The Government Shutdown – What to Expect

Certain government agencies are currently shut down because Congress hasn’t passed a budget to fund them.  Instead of working together for the good of the country politicians are focusing on how best to support their party and keep their jobs!  Just one more reason to support term limits for our Congressional representatives.

This may take some time to resolve, hopefully before more suffer. The national emergency at our borders has caused a rift between the parties and in the interim others suffer on both sides of the border, certain federal services are unavailable, and many federal workers are doing without until back pay arrives.

Those seeking federal employment may have to wait for some vacancies to be filled. It all depends on the agency and whether or not their human resource staff is impacted. Many jobs may be placed on a temporary hold until Congress acts.  If a position is delayed, now is the time to work on your federal style resume. Don’t get disillusioned, keep searching for vacancies and be ready to apply when you locate them.

Job Hunting is a Process

The news media blows the Shutdown out of proportion. They sidestep the border crisis and the petty maneuvers of politicians and parties. First, only non-essential services are unavailable and the majority of federal workers will get paid and on time. Social Security and Federal annuity checks are being sent out and Medicare isn’t impacted. All critical services are available as this drags on.  

I recently heard a report on one of the major news services saying that federal workers would soon abandon their jobs for private sector ones. I don’t believe federal employees would give their generous benefits up of 13 paid sick days each year, up to a 5-week vacation, affordable healthcare options, and generous annuity including a 401k retirement plan with a 5 percent match.

About 800,000 federal employees are furloughed until Congress acts, which could be awhile. Furloughed employees have always received retroactive pay in the past and consequently receive extended vacation time for the duration of the shutdown. With this furlough, many received an extended Christmas and New Year holiday break.

Non-essential new hires and those early on in their federal careers are most impacted. They may not have sufficient funds to carry them over until backpay arrives. Even though federal employment is a safe haven for most, employees need to be aware of the fact that they too must be prepared for when political conflicts result in Congressional inaction. Furloughed workers may have to work somewhere on the side or apply for unemployment during the shutdown. Workers that are furloughed can apply for unemployment however they will have to pay it back after receiving backpay.

I was furloughed several times for short periods during my 35-year government career and actually enjoyed the additional paid time off. I believe many federal employees feel the same. Anytime you get more free time to spend with family and friends is a bonus.  Those deemed critical often look with envy at the federal employees that were sent home, I know this from first hand experience. When I was walking out the door, during my first government shutdown, I was on staff and considered non-essential. The essential workers called me a lucky SOB.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages

Postal Inspectors – Working For the Federal Government

The Postal Inspection Service defends us from criminals who attack our nation’s postal system and/or misuse it to endanger, defraud, or otherwise threaten the American public. As the primary law enforcement arm of the Postal Service, the Postal Inspection Service is a highly specialized, professional organization performing investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system.

Congress empowered the Postal Service “to investigate postal offenses and civil matters relating to the Postal Service.” Through its security and enforcement functions, the Postal Inspection Service provides assurance to American businesses for the safe exchange of funds and securities through the U.S. mail; to postal customers in the transmission of correspondence and messages; and to provide postal employees with a safe work environment.

Postal inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests, and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. Inspectors work closely with U.S. Attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and local prosecutors to investigate postal cases and prepare them for court. There are approximately 1,750 postal inspectors stationed through-out the United States, covering investigations of crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the postal system.

General Information

U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction in all criminal matters involving the integrity and security of the U.S. Postal Service.

Postal Inspectors investigate criminal, civil, and administrative violations of postal-related laws, often using forensics and cutting-edge technologies. It is essential that Postal Inspectors be in sound physical condition and be capable of performing rigorous physical activities on a sustained basis. They are required to:

  • Carry firearms
  • Make arrests
  • Provide testimony
  • Serve subpoenas
  • Execute search warrants
  • Prepare comprehensive reports
  • Pursue and restrain suspects
  • Protect themselves and others from imminent danger

Postal Inspectors work long and irregular hours, and must be willing to relocate. Competition is intense for the relatively few positions. Candidates must successfully complete all phases of the recruitment process and begin their first duty assignment prior to their 37th birthday.

You may be eligible to become a Postal Inspector if you:

  • Are an American citizen between the ages of 21 and 36½. * and are interested in an exciting and rewarding career in federal law enforcement. (Male citizens born after December 31, 1959, must have registered with the Selective Service before applying to become a Postal Inspector.)
  • Possess a conferred, four-year degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have no felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Are in good physical condition
  • Write and speak English
  • Are willing to relocate

Special Knowledge

There are four special knowledge tracks that make applicants more competitive for the position of Postal Inspector: language skills, postal experience, specialized non-postal skills, and academic achievement. Candidates without special knowledge will be only minimally qualified.

Determine your eligibility

There are several ways to qualify for Postal Inspector positions. Applicants must meet the general eligibility requirements or qualify under specific academic achievement criteria with or without work experience.

  • Academic Achievement with work experience. Candidates with at least one year of full-time work experience with the same company, within two years of the date of their application, are eligible under this skill track.
  • Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S. in any field) must have two years of full-time work experience.
  • Candidates with an Advanced degree (M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. in any field) must have one year of full-time work experience.
  • Academic Achievement without work experience. Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree (a B.A. or B.S. in any field) and a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent, or an advanced degree (J.D., M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. in any field) are eligible under this skill track.

Inspector Training

Basic Inspector Training is mandatory and provided at their Career Development Unit (CDU). All new hires must complete course work in four areas:

  • Academics
  • Firearms
  • Physical fitness and defensive tactics
  • Practical exercises

Candidates must successfully complete all program areas and achieve specific minimum academic and performance levels to graduate. Graduation from basic training is a condition of employment. Failure to meet the minimum academic and performance levels will result in the termination of the appointment.

