The Plum Book

Using the Plum Book While Seeking Federal Employment

With help from CareerPro Global, Inc., you can tap into the best jobs in Washington, whether you have existing connections to the right people or not. One excellent resource throughout your journey is a copy of the latest United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions. Called the Plum Book, this purple tome lists nearly 10,000 government positions in the Executive and Legislative branches. For decades, it’s been the go-to source for information on vacancy and salary information for top-echelon SES, C-suite and advisory roles. Unfortunately, those who haven’t done their homework flood department heads with typical Plum Book resumes – bloated and completely unsuitable for current vacancies.

What Is the Plum Book?

With the introduction of a new administration in the White House, a tremendous amount of turnover is expected in top government roles. This happens whether or not parties change, as people filling these roles may choose a transition year to retire or move on to a new position elsewhere. The Plum Book lists choice jobs in Washington, along with the people filling the roles and their salaries. Listings go into detail on what party the current placement represents and whether the position is for career professionals, by appointment only or subject to other restrictions.

How Can It Be Useful for Those Seeking Federal Employment?

The Plum Book provides you with an inside look at the roles in Washington, but more importantly, the salaries associated with them. Over a third of the jobs available aren’t readily available without the appropriate political or military service. Plum Book positions also include jobs that are filled, right alongside current vacancies. As the incoming administration identifies areas of need, they’ll dissolve old titles and create new ones as well. For these reasons, it can be difficult to use the Plum Book in position application. So what is it good for? Research.

What Types of Positions Are in the Plum Book?

With over 9,000 jobs listed — among them, SES and Schedule C positions, Senior Foreign Service, Civil Service and other policy and advisor roles — a Plum Book application can involve any number of responsibilities. The elongated titles found in the book may help.
They’re often quite detailed. Take for instance, “Director of High-intensity Drug Trafficking Area” or “Assistant Deputy Director for Supply Reduction.” When listed alongside the name of the last person to fill the role and the accompanying salary, it’s easy to compare your background with a current candidate and successfully gauge whether the responsibilities are likely to be well compensated.

How Can I Gain a Competitive Advantage When Vying for a Plum Book Position?

One of the common complaints of Washington hiring staff is the size of most application packages. The phrase, “the thicker the file, the thicker the applicant,” often comes into play. You don’t need special contacts to have a chance at landing many of the SES positions in the Plum Book, but it is essential that you cherry pick what information makes it to your resume. No one needs your entire life story. Brevity is key. If you’re struggling to break down your lifetime of experience into a few punchy paragraphs, give CareerPro Global, Inc., a call. Our five-point guarantee ensures your resume will highlight the points needed to land a Washington job. Give us a call to talk with one of our SES specialists today.