Posted on Wednesday, 21st June 2017 by

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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.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Resumes / KSAs

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Posted on Saturday, 17th June 2017 by

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Older workers, for the foreseeable future, will continue to have a significant impact on the economy according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the major benefits of federal employment is early retirement, most can retire immediately between age 55 and 57 with 30 years of service, at age 60 with 20 years of service, or with as little as 5 years service at age 62!

Many older private sector workers seek federal employment late in their careers for a number of reasons. Primarily, with only 5 years of federal service you are vested. This affords older workers several major and significant advantages:

The Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), in their article titled “Older Workers: Labor Force Trends and Career Options,”  indicates that approximately 40 percent of people 55 and older are either working or seeking work. This number is called the labor force participation rate. Labor force participation is the proportion of the population that is in the labor force.

The trend for the older worker has been increasing and is expected to continue its climb for at least the next ten years. Mitra Toossi and Elka Torpey, both economists at the BLS were interviewed for this article.

According to Mitra Toossi, “The labor force participation rate of the older labor force; 55-years-and-older, including the 65 to 74-year old’s have been increasing because people are living longer, healthier lives and they work more years to have income during their older ages. Also, most get their health insurance through work and having health insurance is a must for older workers. In addition, the Social Security age for retirement has increased and to take full advantage of the benefits you have to work longer years. Also, the whole structure of the benefits has changed from defined benefit to defined contribution, so when you work longer you pay more towards your retirement and to your 401 accounts.”

Additionally, Toossi cites, “By 2024, BLS projects that the labor force will grow to about 164 million people. That number includes about 41 million people who will be ages 55 and older—of whom about 13 million are expected to be ages 65 and older. The 164 million is the total number of the labor force in 2024 and not the 65+ labor force.”

Toossi relates “It is projected that the women’s labor force will be growing faster in the next ten years since women are primarily in occupations such as health services and educational services and these are projected to be increasing in the next decade.”

The referenced article indicates, “more than 42 percent of the workers were in management, professional and related occupations, and this was at a higher proportion than for all workers. Some other related fields for older workers, 55 and older make up at least one-third of occupations total employment in 2016.”

The BLS data specifies that the older worker age group had a higher self-employment rate than that of workers in younger groups. Elka Torpey states, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of self-employed workers in all occupations will increase by 5.8 percent between 2014 and 2024. This compares with a projected 6.5 increase for all workers in all occupations over that time period.”

Other data the article denotes, “for workers ages 65 and older, the rate of part-time employment is 40 percent.”

Older workers can benefit significantly by seeking out and securing federal employment later in their careers to supplement their retirement income and benefits.

The Federal  Retiree’s Job Center, located on FederalRetirement.net, lists many jobs for retirees. Many federal retirees seek employment to remain active, earn additional funds for fun and necessity, and simply to stay involved in their respective fields. Private sector employers target federal retirees that are known for their exceptional skills and strong work ethic. Federal retirees may also reapply and return to federal employment under the rehired annuitant program.

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

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Saturday, 3rd June 2017 by

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Excellent pay, Job security, and an exceptional retirement system are just a few of the top reasons most people seek federal employment. The average salary for full-time federal workers is currently $86,635 annually, total average annual compensation, including pay plus benefits, now exceeds $123,000 compared to just $70,081 for the private sector according to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The federal pay system can be difficult for new hires to navigate and fully understand. Federal job announcements list the job title, federal pay scale, job location, and annual salary for the position. It also lists required duties and responsibilities, the qualification requirements for the job, and includes comprehensive application guidance.

There are eight predominant pay systems. Approximately half of the workforce is under the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, 20 percent are paid under Postal Service rates, and approximately 10 percent are paid under the Federal Wage System (FWS). The remaining pay systems include the Executive Schedule (SES), Foreign Service, Special Salary Rates, Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities pay scales, and the Veterans Health Administration pay plans.

The majority of professional and administrative federal workers are paid under the General Schedule (GS). The General Schedule, includes 15 pay grades for civilian white-collar and service workers, and smaller within-grade step increases that occur based on length of service and quality of performance. New employees usually start at the first step of a grade however those with experience in the field can often negotiate a higher starting salary.

Federal employees working in the U.S. also receive locality pay in addition to their base pay. The specific amount of locality pay is determined by survey comparisons of private sector wage rates and federal wage rates in the relevant geographic area. At its highest level, locality pay can lead to an increase of as much as 38 percent above base salary. A January pay adjustment tied to changes in private sector pay levels is divided between an across-the-board pay increase in the General Schedule and locality pay increases in most years.

A  number of agencies implemented core compensation pay band systems in the mid 1990s. To provide agencies greater flexibility in how they pay their workers, there are a number of pay systems authorized. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses a core compensation pay band system. Their system incorporates fewer, but wider pay bands, instead of grade levels. Pay increases, under these systems, are almost entirely based on performance, as opposed to length of service.

The Federal Wage System (FWS) is used to pay labor and trade workers. This schedule sets federal wages so that they are comparable to prevailing regional wage rates for similar types of jobs. As a result, wage rates paid under the FWS can vary significantly from one locality to another.

In addition to base pay and bonuses, federal employees may receive incentive awards. These one-time awards, ranging from $25 to $10,000, are awarded for useful suggestions, a special act or service, or sustained high job performance. Some workers also may receive “premium” pay, which is granted when the employee must work overtime, on holidays, on weekends, at night, or under hazardous conditions. There are also 10 paid holidays each year and all workers receive 13 sick days annually. Sick days accumulate without restrictions and if not used employees can apply unused sick leave balances towards their service time for retirement purposes.

