Accomplishment Samples

Our process of creating your successful federal application involves being able to write and talk about your accomplishments effectively. To do this, we use the CCAR method of telling accomplishments stories. CCAR stands for Context, Challenge, Action, and Result. We use accomplishments in the CCAR format in your resume, questionnaire narratives, interview prep, and SES ECQs.

To help you understand this method, some of our staff writers have created CCAR Accomplishment examples for you to read. Enjoy!  We wrote our CCAR Accomplishments using the RP CCAR Accomplishment Builder. Try it out!  It’s really cool!

Kathryn Troutman

Context:

In 2002, just a few months after 9/11, The Resume Place was inundated with first-time federal jobseekers who wanted to know how to get a job with FBI, CIA, NSA, FEMA, DHS, the new TSA or any other federal agency that could help protect the nation’s security. We were getting calls from car sales reps, retail store managers, bank tellers, mortgage bankers, security specialists, police officers and IT specialists.

Challenge:

To meet these demands and attract new clients through the expansion of my business lines, I quickly realized that I needed to come up with a simplified way to explain how to obtain federal employment   and write a federal resume in an easy-to-follow and understandable way for clients to market their skills and competencies.   The application process for landing a federal job is highly-complex compared to the private sector application process, which is simply a resume and cover letter. The federal application process requires multiple steps. I needed a way to explain this to thousands of jobseekers to support the wars that were coming from the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

Action:

In response to this challenge, I developed a new federal job search curriculum and titled it, “Ten Steps to a Federal Job.” I taught it for the first time at a career resource center in Montgomery County, Maryland.   In that first workshop, I found that the career counselors there only had 10% interest in federal jobs, because of the complicated application processes. I decided that the Ten Steps curriculum that I created should be publishes and presented in a book called “Ten Steps to a Federal Job.” Additionally,   I decided to create a Certification training program to teach other career counselors, military transition counselors, and employment counselors, in applying the Ten Steps to Federal Job methods and to advise their jobseekers in successful federal resume writing methods.   In turn, I published several publications including the Ten Steps and the Jobseeker Guide, a Trainers’ Guide, and the PowerPoint program. Lastly, I established the Certified Federal Job Search trainer and Certified Federal Career Coach train-the-trainer program.

Result:

The Jobseeker Guide is in its 6th edition and has sold more than 150,000 books since 2002. . Many of the Department of Defense (DOD) armed services including the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army have adopted the Ten Steps to a Federal Job to supplement the Transition Assistance Program that is a mandatory DOD program worldwide. The Certification program has taught more than 1,200 employment and transition counselors, university career counselors, veteran’s counselors, disabled veteran’s counselors and One-Stop counselors worldwide. I have traveled to Europe, the Pacific and throughout the US to teach “Ten Steps to a Federal Job” more than 150 times. The Ten Steps to a Federal Job Curriculum is the first-ever and still the only federal job search curriculum that is begin taught as a standardized curriculum for the largest employer in the United States –the Federal Government. This published curriculum is in its 7th edition and incorporates the latest legislative changes in federal hiring process. The Ten Steps method is being frequently taught at more than 75 military bases worldwide by Certified Federal Job Search Trainers.

Sarah Blazucki

Context:

In October 2006, I took over as editor of Philadelphia Gay News, the oldest LGBT newsweekly on the East Coast. At the time, I’d worked as a staff writer at the paper for six months, and the editor who had hired me left abruptly after a conflict with the publisher.

Challenge:

My challenges were two-fold. First, I needed to get up to speed on the editing and production process for the next issue in one week. Second, I identified that the paper’s reputation had been damaged by previous staff, and that much of the community it was intended to serve didn’t trust us. Community leaders wouldn’t talk to us, reporters misquoted sources, and community members didn’t read the paper. Furthermore, the publisher was a polarizing figure in the community, who, at times, alienated other leaders in the community. As I wasn’t originally from Philadelphia, I didn’t know the history of problems and what had happened to isolate the paper from the community. But I knew I needed to fix it if we were going to be relevant.

Action:

To address the steep learning curve of taking over as editor and putting out a paper the next week, I used all of my resources. I reviewed the editorial budget and talked to the other writers to determine and assign stories for the issue, then worked closely with my production staff through the layout process. It was a true on-the-job learning experience.

