Posted on Monday, 5th September 2016 by

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In this final article covering the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) we interview Michael L Ramirez, a research chemist (GS-1320) for the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. According to the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) chemists research and solve a wide range of problems and are employed in a similarly wide range of industries. About a third of all chemists are employed in chemical manufacturing industries; the remainder work at colleges and universities, in government, and for independent testing and research laboratories.

The federal government employs 5,665 chemists of which 24 work overseas. The Department of Health and Human Services is the largest employer of chemists with 2,057, followed by the Department of the Army with 623 civilian employees, and the Department of the Navy with 567. The EPA employs 464 and the Department of the Treasury 58. Small numbers work for other cabinet level and large independent agencies. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is under the Treasury Department.

Some chemical manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, increasingly may be outsourcing their R&D activities, rather than doing the research in-house. This outsourcing strategy is likely to cause faster growth in the employment of chemists in small, independent research-and-development firms than in the more traditional large manufacturers.

Interview with Michael L. Ramirez

 

Michael L. Ramirez BEP Research Chemist

Michael L. Ramirez BEP Research Chemist

Michael L. Ramirez is a research chemist (GS-1320), and works for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC.

Why did you become a chemist?

I was always into science as a kid. I had a microscope and many science kits. I wanted to study medicine. When I went to college I discovered that my passion was research. As a chemist, I have completed projects in the fields of Biology, Chemistry, and Polymers.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on as a chemist?

Chemistry is always interesting. I have worked in the development of fire resistant materials for aircrafts, detection of explosives in the environment, and now I support the manufacturing of U.S. currency at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. What can be more interesting than that; millions of people know our products.

What is a typical day for a chemist?

In my current position I support many projects related to the characterization and testing of materials we use to print U.S. paper currency. A typical day starts by visiting the laboratories and discussing with other chemists the requests that we have for the day. I attend multiple meetings to discuss properties of new materials and the development of specifications and test methods.

Would you recommend a chemist as a good occupation to pursue?

Yes. I would recommend chemistry as a good profession; chemistry opens doors for careers in many fields.

Note: All Occupations (includes all occupations) in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

The median annual wage for chemists was $71,260 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $125,450.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for chemists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service $104,660
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 83,140
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing 69,920
Basic chemical manufacturing 68,700
Testing laboratories 56,080

Employment of chemists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Many chemists are employed in manufacturing industries that are projected to decline.

Employment of chemists is projected to grow 3 percent as they continue to be needed in scientific research and development (R&D) and to monitor the quality of products and processes.

Chemists research and solve a wide range of problems and are employed in a similarly wide range of industries. About a third of all chemists are employed in chemical manufacturing industries; the remainder work at colleges and universities, in government, and for independent testing and research laboratories. Some chemical manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, increasingly may be outsourcing their R&D activities, rather than doing the research in-house. This outsourcing strategy is likely to cause faster growth in the employment of chemists in small, independent research-and-development firms than in the more traditional large manufacturers.

Duties, Qualifications and Education

The following information is excerpted from the Bureau of Labor Statics website.

Duties

Chemists typically do the following:

  • Plan and carry out complex research projects, such as the development of new products and testing methods
  • Direct technicians and other workers in testing and analyzing components and the physical properties of materials
  • Instruct scientists and technicians on proper chemical processing and testing procedures, including ingredients, mixing times, and operating temperatures
  • Prepare solutions, compounds, and reagents used in laboratory procedures
  • Analyze substances to determine their composition and concentration of elements
  • Conduct tests on materials and other substances to ensure that safety and quality standards are met
  • Write technical reports that detail methods and findings
  • Present research findings to scientists, engineers, and other colleagues

Some chemists work in basic research. Others work in applied research. In basic research, chemists investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter. They also experiment with combinations of elements and the ways in which they interact. In applied research, chemists investigate possible new products and ways to improve existing ones. Chemistry research has led to the discovery and development of new and improved drugs, plastics, and cleaners, as well as thousands of other products.

Chemists often specialize in a particular branch of the field. The following are examples of types of chemists:

Analytical chemists determine the structure, composition, and nature of substances by examining and identifying their various elements or compounds. They also study the relationships and interactions among the parts of compounds. Some analytical chemists specialize in developing new methods of analysis and new techniques for carrying out their work. Their research has a wide range of applications, including food safety, pharmaceuticals, and pollution control.