General Schedule (GS) base pay varies from the GS-1 level at $18,526 per annum to $134,776 per annum at step 10 of the GS-15 grade, not including locality pay adjustments. The Senior Executive Service salary tops out at $187,000 per annum.

Each GS grade has 10 pay steps. Currently, a GS-9 starts at $43,251 for step 1 and reaches $56,229 per year at step 10 (not including locality pay adjustments). At the GS-9 grade, each pay step adds $1,442 to the annual salary. Pay steps are earned based on time in service and the employee’s work performance. General Schedule employees are referred to as white-collar workers under the federal classification system. There are 47 locality pay areas.

If you are accepted for a position a job offer will arrive with additional guidance and the salary will be listed. If you are currently earning more in a comparable position ask for a pay match before accepting and signing for an offer. You can’t receive a pay adjustment after officially signing an offer of acceptance.

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.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Monday, 29th May 2017 by

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Learning why workers are laid off is important not only for those out of work now, but also for those still working because one never knows when the axe will fall. Going forward you will be looking for good job opportunities, not just any job. This requires information about how employers operate, like laying off 10,000 workers at a crack. The last thing you need is to jump into another job that will disappear in six months. To avoid that potential tragedy, you need to do your homework.

One could argue night and day about why workers are laid off or fired. You hear one story from the academics, another from business executives, another from the talking heads on the financial channels, and still another from politicians. And, do not forget the mindless chatter on social media. To cut through the hype let’s go to the numbers.  When it comes to figuring out what is happening in the workplace, the numbers usually tell it all.

Examining the Numbers

Workers are constantly being downsized, reorganized or rightsized. In fact, approximately 55,000 workers lose their jobs each day. That’s over 20 million per year. Because of this constant churning in the workplace workers will change jobs an average of 6.5 times during their working years.

The American workplace employs over 155 million workers, making our workforce alone the world’s eighth largest “country. There are many moving parts in the workplace, some working in sync and others fighting against each other. Employers are constantly revising plans, merging, acquiring competitors, going into bankruptcy, and going out of business. When that happens, workers lose their jobs.

 

The Unemployment Rate

Daily we hear the pundits, talking heads and media gurus screaming about one of their favorite topics, the unemployment rate. To hear them talk, one would think that America is heading for financial disaster with unemployment taking a leading role. The numbers help us sort fact from fiction.

The rate of unemployment in the U.S. since the Great Depression has been approximately 6 percent. Many economists interpret that to mean that an employment rate of 94 percent is truly full employment.  Since 1970 our lowest rate of unemployment was 4 percent in 2000, and the highest was 10 percent in 2009. Looking at these numbers in “modern” times
(the past fifty years) we note that the average rate of unemployment over the past 50 years has remained 6 percent.

The three main causes of unemployment are: seasonal unemployment, when workers are laid off because of bad weather; structural unemployment, when workers are laid off because their jobs are replaced by technology; and, cyclical unemployment, when workers are laid off because of changes in the economy such as a recession which weakens consumer demand for products and services. These three causes of unemployment will always be present. There will never be such a thing as a 0 percent unemployment rate.

The numbers tell us that America has an average employment rate of 94 percent making it the best place in the world to find a job. If workers in American claim they can’t find work, it is not the fault of the President, elected officials, their teachers, or their mothers and fathers. The fault lies with them alone. If you really want a job in America, it is there for the taking…if you know where to look.

The Private Sector Workplace 

We can divide the workplace into any number of parts but for now let’s consider just three: small businesses, large companies, and entrepreneurial businesses.  Let’s see how they operate.

 Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov, states that approximately 540,000 small businesses will close each year. This is an important number because over 65 percent of all workers are employed by small businesses, which are defined by SBA as those businesses having less than 500 employees.

When a business closes, workers lose their jobs. Fortunately, the American workplace is so robust that approximately 550,000 businesses open each year. When businesses open workers are hired. All of this action makes for a constantly changing workplace, one where workers are hired, fired, laid off….and hired again. Many workers in small business become trapped in this never ending cycle.

Frequently, we think of small businesses as store front shops employing only a dozen or less workers and generating “break even” numbers. However, many small businesses employ hundreds of workers and generate millions in annual revenue. For example, the Consortium for International Education Exchange (CIEE), a company in Portland Maine, employs over 300 workers and generates in excess of $160 million annually. (CIEE is a nonprofit that works with colleges, universities and high schools administering study-abroad programs. Review their website, www.CIEE.org, to learn more about the company and job opportunities.)

Large Companies

Large companies employ over 500 workers and are privately held or publically traded on the stock exchange. The failure of large businesses raises the unemployment rate for workers in all age groups, but especially for mid-career workers. For example, large retailers have been closing thousands of stores, primarily because of the trend toward online purchasing. The result?  Job loss for millions of workers. A look at the following numbers tells why workers are constantly being laid off in just one sector of the economy, retailing, which is undergoing massive change as consumers purchase online instead of at bricks and mortar stores.

2015-2017 Store Closings

  • Barnes and Noble…223
  • McDonalds…500
  • Gap…175
  • Office Depot…400
  • JC Penny…400
  • Staples…55
  • Macy’s…100
  • Walmart…154

Entrepreneurial Businesses

Over 70 percent of businesses in the U.S. are owned by sole proprietors or partnerships. The owners are personally responsible for all profits, losses, debts and taxes. Such businesses have a   much higher failure rate than do small businesses or large corporations.