The second challenge was larger and more complex: I had to rebuild the trust of the community and make sure that I was covering important stories they wanted to read. To resolve these, I first held a series of editorial roundtable meetings, inviting community members and leaders to advise me on what they thought the paper needed to do to repair relationships and improve. I researched the community, identified key players and introduced myself to them. Over several months, I held several meetings, compiling recommendations and rebuilding trust with the community. I seriously listened to their concerns about coverage, diversity, accuracy and openness. I also met individually with leaders of various organizations so that I could learn more about what they did, the role of their organizations and what specific concerns they had about the paper. I made an effort to attend community events, both personally and professionally, and to assign writers and photographers to events to show that the paper truly wanted to cover the diverse aspects of the community it served. I made sure that we were seen in the community and that the community saw themselves in the paper. I also added new writers and columns, again ensuring that these reflected the diversity of our readership.

I ensured that my staff was highly professional in their verbal and written communications, as well as ensuring that their articles were fair, balanced and accurate. I put into place stricter procedures on working with sources to ensure that we didn’t misquote anyone. On the occasions that we printed erroneous information, I worked quickly to correct it.

Result:

As a result of my conversations and ongoing efforts, I rebuilt the paper’s reputation and developed both deep and wide relationships with the community. Furthermore, the paper once again became a trusted, unbiased news source. My efforts helped the newspaper win more than 30 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Suburban Newspapers of America, National Society of Newspaper Columnists and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Barbara Chism

Context:

I was newly appointed as a Federal Human Resources (HR) Leader to manage a staff of HR Specialists with blended competencies to meet mission requirements for the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The scope of our HR programs was extremely broad and encompassed multiple disciplines to include performance management, senior-executive services, staffing, classification, position management, and employee relations. Our serviced population included senior-level executives to include a Presidential appointee. Organizationally, the OIG was aligned under a cabinet-level department and structured with three operating program offices with an administrative arm to support the mission requirements.

Challenge:

I assumed my new leadership role at a time when my staff had a reputation of underperforming.   The   OIG program offices were complaining of inadequate HR services and timeliness issues with the delivery of our products and services. Customer service and satisfaction needed to become our number one focus, so our current operations had to change. The functions of my team were diverse   and some of my staff did not possess the skill set required to get the job done. To enhance organizational goal setting, I had to determine what motivated each individual in the performance of their position.

Action:

I met with OIG program office officials to identify problems that needed to be addressed. Based on the input from program managers, I identified areas of weakness and vulnerability. I created organizational goals and objectives that aligned with customer expectations. I shared my vision for change to improve the delivery of our products and services to program areas through group and one-on-one meetings with my staff.

To achieve success in meeting our goals, I had to obtain buy in from each staff member. I also stressed the importance of working as a team. I emphasized that each individual needed to support the team especially at a time when we were challenged with increasing workload demands.

I managed my staff through one-on-one communications, empowering them to make decisions in problem solving, and seeking their feedback. When assigning work, I consistently matched abilities and technical competencies and interests with the assignment. I made assignments with an expected outcome to include timeframes and customer expectations. Once assigned, I encouraged my staff to seek the assistance of other team members.

I also stressed the importance of employee development through formal and on-the-job training and offered cross-training opportunities to gain the required skills and competencies to improve our products and services. I also encouraged open dialog between managers and our team in which employees were empowered to express cares and concerns and offer ideas for changing and streamlining processes.

I frequently conducted all-hands meetings where I shared my vision and strategies for positive change. I also met individually with staff members on a regular basis. I used these one-on-one meetings to develop rapport and encourage open dialog in which employees were empowered to make their own decisions and offer innovative ideas for changing the culture. I held employees accountable for their performance and conduct. I rewarded successful performers, while counseling and providing assistance to underperformers.

Once assigned a project, I set up status checkpoints and empowered the employee to complete the task. Employees knew the types of problems or deviations that needed to be brought to my attention or to work independently.

I implemented programs to recruit, train, and develop employees to equip them with the outstanding skills and abilities necessary to successfully function in today’s workplace. I also developed mentoring programs to assist employees in attaining their short- and long-term professional and personal goals.