How to Apply

The Postal Inspection Service advertises vacancies during open hiring periods announced on the U.S Postal Inspection website. You can only apply during an open period and at that time you may complete an application online.  Check their site frequently to find job announcements. If you miss an open period you will have to wait until new job announcements are posted to submit an application.

If positions aren’t currently available for postal inspectors explore related law enforcement occupations. The federal government employs 192,929 in the Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement and Compliance GS-1800 Group including 3,800 employed overseas.  Review all of your options in law enforcement to improve your chances of landing a high paying, secure, and rewarding law enforcement career.

Review our list of law enforcement hiring agencies that includes the total number employed in each job series and the number employed by each of the hiring agencies. Click on the job title for comprehensive job descriptions that include current federal job vacancies for each occupation.

Forensic Laboratory Services

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service also maintains a National Forensic Laboratory in Dulles, VA. The facility employs technical specialists and forensic scientists that support the postal inspectors in the identification, apprehension, prosecution, and conviction of criminals that commit postal-related offenses. The lab provides scientific and technical expertise to the criminal and security investigations of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Laboratory services are divided into the four units listed below:

  • Questioned Document
  • Fingerprint
  • Physical Sciences
  • Digital Evidence

Employment opportunities exist at the forensic laboratory services facility in a number of related occupations.  Positions such as forensic chemists, information technologist,  physical evidence analysts, fingerprint identification and others are needed to provide these essential services.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Memo To New College Grads

SUBJECT: WORK RESPONSIBLY

It’s that time of year when college seniors are looking forward to receiving their diplomas after four or more years of time consuming and costly schooling. Parents, college professors and the media have told them that a college degree is the way to a job that will bring satisfaction, fulfillment and a fat paycheck. Get the diploma, send out a few “dynamite” resumes, and a job will follow. Believe that and you might as well look under your pillow for a check to pay off your student loan, compliments of the tooth fairy. Job hunting in the adult world of work is more than sending resumes to job boards. It is a multi-step process, one step of which is writing a resume.

To understand this thing called “work” I believe one needs to take a step back and ask what life itself is all about. Short circuit the philosophy and PC talk and it comes down to this. You are born. You die. And, in between you work in order to survive. Job satisfaction, fulfillment and life/work balance are secondary. We work. We get a paycheck. We buy the big three …food, shelter, clothing…in order to make it to the next day. We spend “left-over money” on technology gadgets, killer apps, insurance, transportation and recreation.  Our money-for-work model has served humankind well for several thousand years…or at least better than the previous model which had people spearing antelope and rabbits for food and clothing, and living in caves to avoid freezing to death.  So how does a newly minted college grad find work, socially meaningful work, that will pay money in order to survive and also bring some sort of job satisfaction and fulfillment?  Let’s explore some of the challenges, and solutions, that new college grads will encounter making their first giant step into the world of work.

WORK CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

  1. The “What’s Next” Challenge. Many college grads have no idea what they will do after receiving their diplomas. There are three choices: proceed to graduate school; join the military, or find a job with a company. Most will elect option three, finding a job in the corporate or government world, which is divided into various industries, companies within those industries and jobs in those companies.  For example, there is the Food industry with Kroger being a company within; in fact Kroger is the largest company in the Food Industry. It sells guns and ammo, too, in a subsidiary division. There are thousands of jobs at Kroger one of which is a corporate level sales representative. A new college grad could pursue that sales job and make good money. The same applies for sales jobs with beer producer, Miller Brewing Company. There will always be plenty of sales jobs with Miller. Also, there are sales jobs with Walmart in its gun and ammo department. And remember companies in the fast growing recreational marijuana business, one of which is The Farm located in Boulder Colorado.

However, will any job in any industry do it?  There are plenty of job with guns, pot and alcohol companies but is that the way you want to spend your working days?

The Solution. Alternatively, how about industries producing products that have social value, like educational publishing companies such as McGraw-Hill, or food distributors like Whole Foods, or home builders like Ryan Homes, or technology companies like Salesforce.com which has been ranked recently as one of the best places to work? With choices like this, why work in toss away industries like firearms, alcohol or pot? A better choice is working for a socially conscious company like Salesforce.com, the cloud computing company serving a useful function in business and education.

  1. The What Do I Want to Do” Challenge.” So many budding college grads ask what they can do to bring in a paycheck and some sort of job satisfaction. You do not need six weeks with a counselor to figure it out.

The Solution. Record three things for which you have an aptitude. Beside them record three things you like to do. Then match them with industries, and jobs in those industries, that meet your aptitude and interests. For a listing of hundreds of industries and thousands of jobs in them, consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor. It’s available in print or eBook from Amazon or other resellers.

  1. The “Right Company” Challenge. Knowing what kind of job you would like is one thing. Finding the right employer is quite another.

The Solution. Assuming you have found a job that you would like, the next step is to find companies that offer such jobs in socially conscious industries. Go online and google companies in those industries. For example, enter “Food Producers” and you will come up with many hits, all potential employers. Begin exploring job opportunities on their digital career pages.

Another fool proof way to find a job is to attend job fairs and trade shows that take place each day at major convention centers throughout the country. Some of them are: the Mascone Center in San Francisco; McCormick Place in Chicago; The Washington DC Convention Center in Washington; the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philly; and the Javits Center in New York City. Each large and medium size city has a convention center. Google the one closest to you to find a listing of trade shows and job fairs and attend those you find interesting. Visit the exhibit booths armed with your resume and ask to see the hiring manager for your area of interest, sales, marketing, finance, technology, human resources, etc. Develop a personal relationship with that person and a job interview will follow.

Government jobs are often overlooked. Jobs in the “government industry” are comparable to jobs in the private sector.  They pay well and are socially conscious jobs. Federal government jobs are located in all fifty states, not just Washington DC. For a listing of interesting jobs and how to apply for them go to the leading government job website: www.federaljobs.net.

