Back to previous page


Post Most

Government Careers: Who is hiring now and in 2011

Derrick Dortch:Good Morning, Good Morning, I hope you are doing excellent on this beautiful day. I have started reviewing various Federal Agencies budgets for 2011 to get a sense of what the hiring needs are for the Federal Government. Over the next several weeks as I analyze the budgets for agencies and look at their requests for funding for new programs and additional staff I will share what I find. But lets start out with Department of Justice as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). I am taking excerpts from budget requests as well as the congressional testimony provided by the FBI’s Director Robert Mueller.

– June 23, 2010 11:11 AM

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ)

STRENGTHEN NATIONAL SECURITY & COUNTER THE THREAT OF TERRORISM

To this end, the FY 2011 Budget requests a $300.6 million program increase to help strengthen national security and counter the threat of terrorism. The request includes 440 additional positions, including 126 agents and 15 attorneys, and $219.3 million in increases for the FBI and $7.8 million in increases for the NSD. The FY 2011 Budget request includes a 5 percent increase in DOJ counterterrorism funding and a 9 percent increase in resources for intelligence activities over the FY 2010 levels. All told, the FY 2011 Budget request dedicates almost 15 percent of the Department’s total discretionary budget authority to na- tional security efforts. These funds are needed to allow the Department to identify, track, and defeat terrorists operating in the United States and overseas, and to fortify our intelligence analysis capabilities.

– June 23, 2010 11:11 AM Permalink

RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN OUR MARKETS, PROTECT THE FEDERAL FISC, AND DEFEND THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES

The FY 2011 Budget requests substantial funding to al- low the Department to continue its efforts to help restore confidence in our markets, protect the federal fisc, and defend the interests of the U.S. Government. These re- sources will enable the Department to aggressively pursue traditional law enforcement and litigation activities ranging from mortgage fraud, corporate fraud, and other economic crimes, to other mission-critical activities that support the overall functioning and efficiency of the Department. The FY 2011 Budget requests a $234.6 million program increase for these important efforts. The re- quest includes 708 additional positions, including 143 agents and 157 attorneys.

– June 23, 2010 11:11 AM Permalink

Derrick Dortch :

MAINTAIN PRISONS, DETENTION, PAROLE AND JUDICIAL & COURTHOUSE SECURITY

Finally, resources are requested to enhance the law enforcement efforts of the USMS, primarily their Special Op- erations Group (SOG), which supports USMS and other agencies with a rapidly deployable force of tactically trained officers. SOG provides tactical support for any incident involving the judiciary, district operations and witness security operations. The President’s Budget also annualizes into the USMS base additional positions approved in FY 2009 (201 positions) and FY 2010 (700 positions) to support immigration enforcement, particularly along the Southwest Border.

– June 23, 2010 11:11 AM Permalink

Derrick Dortch :

ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS

The resources provided in the 2011 Budget are therefore needed to maintain and improve EOIR’s vital functions. In order for EOIR to process this increasing workload and to improve the efficiency of the immigration program overall, the Department is requesting an $11 million program in- crease, including 125 positions (31 attorneys) for EOIR which will support an additional 21 Immigration Judge Teams and 10 Board of Immigration Appeals attorneys. This will allow EOIR to address the caseload increases emanating from DHS programs, including the Secure Communities Initiative and the Criminal Alien Program. These resources are necessary to improve the current immigration system and to ensure that the nation’s approach to immigration enforcement is reasonable, effective, and humane.

– June 23, 2010 11:12 AM

Derrick Dortch :

FBI (FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION)

The FBI’s FY 2011 budget requests a total of $8.3 billion in direct budget authority, including 33,810 permanent positions (13,057 special agents, 3,165 intelligence analysts (IAs), and 17,588 professional staff). This funding, which consists of $8.1 billion for salaries and expenses and $181.2 million for construction, is critical to continue our progress started toward acquiring the intelligence, investigative, and infrastructure capabilities required to counter current and emerging national security threats and crime problems.

Consistent with the Bureau’s transformation towards becoming a threat-informed and intelligence-driven agency, the FY 2011 budget request was formulated based upon our understanding of the major national security threats and crime problems that the FBI must work to prevent, disrupt, and deter. We then identified the gaps and areas which required additional resources. As a result of this integrated process, the FY 2011 budget proposes $306.6 million for new or expanded initiatives—$232.8 million for salaries and expenses and $73.9 million for construction—and 812 new positions, including 276 special agents, 187 intelligence analysts, and 349 professional staff.