Result:

As a result of these initiatives, my staff had a renewed focus and energy to improve their own production and work ethic. Following these efforts, I saw significant improvements in morale and cooperation among employees. To illustrate, one individual who was experiencing periodic patterns of high leave-usage, was motivated to report to work and significantly improve their work products. Individuals also started taking ownership of their work products and took pride in delivering a quality work product within established timeframes. Employees also volunteered for special projects because they recognized that they have the support and backing from myself and other team members. Feedback from program offices has been very favorable as a result of these changes.

Paulina Chen

Context:

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The most effective way to prevent radon in homes is to build homes with a few modifications that reduce radon. The cost is minimal at the time of construction compared with the cost of retrofitting a home with the features. At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we worked to both get radon-resistant features incorporated into the building codes and to encourage homebuilders to voluntarily add this feature, which is also consistent with building an energy-efficient home.

Challenge:

We did not have a clear guide for builders explaining the problem of radon and how to build homes radon-resistant.

Action:

As the team lead for the Radon-Resistant New Construction team at EPA, I took on the lead for producing this guide. The team collaborated on the content for the guide, and I contracted an illustrator to hand draw the graphics. I also purchased the desktop publishing software, learned how to use it, and did the layout for the publication.

Result:

We produced an 81-page publication that became a highly effective communication tool for our outreach to homebuilders. Furthermore, this publication opened up an opportunity for me to work with Kathryn Troutman and the Resume Place. When we met and she learned that my career goal was to become a freelance graphic designer, she reviewed the radon publication and decided to offer me the opportunity to work on her first edition of the Ten Steps to a Federal Job, which was honored with three awards. Since then, we have collaborated on nearly a dozen book projects.

John Gagnon

Context:

In 2010, the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC), which receives approximately 12 million calls per year, suffered from lengthy wait times and a high rate of “dropped calls” due to an outdated and poorly designed Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.

Challenge:

It became increasingly clear – based on stakeholder feedback and Ombudsman reports that a total system revamp was necessary.

Action:

Hand-selected by leadership as a member of a small team dedicated to revamping the IVR, my role was to review the IVR’s structure, logic/layout, and language. Using data analytics, I identified customer-based high priority topics, using them to drive the new IVR structure while enhancing opportunities to reach “live assistance.”  Once we completed the redesign, emphasis shifted to language and I worked with my team to draft, from the ground up, entirely new content for IVR prompts and general information statements. Through my efforts – and those of my team members – the new IVR successfully launched in 2011, effectively eliminating confusing language, removing “dead end” scenarios, and improving overall customer experience.

Result:

As a result of these improvements, the NCSC saw significantly reduced wait times, less dropped calls, and increases in customer satisfaction.  Moreover, I was acknowledged, along with my team members, by USCIS with a Plain Language Award – an award that recognizes the effective use of clear and usable information by the government to the public.

Sarah Greenberg

Context:

For my Master’s project at NC State University, I conducted a 3-month qualitative study called “Gluten-free College Life: A Case Study of Students with Celiac Disease (CD) at NC State University.” I explored the physical and emotional challenges that face college students with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that attacks the small intestine upon the ingestion of gluten, causing severe cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea, and leading to malnutrition. The objective of this study was to reveal how communication between students with CD and representatives from campus resources could be improved so that students’ needs, such as safer food options on campus, increased knowledge about CD among all students and staff, and feeling emotionally integrated into university life, could be met.

Challenge:

Avoiding gluten on a college campus is almost impossible. College students are surrounded by gluten in dining hall food and alcohol, and do not always have access to transportation to travel to off-campus grocery stores and restaurants. The health requirements that accompany CD often consume students’ lives, as the social outings and campus events that gluten-tolerant students can attend without hesitation, require a significant amount of planning for students with CD. The struggles of students with CD remain invisible to most of the campus community. NC State has attempted to accommodate students with CD by offering gluten-free (GF) foods in dining halls, giving students access to separate locations to store their personal food, and providing them with nutritional assistance from a campus dietitian. However, these policies fail to address sufficiently enough the needs of NC State students with CD.

Action:

I obtained approval from my university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) to work with my participants. To obtain this approval, I described my study in writing, detailing my objective, interview questions, and measures I would take to preserve the privacy and safety of my participants.

I conducted in-person interviews eleven participants: four NC State students with celiac disease; six campus officials from student resources such as Dining Services, the Disability Services Office, University Housing, Student Health, and the Counseling Center; and one outside expert, a nutritionist unaffiliated with NC State who counsels college students with food allergies.