Inorganic chemists study the structure, properties, and reactions of molecules that do not contain carbon, such as metals. They work to understand the behavior and the characteristics of inorganic substances. Inorganic chemists figure out, how these materials, such as ceramics and superconductors, can be modified, separated, or used in products.

Medicinal chemists research and develop chemical compounds that can be used as pharmaceutical drugs. They work on teams with other scientists and engineers to create and test new drug products. They also help develop new and improved manufacturing processes to produce new drugs on a large scale effectively.

Organic chemists study the structure, properties, and reactions of molecules that contain carbon. They also design and make new organic substances that have unique properties and applications. These compounds in turn, have been used to develop many commercial products, such as pharmaceutical drugs and plastics.

Physical chemists study the fundamental characteristics of how matter behaves on a molecular and atomic level and how chemical reactions occur. On the basis of their analyses, physical chemists may develop new theories, such as how complex structures are formed. Physical chemists often work closely with materials scientists, to research and develop potential uses for new materials.

Theoretical chemists investigate theoretical methods that can predict the outcomes of chemical experiments. Theoretical chemistry encompasses a variety of specializations itself, although most specializations incorporate advanced computation and programming. Some examples of theoretical chemists are computational chemists, mathematical chemists, and chemical informaticians.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or in a related field is needed for entry-level chemist jobs. Many jobs require a master’s degree or a Ph.D. and also may require significant levels of work experience. Chemists with a Ph.D. and postdoctoral experience typically lead basic- or applied-research teams.

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in chemistry that are approved by the American Chemical Society. High school students can prepare for college coursework by taking chemistry, math, and computer science classes.

Undergraduate chemistry majors typically are required to take courses in analytical, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. In addition to chemistry coursework, they take classes in mathematics, biological sciences, and physics. Computer science courses are essential, because chemists and materials scientists need computer skills to perform modeling and simulation tasks, manage and manipulate databases, and operate computerized laboratory equipment.

Laboratory experience, either at a college or university, or through internships, fellowships, or work–study programs in industry, is also useful.

Graduate students studying chemistry commonly specialize in a subfield, such as analytical chemistry or inorganic chemistry. For example, those interested in doing research in the pharmaceutical industry usually develop a strong background in medicinal or organic chemistry.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Chemists carry out scientific experiments and studies. They must be precise and accurate in their analyses, because errors could invalidate their research.

Communication skills. Chemists need to communicate with team members and other scientists. They must be able to read and write technical reports and give presentations.

Critical-thinking skills. Chemists carefully evaluate their own work and the work of others. They must determine if results and conclusions are based on sound science.

Interpersonal skills. Chemists typically work on interdisciplinary research teams and need to work well with others toward a common goal. Many serve as team leaders and must be able to motivate and direct other team members.

Math skills. Chemists regularly use complex mathematical equations and formulas, and they need a broad understanding of mathematics, including calculus, algebra, and statistics.

Organizational skills. Chemists scientists need to document processes carefully in order to conform to regulations and industry procedures. Disorganization in the workplace can lead to legal problems, damage to equipment, and chemical spills.

Problem-solving skills. Chemists research and develop new and improved chemical products, processes, and materials. This work requires a great deal of trial and error on the part of chemists and materials scientists before a unique solution is found.

Time-management skills.Chemists usually need to meet deadlines when conducting research. They must be able to manage time and prioritize tasks efficiently while maintaining their quality of work.

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving use chemists to help in the development and manufacturing of U.S. monetary currency. Chemists will always be needed, because research never stops and there are always new discoveries to be made.

Credit

  • Lydia Washington, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Engraving and Printing – DC Facility (Washington, DC)
  • www.bep.treas.gov
  • Photos provided by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

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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, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 1st September 2016 by

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This article applies to anyone seeking employment even though it is written to assist veterans. The process of finding a job will be an exciting venture for veterans because the marketplace is overflowing with jobs. However, it takes more than crafting a dynamite resume to accomplish the mission. It is a matter of knowing how and where to find potential employers which is part of the job hunting operation.