– June 23, 2010 11:12 AM

Derrick Dortch :

If you look these excerpts you will see that the FBI wants to hire over 800 people. Various agencies in the Department of Justice want to hire between 100 and 700 people for various positions including special agent, intelligence, lawyers, professional and mission support and other staff. Of course we do not know if each agency will get everything that they are requesting. We will have to see when the final monies are appropriated. But what we do know is that many agencies have a hiring need.

Well without any further delay let me get to answering your questions. If you have any questions related to the federal job search, writing federal resumes and KSAs, getting a security clearance, military transition and anything related to succeeding in your career, work, and life please send your questions in. I will respond to as many people as possible. Also if anyone has any comments, advice or a good tip they want to share please do not hesitate to do so.

– June 23, 2010 11:13 AM

Q.Maryland

Sending this early because I will be at work at my *government job* when this chat goes live. I just wanted to thank you, Derrick, for answering some of my various questions here over the past two years. Your advice to all of us every other week and constant enthusiasm helped buoy my spirits and keep cranking at the KSAs and resumes, and it finally paid off with a “better than I dreamed” job with interesting work and great people! To all of those out there hunting, keep at it and don’t lose hope. And definitely be specific in those success stories! Good luck!

– June 22, 2010 9:48 PM

A.Derrick Dortch :

Hello Maryland, thank you so very much for this note. Your words of appreciation inspires me to keep pressing forward and trying to help everyone succeed in their career, work and life. Thank you again and congratulations on your “GOVERNMENT JOB”. Keep me informed of how things are going with you.

– June 23, 2010 11:15 AM

Q.Eligible, referred, now what?

(Harpers Ferry) Hi, Derrick, I’ve applied for nearly 2 dozen federal openings online and a few via email since that’s what they required. I finally got a semi-positive response from USDA (eligible, referred)! I received the first form letter, the acknowledgement of receipt of my application, 3 weeks after the closing date. I received the “eligible, referred for further consideration” letter 3 weeks after that. Now it’s 5 weeks later, and I haven’t heard anything further, such as an invitation to interview, which I would assume is the next logical step, unless I have somehow been bumped from consideration. Friends had told me to be happy and sit tight once I got that second letter, but how long should I sit tight? Should I email the hiring contact to whom I had emailed the application packet? If so, what should I say? Or is the ball still in their court, and I should continue to wait? Thank you, Harpers Ferry

– June 23, 2010 8:43 AM

A.Derrick Dortch :

Hello Harpers Ferry,

Congratulations on getting a positive response. This is good news that you are starting get some results. What I first recommend that you do is try to call the agency that has sent you this notice that you have been referred. Talk to the HR POC (Point of Contact) and find out what is next and if your resume has gone to the hiring or selecting official. If so, find out what is the timeline for possible interviews. Remember the reason why they have the HR point of contacts is for you to find out information on your application. Do not hesitate to contact them when you need information. Make sure you write down all the questions you have so that you can make sure you ask them and get them answered.

The key things you want to know are: Where are you in the process? Has your materials gone to a selecting official or hiring manager? What is the timeline for interviews and bringing people onboard? What can you expect in terms of next steps? There may be more but these are the basics. You probably want to ask if there is anything that you can do next or is there any additional information you can provide that will be helpful in your application and make you more competitive. From there you will find out what you need to do next or you will at least know what to expect.

Something else that I do suggest you do is reevalute your materials and the jobs you are targeting. If you are not getting consistent hits and being referred then you need to evaluate what is going on. Analyze or get someone to help you analyze your materials to see if there is something you need to do to improve them. You may want to get some professional advice as well but if you are targeting positions that you are qualified for then you should be getting more hits and positive responses than you have been getting. It may not be that your package (Federal Resume, KSAs, etc) is not selling you enough and showing that you are best qualified.

I hope this helps. Take care and I wish you much success in your career, work and life. Let me know how things go.

– June 23, 2010 11:27 AM

Q.Derrick Dortch :

I received a question that asked: I recently took a 2 day seminar called “Obtaining a Federal Job” and was told that when one has found a job on the website and wants to apply, one shouldn’t click the “apply now” button but should click onto the “How to Apply” tab. If that’s true, why is “apply now” on that annoucement?

Here is My Response: You always want to take time to read the entire job announcement before ever hitting the “Apply Now” button. There are several reasons why you want to do this. First, many times there might be special instructions about the position and what documents they want to see included with your application. There also might be instructions of page length or number of pages if you have to do KSAs or any type of essay question response, character length of responses, and much more. There might also be other ways to apply to the position beyond beyond doing it online. They may indicate that you can mail, drop off, fax, or email your application instead of doing it online. To me I prefer it when agencies provide you an opportuntity to do this because it provides you the opportunity really put together a strong and powerful presentation Federal Resume that will be very much so attention grabbing in look as well as in content.