Result:

My study was successful in that it achieved my objective of revealing where communication about CD could be improved between college students and campus officials. My study contributed to the formation of a support group for NC State students with food allergies run by the Student Health Center. After the first meeting of the support group, student attendees reported feeling more accepted at NC State University because they had the opportunity to share their experiences with students facing the same challenges as them. I discussed my findings in a 30-page research paper and 15-minute presentation to a three-person committee of professors who received my work positively.

Resume-length CCAR:

At NC State University, I conducted a 3-month qualitative study exploring the physical and emotional challenges facing college students with celiac disease (CD). The objective of this study was to reveal how communication between students with CD and university administration could be improved so that safer food options could be provided on campus. Recognizing the many challenges faced by students suffering from CD, I sought to actively enhance campus-wide policies to improve the experience for students with CD. I obtained approval from the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) to work with my participants. I conducted in-person interviews encompassing students, campus officials, and outside experts and formally presented my research in a 30-page paper and an oral presentation to a committee of professors. As a result of my study, the University Health Center responded to the issue and formed a support group for NC State students with food allergies.

Amber Griffith

Context:

As the lead Proposal Writer for a small government contracting firm on the East Coast, I worked for over a year planning and developing a response to a Department of State solicitation to provide technical security design and installation services worldwide for 67 countries.

Challenge:

Because the company was a small business, there were only 4 individuals working the effort. The proposal requirements were extensive (150 page Solicitation). The real challenge was building the ideas and processes necessary to actually run the effort from the ground up. We developed our full implementation process in order to write the proposal. The individuals running the company had experience, but the company itself did not have specifically related past performance, so not all of the necessary pieces were in place and some had to be conceived, planned and developed before we could submit a convincing proposal.

Action:

Through research, analysis, customer and industry intel, the team figured out what the government wanted out of the contract, what was missing from their current effort and what their problems were with the contract. Using executive experience, industry best practices, and innovative ideas, I helped build our internal processes, business approach and drafted the 75-page proposal response.

Result:

After MANY iterations, at least 36 versions, there was a complete response to submit. After more than a year of government review and deliberation, our response was chosen as the winner of the 5 year $158,246,611 contract, which is successfully being implemented today. The contracted security services have been installed in 15 countries to date to ensure the safety of the State Department Facilities and staff worldwide.

Resume-length CCAR:

As the lead Proposal Writer for a small government contracting firm on the East Coast, I worked for over a year developing a response to a Department of State solicitation to provide technical security design and installation services worldwide for 67 countries. Because the company was a small business, there were only 4 individuals working the effort. The proposal requirements were extensive (150 page Solicitation). The real challenge was building the ideas and processes necessary to actually run the effort from the ground up. Through research, analysis, customer and industry intel, the team figured out what the government wanted out of the contract, what was missing from their current effort and what their problems were with the contract. Using executive experience, industry best practices, and innovative ideas, I helped build our internal processes, business approach and drafted the 75-page proposal response. As a result of my efforts, our proposal was chosen as the winner of the 5-year $158,246,611 contract, which is successfully being implemented today. The contracted security services have been installed in 15 countries, ensuring the safety of the State Department Facilities and staff worldwide.

Debbie Hahn

Context:

The passage of the Federal Acquisition Reform Act (FARA), and in particular, those sections pertaining to the acquisition workforce, required me, as Acquisition Career Manager, to recruit and retain a capable, competent, and professional workforce. The Act prescribed the basic structure for the establishment of education, training, and experience criteria for a career in the field of acquisition both for the Department of Defense and civilian agencies. Additionally under FARA, revisions to the qualification standard for the GS-1102 contracting positions incorporated a positive education requirement for anyone entering the acquisition workforce.

Challenge:

This legislation presented many challenges to me in the restructuring of a program existing for over 20 years. I realized early on that change would not be welcomed by those in the acquisition workforce now facing higher education requirements to further their careers beyond the GS-12 level. Current staff were faced with an aggressive training program to remain current with constant changes in the acquisition arena and changes to the existing certification program, affecting their ability to receive and maintain a Contracting Officer warrant.