It all begins with a plan. First, you define the objective and then devise strategies to complete the mission. All veterans know how that works. First, decide what you really like to do and assess what you are good at doing, your aptitude. This is an essential first step that will save you time and focus your efforts.

Hunting for just any job could be discouraging and a waste of time. Based on my experience working in the executive recruiting business, I have learned firsthand how workers find jobs. The three best methods are:

  1. Networking.
  2. Cold calling on potential employers.
  3. Attending conventions and job fairs.

Networking

This tried and true strategy yields results not only for the immediate job search, but also for staying employed throughout your working life. The process is simple; contact your friends and acquaintances in person (best) or by phone, email, or social media. Tell them that you are seeking a certain kind of job in a certain industry and ask for their guidance and referrals. Your approach could go something like this. “Hi, Bob. I just want to let you know that I’m looking for a job in sales with a life insurance company. I’m focused on securing a long-term job in insurance sales because of my interests and abilities. I would appreciate your guidance and any referrals you might have to hiring authorities in that business.”

Cold Calling

A cold call is contacting a potential employer without an appointment. Some call it knocking on doors. This method of finding employers is sometimes considered “so yesterday” but do not believe it. The most productive way to use this method is to focus on companies in industrial parks or office centers, which are located in and around all metropolitan areas. Usually these centers focus on one industry. One might house only medical offices. Another could focus on technology companies. And, others might cater to insurance companies.

The process is easy. Go to the company receptionist and identify yourself as a veteran seeking a sales job in insurance, and ask to speak with the sales manager. This method really does work. Here is an example. Recently, I went to see my doctor for an annual checkup. His office is located in an office park that houses twenty-five doctor’s offices. My doctor’s nurse was new and I asked how she found the job. She said that she was looking for a nurse’s position and went to the office park and knocked on doors. When she cold called at my doctor’s office, she learned that his nurse had resigned just a few days ago. She was hired the next day.

Attending Conventions and Job Fairs

When you attend a major conference or job fair at a convention center like the Javits Center in New York City or McCormick Place in Chicago, you will find hundreds of companies displaying their products. For example, in February 2016, I attended the New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center in New York City. Six hundred companies were on the exhibit floor displaying their products. Many of the workers staffing the various exhibit booths were managers, directors, and vice presidents, just the people you need to know to land a job. I met the owner/president of a cruise company based in Florida, who told me that being a Marine veteran, he recruits military veterans for his company and gives them a twenty percent discount on the purchase of a franchise. Attending conventions and job fairs is the most productive use of your time for job hunting. Circle the exhibit floor, introduce yourself to the representatives on call, and state your business. Always take a dozen resumes and one hundred business cards to each convention or job fair. You will make numerous contacts.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT

The job market continues favorable for veterans seeking civilian jobs. According to the most recent survey of executive recruiters by ExecuNet, www.execunet.com, here are five industries showing the greatest potential for growth:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Technology
  3. Pharmaceuticals and medical devices
  4. Business Services
  5. Manufacturing

The top five jobs ticketed for growth by the same ExecuNet survey are:

  1. Business Development
  2. Sales
  3. IT
  4. Operations Management/Supply Chain Management
  5. Engineering

Our industry spotlight for September falls on the healthcare and education industries. Both are fertile avenues to explore for entry level and advanced level jobs.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry includes a wide variety of sectors but here we will concentrate on hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies. Our favorites, all military friendly are: Cleveland Clinic; Johnson and Johnson, Pharmaceutical Co.; and Medtronic.

Cleveland Clinic,www.my.clevelandclinic.org, is a military friendly medical treatment center located in Cleveland, Ohio. The Clinic is one of the top ranked hospitals in the country for cardiac care. For job opportunities, check out the special category titled Hero Experience Veteran Program JIC.

John and Johnson Pharmaceutical Co., www.jnj.com, is a military friendly employer, whose CEO, Alex Gorsky, is an Army veteran and a West Point graduate. He completed his military service with the rank of Captain and earned the Ranger Tab and Airborne Wings. J & J has a reputation for helping veterans transition to the civilian workplace. When you go to the website, enter Honoring Veterans in the search box to learn more.

Medtronic, www.medtronic.com, is the world’s largest medical device company and employs over 50,000 workers. It produces life saving devices like heart stents and defibrillators. Medtronic is based in Minneapolis and has regional offices across the USA and abroad.

