ALJ Announcement is Out – Deadline 4/8

BREAKING NEWS: Congratulations, if you are invited to the Online Component. We recommend our ALJ Writing Guide to review the 13 ALJ Competencies! We also recommend our Structured Interview practice if you are invited to the Structured Interview component of the ALJ Examination.

“First, you must meet the Preliminary Qualifications with the Resume with Qualifying Experience,  Optional Case List and Licensure”

The ALJ Writing Guide and our ALJ Webinar can help you with the resume and meeting the Qualifying Experience

March 30, 2016 – the Announcement Closes April 8th 2016, 11:59 pm EST

IT’S OUT!  Administrative Law Judge Examination


Announcement Notes about the Resume and Application:

Required Documents

1.  Résumé to be reviewed by hiring agencies only; and
2.  Veterans’ Preference documentation (if you are claiming Veterans’ Preference)

Note:  Extraneous documents will not be considered.
Optional Documents:

Your resume must get you past the Preliminary Qualifications. And then you need to be prepared for the subsequent assessment components of the OPM competitive examination!  To get past the Preliminary qualifications, the resume must show the qualifying experience.

USAJOBS ALJ Announcement 2016


Competitive Examination:

Applicants who meet the Preliminary Qualifications must also successfully complete all subsequent assessment components of the OPM competitive examination which evaluates the competencies, or knowledge, skills, and abilities, essential to performing the work of an ALJ.

Specific details for each of the requirements above are as follows:



QUALIFYING EXPERIENCE: Applicants must have a full seven (7) years of experience as a licensed attorney preparing for, participating in, and/or reviewing formal hearings or trials involving litigation and/or administrative law at the Federal, State or local level. To be considered as qualifying experience, the types of cases handled under this requirement must have been conducted on the record under procedures at least as formal as those prescribed by sections 553 through 559 of title 5 of the United States Code.

Litigation Experience: Qualifying litigation experience involves cases in which a complaint was filed with a court, or a charging document (e.g., indictment or information) was issued by a court, a grand jury, or appropriate military authority and includes:

  • participating in settlement or plea negotiations in advance of trial;
  • preparing for trial and/or participating in trial of cases;
  • preparing opinions;
  • hearing cases;
  • participating in or conducting arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution process approved by the court; or
  • participating in appeals related to the types of cases above.

Administrative Law Experience: Qualifying administrative law experience involves cases in which a formal procedure was initiated by a governmental administrative body and includes:

  • participating in settlement negotiations in advance of hearing cases;
  • preparing for hearing and/or participating in trial of cases;
  • preparing opinions;
  • hearing cases;
  • participating in or conducting arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution process approved by the administrative body; or
  • participating in appeals related to the types of cases above.



An applicant must be licensed and authorized to practice law as an attorney under the laws of a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territorial court established under the United States Constitution.  Judicial status is acceptable in lieu of “active” status in States that prohibit sitting judges from maintaining “active” status to practice law.  Being in “good standing” is acceptable in lieu of “active” status in States where the licensing authority considers “good standing” as having a current license to practice law.

An applicant must possess a license to practice law, as described in the preceding paragraph, at the time of application and continuously throughout the selection process including any period on appeal or on the ALJ competitive register, as defined below.  An applicant can be deemed ineligible at any time if it is determined that he/she does not satisfy or no longer satisfies the licensure requirement at any point during the examination, any appeal, and/or selection process.



OPM will review the completed online Assessment Questionnaire as described below to determine if you meet the experience and licensure requirements.  If OPM determines you do not meet one or both of these requirements, a Notice of Results (NOR) will be issued to you indicating a rating of “ineligible” and no further action will be taken on your application.  See the “Appeals Process” section below.

Applicants who have cleared the preliminary qualifications screening (i.e., the experience and licensure requirements) also are required to successfully complete other components of the ALJ examination.  The purpose of these remaining components is to evaluate the competencies, or knowledge, skills, and abilities, essential to performing the work of an ALJ. These competencies include: Decision Making, Interpersonal Skills, Judicial Analysis, Judicial Decisiveness, Judicial Management, Judicial Temperament, Litigation and Courtroom Competence, Oral Communication, Problem Solving, Professionalism, Reasoning, Self-Management, and Writing.

NOTE:  There ALJ Core Competency Chapter in the book includes definitions of the competencies.  They are also covered in the ALJ Webinar with Nicole Schultheis and how to write about your competencies in the Written portion of the examination.


OPM Fact Sheet – just posted yesterday!