Action:

I made it a point to keep the staff in the loop at all times. I also represented the Agency on the Interagency Acquisition Career Management Committee (IACMC) led by the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI). This provided me with the opportunity to have a say in the changes made affecting the workforce. I provided firsthand information to the staff on the new certification program on a regular basis thereby lessening the anxiety of the staff.

I partnered with civilian agency and DOD peers in the establishment of core competencies for the acquisition workforce. These core competencies set the standard and were the cornerstone for establishing the government wide FAC-C Program. Certification under this program is recognized and accepted by all Federal agencies with the intent of reciprocity between DOD and civilian agencies.

This effort took approximately 2 years to complete and involved extensive collaboration between representatives of all Federal agencies, civilian and DOD; workforce surveys; and subsequent validation of the surveys. This was the first step to aligning core competencies and training requirements by integrating a defined set of skills into an established curriculum.

I also requested that the Director, FAI visit SSA Headquarters to review the existing program to ensure consistency with the requirements under the FAC-C program. This action allowed the Agency to take advantage of a time-limited, streamlined conversion to the new program avoiding a lengthy application process for employees.

Result:

Once the decision was made to adopt the DOD curriculum, I decided that SSA’s acquisition workforce would transition immediately (1 year in advance of the planned governmentwide implementation date.) Through the process of gradually enrolling employees into classes in the DOD curriculum, the transition was virtually seamless to the staff and we were positioned to move forward to implement the new FAC-C program at SSA.

Impressed by the extensive documentation and quality control in place, the Director approved the streamlined conversion, saving employees countless hours of recreating and gathering historical documentation dating back 20 years or more in some cases. At the next IACMC meeting, the Director, FAI, showcased the SSA certification program as an example by which other agencies could set their standards.

Part of my rollout strategy included a briefing to all Headquarters and Regional employees on the implementation plan. Stakeholders were pleased to learn of the streamlined conversion plan and employees appeared eager to begin the process based on positive feedback received. The completed conversion to the new program was accomplished on schedule.

The efforts described above resulted in the successful transition from a certification program in place for over two decades to a new curriculum focusing on the core competencies of this mission critical workforce.

Dottie Hendricks

Context:

In 2001, because of my experience handling large conventions as well as NFL team visits, I was recruited from my hotel position in New Orleans, to lead the coordination and successful execution of Hotel services for the largest hotel in Jacksonville, FL. The hotel had been selected as NFL Headquarters for the 2005 Super Bowl XXXIX.

Challenge:

This would be the largest event ever held in Jacksonville and all 963 guest rooms and 110,000 square feet of event space in the hotel had been reserved by the NFL; some of it 6 weeks in advance of the game. Because this was such a huge endeavor for the city and the hotel, there was some trepidation on the part of the NFL that we would be up to the challenge.

Everything was a concern: planning for service, security, allocation of suites and guest rooms, allocation of meeting space, the use of outdoor space, food, beverage, décor for events, smooth check-in and check-out, shipping, transportation, even temporary housing for additional hotel staff required during Super Bowl week.

My job was to ensure that all the details were handled and communicated, and to gain the confidence of the NFL planning staff.

Action:

Over the course of two years I held regular meetings with hotel management, department heads, key staff, and vendors. Key staff and I attended meetings with NFL Executive planners, local police, local Super Bowl Committee, NFL Security, producers for the half-time show, and more. I kept meticulous notes, sent innumerable letters, memos, training lists, equipment lists and personnel requirement lists.

The year before, at the request of the NFL, I spent 10 days before, during and after at the Houston hotel hosting the NFL headquarters so I could witness firsthand the execution of “Super Bowl Week.” This definitely provided an insight into the scope and intricacies of the operation and assisted in my planning.

In the year prior to the Super Bowl, I held exponentially increased meetings to coordinate all aspects. I developed intricate charts and spreadsheets to track all the requests for suites and guest rooms for team owners, NFL Officials and other VIP’s along with Food and Beverage events. All assignments (and pretty much everything else) had to be approved by the NFL staff before confirming back to guests. Because of the enormous demand, a great deal of time was spent on fending off companies and individuals trying to get rooms or space under the radar.

NFL Staff began moving into the hotel about 6 weeks before the game and NFL marketing, shipping security, press, brand protection, and many other departments took over the function space for their offices. This included coordinating numerous phone lines, office equipment, computers and electrical requirements without overloading the systems.