The main reason why such businesses fail is that they are under-capitalized. Entrepreneurs frequently believe that if you create a great new product that fills a market need it will automatically sell. What they forget is that in order to generate income a business needs professional marketing and sales initiatives, which cost money to implement.  This highlights the reason why most entrepreneurial business fail, undercapitalization. In order to make money, a business must spend money.

If you are considering a job with an entrepreneurial business, ask to see the business plan, the estimated capital requirements, and the written commitment for capital from lenders such as a local bank. If the entrepreneur hesitates to disclose the plan, especially the part which tells where the money is coming from, walk away from the opportunity.

Factors That Cause Job Loss

Workers are fired or laid off every day. A person who does not meet the job requirements or engages in inappropriate behavior is fired. Being let go is strictly their own fault. However, most workers who lose their jobs are laid off even though they met the job specs and obeyed the rules.  Seven major factors are responsible for the large number of workers who are laid off each year.

  1. Reduction in Force. Businesses exist to make money. If they make money, they remain in business and grow, which results in more hiring. This applies to both for profit and nonprofit businesses alike. If a business does not make money after deducting expenses and taxes it will go out of business and workers will lose their jobs. To maintain profitability companies are constantly adjusting the size of their staff. For example, when a fast food company like McDonald’s experiences a downturn in profits over a period of two or more quarters, it will downsize its staff. The result? Massive layoffs. This process is frequently called a reduction in force, a RIF. Those laid off in this process are referred to as riffed.
  2. Mergers. Tens of thousands of companies combine forces each year for a variety of reasons. When two companies merge their operations, workers are laid off. For example, when Company A merges with Company B, the new Company C will need only one Vice President for Sales. The result? One of the VP’s from A or B will be laid off.
  3. You hear it every day. “Company X buys Company Y” Again, when two companies are combined into one, workers are laid off to prevent duplication of services. For example, when the purchase of Yahoo by Verizon is completed later this year, thousands of Yahoo workers will lose their jobs. Also, businesses sometimes sell only their products or services. The result? Massive layoffs occur because the acquiring company does not take the employees, only the products. It is called an asset acquisition.
  4. Trade Deals That Send Jobs Overseas. Staff employees are usually the last to hear that their American employer cut a deal to have their products manufactured in a foreign country. It is only after the layoffs that workers learn that their jobs were lost because the company’s products can be made more cheaply outside of the USA. The same applies to services. For example, when was the last time you spoke to an America-based customer service worker? And, what is the name of the country of origin on your new pair of Nike shoes?
  5. High American Business Tax Rates. Another reason why companies move out of the USA causing workers to lose their jobs is our high Federal tax rate for businesses. America has the highest business tax rate of any developed country. Companies are in business to make as much money as possible and our high tax rate takes much away from the bottom line. Hopefully, Congress will pass a tax reform bill in the near future.
  6. Bankruptcies. When a company is consistently unprofitable, it uses the business tactic called bankruptcy to pay off creditors. When a company files for bankruptcy it can go out of  business entirely and everyone loses their job
  7. Reorganizations. Periodically, companies reorganize to improve day to day operations or emerge from bankruptcy. For example, General Electric is moving its corporate home office from Connecticut to Massachusetts. GE offered to relocate workers with key positions but this was not acceptable for those firmly grounded to the Connecticut location. Those who do not accept that offer will be laid off along with workers in support positions. The same thing happened to workers employed by Merck in some of its New Jersey offices. When the company decided to relocate some operations to others states, many workers were laid off. Frequently, it is less costly for companies to lay off workers and hire new talent in the new location. When you are seeking a new job, it is prudent to learn as much as you can about company plans to reorganize.

Moving Forward

Many readers of this article have already been fired or laid off so what’s the point of including material about why layoffs occur? It’s after the fact. The reason is this. When you are seeking another job, this information will help you assess prospective employers. Your company evaluation should include an examination of company profitability, and a network search to learn if your potential employer is talking merger or acquisition. If you find that a prospective employer has been talking with a competitor about merging, reorganizing, moving to a foreign country or has not been profitable, walk away from that opportunity, no matter how good the company reputation is.  Military veterans are particularly susceptible to being laid off because they are not familiar with how civilian companies work. In the military, one does not lose a job because of a reorganization.

The bottom line for all workers seeking employment is this; when assessing any job opportunity, look at the numbers. Use resources such as company financial reports, the Small Business Administration (www.SBA.gov), the US Chamber of Commerce (www.commerce.gov) ) and Hoovers financial reports (www.hoovers.com). In addition read this enlightening book by  Karen Berman and Joe Knight:  Financial Intelligence. A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean.  Harvard Business Review Press, 2013

Copyright 2017, John Henry Weiss

The content of this article is an excerpt from a forthcoming book by the author. The title is MOVING FORWARD IN MID CAREER: A Guide to Rebuilding Your Career after Being Fired or Laid Off. It is available for pre-ordering in paperback or eBook from Amazon.

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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.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 24th May 2017 by

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Loan specialist and assistants direct or perform analytical functions and evaluative work which requires knowledge of (1) credit risk factors and lending principles involved in loans of specialized types granted, insured, or guaranteed by the Federal Government; (2) financial structures and practices of business organizations concerned with such loans; and (3) pertinent statutory, regulatory, and administrative provisions.