Also if an agency allows you to drop off an application I like that method because it allows you to go into the HR office and possibly meet the HR point of contact and ask questions face to face and also inquire about next steps and other positions.

The key is to make sure you look at and read in detail everything before you apply. Many people dont and it ends up hurting their application because they do not provide everything that is asked for or they miss a step.

I hope this answers your question. Take care and I wish you much success.

– June 23, 2010 11:44 AM

Q.age for govt hiring?

Derrick,I’ve been applying for fed govt jobs for 4 years and have talked with several sources who hold such jobs who have helped me decipher some of the jargon. I’ve come to the conclusion that the fed gov is not interested in hiring someone over the age of 50. Every job I have sought or interviewed for has gone to someone younger,either already workin in a fed job or another outsider. My hair is not gray, I look much younger but my DOB on any application gives my age away. I know it is illegal to discriminate and no one ever admits it. But ageism exists in the fed gov hiring process.

– June 23, 2010 11:41 AM

A.Derrick Dortch :

Hello,I am sorry you have been having such a hard time in getting into the government. I wont say that age and other discrimination does not exist because there is discrimination unfortunately taking place in the world of work. What I will say is that I have seen many people young and old equally get jobs with the Federal Government. I am not sure what type of positions you have been looking at but what I suggest is that you take a fresh look at this job search. I want you to get some new advice, possibly looking into getting professional advice on how to navigate the “Federal Job Search Waters”. I do know of and have helped many people over 50 get into the Federal government so please do not give up.

Take care, get some new and professional advice, and start a new and fresh search and I am confident you will succeed. Take care and I wish you much success.

– June 23, 2010 11:50 AM

Q.People with anti-American views who hold clearances

Last week you wrote “[p]olitical beliefs are not looked at in the clearance process unless something comes out about something extreme you were involved in outside of that...” A woman by the name of Barbara Honegger works for the Naval Postgraduate school in California. She is also has a number of web articles and videos where she accuses this country of, essentially, attacking itself on 9/11 and blaming it on Muslims. Would a person with such views hold a security clearance? Should he even be on the federal payroll?

– June 23, 2010 11:38 AM

A.Derrick Dortch :

Hello,Thanks for your question. So everyone is clear on what we are talking about let me explain that the Government and our Military runs a number of schools around the country and other places. These are full colleges where you can earn a bachelors, masters and other academic credentials. The Naval Postgraduate School is one of these schools.

I have heard of Barbara Honegger because of some of the articles written by her. Many times these schools will have professors and depending on what the professor is teaching will depend on if a clearance is provided/granted. I am not sure what she teaches so I do not know if she has a clearance but there is a 50/50 chance she may not have one. It would really depend on her role at NPS and what she is teaching. If you taught at a school like the National Defense Intelligence College then everyone has to to have a clearance on a Top Secret or above level because what is being taught will focus on subject matter that is classified.

Many professors at universities and colleges are given academic freedom to write and publish various ideas so this may be the case in this circumstance. An academic environment is often a place where this is encouraged. I would say that if you have concerns then do contact the NPS and see what there policy is on professors. They should be able to give you some insight but I am assuming she is given freedom to write and publish ideas because she is working in an academic environment and although we do not always agree with everyones ideals we do need to try to understand them and possibly learn from them or challenge them in a healthy debate.

I hope this answers your question. Take care and I wish you much success.

– June 23, 2010 12:01 PM

Q.What Next?

Good morning! I received, finally, a notice that I had scored high enough (97/100) to be referred on to the selecting official. What does that mean? And how will I know if I am selected? Thank you!

– June 23, 2010 11:35 AM

A.Derrick Dortch :

Congratulations on getting a 97/100. This is good news. What I would suggest you do next is contact the agency and talk to the HR Point of Contact. Find out what is the next steps and if people have been selected for interviews yet. Find out what the timeline is for that selection of people for interviews and when can you expect to hear back. I kind of covered this in an earlier question so please scroll up and also follow that advice there.

Also do not rest on getting a 97. Keep on working on your package till you get 100. It is a very competitive environment out there right now so you want to make sure you stand out as the best. Given that you are scoring so high that must mean you are not getting some points because they are not seeing something in your materials. Go back and reevaluate your materials that you are using to apply to positions and see where you can make those tweaks that will get you 100. When you talk to the HR Point of Contact ask him or her their advice as well. You might also have fresh eyes look at your materials or get some professional advice.