Result:

By demonstrating to the NFL throughout this 2 year planning process the commitment of the Hotel Management Staff to the planning and success of the event, we gained their full confidence.

The four day event went off flawlessly, all hotel staff worked harder than they ever had. The 2,000 person cocktail party after the game featuring food from the cities of both teams served as the culmination of the week and was a total success!

The NFL gave kudos to the entire staff, and management and my peers recognized me for my work. The revenue exceeded the forecasted amount by approximately 15% and the most revenue in one week in the history of the hotel, pleasing the hotel owner. This was definitely the most gratifying and enjoyable experience of my hotel career!

CJ Johnson

CJ Johnson is one of our Certified Federal Job Search Trainers. Thank you CJ for sharing your CCAR story with us!

Context:

As a Master Trainer for the 10 Steps to a Federal Job program, there was a time when I was completely frustrated by the low percentage of exiting military members that were writing federal resumes, yet not qualifying for jobs. Time after time, these dedicated veterans were deemed “not qualified” for multiple opportunities on USAJOBS nor utilized the “hidden opportunities” for veteran preference and hiring programs: (5pt & 10pt), (VRA, VEOA, & 30% +).

Challenge:

Intimately familiar with the process of writing federal resumes for thousands of military members, I soon found that many of my students found it difficult and very complex to translate military job skills’ language into civilian job terminology. With little or no cross-functional processes, they were applying haphazardly for all kinds of jobs within the federal government without clarity of the series and job titles comparable to their skills sets. It was critical that I changed the methodology of how we use performance based training in order to support federal job trainings, and most importantly, present a flexible format for these career changers.

Action:

First, I analyzed the process of the 10 Steps to a Federal Job and identified every area that had an attached performance and a customer-focused process. I then targeted the announcement process by highlighting all the relevant experience, education, and skills that were in the federal job announcement. I emphasized the highlighting of all critical job-related information and the importance of merging accomplishments, results, and impact that was exclusive to each military member. Secondly, I supported using unique experiences in their resume as a “teaser” that would give the military member an opportunity to discuss and answer the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Each military member was taught how to identify everything in the announcement, highlight the important words in the job announcement, and choose their words carefully, as words are influential and motivating when attached to both personal and professional, work experience. This includes team leadership, collaboration skills, and personal, as well as professional work experiences, These all work together to show their qualifications clearly, optimizing certification but Human Resources, as meeting the eligibility requirements. Thirdly, I was able to show these Veteran career changers a systematic process that transformed their none responsive resumes into a comprehensive 2-4 page federal version, creating greater opportunity to secure a federal position.

Result:

Within 6 weeks of implementing this new process for federal job search, 25 students were interviewing for a new job. 75% of the candidates were offered positions in external (other Federal Agencies) and internal candidates working for the United States Coast Guard and 25% of the students decided to stay in the Coast Guard.

Patrick McCarthy

Context:

Employee recognition has been a critical element in evaluation the effectiveness of an organization. Our specific location lacked a consistent, standardized approach to completing and submitting various types of recognition packages. My vision was to completely revamp the way supervisors and managers thought about “cookie-cutter” awards and “revolving door” winners. Therefore, the organization offers an abundance of recognition opportunities or chances to be recognized for significant achievements.

Challenge:

The parent organization had taken a completely decentralized approach to recognizing procedures; with each program office independently managing and tracking the progress of any nomination packages. These recognition packages would highlight the achievements of employees so organization leaders could instill an attitude of “catch someone doing good.” Some managers often resisted my efforts to train some subordinate managers and would devise excuses for incomplete packages. An objective to this approach would be researching and writing packages that would help managers or supervisors write and overcome cultural resistance based on striking a balance between technical ability and mastering administrative processes.

Action:

In order to counter any resistance to change embedded in the culture, I met with the supervisors first to explain how the program would benefit both them and their employees. Once they recognized–and accepted–a possible solution to the problem, I met with them individually to come up with a plan for their unique teams. They met with their subordinates in a small group setting champion a streamlined approach that could be combined with the other teams. I demonstrated how the current approach was highly duplicative and inefficient, which was detrimental to building cohesion and objectively identifying top performers. To garner broader support throughout the organization, I created templates and simple flow charts listing the actions necessary for the managers to complete in each level of leadership. To ensure consistency–and impartiality–I led a group that identified and listed essential categories and provide them with a questionnaire. This listed a series of detailed questions for the writer to gain an understanding of their employees’ accomplishments and the level of operations that these accomplishments effected.

