- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

From the Blog:

Eight Federal Job Search Myths Debunked

by Jessie Richardson, Contributing Writer

Share |

Article Sponsored by: TSA

Articles about writing federal military resumes, federal hiring trends, and landing a federal job have proven to be the most popular among and Civilian Job News readers. Because the federal government has thousands of openings, grants hiring preference to most veterans, and offers many military-experienced job seekers the opportunity to directly transfer their military experience into the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, intelligence agencies, and beyond, this comes as no surprise. So when an article entitled, "Seven Federal Job Search Myths Dispelled" by federal job search trainer Dr. Daphne Houston found its way into my inbox via, I couldn't resist discussing its key points. In summary, here are the seven federal job search myths according to Houston, plus one of my own:

1. Myth: All government jobs are in Washington, D.C.

Fact: Only 15% of federal jobs are actually in D.C.

2. Myth: Federal government salaries are low.

Fact: Actually, government salaries have risen faster and higher than private sector salaries. In most cases, you will find they are very competitive. In fact, it's been reported from 2000 to 2008, that the pay for federal civilian employees skyrocketed 57%, while the pay for workers in the private sector grew by only 31%. And the White House recently proposed a 1.4% pay increase for federal employees.

3. Myth: To get into the federal government you have to be connected.

Fact: If that was the case, then the government wouldn't currently have over 60,000 job openings worldwide. Don't you think the people that know the current government workforce would have networked their way in if that was the case? Networking always helps...

4. Myth: The government is not hiring for what I do.

Fact: The OPM (Office of Personnel Management) uses a classification of 21 occupational groups and families for all GS (General Schedule) positions. There are literally hundreds of job titles.

5. Myth: The federal government is one huge bureaucracy.

Fact: The government is made up of several entities. Each of the over 300 departments and agencies operates as its own stand alone "corporation" within a network of agencies designed to serve the best interest of America. Some do operate more efficiently than others, and are more progressive than others. Based on your agency research, consider 3-5 agencies you would like to further explore.

6. Myth: All federal jobs are posted on

Fact: Only about 70% are on Many jobs are on each federal agency Web site. And some are not posted on the sites at all.

7. Myth: The federal hiring process is so long and complicated.

Fact: The federal hiring process differs from private sector hiring, and federal resume writing is different. But the process does not have to be long. There are programs, tips, and opportunities that drastically speed up the process.

To these seven myths, I would like to add an eighth.

8. Myth: If I apply to enough federal jobs using my standard military
resume, something will stick.

Fact: As Houston stated in myth #7, federal resume writing, especially federal military resume writing, is different. Federal military resumes must be carefully key-worded. Unfortunately, this is a little known fact among veterans seeking federal employment. As a federal job search trainer, I know this to be true. I hear the same story time and time again: "I've been applying for federal jobs for six months and haven't received a response." But there is good news; this doesn't have to be your fate. Consider hiring professionals who specialize in federal resume writing processes that produce results.


Jessie Richardson, CPRW, is director of resume services at, the military-to-civilian transition experts. She is a Naval Academy graduate and a regular commentator on job search best practices for military-experienced job seekers. Read more transition advice online at the blog.

Return to July/August 2010 Issue