Posted on Monday, 24th November 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Get Started on USAJobs.gov

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

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

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

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Resumes / KSAs

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Posted on Monday, 17th November 2014 by

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Throughout my federal career, I was involved in acquisition functions. I was a Contract Specialist and a Program Analyst for the Department of the Army. Acquisition functions are found in all of the agencies and branches of the military.

Acquisition Functions

Congress is responsible for the passing of the federal budget and the appropriation of funds. Once these funds are appropriated, the federal government can acquire goods and services to include real property.

The procurement process is initiated through the use of contracts. Government contracting is heavily regulated and subject to many statues and other regulations including the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). All procurement activities must follow the FAR that deals with the federal contracting process.

Each branch of the military and all federal agencies have implemented additional regulations, which are derived from the FAR, and unique to that particular branch or agency’s procurement practices.

Government contracting agents are required to obligate funds, through contracts, for the procurement of goods, services, or real property. Federal employees are assigned agent responsibilities and many contract types and solicitations are used in the procurement process. The federal employee (agent) can negotiate contract terms and conditions and this is strictly controlled by the FAR and other statues.

Once a contract is negotiated, and awarded, the funds are allocated for payment. The contracting officer has signing authority as government contract agent. The agent’s authority is granted by a warrant and the agent cannot deviate from it in any way. The warrant gives the Contracting Officer authority to sign a contract up to a certain dollar amount.

Funds can’t be obligated unless funds are authorized. The Anti Deficiency Act, states that no one can obligate money to make payments on a contract unless the funds have already been authorized. The contracting officer must sign off that funds are available and authorized. They legally obligate the government for the expenditure of funds.

Acquisitions Careers

The contract specialist is the most prevalent job category in the Acquisition career field. The job classification is GS-1102. Other procurement jobs under the GS-1102 series include contractor administrator, contracting officer, and procurement analyst. The salary range for grades GS-05-15 is $31,628.00-$149,333.00. These salaries depend upon the grade level, location, and if it is a non-supervisor or a supervisory position. You can also explore several related occupations including Purchasing GS-1105 and Procurement Tech GS-1106 jobs.

Contract Specialist Requirements

The contract specialist acts a business advisor and assists in the planning to acquire needed goods and services. Contract specialists are in high demand, especially after 9/11. The majority of the procurement activities have become technically complex and of longer duration. Contract Specialists must constantly keep up-to-date with the laws that govern procurement processes.

The contract specialist prepares the proposal package, negotiates the contract if applicable, and awards the contract. Only the contracting officer is authorized to sign and administer the contract once it is awarded. You must be a U.S. citizen to be a contract specialist.

Typically, the entry grade is at the GS-5 level, which is considered a journeyman/training position. At the GS-5 level, you can have either a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Contract Specialists above the GS-5 level, have the same basic requirements of a Bachelor’s degree. Within that degree an applicant must have at least 24 hours in business-related courses in the following fields: accounting, business, finance, law, contracts, purchasing, economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, or organization and management. (This requirement can be obtained within the degree or in addition to the degree).

At the GS-07-15 levels, you will need additional specialized experience that includes providing business advice and performing all pre-award and post-award job functions. This additional job experience must be at least 52 weeks in length, is at the previous grade level, and depends upon what grade you are applying.

The contracting officer position starts at a GS-12 level and all the other specialized experience applies. An additional requirement for a contracting officer is a warrant. The warrant gives the contracting officer signing authority (at certain dollar thresholds) to obligate funds for contracts.

Review the related qualification standards for additional information.

Contract Administrator

The contract administrator starts at a GS-11 level and are assigned to the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). DCMA is located all across the United States and overseas.

The main functions include monitoring of contractor’s performance and delivery schedules. Negotiate supplemental agreements for the contracting officer’s signature. Close out contracts once final delivery has been made. A contract administrator should have a broad knowledge of estimating costs, pricing systems, financial policies, and cost control procedures are monitored, analyzed, and evaluated in accordance with financial and contract administration requirements.

