RAF MILDENHALL, SUFFOLK, ENGLAND
June 11, 2019
FEDERAL RESUME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ten Steps to a Federal Job®
The Stars are Lined Up for Military Spouses for Federal Career®
with Kathryn Troutman, Author and Curriculum Designer
Licensed Curriculum for the Certified Federal Job Search Trainer
and Certified Federal Career Coach Program
I was invited by Colin Richardson and Tara Weeks at the Military Family & Readiness Center, RAF Mildenhall to return for a second year. The Airmen and Military Spouses are ready for new Public Service Careers! Landing a Federal position requires attending a Federal resume class, reading a Federal resume book, asking for Federal resume writing review from your Military & Family Readiness Service staff. All attendees were very seriously interested in a new career in public service, to build their career and to provide service to the US government and the American Public.
Airmen and family members from three bases in England attended the classes: RAF Mildenhall, RAF Alconbury and RAF Lakenheath. Eventually everyone will be retiring or separating from the Air Force and military spouses would love to have a Federal career – there are Federal / DOD employers at EVERY military base in the world. There’s a lot to learn about applying for a Federal position successfully. Our two, 2-hour classes covered a lot of great Questions and Answers.
Kathryn will be teaching Ten Steps and Stars for the pubic, military personnel and military spouses, as well as for the Train-the-Trainer program, Certified Federal Job Search Trainer program at U. of California, LaJolla, CA; Honolulu Hawaii; Mikasa, Japan; in the next 3 months.
GREAT QUESTIONS FROM THE AIRMEN AND SPOUSES….
ANSWERS FROM KATHRYN TROUTMAN
Ten Steps to a Federal Job® Author and Instructor
FIRST QUESTION — INTRODUCTION – Why do you want a Federal position?
Airmen: Government feels comfortable for my next career… add to my retirement … do work that is similar to my military work… I want to work to support DOD as Civilian.
Spouses: Because a federal position means I don’t have to start over every time we change locations. I could have One Career – One Employer! There is promotion potential in a government career, even if we move every 3 or 4 years. I have heard that the government is Family Friendly! Some jobs have Telecommute possibility!
STEP 1 – REVIEW THE FEDERAL JOB PROCESS
Question: How do I know what position Is right for me?
Answer: Check out the OPM Classification Standard and all of the government positions. The OPM standards are the baseline for the USAJOBS announcements.
Question from Kathryn: Have you ever seen the GS Salary Schedule for government jobs? Class members said NO 99%.
Answer: Be sure to review, so you can find the GS salary / grade you will need to apply for based on your expenses.
STEP 2 – NETWORKING TO FIND A FEDERAL POSITION
Question: What can I achieve by networking with current Federal employees about possible positions for me?
Answer: Ask your family members and friends what agencies they work for…. What is your job…. What is your mission … is your agency hiring? Get inside information about federal jobs in certain agencies. It’s interesting and you need to LEARN about federal jobs, agencies and services. This federal job search is a campaign and you have to learn ABOUT federal jobs and agencies to begin your search and understand how you can fit into Civilian Public Service.
STEP 3 – USAJOBS NAVIGATION
Question from Spouses: How can I resolve the problem of not having my same cell phone to get a text to access my USAJOBS account?
Answer: When setting up your Profile for the first time in USAJOBS, be sure to save your Personal Key. Make a screenshot and keep it. If you do not keep the personal key and you move to another country, and you have your cell phone number … you will not be able to access your USAJOBS account. And you might have to delete your account
Question: What’s the best way to Search USAJOBS?
Answer: Start with Geographic Search at first. Then narrow it down by grade or salary level you can take. Then try to narrow it down by job title or type of position.
Question: Which job announcements will have Veterans Preference apply?
Answer: The Public positions will apply the veteran’s preference. Those positions are the BEST for veterans. But the Competitive / Federal or Military Positions are the best for spouses. Because Vet preference does not apply.
Question: How do I receive emails with the right job announcements each day?
Answer: I demonstrated the SAVED SEARCH feature in USAJOBS. This is a great idea since some jobs are closed in 5 days, or closed when they receive 100 applications. You have to see your targeted announcements immediately in order to get the application done and submitted.
STEP 4 – ANALYZE ANNOUNCEMENTS TO FIND KEYWORDS
Question: What are the most important keywords that I should feature in the federal resume?
