How to conduct a federal job search and land a career in civil service.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in uncertain times many people look to the stability of federal employment. Federal employment seems like a dream job, but for many, applying for federal job vacancies can seem daunting. There may or may not be:

  • Vacancy announcements

  • Dozens of different agencies and subagencies

  • Grade numbers

  • A variety of unfamiliar forms

  • Specialized concepts and terms unfamiliar to those in the private sector

But don't feel like you should give up before you even begin! Before applying for federal job vacancies, keep a few tips in mind to avoid a significant pitfall and ensure your federal resume gets noticed.

The first key tip is the common myth that you need to take a civil service exam for the majority of jobs. This is untrue – in fact, there is not a single “federal civil service exam.” You may also worry that you are not eligible for most open federal job vacancies if you've never served in the military or held a federal position previously. This is also untrue! Yes, federal employment is highly competitive, but the good news is that every qualified applicant is considered to ensure the best possible person for the job.

To begin applying for federal job vacancies, visit USAjobs, the federal government's official employment site. You won't find any federal positions on; instead, all opportunities are posted there. The website functions like a or other job website: you have the opportunity to create a resume, search for open positions, apply and upload additional materials. If there is an additional form needed, it can be found on the website. You can also save several resumes in your USAJobs profile.

Because of the competitive nature of federal job vacancies, a perfect resume is even more critical. You want to submit a focused, concise and error-free resume. The USAJobs allows you to create your resume on the site or copy an existing resume onto their forms. You may find more success having a resume written in advance, especially if you're using the help of a professional resume-writing service.

Once you've written the perfect federal resume, you're ready to apply for some of the available positions. It's that easy, so there's no reason to be intimidated out of applying for federal job vacancies. It's simply like any other job search: have a solid resume, customized for the position, including the right keywords and following the job-application instructions. Welcome to the first step to a career in civil service!

Need help writing your federal resume? Get a free resume review today.

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