Procurement Analyst

The procurement analyst starts at the GS-12 grade level. They still must meet all requirements of the GS-1102 job series. The applicant requires good decision making and analysis skills. They must have customer service experience to resolve difficult contract issues and they often coordinate procurement management reviews. Additionally, they should have a mastery of acquisition concepts, principles, practices, laws, regulations, methods, and techniques.

Challenges of the Acquisition Professional

The acquisition professional is a very specialized job category. The contract specialist must have an understanding of procurement laws and acts as an agent for the federal government to obligate funds. The acquisition process can be very long and tedious due to complex regulations that must be followed. The federal government is constantly reviewing and addressing the acquisition process to make it more manageable.

The acquisition professional plays a vital role as steward of the taxpayer’s dollars. They work to get the best price, timely delivery of services, and ensure the integrity of the procurement process.

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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 Thursday, 13th November 2014 by

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There are over 2000 occupational codes in the Postal Service’s Position Directory. A number of these positions are in the maintenance field. I use to think of “maintenance” as just being the “cleaning crew”. But it is so much more than that. The USPS has area maintenance technicians, building equipment mechanics, thousands of custodians, electronics technicians, auto mechanics and technicians, and general maintenance mechanics just to name a few of the available maintenance positions.

Fortunately there are promotion opportunities in these departments. A person that works as an automotive mechanic for example could move up to a technician position. They could also be promoted to lead technician or a supervisory position if available and if they meet the qualifications for the promotion.

There are many opportunities for electronic technicians due to the considerable amount of electronic equipment that has to be in full working order 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In 1982, the Postal Service deployed its first flat sorting machine (FSM), the FSM 775. Previously, all flats had been processed manually. With four operators keying in part of the ZIP Code, the FSM 775 could sort about 6,200 flats per hour into 100 bins. The FSM 881, introduced ten years later in 1992, could sort about 10,000 flats per hour with four operators. These were the machines that I worked on at the Kansas City KS General Mail Facility, when I was a PTF clerk. The ET’s had to be available to keep these machines operational so the mail could keep moving and be ready for dispatch at 4:30 am. You can see why ET’s are so valuable to the postal service; the mail could come to a complete halt if the machines like the FSM and Delivery Bar Code Sorters were unable to operate.

I’ll cover a number of the maintenance positions in my column starting with electronic technician. The salary range for an Electronic Technician – PS 10 is $56,150 to $67,156.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Carry out all phases of maintenance, troubleshooting and testing of electronic circuitry used in equipment and systems requiring knowledge of solid-state electronics. Instructs and provides technical support on complex systems and on combinational (hardware/software) or intermittent problems.

  • Performs the testing, diagnosis, maintenance and revision work requiring knowledge of solid-state electronics.
  • Observes the various equipment and systems in operation and applies appropriate testing and diagnostic methods and procedures to ensure proper operation.
  • Locates source of equipment and system failures, rectifies trouble in involved cases or provides instructions to be used by maintenance employees performing repair work.
  • Makes or participates with contractor representative or electronic technician in installing or altering equipment and systems as required.
  • Makes reports of equipment and system failures, which require corrective action by contractor and follows up to see that appropriate action, is taken.
  • Makes preventive maintenance inspections to discover incipient malfunctions and to review the standards of maintenance.
  • Recommends changes in preventive maintenance procedures and practices as found to be necessary.
  • Programs scheme and/or scheme changes into memory units as requested by management.
  • Furnishes pertinent data to superiors and contract employees on operation and testing problems.
  • Participates in training programs: classroom, on-the-job, and correspondence, at postal facilities, trade schools and manufacturer’s plants as required. May assist in developing and implementing training programs. Instructs equal or lower level employees as required.
  • Observes established safety regulations pertaining to the type of work involved.
  • May drive vehicle or utilize other available mode of transportation to work site when necessary.
  • Provides technical support to other electronic technicians to resolve complex, combinational (hardware/software) and/or intermittent failures.
  • Performs such duties as may be assigned

If interested in any Maintenance position or any other position at the United States Postal Service visit our USPS Job Search Guide and follow the link at the end of the guide to the official USPS jobs site to find job vacancies in your area.