Result:

As a result of my leadership, the input of recognition applications was increased by 10 percent each year for four consecutive years. The nomination packages had a greater than 90 percent chance of winning top honors in the categories in which they were nominated. Competing packages that described the nominees’ accomplishments were critical to this approach. The method and templates distributed amount the employees became a prominently feature throughout other divisions of the organization. Additionally, the program became one of the top priorities of leadership over the next four years. Progress in implementing the new plan has already made the organization noticed by Department heads and demonstrated the ability to succeed and justify the need for additional funding.

Bobbi Rossiter

Context:

Throughout the Department of Defense (DoD), April has been designated as The Month of the Military Child.  Units and organizations worldwide initiate celebrations of various forms to show appreciation to the minor dependents of service men and women.  As the Family Readiness Officer for 4th Marine Regiment, located on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, from April 2011 to January 2013, it was my responsibility to advise the command and coordinate meaningful efforts to celebrate the children of the unit.

Challenge:

Being overseas provided its own challenges to facilitating such celebrations, as resources were limited and expensive to obtain off-installation.  In April of 2012 the Do What Daddy Does event was coordinated and hosted by the three units of Camp Schwab in order to acknowledge the service of the children, while utilizing what resources were available. Our unit, however, being commanded by the senior officer on the base, responsible for camp-local relations, wanted to do something singular to us and meaningful to the community. During this time, tensions with the Okinawan populace were very high due to the planned relocation of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Camp Schwab.  Every opportunity to strengthen community ties was being encouraged.

Action:

Given 4th Marines’ long and strong ties to the local Henoko community, I suggested that as part of celebrating our unit’s children, the children of the local children’s home and orphanage should be invited onto the base for a fun activity with the families of our unit.  I wanted our children to understand the privilege of being the dependent of a service member and to have the opportunity to share a gesture of goodwill with others who were not so fortunate.  The proposal was accepted.

I contacted the camp’s Community Liaison and Public Relations Specialist and worked through him to communicate our unit’s intent with the leadership at the Nagomi Children’s Home in Henoko.  I also reserved the base’s single bowling alley for the event, worked with the unit’s training officer to ensure that the chosen date did not interfere with planned operations, and publicized the event to the families of the unit via email, mailed flyer, and digital advertising through the unit’s website.  In preparing for this event, I also worked with the American Red Cross and local American families in order to collect items that would be useful to the children in the home.  Blankets and toys were collected for each local child.  Given that the purpose of the event was twofold (celebrating our unit’s children by presenting an opportunity to give and to show a positive example of American and Japanese cooperation), I coordinated the presence of a reporter from the local American newspaper so that the event could be covered by the media.

Result:

Seventeen children and five caregivers from the children’s home participated in the event along with 28 American service and family members.  For the children of Nagomi, this was their first time bowling. This was the first unit-initiated event of its kind and the first real cultural exchange opportunity for many of the families in attendance.  The differences in language were not a problem, as everyone understood the value of fun. The event received a lot of positive attention from the local populace and the Commanding General encouraged other camps to foster similar opportunities for cultural exchange.

Resume-length CCAR:

As a Family Readiness Officer at Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, it was my responsibility to coordinate efforts to celebrate the unit’s children.  Being overseas provided challenges to facilitating such celebrations, as resources were limited and expensive to obtain off-installation. During this time, tensions with the Okinawan populace were very high due to the planned relocation of the Marine Corps Air Station. Recognizing this tension, I suggested that the children of the local children’s home and orphanage should be invited onto the base for fun activities with our unit’s families. I contacted the camp’s Community Liaison and Public Relations Specialist and worked through him to communicate our unit’s intent with the leadership at the Nagomi Children’s Home in Henoko.  I also coordinated with the American Red Cross to collect items that would be useful to the children in the home, as well as blankets and toys.  As a result of my efforts, seventeen children and five caregivers from the children’s home participated in the event along with 28 American service and family members. This was the first unit-initiated event of its kind and the first real cultural exchange opportunity for many of the families in attendance.