  1. The “Writing a Resume” Challenge. In most colleges where students pay upwards of $25,000 for tuition per year, training for job hunting consists of a few weeks instruction about writing a “dynamite” resume. The instruction is primarily academic as most professors have never had a job outside of academia. And, there is more to job hunting than writing and submitting a resume.

The Solution. Craft a resume that highlights your education, your part time jobs and internships throughout your college years. Include a major heading, “Technology Skills” and bullet point your areas of expertise. Also include a major heading titled, “Community Outreach” and bullet point your community initiatives dating back to high school.

       Make sure that grammar and spelling are correct. One mistake will disqualify you. No second chances. Do not trust your spelling and grammar checker.  Proofread your resume aloud and have a trusted friend do the same. This advice might sound rudimentary for a college grad but trust me when I tell you that I have witnessed Vice President candidates disqualified because of one spelling error. AND, do not refer to your resume as a curriculum vitae (CV). That is academic talk. Outside of academia it is called a resume.

  1. The “Interview” Challenge. Interviewing is one of the most intimidating challenges in the job hunting process.

The Solution.  Prepare for the interview with a friend by playing question-answer. Practice until you can answer all questions using business vocabulary. Avoid words like “awesome” and “cool.” When a hiring manage asks” Why do want to work for us?” respond, “Because your company produces products and provides services that are socially worthwhile and because your company is profitable.”

Remember to dress appropriately because first impressions are lasting impressions. Do not dress ultra-casually as you see workers dressed in TV advertisements for Google or Microsoft. Dress on the job is one thing; dress for an interview is entirely different. Wear upscale business attire which you will find on websites for national clothing stores.

HOW TO FIND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYERS

Google “Socially Responsible Employers.” I did just that and found numerous leads to companies of this kind. One site listed the five most socially responsible employers as: Microsoft (technology), Merck (Pharmaceuticals), The World Bank Group (finance and economic development), The Acumen Fund (global impact investing), and Yingli Green Energy (a solar energy producer).

For additional help finding socially conscious employers, explore companies held in the portfolio of mutual funds listed as “socially aware.” One such is the Vanguard Social Index Fund, whose symbol is VFTSX. Companies held in this fund by Vanguard are screened using social, human rights and environmental criteria. Some of these companies are: Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, United Healthcare, Facebook, Apple and J.P Morgan Chase.

Using social media for job hunting has its limitations. Use these media for networking and information but do not believe they alone will lead you to the promised land of employment. The one exception is LinkedIn, a site designed exclusively for job hunting. Jobs offers will come only after you develop a personal relationship with the hiring manager or human resources director.   You will find them at trade shows and conferences at convention centers, and by making cold calls, that is, knocking on the doors of employers and asking to see the human resources director.

WORKING WITH THE STARS

Frequently, new college grads have no role model to follow while embarking on a career straight out of college. However, they are out there. In fact, we’re surrounded by them. Let’s break them down into specific categories and take a look.  You may not recognize some of the names; others are well known throughout the world of work

Public Sector Workers. These are workers who chose careers in government. They serve in both elected and appointed positions.

  1. Joni Ernst,S. Senator for Iowa who served in the Military for 20 years before becoming the first female Senator from Iowa. Concurrently she serves as head of the Iowa National Guard.
  2. Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina. She is a Business major from Clemson University. She served as Treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
  3. Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Representative from Hawaii and Army veteran who went on several deployments to the Mideast.
  4. Patricia, “Pat” Schroeder, a lawyer and former U.S. Representative from Colorado who authored the Family Leave Program. She was the first woman to run for President of the United States. Many of the work benefits we enjoy resulted from her personal work in Congress.
  5. Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. She now serves on the faculty of Stanford University. She is a talented classical pianist and one of the world’s foremost Russian History experts.
  6. The 2,500,000 (read, two million, five hundred thousand) female K-12 school teachers. Guiding the academic, social and moral development of K-12 students is one the most powerful jobs in America. Teachers make a reasonable wage and their careers bring job satisfaction every day.

 Private Sector Workers. These are workers in companies both large and small.

  1. Becky Quick, anchor for Squawk Box, the popular CNBC TV morning finance program. Follow her each morning at 8 AM. Learn about the world of finance from Becky.
  2. Erin Burnett, host of OutFront, a popular CNN evening program. Follow Erin each night at 7 PM. Erin broke into TV as a financial analyst on a CNN evening program.
  3. Marillyn Hewson, CEO and President of defense contractor, Lockheed Martin. Over the past five years Marillyn has created thousands of new jobs, brought wealth to shareholders, and incredible technology innovation to a company dedicated to preserving our national security.
  4. Irene Rosenfeld, Chairwoman and CEO of the second largest publically traded food producer, Kraft Foods.
  5. Angela Braly, Chairwoman, CEO and President of WellPoint, a leader in the healthcare industry. The company is commonly known as Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. She is the mother of three children and works hard to balance work and family.
  6. Kate Richard, Founder and CEO, Warwick Energy Group, an oil and gas producer located in Oklahoma City.

MOVING FORWARD

All of our STARS began their path to success in entry level jobs after graduating from college.   By applying their intelligence, energy and passion, they rose through the ranks to attain leadership positions in the socially responsible world of work. If they did it…so can you!

For more information about how to find your way after graduation, read my book titled, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD. A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. It is available in paperback and eBook from Skyhorse Publishing, Amazon and B&N.

Send comments to [email protected]

John Henry Weiss

c2018

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Homeland Security Hiring – Sign Up For Their Webinars

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is hiring hundreds of criminal investigators, deportation officers, Customs and Border Protection officers, Border Patrol agents, special agents, physical security specialists, police officers, emergency management specialists, intelligence analysts, and more. If you know someone who is interested in a rewarding career in law enforcement let them know about these opportunities and have them participate in one of their upcoming webinar recruiting sessions. The webinars will provide information on DHS career opportunities; the law enforcement hiring process and timelines; special hiring authorities; effective resume writing; and how to create a profile on USAJOBS. These two-hour webinars will be offered twelve times over the next two months and they are open to the public. They start April 23 running through June 20, 2018. Register to attend one of the webinars.