Good luck in your job hunting endeavors.

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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, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Post Office Jobs

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Posted on Thursday, 6th November 2014 by

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Over the past three decades, the expanding variety of available workplace flexibilities has provided potential applicants with an added incentive in seeking Federal agency positions. The Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) is the longest tenured flexibility initiative, tracing its origin to 1978. Since that time, the availability of AWS programs has become a key recruitment and retention tool along with the student loan repayment program that agencies can now offer to fill critical vacancies.  In addition to reviewing the available AWS options, this post will also seek to provide some insight into the current usage of AWS across the government.

Description of AWS

The term “Alternative Work Schedule” encompasses two general types of work schedules, flexible work schedules (FWS) and compressed work schedules (CWS), each representing a variation to the fixed-schedule 8-hour, 5-day work week.

A FWS consists of workdays with (1) core hours and (2) flexible hours. Core hours are the designated period of the day when all employees must be at work. Flexible hours are the part of the workday when employees may (within limits or “bands”) choose their time of arrival and departure. Within limits set by each agency, a FWS can enable employees to select and alter their work schedules to best fit personal needs and help balance work and family responsibilities. There are various types of FWS arrangements that provide different degrees of flexibility regarding starting/stopping times and core hours. These include flexitour, gliding, variable day, variable week, and maxiflex schedules. OPM’s Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules defines each of these terms and provides a detailed analysis of each option.

If authorized by agency policy or a collective bargaining agreement for unionized employees, an employee may have the option of earning credit hours. These are hours worked in excess of an employee’s basic work requirement (e.g., 40 hours a week), which the employee elects to work in order to vary the length of a workweek or a workday. An employee may carry a maximum of 24 credit hours from one pay period to the next.

As a result of the flexible start/stop times, the overtime rules under an AWS are slightly different from those that apply to a fixed work schedule. When working under an AWS, overtime work consists of hours of work that are officially ordered in advance and in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. However, overtime does not include hours worked voluntarily, including credit hours, or hours an employee covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act is “suffered or permitted” to work that are not officially ordered in advance.

A CWS meets the basic work requirement of 80 hours in less than 10 work days. Arrival and departure times and non-workdays are fixed. There are no provisions for flexitime or gliding schedules under a CWS program, and credit hours are not permissible. Depending on the applicable agency policy or applicable collective bargaining agreement, employees may be able to select one of 3 CWS options:

  • 5-4/9 Plan: Employee works 8 9-hour days and 1 8-hour day each pay period.
  • 4-Day Workweek: Employee works 4 10-hour days each workweek.
  • 3-Day Workweek: Employee works 3 days of 13 hours and 20 minutes each work week.

A CWS cannot be established among non-unionized employees unless a majority of those employees vote to adopt it. In a unionized organization, only those employees in the bargaining unit are bound by the negotiations establishing the CWS program. Also, any employee for whom a compressed work schedule would impose a personal hardship may be excluded from the program.

AWS Participation

Despite a dearth of historical data, available reports indicate that as much as 40% of the Federal workforce has participated in some form of AWS. The recently issued Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results for 2014 indicates that AWS is the single most popular work/life flexibility: 33% of responding employees participate in AWS. Employees consistently cite the scheduling flexibilities that AWS programs facilitate as a primary reason for increased morale and job motivation. Moreover, the Obama administration recently reinforced its support for AWS and other workplace flexibilities by requiring agency heads to make them available to the “maximum extent practicable.”

From a personal perspective, as both a former Office of Personnel Management attorney exposed to numerous agency policies and long-time AWS participant, I found that some form of AWS is widely available to Federal employees in the Washington, D.C. area. Moreover, employees occupying a broad range of clerical, professional, and supervisory job categories take advantage of AWS options where available.