Education
The education industry has two parts: 1. Public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities; 2. Companies that produce products and provide services for K-12 and higher education. These companies produce textbooks, technology products (both hardware and apps) and provide services such as professional development courses at bricks and mortar facilities and online.
Online Colleges and Universities

Many accredited online universities provide a wide range of job opportunities such as Administrative Assistant, Financial Counselor, Admissions Counselor, Student Recruiter and Professor. These jobs are location specific because most online universities have only one central location. For example, Phoenix University is located in Phoenix AZ and all of their jobs are based there. Drexel Online University is located in Philadelphia, PA and that is where job opportunities are located. (Incidentally, Drexel is one of the best military friendly online universities. Check out the website for job and learning opportunities. www.online.drexel.edu )

Public and Private K-12 Schools, College and Universities

Jobs in this sector are primarily academic…teachers, administrators, professors, and researchers. If you are certified, look for academic jobs on your local school district website and on your State Department of Education (DOE) website. There are, however, non-academic jobs available as well. For example, at the K-12, college and university levels there are jobs in transportation, maintenance, administrative support, finance and marketing that do not require teaching certification.

Educational Testing Service (ETS),www.ets.org

ETS produces testing and assessment products for the K-12 and higher education market. It is noted for developing the SAT exam. It is based in Princeton, New Jersey, and has regional offices throughout the country. This $1 billion company offers many jobs in sales, marketing, product development, human resources, finance and information technology.

Scholastic,www.Scholastic.com

This is a K-12 publisher of instructional materials and library books. The company publishes worldwide best sellers like the Harry Potter series of books. Scholastic is based in New York City and has regional offices throughout the country.

Consortium for International Education Exchange (CIEE) www.ciee.org

This is one of the most interesting companies in the education business. It administers study-abroad programs for college and high school students. It is based in Portland Maine and has an energetic staff of youthful employees who are mission driven and who love coming to work each day. Many employees have bilingual skills and have studied abroad.

Moving Forward

Read Chapters 17 – 22 in my book Operation Job Search, listed below, to learn more about how and where to find jobs. As you move forward to put into practice all that you have learned about job hunting, remember that jobs do not come to those who sit at a computer and send our resumes by the hundreds to job sites and company career pages. The best methods to find a job are to leave the house to attend conferences, andto make cold calls on prospective employers. Veterans who hit the street to build personal relationships will find jobs. Guaranteed!

Our October article will focus on a topic that is critically important for job hunters; interviewing techniques. In our Industry Spotlight, we will discuss two robust industries; transportation and security.

Veterans who wish to comment or seek visit the guest writers page for my bio and email address.

Takeaways

  • Job Hunting goes beyond crafting a resume.
  • The best place to look for a job is at major convention centers, which host national and regional conferences and job fairs.
  • Cold calling is still alive and well…and very productive.
  • Networking is not a one-time initiative. It is a career long practice to ensure continued employment.

Visit our job openings directory for more information on current federal employment opportunities.

Veteran’s Resources

Operation Job Search, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. John Henry Weiss. c 2016. Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

Federal Government Jobs,www.federaljobs.net . Check this site frequently for federal job listings in healthcare and education…and many other occupations as well.

LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com, is the best online networking site for all workers. Be sure to check out the veteran’s user group, which will help you connect with colleagues making the transition to the civilian workplace.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

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, Veterans Preference

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Posted on Saturday, 27th August 2016 by

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The deputy program administrator for USAJOBS announced upgrades to their system that assists applicants with their accounts. A new streamlined account allows applicants to easily view the status of their applications, saved jobs, and searches. Each application is listed as either advancing, paused, or no longer being considered. All of the applicant’s resumes and other documents now reside under the “Documents Section” and they added helpful tips and color coded completion indicators.

There are more changes coming as the program administrator addresses user feedback to improve and streamline the application system for anyone searching for federal jobs. Since USAJOBS was launched it is now much easier to apply for and know the status of your applications and improvements are evident throughout the application process.

The first step for applying for a federal job is to search for federal jobs of interest, printout and review the job announcement, register on USAJOBS and prepare a comprehensive and professional federal style resume and application. USAJOBS helps you throughout the process. View OPM’s video that announces these changes.