For all other law enforcement jobs review the occupational summary and qualifications and then search the current vacancy listings for positions in your area. We link direct to USAJob listings from our occupational profiles. The federal government employs thousands of law enforcement personnel in more than 40 job series.  Review the occupational profiles and the number employed at each agency for the top 24 jobs to see where you might fit in.

Helpful Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

 

Material Engineer GS-0806 – Working For the Federal Government

The federal government employs 1,325 materials engineers. The Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air force employ 825 civilians followed by NASA with 284, and the DOD with 90. The Department of Commerce employs 80 and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission employs 56. A few other cabinet level agencies employ small numbers for this occupation.

This series covers positions managing, supervising, leading, and/or performing professional engineering and scientific work to:

  • Determine and advise on a material’s essential composition, atomic and molecular configuration, and processing;
  • Relate the material’s essential composition to its properties, end use, and performance in engineering, architecture, and scientific applications and programs;
  • Examine the interaction of materials in their processes and applications, taking into account the associated equipment, systems, components, and their fabrication, design, or use;
  • Develop, maintain, and apply materials and material solutions to meet certain mechanical, electrical, environmental, and chemical requirements; and/or
  • Test and evaluate substances for new applications.

Government Requirements:

You must be U.S. citizen to apply.

The yearly salary for a GS-13 is $87,252 to $113,428.

Typical Duties and Occupational Profile:

Materials engineers work with metals, ceramics, and plastics to create new materials.

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a range of products from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and biomedical devices. They study the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, nano-materials (extremely small substances), and other substances in order to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. They also help select materials for specific products and develop new ways to use existing materials.

Duties

Materials engineers typically do the following:

  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and managers as necessary
  • Prepare proposals and budgets, analyze labor costs, write reports, and perform other managerial tasks
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists
  • Design and direct the testing of processing procedures
  • Monitor how materials perform and evaluate how they deteriorate
  • Determine causes of product failure and develop ways of overcoming such failure
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to the design objectives of processes or products
  • Evaluate the impact of materials processing on the environment

Materials engineers create and study materials at the atomic level. They use computers to understand and model the characteristics of materials and their components. They solve problems in several different engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.

Materials engineers may specialize in understanding specific types of materials. The following are examples of types of materials engineers:

Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products, from high-temperature rocket nozzles to glass for LCD flat-panel displays.

Composites engineers develop materials with special, engineered properties for applications in aircraft, automobiles, and related products.

Metallurgical engineers specialize in metals, such as steel and aluminum, usually in alloyed form with additions of other elements to provide specific properties.

Plastics engineers develop and test new plastics, known as polymers, for new applications.

Semiconductor processing engineers apply materials science and engineering principles to develop new microelectronic materials for computing, sensing, and related applications.

Materials engineers plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with others as necessary.

Materials engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering or in a related engineering field. Completing internships and cooperative engineering programs while in school can be helpful in getting a position as a materials engineer.

 

Education

Students interested in studying materials engineering should take high school courses in math, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; and in computer programming.

Entry-level jobs as a materials engineer require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs include classroom and laboratory work focusing on engineering principles.

Some colleges and universities offer a 5-year program leading to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a post-secondary teacher or to do research and development.

Many colleges and universities offer internships and cooperative programs in partnership with industry. In these programs, students gain practical experience while completing their education.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Materials engineers often work on projects related to other fields of engineering. They must determine how materials will be used and how they must be structured to withstand different conditions.

Math skills. Materials engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Materials engineers must understand the relationship between materials’ structures, their properties, how they are made, and how these factors affect the products they are used to make. They must also figure out why a product might have failed, design a solution, and then conduct tests to make sure that the product does not fail again. These skills involve being able to identify root causes when many factors could be at fault.

Speaking skills. While working with technicians, technologists, and other engineers, materials engineers must state concepts and directions clearly. When speaking with managers, these engineers must also communicate engineering concepts to people who may not have an engineering background.

Writing skills. Materials engineers must write plans and reports clearly so that people without a materials engineering background can understand the concepts.

 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure for materials engineers is not as common as it is for other engineering occupations, nor it is required for entry-level positions. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Certification in the field of metallography, the science and art of dealing with the structure of metals and alloys, is available through ASM International and other materials science organizations.

Additional training in fields directly related to metallurgy and materials’ properties, such as corrosion or failure analysis, is available through ASM International.

Other Experience

During high school, students can attend engineering summer camps to see what these and other engineers do. Attending these camps can help students plan their coursework for the remainder of their time in high school.

Advancement

Junior materials engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers may receive formal training in classrooms or seminars. As engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects where they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, materials engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Many become engineering managers or move into other managerial positions or sales work. An engineering background is useful in sales because it enables sales engineers to discuss a product’s technical aspects and assist in product planning, installation, and use. For more information, see the profiles on architectural and engineering managers and sales engineers.

GS-0806-Materials Engineer

General qualifications excerpted from Job Announcement WTHI176993975616

Responsibilities

  • Provide technical consulting services to Corps Districts, Department of Defense Major commands and installations relating to airfield and roadway pavement materials and construction.
  • Provide technical consulting to Architect-Engineers (A-E) relating to airfield and roadway pavement materials and construction, with emphasis on materials testing, mix design development and review and batch plant inspections.
  • Provide technical oversight of concrete and asphalt batch plant inspections; concrete uniformity testing; preparatory inspections for all aspects of airfield and roadway paving projects.
  • Inspect and evaluate concrete and asphalt paving test sections.
  • Perform review of construction submittals to include paving equipment, paving plan, and paving materials test results.
  • Perform review for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) and Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) mix designs.