You are close. This should give you encouragement you need to keep pressing forward. Focus on this positiosn but keep on applying for others. Dont stop until you have a final offer of employment and a start date.

Take care and I wish you much success.

– June 23, 2010 12:07 PM

Q.reemployed annuitant

I retired in 2006 but at age 60 am considering a return to work. What impediments would I face in seeking a return to the federal workforce in a different agency from the one I retired from?

– June 23, 2010 10:37 AM

A.Derrick Dortch :

Hello Annuitant, Let me recommend you take a look at jobs that are coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Many agencies who have received monies from the ARRA and are working on projects love to bring back retired federal workers to take on positions. Do a search under ARRA in USAJOBS or look at agencies who have received ARRA dollars and target them. Other agencies also like to bring back former Feds to do work sometimes in TEMP or NTE (Not to Exceed) Positions or as PSC’s (Personnel Service Contractors). Take a look at all of these things. I really do not see any impediments for you going back in. I think you just have to find the right opportunity that matches your (SEEQ) skills, experience, education/training and qualifications and then put together the right package and then begin both an targeted application strategy as well as a networking strategy. Tap into who you know. Also make sure you develop a good package (Federal Resume, KSAs if necessary, etc). I do find that one weakness that many Feds have is that they do not know how to sell themselves very well. This is especially the case if they have been in one agency for a long time an just have been promoted through the ranks without having to interview for new positions. This happen often and it causes people to forget about how to sell themselves for new positions.

If you have some skills and qualifications that are easily transferrable then you should not have too many problems at all going to another agency.

I hope this helps, let me know how it works out. Take care and I wish you much success.

– June 23, 2010 12:15 PM

Q.How Long Can You Delay Accepting/Declining a Job?

I am currently employed, but have been applying for several government positions since the beginning of the year. I had an interview for one position three weeks ago. The interview went well, but the job description they gave during the interview was quite different from the job description listed when I applied. It would still be an ok job, just not a great job. On Monday, I got called to set up an interview for another job that is definitely more interesting to me. This morning when I got into work, there was a voicemail offering me the first job. How long can I put off accepting/declining? I’d really like to see how things go with this second job, but I know it will be at least a month before I will know if I get the job. To make matters worse, when I was in the first interview, they made it quite clear that they need someone ASAP because they have a backlog of work with a deadline. Help!

– June 23, 2010 11:43 AM

A.Derrick Dortch :

Hello Delay,you can always delay a hiring process by a couple weeks by asking the agency or organization to send you the offer by mail and that they should also send any materials about benefits etc in that package. You want to be able to read over the full offer including benefits. From there you can also go into salary negotiations which can sometimes take a couple more days. So usually within a week or two you need to have made a decision. You can also ask them what is the final date that they need a decision made by.

Let me suggest to you that if you are concerned about the job and job description they gave you it would be wise for you to also talk to the hiring manager and let them know of your concerns up front. Tell the HR person that what you received during the interview is not what you applied for originally. I know many people who make the mistake of taking a job where the duties were different than what was described on the job announcement. If this is a problem for you then you need to address it before taking the job. If they want you then certain duties and responsibilities can be negotiated before you start.

Now let me also suggest that you be careful about taking a job for job sake when you already know that you are not that happy with making the move. Unless you are in a horrible state of affairs in your current job I would think very carefully about just making a move just because you have been offered a position. Make sure its the right fit.

Even though they need help ASAP you can still delay them and let them know that you need time to think it over. You are in control of this process. If they drop the offer because you needed time then they are not the organization for you and you find that out relatively quickly.

Go to the second interview and see how things go but no matter what negotiate what you want before taking any position. Remember getting a job is like going into a relationship. You want to find the right match because if you dont then it can have some very negative consequences.

I hope this helps, take care and I wish you much success.

– June 23, 2010 12:28 PM

Derrick Dortch :

Unfortunately our time is up for today. It always goes wayyyyy to fast. Thank you for stopping by the show and thank you for the kind words. Please know you are truly appreciated. We will be back in a couple of weeks for another great show. Please take some time out to enjoy this weather and the summer. As usual I want to thank my producer Sakina for all of her great work.

Take care, I will be talking about more agencies and their hiring needs next show. Until the next time, please be careful out there and I wish you much success in your career, work and life.

Derrick T. Dortch

– June 23, 2010 12:31 PM

© The Washington Post Company