Applying for Federal Jobs

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Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Jobs, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 24th August 2016 by

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Printing Jobs

This article features the engraver (WG-4413) and platemaker (WG-4416) Printing Family occupations that are responsible for how money is actually made.

There are 1,051 federal workers employed in the WG-4400 Printing Family of which 560 work for the Government Printing Office according to OPM’s Employment Data Base of March 2016. The Department of the Treasury employs an additional 434 employees in the WG-4400 Family. Small numbers are also employed by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, Social Security and a few others. There are a small number of engravers and a total of 16 plate makers currently employed in these occupations.

The majority of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) jobs are located in Washington, D.C. or Fort Worth Texas. The BEP is under the Department of the Treasury.

Other printing occupations include: (The number of employed is listed in parentheses after the occupational title)

  • Bindery Work WG-4401 (173)
  • Miscellaneous Printing and Publishing WG-4402 (206)
  • Letterpress Operating WG-4403 (176)
  • Offset Photography WG-4410 (4)
  • Offset Press Operating WG-4417 (80)
  • Bookbinding WG-4441 (61)
  • Electrolytic Intaglio Plate Making WG-4449 (21)
  • Intaglio Press Operating WG-4454 (144)

In this article we interviewed three highly skilled Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) employees;  William Fleishell, a picture engrave, Kenneth Kipperman, a journeyman picture engraver, and Kenneth Garner, a platemaker, all three work in Washington, D.C. You can learn more about how money is made on the Bureau of Printing web site.

Q&A with William Fleishell

William Fleishell,is a picture engraver for the Bureau of Engraving & Printing located in Washington, DC.

 

William Fleishell, BEP Picture Engraver

William Fleishell, BEP Picture Engraver

Why did you become an engraver?

In 1988 I applied and interviewed for the job of Apprentice Picture Engraver with an art portfolio review. Previously, I had been to art school and was working as a free-lance artist helping my father with his own art business. I was also going to school to study medical illustration. Being a printmaking major, as well as a painter and sculptor in art school, I had an understanding of line drawing and had always worked on intricate and highly traditional drawings that were very similar to engravings. I had done etching and had even had experience with gravers before starting at BEP, but nowhere near the level of bank note engraving. It seemed to be a perfect fit for my abilities and background. In addition to this, I came from a family where familiarity with printing arts was common and seen as a viable occupation.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on as an engraver?

That is hard to say. I suppose, over the years, working on the various portraits of dignitaries has been the most interesting work I have done. I’m trained as a portrait artist and making engraved portraits is what I feel I that can do best. Over the past 28 years I have had the opportunity to engrave many bank note style portraits of living people, and have had all sorts of experiences working on these projects. One of the most interesting projects was working on the portrait of Chief Justice John Roberts. It was an arduous process and it took a long time to make this project happen; but in the end, the hard work and efforts were justified and the result worked to his satisfaction.

What is a typical day for an engraver?

Throughout the day I work on various traditional and digital engraving projects and stock work. When required, I also work on plate inspection and repair, conduct specialized tour visits, do training, and, at times, assist the apprentices with their work.

Would you recommend an engraver as a good occupation to pursue?

It all depends on the personal temperament of the person and their ability as a professional artist. This is not a business that just anyone can walk into. You have to bring to the table an already established set of sophisticated skills that are seldom seen even in traditional art schools. Therefore, finding a candidate for this type of work can take years. If an aspiring artist has the ability to focus and concentrate, the ability and patience to sit with the same art job for months and months on end, an inherent ability to be critical with extremely high standards, and a sense of stability whereby one would be capable of staying in the same place and job for many decades—then yes, indeed I would recommend this job to that artist. But through the years, I have met only a very tiny handful of people of who fit that description.

Q & A with Kenneth Kipperman

Kenneth Kipperman is a journeyman picture engraver for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing located in Washington DC.

 

 

Kenneth Kipperman, BEP Engraver

Kenneth Kipperman, BEP Engraver

Why did you become an engraver?

In my early years I won a number of art scholarships. I was then trying to find anything in the field of art. I answered an ad in the New York Times newspaper. The American Banknote Company, the leader in Security printing around the world, was interested in interviewing people for the Picture Engraving apprenticeship. I submitted my portfolio and was accepted for the 10-year picture engraving apprenticeship.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on as an engraver?