Qualifications

Basic Requirement for Materials Engineer (transcripts are required at time of application):

  1. Degree: Bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) in engineering.

(1) lead to a bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) in a school of engineering with at least one program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET);

(2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

  1. Combination of Education and Experience: College-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished:

(1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering.

(2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:

  1. Professional registration or licensure – Current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT), or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration. For example, an applicant who attains registration through a State Board’s eminence provision as a manufacturing engineer typically would be rated eligible only for manufacturing engineering positions.
  2. Written Test – Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, or any other written test required for professional registration, by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico.
  3. Specified academic courses – Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and that included the courses specified in A above. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program.
  4. Related curriculum – Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least

One year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions.
pavement construction.

2) quality control/quality assurance of paving materials testing.

3) conducting inspections of airfield/roadway paving projects. This definition of specialized experience is typical of work performed at the next lower grade/level position in the federal service (GS- 12).

Job Prospects

Employment of materials engineers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Materials engineers will be needed to design new materials for use both in traditional industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, and in industries focused on new medical or scientific products. However, most materials engineers work in manufacturing industries, many of which are expected to have declines or little change in employment.

Demand for materials engineers is expected to come from growing fields, such as biomedical engineering and three-dimensional printing. For example, materials engineers’ expertise is crucial in helping biomedical engineers develop new materials for medical implants.

Research and development firms will increasingly employ materials engineers as they explore new uses for materials technology in consumer products, industrial processes, and medicine.

Prospects should be best for applicants who gained experience by participating in internships or co-op programs while in college.

Computer modeling and simulations, rather than extensive and costly laboratory testing, are increasingly being used to predict the performance of new materials. Thus, those with a background in computer modeling should have better employment opportunities.

Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

OPM Working To Assist Agencies With Updated Skill Development

Federal Agencies are seeking ways to become more streamlined, efficient and effective in our new era of cyber-security. Given this, jobs are being reconstructed to satisfy the need for technology, innovation, automation and security, just to name a few key areas. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is offering assistance as part of this preparation with training, education and skill enhancement opportunities. Other sources such as the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center  assists management and their employees to develop viable Individual development Plans (IDPs).  This service offers individual career development assessments and guides federal employees and management through the process using their interactive Career Planning Checklist.

OPM has also crafted a new strategic plan that provides specific information on this endeavor that includes a focus on ‘soft’ skills as part of the holistic approach for employees. With numerous challenges, to include knowledge management and transfer, this assistance is critical for all agencies and particularly those facing cybersecurity objectives. OPM will work with these agencies to enhance their internal processes, procedures and policies, supplement training and provide expertise and coaching so that they can better equip themselves with the tools they need to shape a skilled and prepared workforce.

Becoming “cyber-security compliant” is a critical task moving forward for these agencies and OPM promises to do everything in their power so that their current challenges can become opportunities for growth, protection and hardened security postures.

Agencies aren’t typically experienced with looking ‘inside’ their organizations to strengthen, streamline and enhance processes, procedures and policies, particularly when it comes to employee skill development and the strategic needs of the business. That’s where the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center can help.

OPM recommends perhaps looking at work roles and billet structures as a first step; along with a strategic vision, clear goals and objectives, these work roles and billets can become the foundation for a successful mission. Pay for performance is another area where organizations can work to capitalize on knowledge, skills and abilities throughout the organization; employees are then able to be rewarded for their increased responsibilities, heightened work activities or acquisition of additional skills, training and knowledge through coursework, for example. The Federal Aviation Administration initiated a core compensation pay plan in the 1990’s that rewards employees for outstanding performance.

A sound education and training program is another element for successful skill development. Organizations must ensure they leverage flexible telework options, training courses, academic partnerships and more that foster a holistic learning environment. A variety of opportunities that include online learning, self-paced courses, briefings, and more not only bring employees together, but foster collaboration and information sharing among colleagues that will in turn, enhance organizational missions. Finally, senior leadership buy in and support are paramount when implementing a new ‘skill development’ program; employees will look to them as the pillar for the change. Mentorship, coaching and professional development programs are a must in any organization. By looking internally to determine what the key objectives for the business are, how billets and work roles are aligned and arming employees with the right tools and resources to fulfil them are a productive mix. OPM will continue to work with agencies as they are interested, to map soft skills with technical opportunities and more for a robust and solid approach to enhanced employee skill development throughout the federal community and beyond.

Reference:

Ogrysko, N. (2018, Mar 6). Retrieved from https://federalnewsradio.com/your-job/2018/03/opm-says-itll-help-agencies-re-skill-federal-employees-for-jobs-of-the-future/

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Tips on Writing your Federal Resume

Resumes are unique and specifically those that are aimed at landing a spot on the federal employment roster or changing jobs within. With a few tweaks, you can create a new federal style resume that highlights your experience while emphasizing your ability to meet the needs of the federal government mission. By using phrases and keywords, for example, along with the criteria mentioned in the vacancy announcement, you can become one of the top candidates!

Finding a way to show value to a government organization while highlighting your knowledge, skills and abilities is challenging. By organizing your information appropriately, you can effectively capture attention while communicating your most important attributes.