Nicole Schultheis

Context:

I run a small editorial services business in addition to my work as a federal executive coach and resume writer for The Resume Place. In January 2012, I submitted a proposal to Cengage Learning, Inc. to edit William Brown, et al.’s textbook, Organic Chemistry. The book was then in its sixth edition; though less than a year old, the edition had received terrible online reviews (one called it “a disaster”) and the publisher was anxious to release a re-edited version.

Challenge:

In addition to the 10-week turnaround of 1100+ pages of text, exercises, diagrams, equations, and other elements, other challenges made this project difficult. The book was already in pdf format. At the time, Adobe’s editing tools were crude. Multiple authors would need to review my edits before the publisher approved them, but they did not know how to manipulate edits or comments in Adobe. I had to make my edits using comment boxes, as there was no way to track changes in the text, making viewing the pages very cumbersome. Some chapters would take longer than anticipated; they were newer and not as polished. In fact, one chapter was corrupted, as I learned only after I had edited it. Also, I would be working through an in-house project manager (managing editor), not communicating directly with the authors. This meant I would need to take extra care with client service and communications.

Action:

I prepared a fixed-price bid using project evaluation tools I have developed over many years. My quote, accompanied by a sample edit, was accepted. I included a separate set of review notes as well as instructions for the authors.

I met self-imposed interim deadlines, sent progress reports without being asked to do so, and maintained frequent communications with the managing editor to make sure she was able to commit to her boss that the delivery deadline would be met. It was apparent she was under a lot of pressure to get this project done “right” and in a hurry.

To fix the corrupted file, I worked with the publisher to reconstruct the file and restore the edits. I also worked through several weekends to maintain the pace of delivery.

Result:

As the project progressed, I received positive feedback from the authors, through the managing editor, and this gave me the assurance to keep doing what I was doing. I submitted the remaining chapters on time. The publisher accepted my proposed edits and paid me immediately.* Brown, et al.’s Organic Chemistry, 7th ed., was released as planned in January 2013, and has received much improved reviews.

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*This is not a sure thing in the textbook business. In fact, Cengage filed for bankruptcy several months later and other creditors had to file claims to get paid. Cengage emerged from bankruptcy in April 2014.

Carla Waskiewicz

Context:

In 2009, I was tasked with writing a federal resume for a financial industry professional with 18 years of Wall Street experience as Senior Institutional Block Stock Trader. He had been laid off from a well-paid position with a leading financial firm and had been out of work for a year.

Challenge:

I had written many financial resumes, but Stock Block Trader was not a job title I was familiar with. I soon found out that it is a very complex position that, on the surface, had seemingly very little correlation to financial positions in the federal government. It was critical that I fully understood every facet of this client’s job. I had to find a way to translate Wall Street terminology into language that would support a federal financial job and present the client as a great candidate.

Action:

First, I thoroughly analyzed every facet of each job in his career. I defined anything financial, analytical, and customer-focused. I also featured team leadership, collaboration skills, and his strong accounting background. I also interviewed him by phone to get a better understanding of his positions. I also asked him to detail every facet of his job. I reviewed federal positions and recommended two job titles that were the best fit. I completely transformed his one-page private sector resume into a four-page federal version. I eliminated or changed as many of the industry specific terms as I could. I also created a new professional summary focused on financial analysis and budgeting.

Result:

Within 10 months of beginning his federal job search and only 3 applications, my client was offered a position as a Financial Analyst with a Department of Justice agency. He continues to advance within that agency.

Resume-length CCAR:

In the midst of the financial crisis, one of my clients was laid off from his position as a Senior Institutional Block Stock Trader with a leading financial firm and had been out of work for one year. The most significant hurdle for his case was that I needed to find a way to translate Wall Street terminology into language that would support a federal financial job – as such, it was critical that I fully understood every facet of his experience. I thoroughly reviewed and analyzed his career, defining his core skills – financial, accounting, analysis – and, after interviewing him, built a secondary set of abilities including team leadership, customer relations, and mentorship. After reviewing federal positions, I recommended two job titles that best fitted his background and transformed his one-page private sector resume into a four-page federal resume, with specific emphasis on translating his skills into the federal context. After applying for only three jobs, my client received an offer as a Financial Analyst with the Department of Justice.

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