The most interesting project I’ve worked on was the portrait of Alexander Hamilton that appears on our $10 bill.

What is a typical day for an engraver?

Currently I’m working on an engraving of a naval battle scene. At a moment’s notice, I may also be asked to inspect and repair master plates, altos, and printing plates. I also help my coworkers any way I can in traditional hand engraving, plate repair, and tool making.

Would you recommend an engraver as a good occupation to pursue?

Yes. There are many styles of engraving, but I find hand engraving, as an occupation, to be the most rewarding and challenging in this digital age.

Qualifications of an engraver

The standard for engravers is at one grade level which is a WG-10, and the salary is $62,011.00. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply to be an engraver.

The following information from the Federal Wage System Job Grading Standard for Negative Engraving, 4413 is just a partial list of skills necessary to be an engraver.

  • Grade 10 negative engravers perform the full range of tasks of engraving. They interpret job specifications and instructions and organize work assignments such as engraving a complete map or chart, making extensive corrections or modifications to existing charts or reviewing the completed work of other negative engravers as a cross-check against errors or omissions.
  • The negative engravers receive hand compiled manuscripts, including overlays, and plan the procedures to be followed. They analyze and order or prepare photographic manuscript images on scribecote and photographic copy of master projections and grids. They plot and engrave the layout of master projections and grids when required and engrave map or chart features on scribecote to form the final negative.
  • Knowledge of a number of United States and foreign systems of symbology such as topographic and hydrographic symbols to describe a wide range of manmade and natural features in order to select the appropriate symbols for the material to be produced or transcribe publications of foreign origin for United States issuance. Knowledge of various systems of nautical or aeronautical navigation aids, typical positioning of these aids and appropriate symbology.
  • Knowledge of Federal and international agency specifications governing such things as layout of products, line weights required for various purposes, typefaces to be used, and tolerances allowable, in order to comply with the requirements of the various types of projects.
  • Skill in the use of measuring instruments such as dividers, protractors, English and metric scales, and microscopes with calibrated scales in order to accurately position base and overlay negatives for exact registration, assure exact positioning of navigation aids, or check the accuracy of line width.

Our next Question and Answer is with a platemaker Kenneth A. Garner.

Q&A with Kenneth A. Garner

Kenneth A. Garner is a platemaker for the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and located in Washington D.C.

 

Kenneth Garner, BEP Platemaker

Kenneth Garner, BEP Platemaker

Why did you become a platemaker?

As a BEP Machinist, I didn’t have direct involvement in the currency printing process and I was eager to be a part of that process. So, I devoted a number of additional hours to assist with grinding plates, which sparked my interest to become a Plate Maker.

What is the most interesting project you ever worked on as a platemaker?

My most interesting projects were recreating the 1986 State Department (Great Seal) die and working on the new design layout moving from 32-subject plates to 50-subject plates.

What is a typical day like as a platemaker?

A typical day as a Plate Maker is to complete plates from the production order provided in a timely manner. (A full description of plate production can be found at http://www.bep.gov/hmimplatemaking.html).

Would you recommend the job of platemaker as a good career to pursue?

I would definitely recommend obtaining a job as a Platemaker. The pay is great and the high demand to produce currency ensures job security.

Qualifications for Platemaker

The typical grades for a platemaker are from WG-5 to WG-8. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this position.

The following information from the Federal Wage System Job Grading Standard for Offset Platemaking, 4416 this is just a partial list of skills necessary to be a platemaker.

Grade 5

  • The grade 5 platemaker follows established procedures to produce line and halftone offset plates (when halftone quality is not a critical requirement) by superimposing photographic negatives or positives onto presensitized or machine coated plates through single flat exposures. The offset plates are used in press operations to produce a variety of printed materials.
  • The grade 5 platemaker must be familiar with the basic techniques and procedures to produce offset plates requiring single flat exposures of halftone and/or line film negatives or positives.

There is no Grade 6 information cited.

