How to Ride the Federal Hiring Wave

By Lily Whiteman
Special to the Washington Post
Wednesday, March 25, 2009; 7:00 AM

There is little doubt that the planets have aligned to make federal employment the new hot property in the job market. The excitement over the new Obama administration, spiking unemployment and an exodus of retiring baby boomers from government ranks all have combined to boost the appeal of federal jobs.

Recently, experts on government and personnel predicted that Obama's budget and Recovery Act will add somewhere between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of new federal jobs to the more than 200,000 federal openings that are annually filled throughout the U.S.

Despite these unprecedented career opportunities, many job-seekers continue to avoid the federal sector. Often, they mistakenly assume that federal employers won't hire people in their profession. Yet the federal government hires virtually every type of professional that is hired by private sector employers, from blue collar workers to seasoned executives.

What's more, many job-seekers assume they would need an almost bionic ability to master the bureaucracy to land a federal job, and intentionally steer clear of the federal job market. The truth is that most feds land their jobs simply by finding suitable openings and applying for them, just as most private sector professionals do.

I know this because I 'm serving my 17th year as a federal employee. For the past nine years, I've worked as a federal career coach helping hundreds of professionals at all levels of government. In an effort to demystify the process, here are some tips for those interested in pursuing a federal job.

If you want to ride the federal hiring wave, regularly surf the federal government's main jobs website at; this site advertises tens of thousands of nationwide openings daily.

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2009 The Washington Post Company