The Civil Service: How to Cut Through the Bureaucracy

February 22, 2013 | By Justin Fiehrer

The Leadership Institute hosted the first Civil Service Opportunity School in more than two years this past Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The 24 students that attended learned a variety of things about the civil service including its history, how it works today, and what it takes to get a job in the government.

The first lecture titled, “Why the Federal Government?” was taught by Mark Johnson, a supervisory IT specialist with the Department of Commerce. Mark discussed the hiring process, the roles of networking and tips to navigate your way through federal job searches.

“The federal government has tremendous flexibility that allows you to move from one job to the next,” he said.

The U.S. government is the largest employer in the nation which includes many career options and locations for potential employees to choose from.

LI’s 2006 Civil Service Opportunity School helped Mark get his current position. He said, “The Leadership Institute helped me move from Denver to DC, and then from the private sector to the civil service in 2008.”

 

One of the Leadership Institute’s interns this spring, Leah Courtney remarked on Mark’s experience: “I really appreciated hearing his experience in the civil service and all the tricks of the trade he provided.”

Terry Campo, who served as special assistant and chief of staff for the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy during the Reagan Administration discussed the origins and purpose of the civil service.

Terry explained the structures of executive agencies and the relationship between political appointees versus career employees. Terry commented on how political appointees and the employees under them are chosen.

“It’s supposed to be politically fair, but in reality it’s not,” Terry said.

 

One of the best resources is job directories where jobseekers can find the best person to contact regarding employment. Laura Turner, a current intern for Judicial Watch, thought his resources were helpful to her job search.

“He was very helpful explaining how to tailor resumes. I will definitely be using his tips for future job searches,” Laura said.

George Nesterchzuk, who served as a senior official in the Reagan Administration, talked about the political management and environment of the civil service. His best advice came on Wednesday night.

“The civil service is protected by a very thick book of rules and regulations. My best advice is to get your application in to every opening there is in the federal government,” George advised.

Eldon Girdner, who has more than a decade of service in the federal government, discussed the application process and navigating through it. He also talked about where and how to find jobs in the civil service.

Eldon talked about how best to tailor resumes for federal jobs, and their differences from resumes for the private sector.

“When searching for federal jobs, the more information you have on your resume the better because computers search through resumes and match up key words before they actually reach a person,” he explained.

The students attending left the civil Service school with knowledge from faculty with years of service in the public sector. These students now know how to maneuver their way into a federal job and start tearing down the wall of bureaucracy.

The Leadership Institute offers several career related workshops throughout the year. Go here to register for one.