 

 

The federal government employs 4,208 loan specialists and assistants of which 60 work overseas. The Department of Agriculture is the largest employer with 3,081 followed by the Small Business Administration with 487 and Veterans Affairs (VA) with 473. About half of the cabinet level agencies and several large independent agencies employ loan specialist and assistants.

Federal Government Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-11/12 is $64,961.00 to $101,225.00

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

These duties are relevant to loan specialists and loan officers.

The work of loan officers has sizable customer-service and sales components. Loan officers often answer questions and guide customers through the application process. In addition, many loan officers must market the products and services of their lending institution and actively solicit new business.

The following are common types of loan officers:

Commercial loan officers specialize in loans to businesses, which often use the loans to buy supplies and upgrade or expand operations. Commercial loans frequently are larger and more complicated than other types of loans. Because companies have such complex financial situations and statements, commercial loans usually require human judgment in addition to the analysis by underwriting software. Furthermore, some commercial loans are so large that no single bank will provide the entire amount requested. In such cases, loan officers may have to work with multiple banks to put together a package of loans.

Consumer loan officers specialize in loans to people. Consumers take out loans for many reasons, such as buying a car or paying college tuition. For some simple consumer loans, the underwriting process is fully automated. However, the loan officer is still needed to guide applicants through the process and to handle cases with unusual circumstances. Some institutions—usually small banks and credit unions—do not use underwriting software and instead rely on loan officers to complete the underwriting process manually.

Mortgage loan officers specialize in loans used to buy real estate (property and buildings), which are called mortgage loans. Mortgage loan officers work on loans for both residential and commercial properties. Often, mortgage loan officers must seek out clients, which requires developing relationships with real estate companies and other sources that can refer prospective applicants.

Within these three fields, some loan officers specialize in a particular part of the loan process:

Loan collection officers contact borrowers who fail to make their loan payments on time. They work with borrowers to help them find a way to keep paying off the loan. If the borrower continues to miss payments, loan officers start the process of taking away what the borrower used to secure the loan (called “collateral”)—often a home or car—and selling it to repay the loan.

Loan underwriters specialize in evaluating whether a client is creditworthy. They collect, verify, and evaluate the client’s financial information provided on their loan applications and then use loan underwriting software to produce recommendations.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-11/12 is $64,961.00 to $101,225.00

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

Education

Loan officers typically need a bachelor’s degree, usually in a field such as business or finance. Because commercial loan officers analyze the finances of businesses applying for credit, they need to understand general business accounting, including how to read financial statements.

Some loan officers may be able to enter the occupation without a bachelor’s degree if they have related work experience, such as experience in sales, customer service, or banking.

Training

Once hired, loan officers usually receive some on-the-job training. This may be a combination of formal, company-sponsored training and informal training during the first few months on the job.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Mortgage loan officers must have a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license. To become licensed, they must complete at least 20 hours of coursework, pass an exam, and submit to background and credit checks. Licenses must be renewed annually, and individual states may have additional requirements.

Several banking associations, including the American Bankers Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association, as well as a number of schools, offer courses, training programs, or certifications for loan officers. Although not required, certification shows dedication and expertise and thus may enhance a candidate’s employment opportunities.

Important Qualities

  • Decision making skills. Loan officers must assess an applicant’s financial information and decide whether to award the applicant a loan.
  • Detail oriented. Each piece of information on an application can have a major effect on the profitability of a loan, meaning that loan officers must pay attention to detail.
  • Initiative. Loan officers need to seek out new clients. They often act as salespeople, promoting their lending institution and contacting firms to determine their need for a loan.
  • Interpersonal skills. Because loan officers work with people, they must be able to guide customers through the application process and answer questions.

The occupational profile information was excerpted from the Occupational Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor.

GS-1165 Loan Specialist (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

QUALIFICATIONS:
GS-11: One year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal service, obtained in either the private or public sector as a loan processor, underwriter, financial analyst, portfolio manager, or other like position with responsibility for making repayment and other eligibility recommendations about the loan application package. Applicant must also have experience utilizing automated systems including the data entry, tracking and processing of loan applications with attendant documents pertaining to commercial loans such as credit reports, appraisals, business valuations, environmental reviews or franchise agreements.

GS-12: One year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service, obtained in either the private or public sector as a commercial loan underwriter, financial analyst, portfolio manager, or other like position with responsibility for making repayment and other eligibility decisions about the loan application package. Applicant must also have experience utilizing automated systems including the data entry, tracking and processing of loan applications with attendant documents pertaining to commercial loans including credit reports and appraisals or business valuations, and other documents such as environmental reviews and franchise agreements.
Duties:

  • Analysis of commercial loan applications characterized by limited financial data, complex corporate and financial structures with interlocking relationships with subsidiaries and other financial partners.
  • Assesses management skills to determine the potential for successful operation.
  • Prepares financial analysis reports on the merits of a credit application, examining eligibility and all credit factors, and recommending approval or decline with supporting justification addressing mitigating terms and conditions suitable to protect the interest of the Government.
  • Counsels with financial customers, such as borrowers and lending partners, both orally and in writing, concerning financial position, eligibility, policy, procedures and practices bearing on the financial condition of an financial assistance for small businesses.

Job Prospects:

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections Program)

Employment of loan officers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for loan officers fluctuates with the economy, generally increasing in times of economic growth, low interest rates, and population growth—all of which create demand for loans.

