WASHINGTON – The good news for the legions of applicants seeking federal work is that the government wants to fill tens of thousands of jobs here. The bad news is that they have to first slog through the federal labyrinth hiring system to get one.

In a process that can involve 100 steps and take a year or more, applicants must deal with a website many find cumbersome, sometimes vastly different procedures and requirements for the various agencies, and a culture loaded with mind-numbing jargon and acronyms.

Navigating that process has given rise to a cottage industry of specialists, offering all sorts of assistance. Add now to that list “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Government Jobs,” a new book by the Partnership for Public Service, a Washington-based nonprofit that helps the government find candidates.

Over the next five years, according to the book, the government will need to replace at least 550,000 retiring workers. Thousands more will be needed for new federal initiatives, including health-care and financial regulatory overhauls.

The 332-page paperback walks applicants through the various agency, location and salary codes on the Web site. It provides an estimate of job openings for certain job categories. And it explains the GS-1 to GS-15 grade levels, detailing some of the qualifications needed (for instance, a high class ranking in college) to get a better job.