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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

How Not To Apply For A Job


I'm in the process of trying to fill a reporter position here at GovExec. And I'm here to tell all of you federal managers who have pawned this task off on HR people in the past that you have much to look forward to under impending civil service reforms. You may think it'll be nice to have fewer restrictions on who you can hire, but it also means that you have to go through the time-consuming process of trying to evaluate candidates. And some of them serve up some real head-scratchers in their resumes and cover letters. Here are just a few examples from the dozens of applications I've sifted through:

  • It would be an honor for me to interview for The New York Times.
  • For the past several years I have been taking care of some family business that began with a tree root attempting to strangle a septic tank and ended up in court.
  • Skills:

    Telephone Etiquette

    Operation of Copiers and Fax Machines

  • Posses a knowledge of a variety of sports.
  • I enjoy the challenge of multi-tasking and am dedicated to the collaborative edge.
  • Alhtough I have never worked as a journalist…
  • Experience:

    Pain Intern

  • I am interested in your reporter, correspondant, account executive, and marketing associate positions.

(Yes, the misspellings were in the original letters and resumes--which, as you can imagine, is a real no-no when you're applying for a job as a professional writer.)


Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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