9 Steps To A Great Federal Job

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Understand the Federal vs. Civilian Job Search Process

The council's recommendations are transmitted to the President's Pay Agent also created by FEPCA , which then establishes, modifies, or disestablishes individual locality pay areas and makes the final recommendation on pay adjustments to the president, who may either accept the agent's recommendations or in effect reject them through the submission of an alternative pay plan. A common misconception is that the annual federal pay adjustments are determined according to cost of living fluctuations and other regional considerations.


In fact, the across-the-board adjustments to the GS but not locality pay are determined according to the rise in the cost of employment as measured by the Department of Labor 's Employment Cost Index , which does not necessarily correlate to the better-known Consumer Price Index , which tracks consumer prices. Most positions in the competitive service are paid according to the GS.

In addition, many positions in the excepted service use the GS as a basis for setting pay rates. The GG pay rates are generally identical to published GS pay rates. The GS-1 through GS-7 range generally marks entry-level positions, while mid-level positions are in the GS-8 to GS range and top-level positions senior managers, high-level technical specialists, or physicians are in the GS to GS range. A new GS employee is normally employed in the first step of their assigned GS grade, although the employer has discretion to, as a recruiting incentive, authorize initial appointment at a higher step other agencies may place the employee at a higher grade.

In most professional occupations, entry to mid-level positions are classified at two-grade intervals—that is, an employee would advance from GS-5 to GS-7, then to GS-9 and finally to GS, skipping grades 6, 8 and Permanent employees below step 10 in their grade normally earn step increases after serving a prescribed period of service in at least a satisfactory manner.

The normal progression is 52 weeks one year between steps 1—2, 2—3, and 3—4, then weeks two years between steps 4—5, 5—6, and 6—7, and finally weeks three years between steps 7—8, 8—9, and 9— Depending on the agency and the work description, a GS position may provide for advancement within a "career ladder," meaning that an employee performing satisfactorily will advance between GS grades, normally on an annual basis, until he she has reached the top GS grade for that job which represents full performance.

Advancement beyond the top grade to either a specialized technical position or to a managerial position would be subject to competitive selection. Not all positions, however, provide for such a "career ladder," thus requiring employees who seek advancement to consider other career paths, either within their agency or outside it.

Tips for Applicants with Disabilities Applying for Federal Jobs

Beyond the GS level, advancements to the higher levels GS, GS, and GS, most of which are managerial positions are based on competitive selections. Furthermore, if an employee is promoted to a grade which is not part of the career ladder such as a promotion to a supervisory position , the employee's salary is set at the step within the higher grade nearest the employee's current salary but never below the current salary , plus additional steps to reward the employee for the promotion and to account for the increased responsibilities that go along with the new position.

The base salary is based on a table compiled by Office of Personnel Management the table is shown below , [4] and is used as the baseline for the locality pay adjustment. The increases between steps for Grades GS-1 and GS-2 varies between the steps; for Grades GS-3 through GS the increases between the steps are the same within the grade, but increase as the grade increases. The table is revised effective January of each year to reflect the basic cost of living adjustment known as the General Schedule Increase.

Some positions have their own unique GS scales, with one notable example being patent examiners. Under the laws governing special GS scales, employees whose positions are covered by those scales earn either the special scale salary, or the standard GS scale salary plus a locality adjustment see below , whichever is higher. Prior to FEPCA, all GS employees received the same salary regardless of location, which failed to reflect both the disparity between public sector and private sector pay as well as differences in cost of living in major metropolitan areas.

As noted earlier, an employee in a position with a special GS scale does not receive a locality adjustment unless the standard scale plus the adjustment elevates the employee's salary to a higher level than that called for in the special scale of that position. Under FEPCA, specified metropolitan areas, plus Alaska and Hawaii, are designated to receive pay adjustments in excess of the general adjustment provided to the "Rest of U.

Salary adjustments in other U. Territories and for overseas employees are separate from this adjustment. As of [update] , 44 metropolitan areas, plus the entire states of Alaska and Hawaii, have been designated to receive this excess adjustment. The designated areas shown by major city, except for Alaska and Hawaii and their pay adjustments plus the "Rest of U. By comparison, a similar employee in San Antonio which then was not one of the 47 designated areas for an increased adjustment; it was added in would have received only the standard "Rest of U.

Personnel based outside the United States e. However, they may also receive certain non-taxable allowances such as cost-of-living allowances, post allowances and housing allowances in accordance with other laws, such as the Foreign Service Act. Federal civilian workers based in CONUS do not normally receive housing allowances or government-furnished housing.


Also, some civilian personnel stationed overseas do not receive housing allowances; this may include military dependents working in federal civilian positions overseas, military members that left the service while overseas and were hired into an overseas position, and U. In contrast, the tax-free allowances paid during overseas assignments especially the housing allowances are generally considered to be an incentive to serve overseas, as they can be quite generous.

