David B. Grinberg
Cynthia: here are a few tidbits of advice which may be useful:
1) Narrow your focus to choose specific agencies, subcomponents, and positions for which you are interested and well qualified. Be prepared to explain how your unique and specific skillset can benefit the agency and help meet its mission.
2) Network, network, network — with as many people as possible, as much as possible, who can potentially help you — including HR folks and feds at the agencies you’re targeting. Ask for informational interviews to get better acquainted. Leave no stone unturned. Get involved with groups and associations related to the agency or job you want. Then you will be well positioned if and when a slot opens.
3) Be persisent to the max. Knock on doors. Let people know who you are and what your goals are. Get specific recommendations from your prior employers, professors, etc. Ask them to help you. The worst they can say is no. Don’t give up.
4) The intangible factors usually make a big difference, such as luck and timing — which may be out of your control.
5) Be positive and upbeat. Always keep “your eyes on the prize” so to speak, and maintain a positive outlook.
Hope this helps.