Book Reviews

The Buzz About How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job

"Lily Whiteman's neat, well-organized book demonstrated that my 18 years on the subcommittee with direct oversight over federal employees haven't taught me all I want to know. This nugget of a book will tell you what you don't know, what you need to know and what you may not have thought to ask about federal employment and promotion...How to Land a Top Paying Federal Job is an invaluable tool for the federal job and promotion search, but the guidance in these pages will serve the reader wherever good jobs are available."

- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
  of Washington, D.C.

"Essential reading… Don't apply for a federal job without it [this book]."

- Paul C. Light, Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service,
  Robert Wagner School of Public Service, New York University

How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job is among the most popular career books in U.S. libraries, according to Library Journal.

"For people who want to explore job and career options with the federal government -- and for professionals who work with them -- this excellent book is the dream resource they have been hoping to find. It’s a "how to" book placed full of compelling, specific, tested advice and an impressive array of resources from an a skilled federal career coach.

Lily Whiteman steers the reader clearly and confidently through the process of investigation federal government career options; applying, interviewing and negotiating for positions and developing a successful career path within the government sector...

The accompanying CD provides additional lists of internships, fellowships and global opportunities...The CD features worksheets to help readers craft strong documents and prep for interviews and job negotiations….Job seekers in other sectors -- private, nonprofit, state, and local government -- will find a surfeit of superb counsel in these pages as well.

- NACE Journal, the journal of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

“Peppered with cartoons and a touch of wit, Whiteman's book is the layman's field guide to a federal job search...

The book is based on hundreds of interviews with federal hiring managers and job hunters. Unlike other similar guides, it focuses on process rather than just aggregating information about agencies. This book provides step-by-step instructions on crafting successful resumes, cover letters and essays that get applicants out the pile and into the interview.

As readers gear up for the hot seat, Whiteman lets them in on the do's and don'ts of interviewing for a federal job. And when an offer does roll around, readers can find tips on negotiating salary and climbing the ranks.” Click here to read the entire review.

- Roll Call, The Newspaper of Capitol Hill

"This book pulls together needed and hard to find information on ways to get a job in federal government. It is a very helpful resource."

- Sandy Hessler, Director of Career Advancement, Harvard Kennedy School
  of Government

"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 Further, most of the authors have never worked as a fed and are just trying to get a quick book.

Which brings us to How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job. [I]t is totally different. In this book, 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 are 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)."

- Steve Ressler, Co-Founder of Young Government Leader and Manager
  of GovLoop.Org -- a popular blog for government professionals

“This is the perfect book for anyone wanting to get into the federal government for the first time or, for those already in the federal government, to get promoted within the federal system…This book has it all - from creating a federal resume, writing KSAs and ECQs, interviewing and negotiating a salary - to job leads and special hiring programs. Uses a fresh writing style that entertains and educates. If you buy only one book to help you get a federal job, make it this one!”

- Association of Career Professionals

"The strength of Lily Whiteman’s manual lies in her ability to present information in an easy-to-digest format… In addition, Whiteman does an admirable job of providing extensive “how-to” examples for her readers. From sample ways to transform “boring” resume accomplishments into attention-grabbing statements to her many self-assessment worksheets, the author focuses on really showing, not just telling job-seekers how to be successful.

Students of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and believers in multiple learning styles will appreciate Whiteman’s understanding of differences in the ways individuals absorb information. Some may feel drawn to her numerous explanatory charts, like the big-picture comparison of congressional and agency jobs in Chapter 4. Still others will gravitate toward her use of “good” and “bad” federal resume samples to illustrate in a tangible way the key points where the two diverge. For those who want a straightforward listing of government options, the CD accompanying this book details 100+ internships, special recruitment programs for persons of color, women, and persons with disabilities, and overseas opportunities like the Foreign Service and USAID. Whatever one’s interest area or experience level, there is something for all in this manual."

