Considering a Federal Government Career?
Benefits of Working for the Federal Government 
The Federal government offers great job security compared to the private sector.  After an employee completes a probationary period, civil service laws make it difficult to fire a Federal employee.

New Federal employees earn 13 vacation days and receive 10 paid Federal holidays each year.  The amount of annual leave increases to 19.5 days after five years and climbs to 26 days after fifteen years of service.  This benefit supports work-life balance.

Federal employees also earn 19.5 sick days annually and have multiple choices for health care coverage.  They can review and change their health plans annually without worrying about preexisting conditions.

Federal employees also have a retirement plan and have the option to participate in life insuranace and the Thrift Savings Plan. 

The Federal pay scale varies based on location.  Click here to see current pay scales.

The Federal Job Application Process
Applying for Federal jobs is far different than in the private sector.  Federal jobs opening can be found on individual agency websites or on

Federal job seekers are required to provide detailed information about their work experience and relevent skills in their resumes.  While private-sector resumes shouldn't exceeed two pages, Federal resumes can be 5-8 pages in length.

Federal job application packages typically contain two major components:  1) the resume, which needs to include detail information about each position held; and 2) responses to an occupational questionnaire.​ 

Occupational Questionnaires
Questionnaires assess an application's qualifications for a position.  Responses are reviewed by HR specialists who rate the responses and
verify whether each response is supported by the resume.

Occupational questionnaires typically contain three types of questions:
1.  Benchmarketing questions to determine whether the applicant has the minimum experience required for the position.
2.  A series of questions to assess whether applicants have the specific skills sought;
3.  Questions to evaluate the level of experience in performing specific tasks.

Federal Resumes
Federal resumes should include the most recent 10-15 years of experience.  For each job, including the following information:

  • Name and address of organization
  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Hours worked per week
  • Dates of employment in month/year format
  • Supervisor's name, contact information and whether he/she be contacted
  • Accomplishments
  • Related skills.

Each vacancy announcement is different.  We recommend customizing your resume so it supports your answers to the questionnaire and the job duties as described in the announcement.

Decoding Federal Job Vacancy Announcemets

Vacancy announcements are comprised of several elements.  The first is open to "all sources," meaning anyone can apply.  The second version is for current Federal employees.  In some cases, you may see jobs open only to current agency employees, or for Federal workers who have been downsized or restructured out of their previous jobs.  

Federal job vacancy announcements are usually posted for two weeks, but sometimes can be posted as long as a month or as short as a week.  Some postings are closed after the agencies receive a certain number of candidates.  These are usually for positions for which the agency anticipates high interest.

Duties & Responsibilities
This section of the vacancy announcement list the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to perform the job. 

This section lists the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the job.  Resumes must show at least one year of expereince for each item.

Specialized Experience
Some jobs may require technical expertise in specific areas, such as information technology, procurement, or editing. 
With two million civilian employees, many of them located outside the Washington, DC metro area, the Federal government is a major employer.

The Federal workforce is in the midst of a sea change, with nearly three in ten employees becoming eligible to retire by 2023.  This means that Federal jobs at all levels are opening on a daily basis. 

How We Work
A successful resume achieves two goals:  1) geting applicants through the human resources creen; and 2) convincing the hiring manager to schedule an interview.

Federal HR staff search for keywords matching the position description as well as verifying the answers to the occupational questionnaire.

Hiring managers look at submitted resumes and bring in those candidates who appear to be a good fit for the position.

At Dbarnes431 Communications LLC, we develop resumes and the required collateral materials that tell the story of who you are, the jobs you've held and your significant accomplishments.

We begin with a complimentary review of your existing resume and the vacancy announcement for the job opening that interests you.  Next is a personal interview to clarify your goals (which could be applying for a specific job or preparing for a job search) and identifying exisitng materials such as previous resumes, position descriptions, performance reviews or activity reports.

Next, we will general a price quote and provide a project timeline.  The process is highly interactive and typically includes multiple conversations to obtain more details and clarify information.

Since each individual's career path is unique, it may take 2-3 drafts of a resume before the final product is delivered.

While we can't guarentee that a resume prepared by Dbarnes431 Communications LLC will land you a job, we do guarantee that it will provide a clear and concise story of your career history and key accomplishments.

Are you ready to take the next step?  Fill out the contact form and begin the process.  We look forward to hearing from you.