Book Review – How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job

Have you ever gone to a bookstore and sorted through all the books about getting a federal job? Well I have and I want to let you know they are all horrible. Basically, they are all scam books re-purposing content that is available for free on sites like USAJOBS.gov. Further, most of the authors have never worked as a fed and are just trying to get a quick book.

Which brings us to this book – “How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job: Your Complete Guide to Opportunities, Internships, Resumes, Cover Letters, KSAs, Interviews, Salaries, and More.” All honestly, it sounds like another in the line of books listed above.

However, it is totally different as it is written by Lily Whiteman, a federal employee with years of experience, Federal Times columnist, Washington Post contributor, and Federal Career Coach. I’m been following Lily’s Career Advice column in the Federal Times for years and it’s a home run every week. Lots of little nuggets about how to succeed in your career. Not always obvious but simple tricks like bringing a success portfolio to your next interview. I’ve used Lily’s tips in my career and they’ve been a big boost (Disclaimer: I’m one of the examples in the book. See if you can find me.)

In this book (published by the reputable American Management Association), Lily brings together the highlights of her years of Federal Times columns and adds her experience as a federal employee and federal hiring manager. The best part of the examples culled from years of working as a fed, hiring feds, and helping people get hired as feds. It provides all the insider tips of the process and informal guidance you need.

In summary, this book rocks. This is not a book you read at the bookstore over 10 minutes. This is a book you buy. Read. Read-again. And reference. If anyone asks you how to get a federal job, just tell them to buy this book. If they ask you again, tell them to read it twice as there are tons of little gems dispersed throughout the book. And if you are already in the federal system, this is an essential career guide as it tells you how to navigate the waters, find your next job, get promoted, and negotiate your salary (yes you can do this as a fed).

My only worry about this book is whether people will listen. I offer these tips to people on a daily basis and most never listen. IMHO, a key to a successful career is based on doing good work and then following a lot of small tips offered in places like this book (network, sell yourself, marketing, dress well, search for opportunities, etc). Lily’s book provides a manuscript for managing your federal career.

About a month ago, I wrote my “Unofficial Guide to Getting a Government Job.” I think it’s a solid start to getting people going in the process. Lily’s book is basically the next step – the book I wish I had written. Get your copy together.

Book Lover? I’m looking for someone (someones) to write blog book reviews on GovLoop. I’d love to hear straight from other govies what they are reading and what they are learning. If interested, send me an email.

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