The need for regulatory compliance also should create demand for loan officers. In the wake of the housing and financial crisis, loan applications are undergoing more scrutiny. Loan officers must ensure that the loans they originate are in accordance with state and federal laws, including recently enacted consumer financial protection laws. A stricter regulatory environment means a more labor-intensive loan approval process and a greater need for loan officers.

Prospects for loan officers should improve over the coming decade as lending activity rebounds from the recent recession. Job opportunities should be good for those with lending, banking, or sales experience. In addition, some firms require loan officers to find their own clients, so candidates with established contacts and a referral network should have the best job opportunities.

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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

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 17th May 2017 by

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As a part of the Intelligence Community, the National Intelligence University (NIU) is the only accredited federal degree granting institution; it has Academic Centers for learning across the globe and its main campus is in Washington, D.C. NIU houses a myriad of expertise from around the world; students and faculty alike bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and practicality from a wide range of fields to the classrooms. NIU’s unique ability for students to study and work on research projects in the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented (TS/SCI) format is a sought after opportunity.

One opportunity they offer, the Research Fellows Program, enables students (as fellows) to embark on a 12 month Fellowship where they are released from their daily employment to work on a particular topic of interest to the community. Through NIU’s Center for Strategic Intelligence Research, this program is competitive and candidates must be nominated through their host Agency for consideration.

Specifically, approximately 5-8 fellows are chosen each year from a myriad of agencies within the Intelligence Community and Military Services. Each applicant and selectee is required to possess an active TS/SCI clearance as well as a Master of Arts or Master of Science and represent a GS-13 or above category (military will need to be of equivalent grade or rank). Applicants should ensure they can successfully demonstrate creative abilities, critical thinking and the ability to work independently.

Research will be based in the areas of the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Global Futures, Intelligence Studies and Advanced Analysis, which are the foundation initiatives of the Center.  Candidates will be required to:

  • Address issues of strategic concern to decision makers and professionals
  • Cover topics that are not given sufficient attention or are under appreciated
  • Cut across traditional functional and regional issues
  • Develop innovative analytic methodologies
  • Build substantive expertise
  • Employ innovative research design

If selected, fellows will be provided a stipend for research expenses that include travel, books and applicable software. A workspace with full computer access to libraries, etc., will also be provided along with a mentor/subject matter expert who will provide guidance throughout the research process; milestones and deliverables will be established as part of the requirement to submit a final written product for NIU peer review and potential dissemination to the IC and/or publication. This program provides candidates with a unique opportunity to work with senior leadership across the intelligence community on a myriad of issues.

Selection Procedures are as follows:

  • Review – Research Center staff (panel) will convene to review all applications and choose up to three fellows.
  • An Interview will be scheduled with the selected candidates where research questions, data collection plan proposal, research methodologies, etc. will be discussed.
  • Selected candidates will be notified through their home offices on or before 1 March; alternates will be chosen in event an original selectee cannot participate.

Testimonial:

As a candidate for the National Intelligence University Fellows Program, I found the application process streamlined and organized. First, I determined which topic of choice I would like to research in conjunction with the ‘needs’ of the intelligence community. Specifically, my choice was “Information Sharing and Collaboration at the National, State, Local and Tribal Levels.” After narrowing down the scope a bit to focus in on the efforts already in existence (and working well), I outlined the highlighted areas of importance surrounding information sharing. For example: Policy and Governance, Department of Homeland Security Fusion Centers, Technology, and so forth. In addition, I was able to use a case study methodology for each and include the requirement for utilization of the stipend. In my case, levering on the chosen methodology, interviews and research across the intelligence community was anticipated, organized and presented which included visits to local and state-wide fusion centers, state government representatives/leaders in charge of information dissemination and so forth. Upon receipt of the application, NIU did a timely and thorough review and although I was not selected for the current year candidate pool, they were able to provide critical feedback surrounding the methodology, topic of choice and recommendations so that I would be able to update/edit my existing proposal and perhaps resubmit for the following year. Having said that, I would recommend anyone “thinking” of submitting to do so as it will be a very worthwhile and valuable experience. NIU’s fellows program is very competitive, yet a very worthwhile endeavor for those interested in researching common issues across the intelligence community.

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.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications

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Posted on Wednesday, 10th May 2017 by

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Harvard Business School (HBS) provides several opportunities for leadership courses/programs for individuals. Designed at a variety of levels …from executives to managers to new leaders to business owners, the goal of each is to improve corporate performance, become a visionary and drive competitive advantage. These comprehensive programs are aimed at developing additional responsibilities: Owner/President Management (OPM), Advanced Management (AMP), General Management (GMP), and the Program for Leadership Development (PLD). With an opportunity for candidates at all career levels, each program is uniquely designed to fit a specific need with an end result of a visionary leader who can improve corporate performance and drive competitive advantage.

New Business Innovation (3D crossword orange series)

The General Management Program (GMP)

Great experience for general managers in industry whose function involves profit/loss; 15-20 years work experience is preferable. Specifically, those managers who have the responsibility to work with profit/loss and perhaps a cross functional, expanding role will benefit. With a myriad of coursework that consists of on-campus and distance learning, the knowledge base is expanded.  In addition, with time away from your daily duties, investment is maximized and leadership skills and growth maximized. You will be exposed to the best practices surrounding global leadership, competition, capitalization, emerging opportunities, growth potentials and the basics of running a business from beginning to end. A strategic program, the GMP is a great option for all aspiring managers.