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While this situation may be advantageous to some personnel during their assignment overseas, these tax-free allowances are not considered to be part of one's salary, therefore they are not counted when computing a civil service annuity at retirement. CONUS locality adjustments, however, are counted when computing annuities. Employees stationed in Alaska and Hawaii were formerly considered OCONUS and received a cost of living adjustment, but are being phased into the domestic locality pay system.

Government as an employee. But see Other Employment, later" [7]. Protocol Precedence Lists for civilian and military personnel have been developed by each of the Department of Defense organizations to establish the order of government, military, and civic leaders for diplomatic, ceremonial, and social events. Protocol is a code of established guidelines on proper etiquette.

Precedence is defined as priority in place, time, or rank. In the government, military and diplomatic corps, precedence among individuals' positions plays a substantial role. Equivalency between civilian pay grades and military rank is only for protocol purposes and informally for delegated supervisory responsibilities. While the authority of military rank extends across services and within each service, the same does not exist for civilian employees and therefore, there is no equivalency of command or supervisory authority between civilian and military personnel external to the local organization.

My situation is this: I've been hired on at a GS If I go in at step 1, I'll essentially be taking about a 15K pay cut. While this doesn't include any overtime pay or other benefits, it will still be pretty rough. Has anyone had any luck negotiating their step level within a given grade to get them closer to their current salary? Is that even an option?

How do General Schedule 'Steps' Work?

Enjoy the following Not sure if your gig is governed by Title Note federal jobs do have probationary period some agencies actually enforce them and if you do not meet the performance of negotiate step This pretty much goes along with what I'm thinking - it's an entry level position, so I'm hoping that given my experience and current salary, as well as the fact that I'll not be taking advantage of loan reimbursement, I'll be able to argue for at least a Step 5. I don't think my position is covered by Title 5, but I'll look into that, as well.

Pretty sure we do have a probationary period, though, especially during training. Some jobs will indicate GS , meaning starts at 7 but can annually promote up to 10, once time in grade is met. The probationary period for federal jobs will be typically 1 year long, with certain excepted service positions e. With the steps, if you're hired at GS-9, you should be able to be hired at the step that is just above your current salary.

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The experience portion usually doesn't dictate the step. Also know that for "within-grade increases", it takes a minimum of 1 year to jump a step while in , 2 years for , and 3 years for This means that if Grade 9 is the highest level you can achieve and you start at Step 1, it will take you a minimum of 18 years to get to Step Okay, so some have said that I should try and negotiate for a GS position.

Would it be better to go ahead and do that right off the bat - say, a GS Step 4 or 5, which is more in line with my current salary - or would that be asking too much? I don't want to look greedy, but I don't want to sell myself short, either.

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  • And since I'm not turning down this job, I'd like to get the best deal possible. You can certainly see if you qualify. A GS is considered to be an "entry-level" for a PhD or equivalent doctoral degree. One thing to also consider is due to the probationary period. If you come in with a higher GS than you can handle, and if you aren't able to get up to speed within that year or two, they will cut you in that period.

    No questions about it. They don't want the potential of dead weight that'll be difficult to remove outside of the probationary period.

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    Note that if you're fired from the federal government, you cannot EVER with very few exceptions get another job with the government. Not in the same capacity, not in a different department, not for a different agency miles away. So think hard before entering a position that you're not yet ready to handle.

    I've seen scores of people in my workplace go for the highest position they can initially qualify for with their advanced degrees only to be removed within months because they couldn't get up to speed within that time. Which makes sense. Having a more advanced degree doesn't necessarily make someone better at the job than years of experience, especially if the experience is directly relevant to the field.

    From what I understand of their hiring process, they would have to completely repost the job at the higher grade and restart the interviewing process.

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    • That sounds like a reasonable negotiating strategy, but I wouldn't telegraph that you aren't willing to turn down the job. From their perspective you want to make it sound like you'll take an 11 but walk if they keep the offer at 9. That's fair, though they probably don't care - it's a pretty competitive position and they have a line of applicants waiting behind be who are willing to take the very base pay, I'm sure.

      That's why I want to be careful.

      9 Steps To A Great Federal Job 9 Steps To A Great Federal Job
      9 Steps To A Great Federal Job 9 Steps To A Great Federal Job
      9 Steps To A Great Federal Job 9 Steps To A Great Federal Job
      9 Steps To A Great Federal Job 9 Steps To A Great Federal Job
      9 Steps To A Great Federal Job 9 Steps To A Great Federal Job
      9 Steps To A Great Federal Job 9 Steps To A Great Federal Job
      9 Steps To A Great Federal Job 9 Steps To A Great Federal Job

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