- The Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers

"This book will change how you conduct a job hunt not just for a Federal job, but how you can improve the odds of landing a job almost anywhere. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the book is that many of the strategies and techniques recommended are often highly pragmatic and easily implemented. Absorb this information and watch your confidence grow as your success ratio of calls to interviews rises dramatically."

- George Selby, President of the National Association of Government Communicators

"I wish that Lily Whiteman’s ground-breaking book had been around when I was in grad school.  The book provides the essential toolkit for anyone interested in cracking open the federal hiring process.  An invaluable resource to be used throughout your career, you won't find another book on the market with more honest, relevant advice for landing your dream job in the federal government.”

- Katherine Hudson Walker, President of Young Government Leaders

"This book is a must read.  Anyone who aspires to a federal position or promotion within the federal service will find Whiteman's advice invaluable as they prevail over obstacles of entry and advancement throughout their federal careers.  Whiteman gives her readers access to a wide range of information on the federal service application process, interview techniques, and how to successfully sell your "resume" to hiring managers. Her "hot tips" are excellent resources that are appropriately positioned throughout the book to help the reader gain additional insights.  This is a superb reference book and action plan for all prospective and current federal employees."

- Farrell J. Chiles, former Chairman of the Board, National Organization of Blacks in

"Bottom Line: This book provides clarity, insider advice, and hot tips into the federal government and its hiring process in an entertaining and informative way." Click here to read the entire review.

- Oh My Gov! (OhMyGov.Com – News, Knowledge and Networking)

“Great information…provides a “behind-the-scenes” perspective from hiring managers…liberally  interjects humor.”

- National Career Development Association (NCDA)

  Excerpts from an article about a previous edition of this book that originally appeared in
  NCDA’S web magazine, Career Convergence at  Copyright National
  Career Development Association, March 2006. Reprinted with permission.

“This book will become an instant classic.  It is chock-full of make-or-break advice  --  available nowhere else  --  about every phase of the job-search process and about getting ahead in government."

- Kelly Paisley, former Deputy Director of the Vice-President National Partnership for
  Reinventing Government

“An excellent resource for undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in securing an internship in the public sector… A great resource for new career professionals and mid-career professionals who seek a federal career and are interested in ‘insider’ tips to navigate the federal hiring process…describes the myriad of diversity programs for women, minorities and disabled job seekers…provides for easy reading and a straightforward approach…will almost certainly ensure that job-seekers submit an A+ application…Anyone looking for a federal job, or any job for that matter, would definitely benefit by reading this book.”

- Journal of Public Management & Social Policy 

“This is the perfect book for anyone wanting to get into the federal government for the first time or current feds seeking promotions and jobs in the senior executive service.  Providing previously unavailable “behind the scenes” information and resources, this book has it all.  Plus, its fresh writing style entertains and educates.  If you buy one book on federal jobs, make it this one!”

- Cory Edwards, Creator of Career Directors International’s prestigious Certified Federal
  Resume Writer Certification Program 

“Most books on how to find a federal job are about as interesting as the tax code.  But this book offers a mountain of helpful advice in a visually appealing, easy-to-read format.”

- Government Leader magazine

“Whiteman's book is a well-organized, thorough "how to" guide that will benefit both those first seeking federal jobs and current government workers. It takes some of the mystery out of the selection process and sets high standards for applications and preparation for interviews. The accompanying CD has numerous "cheat sheets" to help organize your preparation as well as templates for resumes.” Click here to read the entire review.

- The Federal Consulting Group

“Whiteman’s enlightening, entertaining book will teach you everything you need to know about how to put the right spin on your credentials on paper and in person.”

- Ray Kurzweil, Recipient of the National Medal of Technology, Best Selling Author of The
  Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

This is a great overview of the federal job application process, with a lot of insider tips and information that is hard to find elsewhere. It comes with a great CD of different opportunities and programs for graduate students. It's also one of the few such books that cover how to find legislative policy work and political appointments. Last but not least, it includes some great cartoons illustrating the job search process!”

- Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington at Seattle, WA