Answer: I demonstrated live how to find the BEST keywords for your federal resume. I showed everyone how to find the keywords in the Requirements / Specialized Experience paragraph. Also how to find keywords in the HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED section. And finally, how to find keywords in the QUESTIONNAIRE.
STEP 5 – WHAT ARE YOUR CORE COMPETENCIES?
Question: Are the Core Competencies Keywords?
Answer: Yes, they can be keywords. I showed everyone how to find the Core Competencies required. Some announcements list the competencies and some do not. If the HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED section includes core competencies, be sure to describe those competencies in your resume. And in fact, the competencies could be used in the Outline Format.
STEP 6 – The Biggest Step of All! WRITE YOUR FEDERAL RESUME
NEW FEDERAL RESUME FORMAT
++ NEW JOB BLOCK FOR MILITARY SPOUSES ++
Question: What is the best format for the Federal Resume?
Answer: The Outline Format FEDERAL RESUME!
- This format is not a BIG BLOCK of words.
- This is NOT a Private sector resume.
This resume features the top skills you have to match a specific announcement. Duties and accomplishments are separated in each job block.
+++ SAMPLE SECTION FROM A FEDERAL RESUME…
WITH ALL CAP KEYWORDS+++
PERSONNEL/WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT: Create Requests for Personnel Actions (RPAs), civilian reports and other documents in Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS) and Total Workforce Management System (TWMS). Prepare/process all personnel actions for department, ensuring requests are processed promptly and appropriately. Track personnel actions from inception to completion, ensuring accuracy of status in recurring reports. Advise staff on all housing personnel and manpower issues. Conduct work measurement methods, procedures and studies to resolve management problems in manpower requirements utilization analysis.
- Key Accomplishment:
Wrote and classified position descriptions (PDs) for four positions, one of which was a Local National position, required to be filled by Italians. RESULT: Because of my attention to detail, the Local National position was upgraded and 2 other PDs were successfully classified with no need for revision. Having accurate PDs enabled the Housing office to perform its mission successfully.
+++ End Excerpt from Federal Resume – Work History Job Block +++
The Outline Format federal resume is easy-to-read for HR reviewers and mangers. The ALL CAPS make the resume easy to read and see the keywords and specialized experience. Two AF Civilian Personnel staff were in attendance at the class and they agreed that the Outline Format is easy to read for the qualifications they are seeking in the resume.
Question: Will the Outline Format fit into the USAJOBS Builder? I see that there is an option to either build the resume or upload a resume? What is better?
Answer: Yes, this format works with the USAJOBS Builder. But after you add the resume to USAJOBS, you should PRINT PREVIEW the resume and COPY IT OUT of the builder and put it into a WORD format. Use the WORD format to apply to new positions. This is easier to read for managers.
Question: How far back do I go in the resume?
Answer: A Human Resources Specialist who was attending the class said that she reads about 10 work history of usually. We might look further, but mostly the last ten years. You should feature the last 5 to 10 years on the resume. Edit the previous ten years so that the information is there, but keep it short.
INTRODUCING … NEW FEDERAL RESUME SECTION
FOR MILTIARY SPOUSES
I introduced the new Military Spouse PCS Job Block to be added to the Outline Format Federal Resume! New Idea! Add a new Work History “Job Block” for your Military Spouse PCS History. By adding your military career to your resume, you will be explaining WHY your work history shows frequently job changes, many different types of positions, and sometimes years of not working.
+++ View 6 samples of the Military Spouse Federal Resume in the Stars are Lined Up for Military Spouses. Order Here +++
Question: When I add my Military Spouse PCS Career History, they will see that I have moved every 3 or 4 years. What about this?
Answer: Right, they will see it, and they will know that you will be around for 3 or 4 years. They will also know that you have great skills and you will dedicate yourself to their work while you are here!
STEP 7 – ACCOMPLISHMENTS, KSAS AND QUESTIONNAIRES
Question: Aren’t accomplishments part of your job duties? Shouldn’t they be written together?
Answer: Accomplishments are NOT Duties. Accomplishments can help you to stand out. If they are relevant for the position and demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities, they can help you to get Referred to a Supervisor.
Question: For me the most challenging part of the federal application is the Questionnaire. Many times, the questionnaires are multiple part and I can’t score very high on the question. Some of the questions are multiple parts and I might not have extensive experience in all parts of the question.