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

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

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Posted on Wednesday, 29th October 2014 by

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How would you like to work for the Federal Government’s premiere spy agency? The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been in the spy business for 67 years and there are many lucrative job opportunities that await you.

History

The United States has used spies since this country’s inception. Even George Washington, our first president, used spies during the Revolutionary War. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the precursor to the CIA. The OSS was formed during World War II, and collected and analyzed information. Once World War II ended, the OSS was eliminated; other war agencies were transferred to the State and War departments.

President Harry Truman realized that a centralized intelligence organization was necessary. In 1947, he signed the National Security Act and the CIA was born. The CIA is responsible for the coordination of the nation’s intelligence activities, as well as, correlating, evaluating, and disseminating intelligence affecting national security.

In 2004, President George W. Bush restructured the CIA by signing the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. This act established the position of Director of National Intelligence (D/CIA) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) within the CIA. The DNI oversees the Intelligence Community and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

The CIA of Today

The CIA is comprised of 4 main organizations. The CIA website states, “They carry out ‘the intelligence cycle,’ the process of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence information to top US government officials.”

Each of these 4 organizations provide the following unique support functions:

  • The National Clandestine Service (NCS) collects foreign intelligence, specifically human source intelligence (HUMINT). CIA officers live and work overseas to establish a network of human “assets” in the field.
  • The Directorate of Intelligence (DI) analyzes a variety of sourced material and provides reports, briefings, and papers on foreign intelligence issues. Their intelligence analysis helps in the formulation of policy that senior policy makers can use.
  • The Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) is responsible for using state of the art technology in the assessment and collection of information. They use the expertise from various disciplines that include computer programmers, scientists, and analysts for these assessments.
  • The Directorate of Support (DS) provides international clandestine. They are responsible for financial and medical services, logistics, and the security of CIA personnel. This directorate also offers support within the Intelligence Community.

The People Who Work for the CIA

The mission of the CIA is to “Preempt threats and further US national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the President, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our Nation safe.”

The CIA has many exciting career opportunities from a variety of professions. These include Analysts (operations research GS-1515), Scientists (GS-1300), Engineers (GS-800 Series), cyber security, information assurance, logistics, and Medical services (GS-600). You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for any jobs in the CIA. The main headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

In the Clandestine Service, there is a Core Collector career path. This career path offers 2 entry-level programs, one for ages 21-25 and 26-35. A Core Collector works full time in the Washington, D.C. area and the salary range is from $53,508 to $82,019 depending on time in grade and experience.

The 21-25 year old group goes through the Professional Trainee (PT) Program. They have to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The program gives a person the opportunity to gain valuable experience in different areas at the Washington D.C. headquarters. These assignments help in the training and field deployment.

The 26-35 year old group goes through The Clandestine Service (CST) Program. This is an 18 month long program. The applicant must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In addition, they should also have several years of business and or military experience.

The Core Collector career path has 2 primary job categories. They are designated as either Core Collection Operations Officers (OO) or Collection Management Officers (CMO). In either category, the person is required to be fully engaged in all the activities relevant to clandestine operations while in overseas assignments.

Another unique and interesting career path is Counterintelligence Threat Analyst. This is a full time position, with a salary range from $50,861 to $98,305 and maybe paid higher depending upon a person’s level of experience. An applicant will need a bachelors or a master’s degree in such fields as security, electrical engineering, telecommunications field and a mix of international and technical areas.

The Counterintelligence (CI) analyst has to identify, monitor, and review foreign intelligence entities, who try to collect sensitive security information on U.S. persons, emerging technologies, and other areas of national interest. They collaborate with other intelligence counterparts, produce both long and short-term written assessments, and can brief U.S. policy makers.

The CIA is responsible for protecting our country and their mission is to provide information, insights, and actions that are in support of a tactical and strategic advantage for the United States.

So if you can keep a secret and want to work for the premiere spy agency, then check out the CIA.

