How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job
Your Complete Guide to Opportunities, Internships, Resumes and Cover Letters, Networking, Interviews, Salaries, Promotions, and More!
Author: Lily Madeleine Whiteman
Pub Date: June 2012
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814420225
Page Count: 288
Format: Paper or Softback
Edition: Second Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814420232
Buy the book:
C H A P T E R 1
A Great Time to Go Federal
U.S. News & World Report describes a government job as a terrific deal
and includes “governement manager” on its list of best careers.
Do you want to land an interesting job that pays a top salary, provides
unbeatable, rock-solid job security, and will advance the public good in
important ways? If so, you’re probably primed to work for the federal
What does the federal government do? The federal government literally
runs this country. To do so, it protects the strength and vitality of
the U.S. economy; creates foreign policy; manages precious natural,
cultural, and high-tech resources; forecasts tornadoes and hurricanes;
oversees the nation’s planes, trains, and highways; secures our food and
water supplies; protects the health and safety of workers; keeps unsafe
products off the market; and funds most of the nation’s scientific and
medical research, to name just a few examples.
To run the country, feds do everything that private-sector employees
do—and more. So like the private sector, the federal government hires
almost every type of white-collar professional, including engineers,
teachers, IT experts, scientists, business managers, lawyers, PR
specialists, policy wonks, medical professionals, accountants, program
managers, and almost every type of blue-collar professional, including
auto and aviation specialists, equipment operators, mechanics,
electricians, property managers—and many more. Plus, the federal
government has jobs that you won’t find anywhere else. Feds work as
spies, volcano watchers, park rangers, terrorist hunters, disease
detectives, curators of precious historical documents, and diplomats.
The possibilities are endless.
Feds work in every imaginable setting, from offices, laboratories,
museums, libraries, hospitals, parks, forests, and marine sanctuaries
located throughout the United States to embassies located in far-flung
countries. And they access and control resources—including huge
budgets—that are unavailable to private-sector employees.
Another important advantage: the federal government provides one of the
precious few workplaces where you can work exciting jobs, earn
competitive salaries, and still have a life. Most feds stick to a
40-hour work week. The federal government also offers these first-rate
➢ Job Security: The federal government continuously hires for all types of jobs and
internships—even when other organizations are laying off. And while
nongovernmental employees may be “pink-slipped” when the economy
falters, feds are rarely laid off. Also, it is generally much harder to
fire federal employees than employees in other sectors.
➢ Top Salaries and Advancement: Studies and anecdotal evidence show that federal
salaries are very competitive with private-sector salaries and that feds
in many fields earn more than their private-sector counterparts. Plus,
feds receive regularly scheduled promotions, merit-based promotions, and
annual cost-of-living salary increases. For more information about
federal salaries, see Chapter 16.
With about 2 million civilian employees, the federal government is the
nation’s largest employer. Every year, about 200,000 new hires join the
federal workforce and hundreds of thousands of current feds are
promoted. Why spend your career toiling in obscurity when you could be
on your way to becoming a power broker? Feds cntribute to the
high-stakes, hot-button policy issues that cover the front pages of the
nation’s newspapers every day.
➢ GenerousvVacations: Full-time federal employees enjoy 10 paid holidays and 9, 13,
20, or 26 days of vacation each year, depending on their seniority. They
can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to attend to a birth, adoption,
or seriously ill family member.
➢ Top-Notch Health Insurance: Feds choose from the nation’s best health insurance,
dental insurance, vision insurance, long-term care, and life insurance
➢ Facilities to Help You Stay Close to the Kids: Many agencies have on-site childcare
➢ Coverage for Health Care and Dependent Care Costs: Feds can pay up to $4,000 annually
for childcare, up to $5,000 annually for health care, and up to another
$5,000 for adult dependent care, from tax-free accounts that are set aside from
their paychecks. Depending on expenses and tax brackets, these benefits
may yield individual tax savings totaling thousands of dollars annually.
➢ Excellent, Secure Retirement Packages: As corporate scandals and cutbacks erode
private-sector pensions, feds remain covered by secure pensions that
feature a defined benefit based on length of service (with
cost-of-living increases), and a 401(k)-like investment program with
matching. Moreover, unlike most retired private-sector employees,
retired feds get another coveted benefit: lifetime health insurance
➢ Flexible Schedules: Flexible work schedules and telecommuting options are freeing
feds from the straitjacket of 9-to-5 schedules. In addition, many feds
can opt to work 9 hours per day in exchange for taking off every other
Friday. Surveys show that the overwhelming majority of feds feel that
their supervisors support a work-life balance.
➢ Repayment of Academic Loans: Some feds receive up to $60,000 in student loan
repayments. In addition, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act
forgives the outstanding student loans of public service
employees—including feds—after they have made 10 years of payments.
➢ Opportunities to Be a Do-Gooder: The ultimate aim of most federal jobs is—in one way
or another—to better the world. In the words of a Peace Corps staffer,
“I am doing what I love to do, and it’s all for a very good cause.”
Moreover, even entry-level employees can wield tremendous responsibility
in the government. “I have only been out of college for a
year-and-a-half, and I am influencing huge budgets on environmental
programs,” observes a program analyst at the Environmental Protection
Forget Stereotypes of Sour-faced Feds! Recent surveys show that the
overwhelming majority of feds consider their work important and like
their work; public service is a rewarding choice.
Search the full text of this book
Search Full Text of
For single copy purchases of any AMACOM title, you can connect directly to the online retailer of your choice, from the list below, to buy the title you have selected. Most of our links will take you directly to that title on the site, making your shopping experience easier. You can also visit your local retailer, and if the book is not on their shelves they can special order it for you.
Retailers: Please contact us to change or add a listing.
Buying in Bulk?
We have very competitive discounts starting at 5 copies, as well as personal service, for bulk orders. Simply contact our Special Sales Department. Call 800-250-5308 or 212-903-8420 and ask for Special Sales. You can also email: SpecSlsWeb@amanet.org