Grade 7

  • The grade 7 platemaker uses established procedures for superimposing line, halftone and other images from photographic negatives or positives onto presensitized or machine coated plates through single and double flat exposures to produce offset plates. The offset printing plates are used in subsequent press operations to produce a variety of printed materials.
  • The grade 7 platemaker performs platemaking operations such as single and/or double exposures, which require skill in the alignment of flat(s) to plate, variation in lengths of exposure, the use of screen tints, masking, step and repeat procedures, exposing and developing the plate.

Grade 8

  • In comparison with the single and double-exposure type of platemaking performed by the grade 7 platemaker, the grade 8 platemaker performs single, double and multiple flat exposures requiring hairlines [plus or minus .008 cm (.003 inches)] or critical [plus or minus .003 cm (.001 inches) or finer] alignment tolerances of several separate line and halftone negatives (flats), symbol and tint screens, and film masks and traps to a single plate.
  • Grade 8 platemakers have the ability to read and interpret work orders and the trade knowledge to select proper type of plate, processes, solutions, and equipment to be used.

The engraver and platemaker jobs are very technical and require specialized skills in order to make our paper currency properly. In our final article we will discuss the job occupation of the Research Chemist (GS-1320).

Credit

  • Lydia Washington, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Engraving and Printing – DC Facility (Washington, DC)
  • www.bep.treas.gov
  • Photos provided by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving

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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, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Monday, 15th August 2016 by

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The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) designs, prints, and finishes all of the Nation’s paper currency and many other security documents including White House Invitations and military identification cards. They also advise and assist other agencies to produce government documents. This agency is part of the Department of the Treasury. The BEP is also responsible for the printing of security documents in the United States.

 

WASHINGTON D.C. - JUNE 26 2014: United States Bureau of Engravin

This agency has approximately 1,808 employees at two primary locations; Washing, DC and Fort Worth Texas. According to the BEP website, “employment opportunities include, but are not limited to, administrative support, police officers, security specialists, acquisition specialists, chemists, engineers, attorneys – just to name a few.” Other occupations include IT specialists, scientists, machinists, printers, and engravers. The printer and engraver occupations are in the Wage Grade system.

Bureau of  Engraving and Printing 

The United States began printing paper money in 1862 to finance the Civil War. The law of July 11, 1862, authorized notes to be engraved and printed at the Treasury. In 1864 the BEP printed forms for the Treasury, engraved passport plates for the State Department, and numbered money orders for the Post Office.

The Act of March 3, 1877 officially made the BEP the exclusive printer of all U.S. currency and securities. In 1894 the agency also started printing postage stamps and continued doing so until June of 2005.

The BEP designs, engraves, and prints all U.S. paper currency.  In 1996, the agency began creating new designs for our money. This was the most comprehensive overhaul of our currency since the 1860’s. Other government printing services are also provided by the BEP including the printing of Presidential appointment certificates, military identification cards, naturalization documents, Small Business Administration financial documents, Coast Guard water use licenses, Presidential portraits, and vignettes of various Washington, D.C. historical buildings. The agency also is responsible for treasury securities, military commissions, award certificates, invitations and admission cards, and many other types of identification cards, forms and other special security documents for a variety of government agencies. The BEP is the largest producer of security documents for the United States. Incidentally, they do not make coins which are produced by the United States Mint.

Programs and Services

U.S. Currency Reader Program

The BEP has developed an iBill® Talking Banknote Identifier at no cost to eligible blind or visually impaired persons who request one. The iBill® is a currency reader device that provides a convenient means for blind or visually impaired individuals to identify Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency). Its compact “key- fob” design allows it to be carried in a pocket or purse, clipped to a belt, or attached to a keychain or lanyard. The iBill® is a fast and accurate means to identify all U.S. currency in circulation: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.

The BEP provides currency readers, free of charge to all eligible blind and visually impaired individuals. This program has only been in existence since January 2015. To take advantage of this program applications must be submitted along with a competent authority who can verify their eligibility.

Through this program the BEP has developed EyeNote® a free mobile device application for use on the Apple iOS platform. It scans U.S. currency and announces its value back to the user. They also assisted in the development of another currency denominating app called the IDEAL® Currency Identifier. It operates on the Android platform. For information about this program visit this helpful link http://www.loc.gov/nls/.

Services

Redeem Mutilated Currency

Every year the Treasury Department handles approximately 30,000 claims and redeems mutilated currency valued at over $30 million.