Related Resources

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

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

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Posted on Wednesday, 15th October 2014 by

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the post office! It’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking of hiring temporary employees to help with the Christmas rush. The United States Postal Service will hire temporary clerks and mail handlers for a 21-day period to get them through the holiday season. These positions pay on average $11.00 per hour, no benefits; but can lead to a 360-day appointment.

Most of the employees that are hired for these positions will work in the Processing & Distribution Centers and Bulk Mail Centers, sorting the many, many packages that come in. The majority of the employees will work from the first week of December to around December 26. All three tours (shifts) will be available with most of the employees working Tour 1 (11:00 pm to 7:30 am). The majority of the mail comes in during the evening, so by working Tour 1, the mail can be sorted and distributed then delivered to the post offices around the country that same morning.

The job of a casual clerk and mail handler in the processing and distribution centers can be physically demanding. They will load and unload postal trucks and move mail around a mail-processing center with forklifts, small electric tractors and hand-pushed carts. These workers are usually on their feet, reaching for sacks and trays of mail or placing packages and bundles of mail into sacks and trays. The clerk and mail handler positions can be a very tedious, tiring and stressful job. The mail sacks can be very heavy, so you must be able to lift 70 pounds. You will have time restraints in getting the job done and you will be working in a fast pace environment.

Below are the duties and responsibilities of a clerk position listed on USPS.com:

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Makes one or more sortations of outgoing and/or incoming mail using the appropriate sort program or manual distribution scheme.
  2. On a rotation basis, performs all of the following duties: loads mail onto automated equipment, culling out non-processable items; enters sort plan and starts equipment; monitors flow of mail to ensure continuous feed; sweeps separated mail from bins/stackers; and stops equipment when distribution run or operations is completed. Runs machine reports, clear jam and contacts maintenance for assistance when required.
  3. Prepares work area, ensuring all necessary support equipment and materials, including labels, trays, and other containers are in place.
  4. Removes sorted mail from bins or separations and places into appropriate trays or containers for further processing or dispatch based on knowledge of operating plans and dispatch schedules, or at the instruction of supervisors or expediters; may riffle or verify mail to ensure sortation accuracy as needed.
  5. Follows established safe work methods, procedures and safety precautions while performing all duties.

Now is the time to apply for one of the 21-day appointments. The Local postal service’s offices in every District will be posting the positions on USPS.com to get everyone hired for the busy holiday season. If interested visit our USPS Job Search Guide and follow the links to the official USPS jobs site to search current job openings for the Christmas Casual or Casual position. Good luck!

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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 Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Post Office Jobs

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Posted on Tuesday, 7th October 2014 by

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One of the dominant topics in the news these days is that the Ebola virus has come to the shores of America. Have you ever wondered how our country is protected from pandemics and other diseases? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention is our frontline of defense against the spread of infectious diseases and they employ 10,222 workers with the majority located in Georgia. They also have offices in most states and overseas. There are employment opportunities available in the medical profession, natural and physical sciences, and most support occupations if you would like to work for this agency.

History

The CDC celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2006. This agency is part of the The Department of Health and Human Services. On July 1, 1946, the CDC was originally called the Communicable Disease Center and still today is located in Atlanta, GA.

Malaria was a major health issue in the United States in the 1940′s. The CDC’s primary goal early on, was to help prevent and eradicate the spreading of this disease. The CDC only had a $10 million dollar budget in 1946. They were able to procure trucks, sprayers and other equipment to control the mosquito population.

Over time, the CDC has become the premiere health organization for the education and prevention of diseases and they assist other agencies to control outbreaks. Globally, the CDC is considered the leading authority in public health issues.

Inside the Agency

According to the CDC, its mission is “to work 24/7 to protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S.” (See more at this CDC link works 24/7).

