Forty “One Stop” employment counselors from Maryland and DC have just been trained on the ins and outs of the federal job search. Maryland’s Department of Labor, wanted One Stop clients to have strong support when applying for 20,000 BRAC-related federal jobs flowing into his state. Kathryn Troutman, the federal jobs expert leading the training team.
The state of Maryland has been getting ready. Due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions made in 2005, Maryland expects to receive about 20,000 direct federal jobs. Huge reorganizations of military bases and DOD agencies have slated thousands of additional jobs for the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds and Fort Meade. The state’s Department of Labor, wanted to improve the success of federal job seekers moving through his One Stop employment centers. Now Md. State and DC employment counselors have received intensive training in the federal job search.
“Applying to work for the federal government is different than in the private sector and much more mysterious for most people,” noted Kathryn Troutman, who is leading the Federal Career Training Institute team doing the training.
Applying for federal jobs has always been complicated. Back in 2002, Troutman recognized the need for special in-depth certifications in federal job training and coaching … coincidentally while doing a one-day training with job counselors in Maryland. The counselors told her they were intimidated by the federal hiring process and tended to avoid it. This conversation a decade ago inspired Troutman to establish her dual track Certified Federal Job Search Trainer™ and Federal Career Coach™ Certifications. The specifics of federal job counseling for veterans are part of the certifications and Maryland training. With the drawbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, One Stop counselors need to be especially prepared to help ex-military with federal employment. Since federal job titles are different, counselors need to be trained on how to match past experience with the right positions.
In all, 35 “One Stop” employment counselors from Maryland and five from DC completed the major portion of the federal jobs training earlier this year. This means that there is now one Federal Career Navigator for each One Stop office in the state of Maryland. The 2-1/2 day training was done in two groups of 20. The One Stop counselors will all also attend a one-day follow-up session to address any challenges and remaining questions.
Three Federal Career Training Institute trainers lead the two groups through a comprehensive back-grounding in federal employment:
Day 1: Troutman’s 10 Steps to a Federal Job™ approach to applying for federal jobs
Day 2: A federal HR primer, including “special populations” hiring programs (veterans, military spouses, the disabled, etc.)
Day 3: Coaching Practice, including assessment of job applicant skills, figuring out what the jobseeker’s objectives are, determining the skills called for in a job announcement, and counseling on improving the resume and writing it toward a particular position.
Incorporated within the training was also coverage of Troutman’s outline resume-writing technique, a format which has been well received by federal HR. “A major problem with the earlier job campaigns in Maryland was certainly the resumes,” Troutman explained. “Federal resumes require a special format, which is three to four pages on average. Accomplishments need to be emphasized, rather than past duties. Keywords are important. A general resume won’t do.” She said that, for veterans, writing the federal resume can be especially challenging since many have never had to write one before.
Troutman’s federal job certifications are turnkey programs, which means everything is supplied. The Maryland students received six books, including The Federal Resume Guidebook, 5th edition and books geared toward veterans, students and senior executives. They also were given a Powerpoint of Ten Steps training that can be presented to jobseekers. The very hands-on course was taught at the computer. The certification lasts for two years.
Troutman sees the training of One Stop counselors in Maryland as a model for One Stop centers in other states, especially areas with a high concentration of federal jobs or BRAC opportunities.
“The training demystifies the federal application process,” said Troutman. “After the three days, the counselors feel confidant that they understand the federal system, and can advise applicants on federal jobs that best match their skill set. It’s so important that federal resumes be targeted toward a specific federal job, and we emphasize this throughout the entire three days.”
Now in their tenth year, Troutman’s Federal Job Search Trainer™ and Federal Career Coach™ certifications are the first and only certification programs on the federal job search. The programs are pre-approved to fulfill 24 continuing education hours for the Center of Credentialing and Education’s Global Career Development Facilitator certification. For more information on Troutman’s certification programs and other federal career services, go to www.fedjobtraining.com.