPM. The Federal Aviation administration (FAA), for example, uses this authority for air traffic controller positions. The FJIC has information about which agencies have this "delegated examining authority" for certain occupations. You should contact agencies directly to apply for these positions.

Direct Hire Authority

For occupations where there are critical shortages, such as nurses and engineers, OPM has authorized agencies to use "direct hire" to hire qualified applicants. Currently, in the Nation's capital, agencies are particularly interested in hiring applicants in computer, mathematics, engineering, and some health occupations. Contact agency personnel offices directly if you are applying for a shortage occupation.

"Registers" and the Role of OPM

For a few occupations, such as accountant/auditor (GS-5/7/9) and biological sciences (GS-5/7), as well as some wage grade positions, OPM maintains "registers of eligibles" or lists of qualified applicants. Agencies who have vacancies can request the best qualified applicants from these lists and contact them directly. To apply for jobs filled this way, you will need to get supplemental application forms from the local FJIC and return them along with your SF-171 to the specified OPM office.

If you receive a notice that you are eligible, your name will be placed on a register and agencies will contact you directly if they have a vacancy. OPM will only accept applications for registers when there is a demand for that particular occupation, so find out from the local FJIC if the register you want to apply for is "open" before applying.

Other Avenues of Employment

Presidential Management Intern Program The prestigious Presidential Management Intern (PMI) Program is a career-development program for applicants with recent graduate degrees and a strong interest in public management. PMI positions begin at the GS-9 level with career ladders to GS-12. You must apply for this 2-year program during the academic year in which you will graduate and be nominated by your school. For more
information, contact the dean of your graduate school, your career services department, or the FJIC to get a copy of the application packet, which is available each year in September.

Military Service and Veterans Programs Your military service may count as general or specialized
experience when applying for civilian positions. Additionally, as a veteran, you may receive preference in obtaining Federal
employment. If you are qualified for the position you want, Veterans Preference will add either 5 or 10 points to the numerical evaluation of your application. Qualified Vietnam Era veterans, and other veterans with a compensable disability of 30% or more, may be hired directly by agencies. The Veterans Programs Coordinator at individual Federal agencies can provide program details and information on eligibility requirements.

Employment of People With Disabilities

The Federal Government actively promotes the employment of people with disabilities through selective placement procedures. This assistance includes individual job counseling, special testing for visually and hearing impaired applicants, and referral to agency coordinators for selective placement. Special accommodations such as interpreters, readers, and restructured work sites can also be provided for the disabled. Contact the Selective Placement Coordinator at the agency where you wish to work or the State Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for more information.

Student Employment Programs

If you are a motivated, talented, and ambitious student, you already know that it is important to get good work experience before you get your diploma. The Federal Government offers a variety of student employment programs to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students who are at least 16 years of age and have U.S. citizenship. By working for the Government while you are in school, you can have the opportunity to earn money, benefits, and of course, invaluable experience! Decide which of the following programs is right for you and then contact your school's career placement center for more details.


Federal Cooperative Education Program

High School, undergraduate, graduate, vocational, and community college students enrolled at least part-time can work a parallel or alternate work/study schedule in the field of their interest. Benefits include salary, annual leave, sick leave, health and life insurance, and retirement plans. Often a "Co-op" position can be converted into a permanent position upon graduation.

Summer Employment Program

Summer employees are hired to fill a variety of positions, from office support to professional, between May 13 and September 30 every year. Summer employees earn salaries based on their education and experience. Vacancies are advertised annually in the Summer Job Opportunities Announcement No. 414, available the last
week of December at the FJIC.


Stay-In-School Program

This program provides an opportunity for full-time high school, vocational, and community college or undergraduate students to work in order to resume or continue their education. Students work a maximum of 20 hours per week during school and full-time while on school breaks. The local State Employment Service office must certify that students meet the financial need criteria. Benefits include salary, annual leave, and sick leave. Agencies recruit candidates directly from schools and local state Employment Service
offices.

Summer Aid

Through this program, the Federal Government employs economically disadvantaged youths who earn the Federal minimum wage. The local State Employment Service office must certify that candidate meet the financial need criteria.


Student Volunteer Service

High school, undergraduate, graduate, or vocational students who are enrolled at least part-time can gain experience through this "internship" opportunity in a field related to their academic/career interest. In many cases, you can earn academic credit for your internship. Students should contact agency personnel offices directly to inquire about opportunities.

Federal Junior Fellowship

This career-related work/study program helps to expose to public service careers high school seniors who have a strong academic record and are planning to attend a higher education program. Benefits include salary, annual leave, sick leave, health and life insurance, and retirement plans. Students must be nominated during their senior year by their school, and the local State Employment Service office must certify that they meet financial need criteria.

Welcome to the Federal Government

You are now on your way to becoming a Federal employee. Working for the U.S. Government means working for you -- the taxpayer. It means working for your community and your fellow citizens. It means working on the cutting edge of technology and the leading edge of social reform. It means having an impact on the future of your country. And it means that you have begun a prestigious career with tremendous potential, competitive salary, and good benefits.

As you start your job search, keep in mind that research, persistence, and self-promotion pay off. Market yourself to agencies and recruiters just as you would in the private sector -- your future career depends on the quality of your job search, and agencies want to hire motivated and ambitious candidates.

Once you start work, be sure to explore the individual culture and opportunities at your agency. Many agencies emphasize developmental training, career-enhancement programs, seminars, and more.

Welcome to the Federal Government -- Working for America works for you!

  

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