This agency is responsible for conducting research, the investigation of infectious and chronic diseases, and in stopping bioterrorism. The CDC further states, “The CDC is now focusing on becoming a more efficient and impactful agency by focusing on five strategic areas: supporting state and local health departments, improving global health, implementing measures to decrease leading causes of death, strengthening surveillance and epidemiology, and reforming health policies.”
The CDC has personnel in over 25 countries to help in international disease prevention. Currently, to stop the further spreading of Ebola, the CDC has personnel in Africa and President Obama authorized the deployment of 3,000 U.S. troops to provide medical supplies, protective equipment, educate health workers, deploy mobile labs, and provide logistical support. For more information, read the White House press release on this subject.

Exciting Job Categories

The CDC has many exciting career opportunities from a variety of professions. These include scientists, healthcare workers, business, medical, and academia. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for any jobs in the CDC.

Medical Officers

Medical Officer Series, GS-0602 requires,” Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degrees from a school in the United States or Canada approved by a recognized accrediting body in the year of the applicant’s graduation”.

Education requires Graduate Training,” Subsequent to obtaining a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree, a candidate must have had at least 1 year of supervised experience providing direct service in a clinical setting, i.e., a 1-year internship or the first year of a residency program in an institution accredited for such training.”

The salary range for a GS-12/15 is $71,674 to $129,674 per year. You can work in the headquarters in Atlanta, GA or where needed overseas. You also will need to have knowledge of public health and medical programs, knowledge and theories, principles, practices and objectives of disease and be able to analyze data from studies and projects.

Medical Officer Job Listings

Public Health Program Specialist Jobs

The Public Health Program Specialist jobs series is GS-0685.
Some of the specific jobs include a Public Health Analyst GS-0685-09/09 with a salary range from $50,077 to $65,097/Per Year. The candidate needs to have knowledge of the functions and be involved in the operations of a health organization and other public health programs. They also must understand the principles, practices, methodologies, and techniques in representing a health program.
A Public Health Analyst (Issues Management) A GS-0685-12/13 salary range is $72,620 to $112,261/Per Year. They must understand how to develop, initiate, and provide information to various units in public health activities. They should be able to provide senior leadership and develop programs, do analysis, formulate answers to Congressional requests and understand the mission of the CDC and public health activities.

Public Health Analyst Job Listings

Finally, other non-medical, technical, and administrative professional positions are available at the CDC.

The Future of the CDC

The CDC will always have critical issues such as Ebola and pandemics to evaluate and deal with globally. This agency is committed to protecting the public through health security initiates; cutting-edge technology, medical research, global initiatives, tracking of diseases, and reaching out to the appropriate agencies or other public health organizations when required.

The CDC’s mission states they work 24/7, Saving Lives, Protecting People.

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

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

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Posted on Monday, 29th September 2014 by

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Did you know that there are entire agencies paying their employees significantly higher than those with similar federal jobs in agencies paying pursuant to the General Schedule and Senior Executive Service salary scales? How do they do it and how can you get one of those jobs? Congress provided these agencies with the authority to establish their own pay and benefits programs. This article provides some insight into the amounts of pay and kinds of benefits/subsidies provided by Federal financial regulatory agencies as well as the most prevalent types of positions occupied at those agencies.

Who Are These Agencies?

Although there are a number of financial regulatory agencies, the largest and most well-known of these include the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Through a series of Congressional actions beginning with the FIRREA in 1989 (link) and ending most recently with the Dodd-Frank Act in 2011 (link), each of these agencies, other than the FRB, either is charged setting employee compensation comparable to the others, or, in the case of the CFPB, comparable to the FRB. The impact of these statutory provisions has resulted in a steady escalation to, and enhancement of, compensation at these agencies over the past twenty years. Superimposed on this comparability mandate is the fact that the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) currently negotiates compensation provisions on behalf of employees at each of these agencies other than the FRB and the CFTC, where a petition for representation is pending (check on this).

How Do Salaries Compare to the General Schedule?

