The Plum Book

Lists of Positions Included in the Plum Book 2020

Every edition of the Plum Book includes nearly 10,000 listings for governmental positions. While these listings may change slightly from year to year, looking back at previous years can help you prepare for the release of the newest version.

The following link and list offer several examples of positions included in the 2020 edition of the Plum Book to give you an idea of what you can expect in the 2024 edition.

  • 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 positions 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 Senior Executive Service Positions

Many of the Plum Book job listings are for sought-after SES positions. With each new administration, up to 10% of SES positions can be appointments, while the remaining are filled by career employees. The listing for each position in the Plum SES Book includes information about the most recent person in the role and whether they were an appointment or career professional.

Just a few of the SES positions listed in the 2020 Plum book 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.

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List of Positions Excluded From the Plum Book 2020

Just as many included positions carry appear in each edition of the Plum Book, the same positions are often excluded. These excluded positions include:

  • 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, which coincides with every presidential election year, anyone can access every political position that existed during the outgoing presidential administration, including the names of officeholders and their salaries. With Democrats in charge of the Executive Branch for the past three years, the results of the November 2024 election may bring a deluge of government job seekers. Many vacant positions will involve senior policy and support positions (Schedule C jobs, for example).

The Plum Book 2020 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% above base pay because of the city’s high cost-of-living rate.

Using the Plum Book to Seek Federal Employment

The information contained within the Plum Book allows you to gain a better understanding of the jobs and SES positions available in the legislative and executive branches. The details in each listing provide a guide that’s invaluable to your journey towards finding federal employment.

Knowing the names and qualifications of the employees who have held the position you’re applying for gives you a huge advantage when it comes to your resume and application. You can use the listings for each job to evaluate the qualifications, background and skills required and compare them to your own to craft a resume that will lead to success.

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

Although the Plum Book 2020 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 2025.

Our team has developed more than 550 military and federal resumes — more than any other company — and 85% of our clients have landed interviews that led to their dream jobs in Washington. Our resume writers and career coaches are industry leaders who specialize in helping you create the optimal application package for top-echelon Senior Executive Service (SES), advisory and Schedule C jobs listed in the Plum Book.

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