  1. Be sure to review the job opening or announcement in detail, be thorough and select the important criteria surrounding the duties or qualifications required so as to be sure you have the qualifications to do the job they are looking to fill.
  2. Demonstrate your experience surrounding these specific qualifications and build upon them with your skills and abilities; present a picture of a solid understanding of them while meeting requirements.
  3. Illustrate and highlight performances by incorporating personal success stories into the resume; be sure to address examples for each of the duty areas mentioned in the open position. Use statistics and numbers where you can (saved x amount of time and/or money for the company, etc.).
  4. In addition to employment highlights, be sure to include any hobby/volunteer skills that may be applicable or perhaps those acquired from an additional part-time career (past or present).. (writing, bookkeeping, editing, etc.)
  5. List any and all education that is currently being pursued (additional degree, certifications, etc.).
  6. List any and all awards, achievements, hobbies or titles applicable to the skills surrounding the position you are seeking (author, publisher, blog, etc.).
  7. Include any unique responsibilities (international travel, deployments, military reserves, etc.)
  8. Make it personal where you can and be sure to avoid using acronyms that others may not understand; proofread and ensure formatting, tone and tense are appropriate (bullet format, bold where applicable, reverse chronological order, etc.).
  9. Highlight your computer skills (MS Word, Project, Excel, Powerpoint, Graphic Designer, etc.) as applicable
  10. Include your resume even though the organization or agency may require an additional application

Some keywords found on government resume submissions include:

Spearheaded  –  Improved  –  Managed

Streamlined  –  Authored  –  Developed

Steadfast  –  Saved  –  Implemented

Fostered  –  Engaged  –  Hand-Picked

The above words can assist in not only capturing your expertise, but effectively highlighting your accomplishments. With a simple change, here is an example:

Old: Worked with a small team to develop a new mobility application for our organization which was very successful.

New: Spearheaded a new mobility application (called XFirst), which expanded our European business market segment by 10% and increased our international sales by 5% in year one.

Overall, be sure to present your knowledge, skills and abilities in an organized, yet attention grabbing fashion; highlight your experiences and background to demonstrate a sound ability to meet job expectations. Proofread, proofread, proofread to ensure an error-free submission; be timely with all responses, ensure proper tone and format as well and maintain a positive attitude with the recruiter at all times. A sample federal style resume is available for your review and if you need assistance there are expert resume writing services available that can help you tailor your resume to the job announcement.

Good Luck!

References & Career Planning Tools 

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

CRAFTING A RESUME

Writing a private sector or federal style resume using civilian terminology is an important strategy in the job hunting process, especially for veterans. However, it has received too much emphasis from resume writing gurus who are all over the internet. Job-hunting is not a one-step deal, like writing a resume. It is a process in which you define the objective and then devise strategies to accomplish the mission. It is similar to a military operation that all veterans experienced. Objective + Strategies = Operation.

Resume

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of resume writing, here are some general rubrics to guide you through the process.

  • There is nothing sacred about traditional wisdom, which says limit your private sector resume to two pages. Length depends on the depth and breadth of your experience in the military and civilian life beforehand. If you joined the military after college or after working for a few years, and then spent six years in the Marines with multiple deployments, then your story will probably take more than two pages to tell. It’s important to note that a federal style resume can be from 3 to 10 pages or more in length depending on the extent of your background. You must tailor your federal resume to the Job Announcement describing how you achieved the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position. If you are applying for a federal job review the sample federal style resume that is posted online.
  • Never use military acronyms. Resumes must be written using civilian terminology. No exceptions. Remember that most hiring managers and human resources directors reading your resume have had no military experience. If they see something on your resume like NAVSPECWORCOM (United States Naval Special Warfare Command), they will shake their heads and possibly trash your resume.
  • Translate your military jobs into civilian terminology. Veterans may have covered this in their Transition Assistance Program (TAP), but to refresh your memory go to www.military.com and www.va.gov and review the job translator pages.
  • Format your resume clearly and precisely. Resist the temptation to get cute and use multiple colors, boxes, charts, etc. Use 12 pt. Times New Roman typeface, the usual format for resumes and other business documents. Place major headings in upper case bold; text in lower case regular type. Under all major headings, list the main points in bullet point format instead of paragraph format. Keep it simple. Keep it clean. For federal job applicants the majority apply online using a resume builder program. It is best to draft your federal resume on your desktop just like you would for a private sector job. This will give you time to thoroughly complete the resume and federal application and cover all of the requirements listed in the job announcement.
  • Your resume must be free from spelling and grammatical errors. No exceptions. If you submit a resume with spelling and grammar errors, it will be trashed even if the company is military friendly. To avoid mistakes, always proofread your resume ALOUD, and then have another person do the same. Always run your document through the spell checker, but remember that it is not infallible. Spell checkers make mistakes and usually they do not read words in context. For example, most spell checkers will not distinguish the difference among two, to, and too.
  • Avoid using broad generalizations. Quantify your experiences. For example, stating a military work experience in general terms like this conveys little to the reader: “Treated a large number of patients at the emergency facility at McGuire Air Force Base.” Quantifying your experience like this will mean much more to the reader: “Treated an average of thirty patients per day over a twelve month period at McGuire Air Force Base.”  This is very important for federal resumes as well as you must describe in detail how you achieved required knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • The resume alone will not get you a job. A common misbelief is that sending a “dynamite” resume to multiple job boards and career pages, will result in job offers floating down to your desk like manna from heaven. The purpose of the resume is to take you to the next step in the job hunting process; a personal interview with the hiring manager or human resources director.
  • Submit your resume only to a named person with a job title at a named company. For example, address it to “Mr. James Smith. Sales Manager. Boeing Co.” Send your resume to “Job #23” or “Position 46” or “Employment Manager” and you will get a startling result. Nothing. You might as well send it to the third ring of the planet Saturn. How do you learn the name of the person you want to reach? Call the company customer service representative and ask. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you will get the information you need. Alternatively, go to LinkedIn and enter the position title and company name: Sales Manager, Home Depot. Federal resumes and application are typically submitted online through USAJOBS.gov. Keep a copy of the federal job announcement. If you have any questions about the application process or job requirements contact information is provided.   
  • Resume format and style change with the times. Here are the major components of today’s resume. Include all of the following components, in the order listed, because Human Resources Directors and Hiring Managers will be looking for them.

