Resume Place: New Job Application Process for Administrative Law Judge Openings Requires 13 Written Narratives

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The federal government has added requirements to the process of applying for Administrative Law Judge positions. The initial application period for attorneys of these sought-after jobs closes on March 15, 2013.

ALJ Writing Guide

“There are major differences between the old 2009 application process for Administrative Law Judge and the current application, which is open only through March 15.”
--Kathryn Troutman, founder and president, The Resume Place

The federal government has taken many would-be Administrative Law Judges by surprise, by requiring additional written narrative responses to the already demanding process of applying for these rare and highly competitive openings, says Kathryn Troutman, founder and president of The Resume Place.

“There are major differences between the old 2009 application process for Administrative Law Judge and the current application, which is open only through March 15,” Troutman says. “When ALJ openings were last posted – and that was four years ago – applicants had to be prepared to write six narrative responses on competencies required for a job. Now seven additional narratives are required.”

The ALJ positions are open to applications only from March 5 to March 15, 2013, for licensed attorneys with at least 7 years of full-time administrative law or litigation experience. Scores of these jobs are available in several federal agencies in many states. In 2009, the Office of Personnel Management stopped taking applications after just 30 hours; this year, because initial applications will be accepted over the full 11-day period announced, competition likely will be even more keen.

Whether or not a candidate has previously applied for an ALJ position, it is important to read the new announcement carefully. In 2009, applications for ALJ opening were required to write narrative responses on these competencies:

  •     decision-making
  •     interpersonal skills
  •     judicial analysis
  •     judicial management
  •     oral communication
  •     writing

To those half-dozen competencies requiring narratives, seven have been added:

  •     judicial decisiveness
  •     Judicial temperament
  •     litigation and courtroom competence
  •     problem solving
  •     professionalism
  •     reasoning
  •     self-management

The Experience Assessment section of the Online Component of the ALJ exam includes multiple-choice and open-ended questions about work experience, related to the qualities sought in an ALJ regardless of hiring agency. Qualified applicants will be invited to answer a multiple-choice questionnaire and provide a narrative response describing an example which illustrates their skills and experience with regard to the targeted competency.

No definitions for any of these competencies are provided in the new announcement, and the length of applicants’ responses has not been specified. Nevertheless, it is essential to have representative narratives prepared in advance.

The ALJ Writing Guide, written specifically for applicants for these Administrative Law Judge positions, is available from The Resume Place. All purchasers of this eBook will receive a free update detailing the new requirements, as soon as the details of the changes can be confirmed.

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