Find Your Federal Job Fit
Book Review By: Lindsey Marx
Ruck, J. M., & Taylor, K. (2012). Find your Federal Job Fit. St. Paul, MN: Jist. 256 pages.
Janet Ruck and Karol Taylor’s Find Your Federal Job Fit offers self-reflection tools and straightforward career preparation advice for the federal job seeker. Unlike many federal job tomes that feel more like encyclopedias, this book offers targeted information in a concise format. This is the second federal job search guide by Ruck and Taylor, following their 2009 fourth edition of Guide to America's Federal Jobs: A Complete Directory of U.S. Government Career Opportunities. Ruck and Taylor’s Guide to America’s Federal Jobs was reviewed in 2009 by Jennifer A. Smith: the complete text of that review is available on NCDA’s website. Both Ruck and Taylor have significant experience in providing career counseling specifically to employees working in a federal job. This experience adequately informs their thorough and well-organized guide.
Separated into five sections, Find Your Federal Job Fit covers everything from where to look for federal jobs, descriptions of common federal jobs, and mistakes that many people make when searching for federal jobs. The sections are easy-to-read and offer tips that a job seeker can put to use immediately. For example, the recommendation not to limit the search to the USA-JOBS website is a great piece of advice that many federal job seekers may not know. Ruck and Taylor recommend using www.avuecentral.com and www.indeed.com, in addition to www.usajobs.gov and other job search methods like networking.
This guide is ideal for a job seeker needing self-reflection prior to launching a search. Much of the book is devoted to activities including brainstorming a mission statement, eulogy, and visioning related to career goals. There is space allotted for exploring personal interests, skills, and values. Brainstorming activities about influencers and life roles are also given space in the book. In addition to the self-guided reflection, the example federal resumes and job postings will be helpful for the novice federal job seeker. If the reader is already experienced with the specifics of a federal job search and self-awareness activities, a different, more focused guidebook may be a better selection.
An overview of the top ten federal jobs offers insightful information, as do the descriptions of major federal agencies. Information about federal hiring reform is covered briefly, particularly related to the essays that many job postings require for candidates’ description of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) related to an individual job.
The latter part of the guide is dedicated to advice for interviewing and networking that are relevant to any job seeker, not just federal prospects. Tips on informational interviewing and preparing for a job interview reflect standard advice any career professional might offer to a job seeker. A limited amount of space in the final pages of the book is dedicated to special populations seeking federal jobs, specifically individuals with disabilities, veterans, and college students or recent graduates. If you are working with an individual in one of these groups, an additional guide or resource may be necessary to provide deeper guidance and information.
Find Your Federal Job Fit is best suited to individuals new to the federal job search process. Career counselors with limited experience regarding federal hiring practices will appreciate the basic overview of federal opportunities and how to successfully prepare for a federal job. This guide can be used by a job searcher with or without a career counselor because of the workbook pages for self-reflection and the helpful overview of federal hiring processes.
Lindsey Marx is the Assistant Director for Outreach at Ohio University’s Career & Leadership Development Center (CLDC). In this role, Lindsey provides career coaching and outreach to a diverse student and alumni population. Lindsey also supports the development and implementation of course materials for career class partnerships with multiple academic units at Ohio University. She can be reached at
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