RESUME COMPONENTS

  1. PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION. Begin the resume with your personal identification; name, address, phone number and email address. This goes at the top of the first page with your name in upper case bold. The rest can go in lower case regular type.
  2. SUMMARY OR OBJECTIVE. This is a brief statement of your skills and how they can help the company going forward. It should run no more than ten lines and be written in paragraph format. Think of it as an advertisement for you. When submitting your resume for a specific job use OBJECTIVE. State that you are seeking the job referenced for a specific company as stated on a job description, an internet job board or on a career page. Couch your language in terms that relate to the job requirements. Use SUMMARY if you are submitting your resume to a human resources director for a non-specific job.
  3. MILITARY WORK EXPERIENCE. State your military jobs in civilian terms along with the job location and time period. Itemize your specific responsibilities in bullet point format and quantify as much as possible.
  4. CIVILIAN WORK EXPERIENCE. Use this major heading for any pre or post military civilian job experience. Use the same rubrics you used for Military Work Experience.
  5. AWARDS, RECOGNITION, COMMUNITY SERVICE. List all awards and citations you received for performance or honors going back to high school. List all charitable work you have done in both civilian life and the military.
  6. TECHNOLOGY SKILLS. List all of your technology skills including personal productivity, business and social apps.
  7. TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS CERTIFICATIONS. In this section, list in bullet point format all military and civilian online or resident certifications. Include apprenticeship programs, too. Job candidates frequently forget that certifications are an important part of their education history. Potential employers will give you positive marks for earning certifications in areas like web design, accounting, truck and driving and for working in a trade like carpentry.
  8. EDUCATION. Use one line for each school experience dating back to high school. After listing your high school and college experiences, list all professional development courses. Include bricks-and-mortar education and online education as well. And, be sure to include any bilingual training you might have had

These are the components of a clean, succinct resume that will make the hiring manager stop and take a good look at your candidacy. You need not add other major headings like “Hobbies” or “References.” You can work these items into the personal interview.

CRAFTING YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE

A digital profile is an outline of your experiences posted online. There will be online resources that require writing a digital profile. One that comes to mind is LinkedIn, which all job hunters should use. LinkedIn will ask you to provide a digital profile, which is nothing more than an abbreviated resume. Have your resume handy when you write your digital profile and follow it closely. The digital profile should be a reflection of your resume. Both must work in harmony because hiring managers and human resources directors will review both. If there is a discrepancy, they might ask, “Will the real Mike Jones please stand up?”

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT

When seeking a civilian job, we frequently limit our horizon to the private sector. There is an alternate job market to explore that is so huge that we refer to it as an industry unto itself.

The Federal, State, Local Government Workplace

There are approximately 22,000,000 (read, 22 million) workers employed by federal, state and local governments, making it the largest “industry” in the USA. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the federal government employs approximately 2.5 million workers in a variety of jobs at multiple locations throughout the USA and abroad. State governments employ approximately 5,500,000 workers, and local governments employ 14,500,000 workers. Federal government workers make the highest annual average salary, $81,000. The job hunting rubrics are the same for seeking government jobs. However, there are usually strict application procedures that you must follow or risk elimination. These requirements are clearly stated in the application instructions for each government jobs. Follow them to the letter.

Your most valuable guide for job hunting at the federal government level is unquestionably this website, www.federaljobs.net and the book titled “The Book of U.S. Government Jobs: Where They Are, What’s Available and How To Complete a Federal Resume. This book is in its 11th edition and was authored by Dennis Damp a former federal government employee, Air Force veteran and founder of this website.

MOVING FORWARD

Your resume will act as a door opener if you follow our directions carefully. Our advice is based on our experience as an executive recruiter working with hiring managers and human resources directors. For details about writing your resume, an important strategy in the job hunting process, please refer to Chapters 23, 24, 25 in my book, OPERATION JOB SEARCH, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. In addition, we suggest that you go to www.military.com to view sample resumes written for military veterans. When you go to the site, click on Veteran Jobs and then click on Transition Center. Next click on Get an Expert Resume. Then click on Sample Resumes, where you will find several well-crafted resumes that will serve as a model for your own resume. While you are on the Sample Resume section, review the samples for cover letters as well.

In our September blog, we will discuss these job hunting skills; how and where to find potential employers. Our Industry Spotlight will focus on the Medical and Education Industries.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Crafting a resume is just one step in the job hunting process.
  • Submit a resume only to a named person with a job title in a named company.
  • Your resume must be free from spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • Write your resume in civilian language.
  • The purpose of a resume is to advance your candidacy to the next step, a personal interview.

VETERAN’S RESOURCES

Print and eBooks

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Using USAJobs to Your Advantage – Apply Early and Frequently

Jean Kapala Brown, Executive Director of the Chicago Federal Executive Board, advises that, “One way to hear about federal job openings FIRST is to have USA jobs send you email alerts.” She goes on to state, “this will be critical with the limited number of applications the system will now accept. As of December 2014, FEMA will limit the number of job applicants to 200 applicants per job announcement across all job categories, in order to expedite the hiring process.”

Previously most agencies accepted applications up to the closing date of the federal job announcement. To streamline and fast track the hiring process agencies are experimenting with closing the job announcement after receipt of a specific number of applications. A single job announcement can easily generate thousands of applications in today’s automated environment and the more applications you have the longer it takes to hire.

Agencies can achieve the same results by limiting the time the bid is open. Some announcements are only open, available, for a week or less. Whether or not they limit the number of applicants or choose to shorten the time a job announcement is advertised applicants must be prepared to reply immediately to any job announcement of interest. Sign up for www.USAJobs.gov email alerts as Jean suggests and visit the site frequently so you won’t miss out on a job opportunity in your area.

