Does anybody have any experience applying to government jobs?

Rally

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I am thinking about applying to a few aviation related government jobs in my area. Although they are not flying positions they require a degree of aviation knowledge. What is the trick to applying to these government jobs on USAJOBs? Somebody told me you need to include key words on your resume in order to get hired. Anybody have any advice?

Thanks
 

inline

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I am thinking about applying to a few aviation related government jobs in my area. Although they are not flying positions they require a degree of aviation knowledge. What is the trick to applying to these government jobs on USAJOBs? Somebody told me you need to include key words on your resume in order to get hired. Anybody have any advice?

Thanks
If you're a non-veteran white male your app/resume goes to the bottom of the pile. The federal govnmt. is racist and sexist.
 

Rally

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So I should claim my hispanic heritage?
 

Rook

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If you're a non-veteran white male your app/resume goes to the bottom of the pile. The federal govnmt. is racist and sexist.
Not the case. I'm a non-vet non-W.A.S.P. and was passed over for a flight check job. Lots of jet-PIC time. On the 'other' board, looks like a kid from Colgan got one of the slots. Lucky bastage.
 

Amish RakeFight

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Let them know you're lazy and ask a lot of stupid questions. That should secure a gov't slot for you.
 

reepicheep

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Then there is the current state of things in the aviation industry. They're all equal opportunity employers. As long as the Chief Pilot or one of his buddies is good buddies with one of your buddies.
 

avbug

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The first thing to know and understand when you're applying for a goverment job is that long before your application is seen by anyone who knows what they're talking about, it's seen by people who know absolutely nothing.

When your application is first screened, it's not screened to see if you're the pick of the litter. It's screened to see if it meets the technical requirements of the vacancy announcement. It's screened in particular to see if it meets EXACTLY the technical requirements of the vacancy announcement. If it says you have to have 100 hours of night actual instrument, you had better spell it out that way. If it says law enforcement experience and you site experience working for a sheriff's office, your application might get thrown out...because you didn't say "law enforcement."

The people looking that application over initially aren't pilots. They're people who are hired to look for words.

In government applications, overkill and oversell are important. The job might require low level experience. Simply stating that you flew at low level isn't enough. Fifteen sentences describing your low level experience in sickening detail...is a step in the right direction. Leave behind the impression that nobody on earth understands low level like you; it's the essence of why you draw breath. Leave NO room for doubt.

Sell yourself, in no uncertain terms. Don't be shy.

I applied for a fire job years ago. I was one of the only applicants to have all the boxes checked, and then some. My application was rejected. When I called to enquire, I was told it was because I didn't have any wildfire experience. I was a little shocked...they said look here, you said you had fire experience in the C-130. Yes. But...you didn't say "wildland fire experience." I asked them if perhaps they thought I was inside someone's living room in that C-130, putting out fires. Nope...but it didn't say "wildland," and by the way...what's a C-130, anway? Is that some kind of dustmop?

Point is, don't assume the people seeing your application have any subject knowledge at all. None. Make it clear in a way that you would normally feel condescending, as though you're applying to a five year old. This isn't condescending; you just can't assume that the audience reading your application will know anything about the skills and abilities.

Many application processes use a component known as KSA...knowledge, skills, and abilities. The purpose of this is two-fold; it's to show that you absolutely are far more qualified than the vacancy announcement requires, and it's to sell yourself. Go for overkill, big time.

You will sometimes have a dedicated application website, but often as not you'll be told to fill in the Optional Form 612 or other variations, or include a resume and application with at least that and certain other information in it. Download the necessary forms, and make sure your resume covers everything.

Common mistakes are omission of your social security number and other details that one normally does not put on a resume. Make sure everything is on the application, and make sure it's easily located and identified. Make the job of the person revieiwng your resume for compliance with the vacancy announcement easy. Make their life simple. Think of the application in terms of them.

A word on points...you may be the most qualified person on the planet for a position, but if someone else comes along who had the extra points (handicapped, veteran, ethnic, etc), they're going to get the job anyway...even if they're far less qualified. The government is very much like that.

I've worked for a variety of different agencies and departments over the years; some directly some contract, etc. I've had a lot of different interviews, a lot of application processes, etc. There have been a couple of glaring times when the unbalance of the point system shot down what would have been a great job, and in both cases I was far more qualified than any other applicant, by leaps and bounds. In one case I was told point blank that my application looked very good, but then told "We see here that you're white...you're not claiming to be handicapped...yada, yada, yada." I was told that while I was the most qualified, I would not be considered for the position because I didn't have the points to compete over others. Bottom line...your best scenario is to be completely unqualified, but an ethnic handicapped gay or lesbian veteran, and you're undefeatable in seeking a government job.

Another position, I was the only applicant who met every single technical qualification, including current time in type...but was beat out by an inexperienced woman with no time in type, becaus she was a female. The station was at a location where a woman had sued the government a couple of years before, and won. By putting a woman in this position, the government strengthened their position, and that's just what they did.

All you can do is apply for the position and see what happens. If you have specific questions, it may be better to handle them one at a time rather tan provide a long discertation about do's and don'ts.
 

rw2

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Bottom line...your best scenario is to be completely unqualified, but an ethnic handicapped gay or lesbian veteran, and you're undefeatable in seeking a government job.
While there is some truth to the rest of the note, the government does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The closest it comes is that it protects people from getting fired due to their preference.
 

avbug

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The government most certainly does discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and on sex. When it gets caught, it gets sued, as I've seen in the past...but it discrimination is rife, and Ive seen it many times.

As for "some truth," what is it you find not to be true?
 

mushroom

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While it is true that your application will first be looked at by someone in Washington D.C. or wherever, you should also get to know anyone you can at your local office (if that's where you want to work). Go in for informational interviews with the facility manager. They will generally make some time to talk to you. Once you get on a list generated by the feds, the actual hiring is done on the local level. If you already know the people at the local FSDO, for instance, and your name comes up on a potential hiring list, you're more likely to be called.

A huge part of the hiring in the FAA is "who you know," just like in the civilian world. And that comes straight from the mouth of the CMO manager in my region. Just my 2 cents.
 

rw2

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As for "some truth," what is it you find not to be true?
It isn't that anything was outright false, just that it painted all people and processes in government with the same brush. My experience hasn't been nearly so monochromatic.

Another way to look at it is that your note is a useful primer for applying for any job with a large bureaucracy. That bureaucracy doesn't have to be the government. I've seen the kinds of behaviors that you warn about in every large, process driven company I've ever worked with as well.
 

kingaira90

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The first thing to know and understand when you're applying for a goverment job is that long before your application is seen by anyone who knows what they're talking about, it's seen by people who know absolutely nothing.

I like how you put that, and sadly true at most companies where hr screens the resumes before a pilot in the hiring process sees it. Like the dc-8 or 747 experience resume that gets passed by for the dc-9 or 757 resume because the number is higher, and higher is better right? Sad but true.
 
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