ALJ Resume and Competitive Examination Insight, including core competencies, KSAs and writing with the CCAR format  – 90 minutes

Next ALJ Webinar:
Sat., April 2 10 to 11:30 am EST
If you bought the ALJ Guide already – the webinar is $100.
If you did not buy the book already the book and webinar are $149
ALJ Book and Webinar:  $149.00
ALJ Webinar if you have the book already:  $100.00
We will send you the webinar registration link and ebook or print book (if you do not have the book)
ALJ Writing Guide by Nicole Schultheis and Kathryn Troutman
Published by The Resume Place, Inc., the leading federal resume writing firm in America  – updated based on the 2013 ALJ USAJOBS announcement and heavy emphasis on the Federal Resume, ALJ Competencies and Qualifications Narratives.
$49.95 – includes two samples of the 3-5 page ALJ Federal Resume (longer than the typical attorney private sector resume)
Available as print book and ebook (PDF for immediate download)
Order the book here:
Still available for those who purchase the book and webinar. We can edit your resume and target the resume toward the ALJ announcement, the ALJ position description, the core competencies. We will also encourage accomplishments in the resume. The average length is 4 pages. You will write the first draft. We will edit and target the words toward the documents listed.  Timing is important. $225 per hour; 5 hours.



Thanks for including the two ALJ resumes in the book.  I have been diligently working on my new and improved ALJ resume.  It’s just about completed and I think it looks pretty good so far; a solid 5 pages.  A vast improvement over my previous efforts.  I took your suggestion to prepare the resume as a Word document rather than using the USA JOBS resume builder.   They were very helpful templates to use in terms of format and general phrasing.  I am now working on putting together my list of cases.
I am very glad that I participated in the Webinar today!  Your discussion about the importance of CCAR writing was very helpful, especially when you analogized it to how you would tell your colleagues the story of how you won a case.  I also think it’s helpful to understand that you are not writing for the purpose of winning a case, as in a Brief, which is, of course, what I am used to writing.

I was able to learn from the webinar that the importance of training myself to think in the CCAR mode. I will really need to practice in this area. I learned that you must be very specific in the qualifications narrative – don’t assume that your litigation experience  or administrative law experience will be counted.I learned that many of my duties and responsibilities as a Practicing Attorney with the right story telling can make for some good Accomplishment Narratives. I want to make it all the way this time – where I can be offered a position as an ALJ.


Thank you for the webinar. It was informative. The top three things I learned were:
1.      CCARS are similar to the STAR format of storytelling
2.      I like the “Hats” for the resume and the distilled CCARS to make up the accomplishments for my ALJ Federal Resume
3.      I appreciate knowing the definitions of the competencies

Excellent webinar.  It was very helpful.  I would love to have the slides. Top three useful pieces of information:
Importance of CCARS
Make sure to document % of time spent on legal activities if documenting a job with legal and non-legal components
What can and cannot qualify as “litigation or administrative law experience”
Thank you for an excellent class.  I found the following things very helpful:
1) the additional competencies and guidance about how to address them,
2) the SSA position description; and
3) the “must include” features on the qualification narratives.
The webinar was very useful. How you showed to write the resume was extremely useful.  I think the fact that you discussed the new 7 competencies was extremely useful.  I learned about accomplishment writing and what to include in the application package: resume, accomplishments using the CCAR method.I can qualify for a schedule A.  What does the letter entail?  How do I become qualified?  Who is the OPM contact person and disability coordinator?
Thank you for the informative Webinar.  Three things I learned:
1) The importance of narrative in the CCAR’s and throughout the hiring process;
2) Anticipated ALJ hiring needs;
3) Step by step overview of the hiring process.

 RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE UPCOMING ALJ ANNOUNCEMENT:The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced it will open the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Examination to interested applicants in the near future by posting a job announcement on USAJOBSWith over 1 million people waiting on a hearing decision, the Social Security Administration faces an unprecedented service crisis—one that can only be resolved with a corps of dedicated public servants who are committed to helping the American people.  SSA Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) work in hearing offices throughout the country conducting impartial de novo hearings and issuing decisions to claimants seeking SSA benefits.  As one of the Top Ten Best Places to Work in the Federal Government, SSA offers generous benefits and leave policies, flexible schedules, and many special programs that promote a healthy work/life balance for our employees.  If you or someone you know is a licensed attorney with seven years of experience and you want to make a difference in the lives of Americans and their families across the nation, please visit the OPM website to learn more about joining SSA’s team.All interested individuals are encouraged to monitor OPM’s website and USAJOBS to watch for opening of the  Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
Good Luck with your ALJ Application!
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