So you want to work for the government...

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zot1

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So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:45 pm

Doubts of future hiring and job security aside, allow me to provide some unrequested advice to those of you applying now or in the future to government positions.

1. Please make sure your application has all the documents requested.
2. Take a moment to re-read your materials before sending them, and if possible, have someone else take a look too and give you feedback.
3. For the love of God make sure your cover letter talks about the right agency.
4. If you're in top 30% and agency asks for that, make sure to list this somewhere.
5. If you submit a writing sample, provide one of 10 pages or less. Pleeease.
6. Do not use italics for an extended paragraph of writing in cover letter.
7. Tailor your packet to the job you're applying to. Different agencies have different needs.
8. If possible, use law school email address. Cute usernames with yahoo accounts can be seen as unprofessional.
9. Please do not submit documents with tracked changes still.
10. Seriously, typos matter.
11. if your writing sample had footnotes, make sure they are still there as Word sometimes glitches when it comes to footnotes.
12. Actually, do not submit Word documents. Usually Word documents change based on year of the program and if your document gets changed, it might look like you were careless with the formatting.
13. Don't state in your cover letter you don't have something or you're not good at something if you're not immediately going to make an argument as to why that shouldn't matter.
14. Don't include your "computer skills" in your resume (this includes your Westlaw and lexisnexis certification). You're applying to be an attorney not someone's assistant.
15. If you submit a writing sample you prepared at an internship/clerkship, make sure you ask your supervisor if the work can be shared. Also, even if not necessary, consider redacting or changing party names. Submitting something that is arguably privileged will make you look bad no matter what.
16. If all you have is firms in your resume, make sure you address your public service interest in your cover letter. And please, make it believable.

I know some of these may be clearly obvious, but I'm finding out this to not be true.

I'm sure I'll think of more things to consider in the future, or if other people want to contribute additional things to consider, feel free to add them. I can update OP later on.

Alright, carry on.
Last edited by zot1 on Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:35 pm, edited 5 times in total.

1styearlateral

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby 1styearlateral » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:49 pm

Should be stickied. And doesn't just apply to gov't jobs; this applies to all job applications.

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zot1

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:54 pm

OP updated.

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zot1

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:55 pm

1styearlateral wrote:Should be stickied. And doesn't just apply to gov't jobs; this applies to all job applications.


Agreed. But only used government because biglaw hiring is a bit different.

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zot1

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:35 pm

Updated.

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:08 pm

Can gov't attorneys advise whether thank you letters, etc. are necessary as well?

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:02 pm

This might be a silly question but what are the differences, if any, between a resume for a federal government job and one for a private legal position?

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zot1

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Can gov't attorneys advise whether thank you letters, etc. are necessary as well?


Not necessary, but nice. And you don't need to send letters, emails are fine.

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zot1

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:This might be a silly question but what are the differences, if any, between a resume for a federal government job and one for a private legal position?


The main difference is how you phrase descriptions of things in your resume and what you highlight.

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zot1

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:29 pm

If an agency follows up with you about something... don't be snarky in your response. Why would you ever do that anyway?

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anon sequitur

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby anon sequitur » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:36 pm

does your agency use usajobs.gov for their hiring? I've been told that you're supposed to cram your resume to be filled with terms that address the specific duties described in the job description. Supposedly this is so that they can tally up points in whatever psuedo-objective rubric they have to select interviewees. Is this true in your agency? When I do it it makes the resume super long and makes me feel like an idiot for describing trivial things that seem like they should go without saying.

deference

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby deference » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:39 pm

anon sequitur wrote:does your agency use usajobs.gov for their hiring? I've been told that you're supposed to cram your resume to be filled with terms that address the specific duties described in the job description. Supposedly this is so that they can tally up points in whatever psuedo-objective rubric they have to select interviewees. Is this true in your agency? When I do it it makes the resume super long and makes me feel like an idiot for describing trivial things that seem like they should go without saying.


All three of the agencies in my field did not post positions for some, but not all, of their new hires--I got my position through a connection and didn't submit an online application on usajobs. I think the attorney position is one of those "excepted services" that don't need to go through the competitive process (I believe).

deference

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby deference » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:41 pm

anon sequitur wrote:does your agency use usajobs.gov for their hiring? I've been told that you're supposed to cram your resume to be filled with terms that address the specific duties described in the job description. Supposedly this is so that they can tally up points in whatever psuedo-objective rubric they have to select interviewees. Is this true in your agency? When I do it it makes the resume super long and makes me feel like an idiot for describing trivial things that seem like they should go without saying.


On another note, you are somewhat correct about cramming/sprinkling magic words on your resume. However, that'll only get you past the HR, who is usually not an expert in the field.

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can gov't attorneys advise whether thank you letters, etc. are necessary as well?


Same as in the private sector. I wouldn't write one due to the possibility of a typo or something happening. Exception would be if I really connected with someone I interviewed with.

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zot1

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Re: So you want to work for the government...

Postby zot1 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:07 am

anon sequitur wrote:does your agency use usajobs.gov for their hiring? I've been told that you're supposed to cram your resume to be filled with terms that address the specific duties described in the job description. Supposedly this is so that they can tally up points in whatever psuedo-objective rubric they have to select interviewees. Is this true in your agency? When I do it it makes the resume super long and makes me feel like an idiot for describing trivial things that seem like they should go without saying.


For the honors program, my agency doesn't use usajobs. But it does for laterals.

What HR initially needs to see is that you are minimally qualified. For example, if the position requires an attorney, who's been practicing for three years, and who has experience in environmental law, then make sure you provide that information in your application somewhere. I wouldn't say you have to fit the entire job description.



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