By way of illustration, let’s look at some relevant statistics at the largest of these agencies, the FDIC, as compared to the rest of the government. The negotiated compensation agreement between the FDIC and NTEU covering 2010-2013 provides that basic non-supervisory/executive pay will be at least 10% and no more than 40% above comparable GS pay grades. Stated another way, the 2013 salary for a GS-12 (average grade for a Washington, D.C. area employee), Step 10 employee at most executive agencies was $78,355, while the maximum salary of a CG-12 FDIC employee was $109,697. In terms of an overall comparison, the average GS salary for 2013, including locality pay, was $79,030 while the average 2013 FDIC salary, including locality pay, was $123,710, a 56% increase.
Are There Different Benefits?
In addition to the significantly higher salary scales, the following links are some examples of the generous benefit programs provided by the financial regulatory agencies: separate 401(k) plans with agency contributions; distinct agency insurance programs covering health, life, vision, dental, and long-term disability; annual physical exam subsidies; and generous relocation programs. All of these benefits exist independent of the insurance plans and benefits available to other federal employees. Of particular significance is the fact that, besides having its own 401(k) savings plan, the FRB has its own unique pension plan, in which employees of the CFPB may also participate.

What Kinds of Jobs Are Available?

The workforce at these financial regulatory agencies largely consists of: Bank Examiners, Financial Analysts, Economists, Accountants, Attorneys and IT professionals. However, there are also numerous administrative positions in areas such as Human Resources (including Benefits, Labor & Employee Relations, Policy and Training), Equal Employment Opportunity, Procurement and Budget Operations. These administrative positions generally require no financial prerequisites and, as indicated above, are significantly more lucrative than their counterparts at other executive agencies.

Please visit the websites of each of the referenced agencies, usajobs, and search all federal sector and for related jobs by occupation and agency in order to see the full range of available positions.

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

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

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Posted on Monday, 22nd September 2014 by

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There are many employment options available today in the private and public sectors. We hear so much about the traditional job market that it is easy to overlook some of the most lucrative job options. Have you consider working for the federal government? Federal jobs are plentiful and available nationwide if you know where to look.

I worked for Uncle Sam for 30 years retiring in 2012. I started in the acquisition field as a contract specialist and eventually transferred to an IT profession. My first IT job was as an Information Management Specialist and then I moved to an Information Specialist in policy and planning. Both jobs were in the Information Technology Management Series. I ended my career as a Program Analyst in the GS-0343 Series. My career took a few turns along the way, however, it was interesting and I learned quite a lot.

As my career progressed I was given greater roles and responsibilities. I enjoyed serving my country and for me that was one of the most enjoyable aspects of my work and was one of my reasons for getting up each morning.

It too can be your reason for getting up in the morning along with attractive benefits, good pay, and job security. The benefits are generous to say the least and include; life and health insurance, a 401k plan and a Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), 13 days of sick leave each year, and vacation time, called annual leave in the federal sector, is accrued based on your length of service. You can also save up to 6 weeks of annual leave and sell that time back to the government when you retire.

Job security is another factor to consider and there are less layoffs, called a Reduction in Force (RIF), in the federal government. Promotion potential depends upon many factors including your motivation, credentials, willingness to relocate, and the agency you work for.

Working as a public servant can be very rewarding. How many jobs or careers for that matter, can you say are truly rewarding? There is a satisfaction in knowing that you are an integral part of something much bigger than you are. You are serving the American public and able to work in challenging environments across the country and in so many different occupations. Duty is a certain aspect of working for the Federal Government that goes beyond just showing up for the job each day.

There are many resources for you to explore federal jobs in your area. Start by visiting www.federaljobs.net, the companion web site for the 11th edition of The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. This book and website walk you through the hiring process and provide the information you need to find jobs, complete a professional federal resume, and prepare for the job interview. Also visit www.usajobs.gov, the official recruiting website for the federal government.
Many assume that the majority of federal employees work in the DC Metro area. Fewer than 15 percent of all federal employees worked in or near Washington, DC. You will find offices and federal jobs in all of the major metropolitan areas. Many smaller cities and rural areas have district or local facility offices that offer opportunities for employment across the country and internationally in over 200 countries.