The Program for Leadership Development (PLD).

Tailored to leadership goals and objectives for individuals with 10-15 years of experience seeking the fast track to leadership in lieu of an MBA. Specifically, with its focus on challenges and unique leadership skills and goals, this option is a more personalized experience. With a four module format, participants are exposed to core operations, key functions and best practices for success. Topics to include: leadership, change, and strategic innovation serve as the core for the learning portfolio that will boost your confidence. Participants will obtain a broader grasp of management and be ready to hit the ground running after working with high performing global and cross functional teams, driving change and working through challenging and functional initiatives. The PLD is an opportunity to excel in your current position and beyond.

The Owner/President Management (OPM)

This program is for business owners with at least 10 years experience; great for CEOs, COOs, Presidents, Exec Directors, etc. with sales exceeding $10M/year. Specifically, participants will work as though they were in charge of the business; an intensive three unit format runs the course of 24 months which maximizes time away from work yet provides significant value. Topics include: finance, marketing, sales, negotiation, leadership and global sales; a comprehensive portfolio, the OPM offers navigation through entrepreneurial challenges and uncovering new opportunities.

The Advanced Management Program (AMP)

A custom program for senior executives with at least 20 years of experience; great for CEO with annual revenues in excess of $250 million. Specifically for those central to an organization’s succession plan, AMP immerses individuals with a highly integrated format. Personal and professional growth are explored in 7 weeks on campus; coursework includes: leading change, driving innovation and positioning a company for success. The AMP offering is a must for those wanting to lead companies around the world, perhaps as a CEO.

Testimonial

Derek Porter, a CEO of a Beauty Industry Group who attended coursework as part of the HBS program, found that the program was unique in that it “teaches participants how to actually build a successful and sustainable enterprise.” In addition, he felt that it offered critical and applicable information on theories to include continuous improvement and sustainable enterprise. This learning was a key factor for success for him in growing a large business with sustainment at the next level.

Derek also felt that it was “invaluable to hear the perceptions of such a wide range of executives from different cultures.”  HBS focuses on diversity as part of its participant selection which makes for an even more attractive learning environment.

Finally, Derek felt the case-based learning methodology was valuable since it “explored unique circumstances underneath problems, identifying things that could be done to solve them.”  HBS uses this method instead of traditional learning so as to deepen one’s understanding through a different set of perspectives and scenarios.

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.

Posted in Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Job Qualifications

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Posted on Thursday, 4th May 2017 by

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The budget analyst series covers positions that perform, advise on, or supervise work in any of the phases of budget administration when such work requires knowledge and skill in applying budget- related laws, regulations, policies, precedents, methods, and techniques.

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The federal government employs 13,397 in this occupation of which 341 work overseas. The military departments employ 6,360 , the Department of Defense employs 738, the VA employs 730. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, and in most large and many small agencies.

Budgeting in the Federal Government is a cyclical process consisting of three major phases:

  • budget formulation,
  • budget presentation/enactment, and
  • budget execution.

The three phases co-exist during the fiscal year. When the approved operating budget for the current fiscal year is in the execution phase, the proposed budget for the following fiscal year is in the presentation/enactment phase, and the budget request for two years hence is in the formulation phase.

The budget cycle for a single budget year covers nearly three calendar years.

Budget officer and budget analyst positions function in organizations that are large enough to warrant establishing full-time positions to do budget administration work. The positions exist in nearly all agencies and departments of the Executive Branch. Tight timeframes, and rigid milestones and deadlines for completing budget actions characterize much of the work.

The budget officer is normally responsible for the full complement of budgetary operations necessary to support the programs and personnel of the organizational component and level in which employed. At a minimum , these responsibilities include formulation of the budget request and execution of the approved annual operating budget for the employing component.

In addition to performing a wide range of analytical, technical, and advisory functions related to the budgetary processes, most budget officers also perform supervisory duties and responsibilities over a subordinate staff of budget analysts and administrative support positions. Many budget officers report to a Chief Financial Officer or other management official in the supervisory chain with authority and responsibility for the total financial management of the employing organization.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-12 is $72,168.00 to $93,821.00

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

  • Work with program and project managers to develop the organization’s budget
  • Review managers’ budget proposals for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations
  • Combine all the program and department budgets together into a consolidated organizational budget and review all funding requests for merit
  • Explain their recommendations for funding requests to others in the organization, legislators, and the public
  • Help the chief operations officer, agency head, or other top managers analyze proposed plans and find alternatives if the projected results are unsatisfactory
  • Monitor organizational spending to ensure that it is within budget
  • Inform program managers of the status and availability of funds
  • Estimate future financial needs

Budget analysts advise various institutions—including governments, universities, and businesses—on how to organize their finances. They prepare annual and special reports and evaluate budget proposals. They analyze data to determine the costs and benefits of various programs and recommend funding levels based on their findings. Although elected officials (in government) or top executives (in a private company) usually make the final decision on an organization’s budget, they rely on the work of budget analysts to prepare the information for that decision.

Sometimes, budget analysts use cost-benefit analyses to review financial requests, assess program tradeoffs, and explore alternative funding methods. Budget analysts also may examine past budgets and research economic and financial developments that affect the organization’s income and expenditures. Budget analysts may recommend program spending cuts or redistributing extra funds.
Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to ensure compliance with the budget and determine whether changes to funding levels are needed for certain programs. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they are producing the desired results.

