Help me understand government hiring policy and open competitive grade
February 14, 2014 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Found a few jobs that I am very interested in. I would like to join the government/county offices. I am struggling to understand their hiring process.

Example: On the local state website, there is a posting for job A.
The job listing state that non state employee might need a current grande from CMS.
The posting states that it is EXAM ONLY.
Apparently one need to apply for an open competitive grade if they have never worked for the state/government etc..

but the actual title/job states that this is a closed exam that they run only when there is enough candidates etc..

Also, there are similar posting with the same title/grade/exam but with a different letter at the end. such as: office balbla 1 is open for exam but office blabla1E is not open.
Anyone knows if I should take the 1 test anyway?

With 2 international degrees (not really related: Arts degrees) and 7 years work experience, basically does anyone on here has advice on how to proceed to have my things in order a/ for when the right job gets posted b/ be able to apply and land a job I am interested in.
posted by kirikara to Work & Money (4 answers total)
It really depends on the state. Each one of them will have a different way of posting and evaluating candidates for jobs.

The Feds have a system that you really need to understand to be successful at.

There are special resumes, there are special ways of answering the KPI questions, all sorts of stuff. People publish books about it.

Basically, you're scored on different aspects of your CV. Masters Degree gets more points than a Bachelors. Number of years doing the position, points. Already in Federal Government system, points. Veteran, points. Then they hire the person with the most points.

I had 110 points for a few positions, but veterans will beat me out of that all day long and twice on Sunday. It's hard.

Basically, do whatever it is you're asked to do. Where a short resume is a plus in the private sector, the longer the better for goverment jobs. Use the exact same phrasing in describing your experience as is listed in the posting.

It is a PITA and arduous and HARD to do this, but people who do, get the jobs.

My recommendation is to get resumes into the system NOW. Get some practice with doing it. So that when you're ready to apply for job charming, you'll have it 85% ready to go, and it's just a matter of tweaking the thing to fit the job.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:07 PM on February 14, 2014

Also, there are similar posting with the same title/grade/exam but with a different letter at the end.

Read these carefully. You might see that one is for current employees and one is for anybody. They may be hiring for the same position, and if they get enough internal candidates, they won't interview outside the organization. But it might not mean that at all. So read carefully. Apply on the right announcement. And apply frequently.

Your international degrees will probably need some kind of verification/accreditation/equivalence documentation to "count." It's not clear where you're applying to, but many offices will have never seen a degree from "University of Farlandia" and you're going to have to answer questions. Best to be prepared or even submit the documentation with your application.

Many times you will need to submit a copy of your transcripts. This is true even if your degree is largely irrelevant to the job you are applying for. So make sure you have a scanned copy of those as well.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:18 PM on February 14, 2014

OK thanks for your answer.. this seems like it is going to be really difficult for someone with my profile. international arts degree applying to office business related position.. no master..

I will try to get certification going, but I dont beleive transcripts are a thing either in my british arts school or french one. You either get a diploma or you don't. Classes are selected for you and you need to pass them all. Your degree depends on your exam at the end of the third year so.. no transcripts really exists.

I will start working on developping my resume to make it work best.
posted by kirikara at 9:25 AM on February 15, 2014

Speaking for a moment to the federal side of things (which I suspect is also very much true on the state side) - please make sure you're making personal contact in addition to applying on USAJobs/what have you.

Call the HR contact, ask if you can have the contact info for the hiring manager to talk to them about their priorities for the position. Make sure your name - and the reason for your interest in the position - is not a surprise to them when they get the cert. Don't miss the opportunity to include a cover letter with your application in which you explain why in particular you're interested in their agency, this position, their program.

Something that is NOT compelling as a hiring manager is that you're looking for a position at that particular grade, or that you're looking for a position in that location because you want to work in X city. If during the interview process you share that part of your interest in my position is because it is located 15 minutes from your parents, that is great, but that should not be the reason you share that you want to work with us.

Bear in mind if you make the cert you will be among dozens of applications, possibly as many as hundreds - showing that you know something about my agency, my program and a specific interest in the position you're applying for will really help you stand out from the crowd.

Once you get the contact for a program manager, call them and ask for 15 minutes for an informational interview. Stay in contact. If/when you don't get the position (which you may or may not get informed about, you almost certainly won't get a notification unless you're interviewed, you may or may not receive a follow up if you did get an interview, don't take it personally, it is one of the really unfortunate things that some agencies do), give it a month or so and then write to follow up. Tell them you're very happy to hear they found the right candidate for their position, ask if you could meet them for coffee to ask for insights that might help you be more successful in future positions. Don't put them in the position of having to relay this information via email.

Be patient (this process takes a LONG time - like expect not to receive a call for an interview until MONTHS after you apply, the timeline from application to beginning work could be a year or longer), be persistent, be flexible. All keys to success in getting federal positions.

Get as many contacts in the agencies you're interested in as possible, ask them all for informational interviews. You're making yourself a known quantity and also getting a bit of knowledge into the institutional culture of the agency (each is very different). Plan to recast your resume depending on the position and the agency.

Good luck! This is tougher than it should be.
posted by arnicae at 11:52 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

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