Some feel this is unfair and limits the application pool. My personal opinion is that it is generally a good thing because too often agency HR departments gets bogged down with the administrative burden of having to review, assess, and evaluate thousands of applications for a single opening. By limiting the number, the HR departments can thoroughly review and assess each application received so that the most qualified are properly identified. Without these limitations it can take months to fill a critical position.

I experienced this firsthand during my career. I was a certified rating official with the Federal Aviation Administration for technical specialties in the 2100 series. When announcements closed I would travel to the regional office in New York City to evaluate and rate applicant’s packages. It was tedious and very time consuming. Even with today’s advanced automation HR specialists still make the final determinations and with the new Category Rating System supervisors and staff must be more involved throughout the hiring process.

The old saying that the early bird catches the worm still applies and is true in most venues; you have to be prepared and with today’s automation it’s easy to do. I always recommend completing your federal resume/application off line on your desktop computer before you copy and paste it into the USAJobs’ resume builder. This gives you the opportunity to take your time and compose a thorough application that you can easily update as you gain new experiences, education, and complete new assignments. This applies to employees as well, not just to job seekers. I kept my application updated in real time on my desktop throughout my career so that I was prepared to apply for any job of interest that came my way.

When applying for a job, review the job announcement thoroughly. This document guides you through the application process, lists required experience and/or education, and provides an HR contact for you to call or email if you run into problems. You must tailor your application to each job announcement and many make the mistake of submitting the same application for all jobs they apply for. Even within the same job series qualification and required knowledge, skills and abilities can change and if you leave these out you more than likely will not make the best qualified list.

USAjobs allows you to store up to five resumes and ten candidate documents that you can use to submit for vacancies as they occur. You can easily revise any of them as needed before applying for your next job.

How to Get Started on USAJobs.gov

  • Visit www.USAJobs.gov
  • Click on “Create an Account” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen
  • Enter your email address (required)
  • Create a username
  • Agree to the USAJobs terms and conditions
  • Copy and paste your resume into their resume builder
  • Search, apply for jobs

Seek out all jobs that you qualify for in your area of consideration and apply. If you don’t find anything in your primary search look for related occupations that you can meet the qualifications for to get your foot in the door. One of the keys to success is finding viable openings to apply for and to do this today you have to be proactive and constantly searching available listings for opportunities. Sign up for job email alerts and visit USAJobs frequently to make a connection.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Federal Job Hunting Tips – Your Roadmap to Landing a High Paying Government Job

Many apply for federal jobs each year. How can you stand out from the crowd when you apply? There are many ways for you to get at the head of the line if you know a few of the tricks of the trade.  Many applicants simply don’t follow the explicit “How to Apply” directions that are available with every federal job announcement and end up submitting inferior applications that don’t make the grade; literally. With the new Category Rating application evaluation process if you don’t make it to the “Best Qualified” list you won’t be considered for the position.

Why is it that some who land jobs with Uncle Sam have half the experience, education, and special qualifications that you have — and you’re still looking? Many who approach the federal sector fail because they didn’t take the time to understand the federal hiring process. Others get frustrated by the required paperwork and give up prematurely.

Don’t let this happen to you. Take your time and learn how to apply before going online and submitting your first federal resume and application. Many simply go to USAJobs.gov and start submitting their resumes without knowing the significant differences between a private sector and federal resume and lose out in the process.  The following tips that can help you make the interview list:

  • Looking for federal jobs takes time and patience and it is best to apply early and often.  Applications can take six to eight weeks or even longer for processing after the closing date. It can take even longer if written tests are required. From the time you first identify an opening to actual interviews and hiring can take months in some cases even under recent hiring reform initiatives.  There is a new twist to this scenario, many agencies are issuing federal job announcements with short open periods, often a  week or less,  because they receive so many applications. It will still take time after the closing date to process and rate all applications. However, if you don’t check for vacancies frequently you may miss out on good opportunities.
  • Many apply for only one job announcement. Seek out all available job vacancies and continue to send in applications with every opportunity. Don’t limit yourself to USAJobs.gov. This excellent site does advertise the majority of all federal jobs, however, you may be passing up job opportunities in your own back yard by not visiting individual agency recruitment sites in your area.  Also review consolidated job listings that include federal, state, and private sector job vacancies for your occupation.
  • Read the job announcements thoroughly. These important documents provide all of the information you need to apply including qualifications required for the position. When I say read it thoroughly I mean word for word and don’t stop if at first you feel you don’t meet the qualifications. Many jobs, especially in the administrative and management fields, often require a BS degree OR 3 years of general experience for an entry level job.  Many applicants read BS degree and immediately think they won’t qualify; keep reading and you may be surprised that your work experience is as valuable, in many cases, as a 4 year college degree.
  • Prepare a professional and comprehensive federal resume and application. Too many applicants take shortcuts and revert back to the private sector resume format ─ a HUGE mistake.  The most popular application method today is the federal resume, for a number of reasons. First, most people are familiar with resumes and secondly, with the increase in online submissions, the resume format makes the most sense because it is easy to copy and paste from your federal  resume into online resume builders.  The differences are significant. Considerably more detail is required for the federal resume and if you don’t provide the required federal resume information  your application may be rejected. At the very least you risk not being placed in the highest category rating and less likely to be referred to the selecting official.
  • Prepare for the job interview. Today, the selecting official can interview as few or as many applicants in the “Best Qualified ” list as they desire.  Learn about the agency by visiting their web site and learning about their mission and current activities. Most publish press releases that will also help you understand their mission and responsibilities.  Even under the best of conditions, interviews are often intimidating, and going to an interview without knowing the “rules” can be downright frightening. Understanding the  interview process will help you throughout your career and just knowing what to expect will improve your mental stability as well.

In the final analysis, agencies hire someone who has the abilities and talents for the position.  It is up to the applicant to demonstrate they are the right selection by submitting a comprehensive and thorough application package and by doing well in the interview. Don’t leave the interview to chance. Proper preparation can mean the difference between success and failure.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.