In addition to providing technical analysis, budget analysts must effectively communicate their recommendations to officials within the organization. For example, if there is a difference between the approved budget and actual spending, budget analysts may write a report explaining the variations and recommend changes to reconcile the differences.

Budget analysts working in government attend committee hearings to explain their recommendations to legislators. Occasionally, budget analysts may evaluate how well a program is doing, provide policy analysis, and draft budget-related legislation.

Education

Employers generally require budget analysts to have at least a bachelor’s degree. However, some employers may require candidates to have a master’s degree. Because developing a budget requires strong numerical and analytical skills, courses in statistics or accounting are helpful. Federal, state, and local governments have varying requirements, but usually require a bachelor’s degree in one of many areas, such as accounting, finance, business, public administration, economics, statistics, political science, or sociology.

Sometimes, budget-related or finance-related work experience can be substituted for formal education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Government budget analysts may earn the Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants. To earn this certification, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, 24 credit hours of study in financial management, 2 years of professional-level experience in governmental financial management, and they must pass a series of exams. To keep the certification, budget analysts must take 80 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Advancement

Entry-level budget analysts begin with limited responsibilities, but advancement is common. As analysts gain experience, they have the opportunity to advance to intermediate and senior budget analyst positions.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Budget analysts must be able to process a variety of information, evaluate costs and benefits, and solve complex problems.

Communication skills. Budget analysts need strong communication skills because they often have to explain and defend their analyses and recommendations in meetings and legislative committee hearings.

Detail oriented. Creating an efficient budget requires careful analysis of each budget item.

Math skills. Most budget analysts need math skills and should be able to use certain software, including spreadsheets, database functions, and financial analysis programs.

Writing skills. Budget analysts must present technical information in writing that is understandable for the intended audience.

The occupational profile information was excerpted from the Occupational Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor.

GS-0560 Budget Analyst (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

Basic Requirements:

  • Financial Management Level 2 Certificate must be obtain within one (1) year of placement.
  • Knowledge of Budget Formulation/Execution utilizing a Financial Automated System
  • Knowledge of Budgetary Guidelines, Regulations and Processes
  • Ability to Manage Budget Program
  • Ability to communicate orally

Budget Analyst Duties:

  • Serve as Senior Budget Analyst performing a variety of duties in the planning, analysis, formulation, justification, presentation, execution and review of multi-year budgets for a large organization;
  • Defend budget and justify a supplemental budget request as required;
  • Plan, program, formulate, and execute the budget of assigned programs by reviewing and utilizing pertinent policies and objectives, and reviewing financial reports;
  • Analyze requests from all activities to determine adequacy to support approved programs, projects, and conformance with budgetary guidelines;
  • Evaluate programs and funds received from higher headquarters to determine the need for adjustments or submission of a request for additional resources;
  • Recommend reprogramming of funds in relation to execution and coordinates supporting actions with higher headquarters.

Job Prospects:

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program)

Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. This occupation has fairly steady turnover, as budget analysts often leave the occupation to pursue opportunities to work in similar areas. These opportunities include positions as higher-level budget analysts at other organizations and positions in related business and financial occupations, such as financial analysts. For this reason, job prospects are expected to be good for entry-level budget analysts.

Efficient use of public funds is increasingly expected at the Federal, state, and local levels. Budget analysts should be in demand for their ability to manage the allocation of public funds. Many state and local governments, which previously had hiring freezes due to revenue shortfalls, are now seeing growth in revenue and spending. This should allow for increased hiring of budget analysts, as these governments fill positions that were previously left vacant. Budget analysts working in state government are projected to grow 2 percent, while those working in local government are projected to grow 6 percent.

However, recent slowdowns in federal spending and employment have limited overall employment growth at the federal level. Because of this, budget analysts working in the federal government are projected to decline 10 percent.
Job Series Titles: (Click on the job title to view job vacancies for government and private sector jobs.) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.

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.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Sunday, 23rd April 2017 by

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This program, sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established as a joint effort in 2004. The program focuses on cyerbsecurity and the reduction of vulnerabilities in our information structure through the promotion of higher education and research. There are several options with this program to include two and four year opportunities at accredited institutions across the United States. Schools must meet extremely stringent criteria before approval of a core cyber curriculum and U.S. Government recognition.

Cyber Security concept. Cloud containing words related to Cyber Security.

Institutions receive prestige for their status as CAE-CD and represent the goal of vulnerability reduction in national information infrastructure. Promoting cyber defense in higher education and through research fosters critical cyber expertise and professionalism, worldwide.

In addition to NSA and DHS, CAE funding is available from other sources such as the National Science Foundation. The programs as such include critical technologies surrounding cyber operations and specialties (collection, exploitation, etc.) that protect our national security infrastructure and are key elements for intelligence, law enforcement and military operations.

As a CAE for the academic years 2014-2021, the University Maryland, University College (UMUC), serves as a leader in educating cybersecurity workforces worldwide. As a participant in the Cybsercurity Management and Policy program, I was exposed to the most innovative, strategic, world class program in cyber. Specifically, the coursework, milestones and deliverables that surround the core principles of leadership, strategic and critical thinking and innovation in the application of cybersecurity.