Answer: I replied, “Yes, the questionnaire is challenging for everyone. You must give yourself all the credit that you can. Usually the highest-level score is the “E”. Where you have “Are an Expert in this task OR you are a SUPERVISOR in this task OR you are the person who is contacted because of your expertise and knowledge”. The E score is the highest level. It’s important to know that the Questionnaire is a TEST and the high score of 90 and above will be reviewed by HR or the Hiring Board. So, GIVE YOURSELF ALL THE CREDIT THAT YOU CAN.
Question: What about adding at the top of the resume, the important Awards and most relevant experiences send skills?
Answer: You can do that, but you should ALSO add that information into the Work History, so you can get credit from the resume reviewers. They look at experiences that are Anchored to dates.
Question: Is an Award an Accomplishment?
Answer: Yes, if you add why you received the Award. Write about what you did to get the award in the JOB BLOCK where the accomplishment occurred.
STEP 8 – APPLY FOR FEDERAL JOBS
Question: Can I “jump grades” if I take a lower grade level to break into government? I would like to apply for a lower grade position, to just “get in the door”. But I have heard that I will be stuck there and I can’t apply to a GS 9 when I see one. I’d like to get started. This is a challenge for many first-time federal applicants, they want to take a lower graded position to get in the door.
Answer: The key is to not think of it as jumping grades, but getting a new appointment at a higher grade. Under the Merit (internal) System you cannot jump grades, you must have 52 weeks in previous grade. However, anyone can apply to the external (public) announcement where they meet the qualifications — even if its at a different grade than their current position. Key is how they are applying (external vs internal announcement). Now when they apply external, vets will have preference.
STEP 9 – TRACK AND FOLLOW-UP FOR YOUR FEDERAL APPLICATIONS
Question: Can I find out what happened to my application if USAJOBS Application Tracking is not updated?
Answer: Kathryn and the Human Resources Specialist BOTH told everyone that they should call the HR office if they want to know the results, or if they disagree with the results. Ask what happened. Try to find out.You might not find out, but ask, so that your results will be better next time.
STEP 10 – INTERVIEW FOR A FEDERAL JOB / NEGOTIATE YOUR SALARY / STEP
Spouses Question: If I am offered a position by telephone or in writing from human resources, what step will they offer within the grade?
ANSWER: Most of the time you will be offered Step 1 within a certain Grade.
Question: Can I request or negotiate a higher step than Step 1? If so, how do I do this?
Answer:Yes, you can negotiate, request a higher step. First of all, when they call you and offer the job, don’t accept the position at the minute. Ask if you can have a day or so to think about the position. And then write back to them an email requesting a higher step.
Question: Specifically what can I do to ask for a higher step?
Answer: You can write a letter to ask for a higher step. The reasons for requesting a higher step, can be: 3 years tax returns showing that you earn more than Step 1. Write a Superior Qualifications Letter: I
if you have a lot of years in specific experience desired for the position, write about this. If you have excellent education in this work, list the degree, major and knowledge. And if you have x number of years in certain specific work, describe it. And ask for a higher step. You can also ask for Federal Student Loan reimbursement and a few other items.
READ MORE ABOUT THE TEN STEPS IN THE JOBSEEKER GUIDE, TEN STEPS TO A FEDERAL JOB, 8TH ED., ORDER HERE.
CAREER COACHES – Want to teach this curriculum?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TEACH OR COACH TEN STEPS TO A FEDERAL JOB FOR MILITARY, SPOUSES, FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, ANYONE? Get Certified with a 3 year license to teach and coaching this curriculum. Get information here. This curriculum is taught in military bases and state One-Stop centers throughout the US and worldwide by Certified Federal Job Search Trainers by Resume Place. Most desirable and ONLY Certification for Federal Job Search Coaching available: CFJST / CFCC. Three year license and certification.
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RESUME PLACE OBJECTIVES:
Get you Best Qualified, Referred, Interviewed and Hired into a Federal Career!
The Stars are Lined Up for Military Spouses – Available as Print Book or PDF with Immediate Download. Also order from Amazon.com – Kindle or print book!
The Stars Are Lined Up for Military Spouses, 2nd Edition is a completely revised update released on May 1, 2019. It is available for order at www.fedjobtraining.com/books as well as Amazon.com for the Kindle version. Individual print sales price is $14.95 + $7.00 shipping. There are multiple order discounts available on the site too. The book is 124 pp., has an attractive, upbeat two-color design, with 25+ color charts. ISBN-13: 978-1-7337779-0-2.
Kathryn Troutman, President, email@example.com
www.resume-place.com (410) 744 4324. ext. 3 Baltimore, MD