Advice for Federal employees looking to relocate while staying in the Federal system

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 6 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #157135

    Hello everyone –

    My wife and I are both Federal employees in the DC area, and we’re looking to relocate while staying in the Federal system – preferrably to either Colorado or the Upper Midwest (Wisconsin/Iowa). We both have years of solid experience in our fields (I’m currently a hazard mitigation planner – hence the AICP – and have years of experience in environmental planning as well as a previous career in the IT field).

    I’ve been applying for jobs for months on USAJOBS, and have had a couple of phone interviews, However, with all the budget issues last year, it seems as though there haven’t been as many jobs as there used to be appearing on USAJOBS, and a lot of the jobs that are appearing have been for people already at the agencies.

    What else can we do that we haven’t done yet? I’ve heard a lot about “networking”, but how do we go about networking cross-country? It would be nice to be able to get our resumes in front of a manager who’s so impressed that they’re simply compelled to design a job for us (as happened to me in the private sector before), but is this possible in the Federal system?

    Thanks very much in advance for reading this far, and for any advice that anyone can give.

  • #157155

    Steve Ressler

    I definitely think it’s possible.

    I’d start by identifying what are the key agencies in the area you want to be at. That hire for the positions you are qualified for (guessing there’s only a few key agencies for hazard mitigation)

    For example, in Tampa there is MacDill Air Force base and VA Bay Pines that have most of jobs. I went down and flew in-person to a career fair there

    Side note – Denver has the #1 most federal jobs outside DC if interested in Colorado

  • #157153

    Thanks for replying – there’s quite a few agencies, actually, if I broaden it to planning in general (I’ve got more NEPA and environmental regulatory experience than hazard mitigation). Lakewood, CO (a Denver suburb) has a huge number of agencies with offices, and there’s interesting potential employers all the way up to Fort Collins.

    I guess I’m still wondering how to get the resume in front of the manager, though. Thanks for the career fairs suggestion – I’ll look into that. If there’s a place outside DC that would have Federal career fairs, it might be Denver…

  • #157151

    Steve Ressler

    Look into stuff like local chapters of associations (YGL Denver) or

    Check out our Denver group on GovLoop too –

  • #157149

    Sarah Streets

    It is definately possible. I just did it AND, changed DoD agencies also. I did lose some pay to do it because of the lateral transfer. I moved from a higher COLA area to a lower COLA area and lost the majority of the COLA from the higher area. Be aware of this if you do lateral/transfer and plan your finances appropriately. Be patient and keep applying – it took me about a year to get the job where I needed to relocate to.

  • #157147

    That’s good news – thanks!

  • #157145

    Sarah Streets

    You’re welcome Sir. By chance are you an armed forces veteran? If you are a veteran and, fall under certain criteria, you may be able to apply under the Veteran’s Recruitment Authority (VRA). If you have access to a Federal Employee Almanac, there is a wealth of information on the different hiring authorities. I usually purchase a copy for my personal library every year to make sure I am up to date on all the latest changes, etc. You might even search the OPM website, I believe the recruiting authorities may be in the 5 CFR. You being in the Environmental Field (my background also) though, you know how difficult the CFRs can be to decipher sometimes, again, suggest the Federal Employee’s Almanac because it is straight forward and easier to digest.

  • #157143

    Kimberly Boudreaux

    I’m trying to relocate as well and have been for several years with no results. I’ve tried a few times to look on this site for local chapters but perhaps I am just not searching correctly. Is there a specific search to do or area on the site to look up local chapters in the areas I would like to relocate to. I am trying to move from DC to either the Carolinas, Georgia, or Florida. Any help is greatly appreciated…thanks!

  • #157141

    Steve Cottle

    Hi Kimberly, you could try the group for government workers in North Carolina as a start. Maybe someone there could point you to some good resources:

  • #157139

    Kimberly Boudreaux


  • #157137

    Melissa Johnson

    I have been trying to relocate as well for the last several months and can appreciate the challenges you and your wife face. As soon as I’m notified I’ve been referred (when I’m actually notified, but that’s another blog about the Federal hiring process) I start my “investigation.” Here’s what I’ve done:

    • Figure out how to attend conferences or meetings where leaders from my target agency may also attend. Find out who those leaders are and stick your hand out and introduce yourself. I recently attended an Army IPR, saw that a leader from a target agency was attending as well, and searched him out at the first break. He was very friendly, wished me the best of luck (he wasn’t the selecting official) and shared with me that the agency had a lot of over hires they’re trying to get into permanent positions. Good to know. We exchanged business cards. My status is still “referred” but no phone calls for an interview.
    • I have spent many hours searching websites for who selecting officials may be and then sending them an introductory email. Sometimes it’s very difficult to figure out exactly where in the agency org structure the job you’ve applied for is. And then doubly difficult to find a human to send the email to. I’ve gotten a couple of responses, but of course understand the hiring process must be followed. At least I’m not just another unknown name on a long referral list that way. In some cases I’ve gotten deafening silence in response. Sometimes I have to guess the email address based on the syntax of other addresses.
    • Sometimes getting on a referral list is a big hurdle. I’m an Army civilian and the Army maintains an online database of position descriptions. When I see an interesting job opening, I search the database, find what I think is the PD, consider whether I would qualify for the position, and then make sure my resume reflects the appropriate KSAs. When a computer does the rating, if you don’t have the correct keywords, you’ll never make the list in the first place.

    That’s what I’ve done and I hope it’s a little help for you. I wish you the best of luck. Relocating one person has been enough of a challenge — finding two jobs will be exponentially harder.


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