Students from all corners of the globe flock to UMUC and to this program, bringing a wealth of knowledge, skills and abilities to share in the fight against cyber terror and crime. The value of this diversity, worldwide, for one cause is dynamic and as a CAE, an opportunity that UMUC prides themselves upon. To date, I have worked with a myriad of students with diverse backgrounds within the intelligence community; my classmates are military, contractors and civilians, engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, CEOs and company Presidents. Each aspect of learning within a CAE encompasses real world scenarios, hands-on expertise, solution-oriented learning as well as cooperative decision making, resulting in a well-rounded, fully educated cyber warrior. A challenging and technical environment, the ability to absorb this information under one roof with a multitude of talent is limitless. New and emerging areas are constantly offered, continuously preparing students for a variety of careers and positions in the cyber sector.

Overall, CAEs provide students with the holistic knowledge, skills and abilities they need to develop protections vital for our nation’s security. Some of the benefits achieved when participating in CAEs include: specialized education and experiences, exposures to other cultures, languages and organizations, interaction with the intelligence community, opportunities for employment, internships, and more. Students also have the ability to supplement their cyber interests with forensics, policy, software or networks, for example, all while obtaining a thorough understanding of legal and ethical issues surrounding cybersecurity and cyber operations as part of the coursework offered by the CAE.

For more information on program guidance, requirements and resources as well as a link to CAE schools, please visit the reference below.

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.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Tuesday, 18th April 2017 by

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The Financial System Specialist Series covers positions that perform, supervise, or manage administrative work of a fiscal, financial management, accounting or budgetary nature that is not classifiable to another more specific professional or administrative series in the Accounting and Budget Group, GS-0500.

There are no titles specified for this occupation. Agencies may construct titles that appropriately describe the work. The title, Financial Manager, is to be used only for positions classified to the Financial Management Series, GS-0505.

The federal government employs 25,086 in this occupation of which 455 work overseas. The Department of the Treasury employs 5,328, the Department of the Navy employs 5,345, and the Department of Defense has 2,816 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary range for a GS-11 is $59,246.00 to $77,019.00

 Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

  • Recommend individual investments and collections of investments, which are known as portfolios
  • Evaluate current and historical financial data
  • Study economic and business trends
  • Examine a company’s financial statements to determine its value
  • Meet with company officials to gain better insight into the company’s prospects
  • Assess the strength of the management team
  • Prepare written reports

Financial analysts evaluate investment opportunities. They work in banks, pension funds, mutual funds, securities firms, insurance companies, and other businesses. Financial analysts are also called securities analysts and investment analysts.

Financial analysts can be divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.

  • Buy-side analysts develop investment strategies for companies that have a lot of money to invest. These companies, called institutional investors, include mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, independent money managers, and nonprofit organizations with large endowments, such as some universities.
  • Sell-side analysts advise financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.

Some analysts work for the federal government , the business media or other research houses, which are independent from the buy and sell side.

Financial analysts generally focus on trends affecting a specific industry, geographical region, or type of product. For example, an analyst may focus on a subject area such as the energy industry, a world region such as Eastern Europe, or the foreign exchange market. They must understand how new regulations, policies, and political and economic trends may affect investments.

Investing is becoming more global, and some financial analysts specialize in a particular country or region. Companies want those financial analysts to understand the language, culture, business environment, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.

Financial Analyst Types:

Portfolio managers select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company’s investment portfolio. These managers are responsible for the overall performance of the portfolio. They are also expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with stakeholders.

Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund and portfolio managers frequently make buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.

Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. On the basis of their evaluation, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.

Risk analysts evaluate the risk in investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. This job is carried out by making investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio.

Education:

Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. A number of fields of study provide appropriate preparation, including accounting, economics, finance, statistics, and mathematics. For advanced positions, employers often require a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a master’s degree in finance. Knowledge of options pricing, bond valuation, and risk management are important.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. It requires licenses for many financial analyst positions. Most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, so companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.

Certification is often recommended by employers and can improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute. Financial analysts can become CFA certified if they have a bachelor’s degree, 4 years of qualified work experience, and pass three exams. Financial analysts can also become certified in their field of specialty.

Advancement

Financial analysts typically start by specializing in a specific investment field. As they gain experience, they can become portfolio managers, who select the mix of investments for a company’s portfolio. They can also become fund managers, who manage large investment portfolios for individual investors. A master’s degree in finance or business administration can improve an analyst’s chances of advancing to one of these positions.

Important Qualities:

Analytical skills. Financial analysts must process a range of information in finding profitable investments.

Communication skills. Financial analysts must explain their recommendations to clients in clear language that clients can easily understand.

Computer skills. Financial analysts must be adept at using software packages to analyze financial data, see trends, create portfolios, and make forecasts.

Decision making skills. Financial analysts must provide a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell a security.

Detail oriented. Financial analysts must pay attention to details when reviewing possible investments, as small issues may have large implications for the health of an investment.

Math skills. Financial analysts use mathematical skills when estimating the value of financial securities

The occupational profile information was excerpted from the Occupational Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor.

GS-0501 Financial Systems Specialist (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

Basic Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Knowledge of Financial System Administration
  • Skill in Written Communications
  • Ability to provide guidance on operating policies and other related fiscal matters

GS-11:

Must have at least one year of experience at the next lowest grade level.

Job Prospects:

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program)

Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

Despite employment growth, strong competition is expected for financial analyst positions. Growth in financial services is projected to create new positions, but there are still far more people who would like to enter the occupation than there are jobs in the occupation. Having certifications and a graduate degree can significantly improve an applicant’s prospects.

Job Series Titles:(Click on the job title to view vacancies for government and private sector jobs) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.

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.

 

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Overseas Jobs

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