The Federal Government offers tremendous opportunities with over 900 occupations to choose from! From administrative and management to general labor and trades. The baby boomers will be retiring in greater numbers in the next few years, and young people will be needed to fill these jobs. There are many opportunities to take advantage of if you take the time to seek them out. Start exploring the possibilities today.

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

 

 

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

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Posted on Monday, 15th September 2014 by

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I was so excited when I got the call to come to work for the United States Postal Service! I had recently been laid off from another job and this couldn’t have come at a better time. I had always heard that the USPS was a good place to work and I found out it was. The benefits were excellent; 5 weeks of vacation (when I retired), 10 paid holidays, 13 paid sick days, health benefits and good wages!

I began my postal career June 1, 1991 at the General Mail Facility (GMF) in Kansas City KS working as a Distribution Clerk. My duties included; sorting parcels, letters and flats, working in the registry cage, running the Flat machine and Bar Code Sorter.

One of my favorite things to do was work on the flat machine. This was a machine that sorted the flats (magazines and newspapers) by zip code. I would sit at a conveyer and the flats would come in front of me and I would have to key the last three digits of the zip code, then the machine would take the flat and dump it in a tub to be delivered to that particular post office. I liked to challenge myself on how fast I could key them in. I was scheduled on Tour 1, which is 10:30 pm to 7 am and I was surprised when I found out I would be working nights. I guess I never gave it a thought as to how the mail got to the post office for the carriers to deliver. I have to admit, it was an adjustment to work those hours and as soon as I could, I put in for a transfer to the Pleasant Hill MO Post Office.

I was able to transfer in August of 1993 and began working the window and sorting mail. I would arrive at the post office around 5:45 am and began sorting the mail for the carriers. We had to sort it by route. It took a little while to learn all the different street names and which route they went on, but doing it day after day, I learned it pretty quickly. We had two city routes and 5 rural routes. The clerks in offices like this usually do a split shift, we come in early to sort the mail and then come back in the afternoon to get all the mail ready for dispatch.

One of my other duties while working at Pleasant Hill was as a substitute City Carrier. I would carry the mail every other Saturday. I’m not much of an “outdoor” person, so this job wasn’t one of my favorite things to do. You had to carry mail in the rain, snow, hail, etc. I liked the days where it was 70 degrees and mail was light! This route was 4 miles long, so it wasn’t that bad compared to the other route, which was 18 miles. I met a lot of nice people along the route and some of them were very good to me including giving me something cold to drink on those hot days. That was so appreciated! That’s one of the nice things about the postal service; there are many, many different jobs. There is one out there for you!

I transferred in 1995 to the Greenwood MO Post Office where I also worked the window and sorted mail. This was a smaller office than Pleasant Hill; we didn’t have any city routes and only 3 rural routes. No more carrying mail! I liked that! I stayed at this post office until 2000, when I transferred to the Bates City MO Post Office. That is one of the nice things about the post office, you are able to transfer and get closer to home. Bates City was only a few miles from my home, which made it so nice. I was the only clerk in Bates City. Whenever the Postmaster was out of the office, such as on annual or meetings at the District Office, I would be the Officer In Charge or Acting Postmaster.

In October of 2003, I was fortunate to be “detailed” in the Personnel Department at the District Offices in Kansas City MO. I learned so much in that position and loved that job. I was responsible for the hiring of career and non-career employees in 700+ post offices, stations and processing plants in Kansas and Missouri. My two-year “detail” turned into 5 years! It was a very rewarding position, because I got to see the excitement on new employees faces just like I had in 1991. The USPS has been very good to me; I had excellent pay, health benefits and now a good retirement. If you are looking for the same things, I strongly urge you to visit http://www.postalwork.net to explore the opportunities and for direct links to the official USPS employment site. Search for any positions that are now available and apply. I don’t think you will be sorry that you did. Good luck to you!

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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 Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Post Office Jobs

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