The Plum Book

What Is the Plum Book?

The United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions is more widely known as the Plum Book, a comprehensive listing of 10,000 civil service support and leadership positions that are either filled or vacant. Published by the federal government and by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives alternately every four years following a presidential election, the Plum Book includes jobs in the executive and legislative branches that could be subject to noncompetitive appointments as well as agency lead positions, advisors, policy executives and immediate subordinates.

The 2008 version of the Plum Book listing more than 7,000 federal jobs, goes on sale at the Government Printing Office bookstore Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Lists of Positions Included in the Plum Book 2016

  • Salary-equivalent and Executive Schedule positions paid at rates established for Levels I through V of the Executive Schedule
  • Senior Executive Service general positions, or positions that may be filled by noncareer, career or limited appointment
  • Senior Foreign Service positions
  • Schedule C positions excluded from the Competitive Service by the president or director of the Office of Personnel Management. These position are excluded because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of position duties
  • Other confidential or policy-determining positions at the GS-14 and above level excepted from the Competitive Civil Service by law because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties (Source: Office of Personnel Management)

List of Positions Excluded From the Plum Book 2016

  • Senior Executive Service (SES) career-reserved positions that can be filled only by career appointment
  • Schedule A and Schedule B positions
  • Competitive Service positions
  • Other positions filled competitively under agency merit systems established by statute (i.e., GS grade equivalent [GG] positions in certain agencies) (Source: Office of Personnel Management)

How the Plum Book Benefits Your Job Search

With each new publication of the Plum Book, i.e., every presidential election year, anyone can access every political position that existed during the outgoing presidential administration, including names of officeholders and their salaries. With Democrats primarily in charge of the government for the past eight years, the results of the November election may bring a deluge of government job seekers flooding the present POTUS’s transitional employment office in Washington. D.C. Many vacant positions will involve senior policy and support positions (Schedule C jobs, for example).

The Plum Book 2016 makes it easy to compare your skills, experience, and background with whoever is currently holding that position. The Plum Book also lists every political appointment position regardless of whether it is filled or vacant, which may help you remain proactive in your search for an SES position with the federal government.

Plum Book listings are designated by letter codes indicating appointment type. For example, the appointment code NA stands for Non-Career Appointment, SC stands for Schedule C Excepted Appointment and TA means Limited Term Appointment. In addition, multiple appointment types may fill several job categories. Consequently, Senior Executive Service positions could be filled with outside appointments or career federal employees.

The Plum Book also provides valuable information regarding different base salary scales and above-base percentages for government jobs in various localities. For example, someone employed within the NYC metropolitan area would receive nearly 29 percent above base pay because of the city’s high cost-of-living rate.

List of Senior Executive Service Positions

Just a few of the SES positions listed in the previous Plum Book (2012) labeled as vacant include:

  • Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant Director, Environment
  • Office of Public Affairs, Deputy Associate Director
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer, Chief Information Officer
  • Office of the General Counsel, Assistant General Counsel, International Affairs, Food Assistance, Farm and Rural Programs
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Director

Remember, you will also find a full list of federal positions, a list of civil service positions, a list of Schedule C positions and a list of senior foreign service positions all neatly categorized and designated as vacant, career-appointed or currently filled.

After You’ve Done Your Research, What’s Next?

Although the Plum Book 2016 is an excellent way to find that government job suited to your skills, experience and knowledge, the ultimate challenge in landing that dream job using the Plum Book is figuring out how to create a resume that stands out like a supernova above hundreds of other resumes. That’s where the government job coaches at CareerProPlus can help you expertly structure your professional resume, develop exceptionally dynamic SES Executive Core Qualification statements and create a highly competitive application package to increase your chances of working for the next administration in 2017.

If you’re not sure where to start your search for one of the thousands of federal government jobs sure to be available soon, then call us today at 1-800-471-9201 for a free consultation with our federal job coaches.

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