Mutilated currency is currency which has been damaged to the extent that: Its condition is such that its value is questionable and the currency must be forwarded to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for examination by trained experts before any redemption is made. One example of mutilated currency may be bills missing relevant security features.

Currency can become mutilated in any number of ways. The most common causes are: fire, water, chemicals, and explosives; animal, insect, or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by burying.

Shredded Currency

You can purchase five pounds of shredded currency through the BEP. These are small amounts, that are pre-packaged souvenirs are available at either their Washington D.C. and the Fort Worth visitor centers.

U.S. Currency Facts

  • Crane and Co., a Massachusetts-based company, has been providing the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing with paper for U.S. currency since 1879.
  • Federal Reserve notes are a blend of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton. Currency paper has tiny red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths evenly distributed throughout the paper.
  • It would take 4,000 double folds, forwards and backwards, to tear a banknote.
  • No matter the denomination, a banknote weighs approximately 1 gram. Because there are 454 grams in one pound, this means there are 454 notes in one pound of currency.
  • Want to measure your notes in a different way? A stack of currency one-mile high would contain more than 14.5 million banknotes.
  • It is estimated that between one-half to two-thirds of the value of all U.S. currency in circulation is outside of the U.S.
  • In 1934, the $100,000 Gold Certificate became the highest denomination ever issued. It was never intended for public use. Instead, it was meant solely for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks.

Read about federal job listings for more information on credentials needed and how BEP workers impact U.S. currency.

In our next article we will focus on two job occupations engraver (WG-4413) and platemaker (WG-4416).

Credit

  • Lydia Washington, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Engraving and Printing – DC Facility (Washington, DC)
  • www.bep.treas.gov

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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, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Tuesday, 2nd August 2016 by

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Writing a private sector or federal style resume using civilian terminology is an important strategy in the job hunting process, especially for veterans. However, it has received too much emphasis from resume writing gurus who are all over the internet. Job-hunting is not a one-step deal, like writing a resume. It is a process in which you define the objective and then devise strategies to accomplish the mission. It is similar to a military operation that all veterans experienced. Objective + Strategies = Operation.

Resume

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of resume writing, here are some general rubrics to guide you through the process.

  • There is nothing sacred about traditional wisdom, which says limit your private sector resume to two pages. Length depends on the depth and breadth of your experience in the military and civilian life beforehand. If you joined the military after college or after working for a few years, and then spent six years in the Marines with multiple deployments, then your story will probably take more than two pages to tell. It’s important to note that a federal style resume can be from 3 to 10 pages or more in length depending on the extent of your background. You must tailor your federal resume to the Job Announcement describing how you achieved the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position. If you are applying for a federal job review the sample federal style resume that is posted online.
  • Never use military acronyms. Resumes must be written using civilian terminology. No exceptions. Remember that most hiring managers and human resources directors reading your resume have had no military experience. If they see something on your resume like NAVSPECWORCOM (United States Naval Special Warfare Command), they will shake their heads and possibly trash your resume.
  • Translate your military jobs into civilian terminology. Veterans may have covered this in their Transition Assistance Program (TAP), but to refresh your memory go to www.military.com and www.va.gov and review the job translator pages.
  • Format your resume clearly and precisely. Resist the temptation to get cute and use multiple colors, boxes, charts, etc. Use 12 pt. Times New Roman typeface, the usual format for resumes and other business documents. Place major headings in upper case bold; text in lower case regular type. Under all major headings, list the main points in bullet point format instead of paragraph format. Keep it simple. Keep it clean. For federal job applicants the majority apply online using a resume builder program. It is best to draft your federal resume on your desktop just like you would for a private sector job. This will give you time to thoroughly complete the resume and federal application and cover all of the requirements listed in the job announcement.
  • Your resume must be free from spelling and grammatical errors. No exceptions. If you submit a resume with spelling and grammar errors, it will be trashed even if the company is military friendly. To avoid mistakes, always proofread your resume ALOUD, and then have another person do the same. Always run your document through the spell checker, but remember that it is not infallible. Spell checkers make mistakes and usually they do not read words in context. For example, most spell checkers will not distinguish the difference among two, to, and too.
  • Avoid using broad generalizations. Quantify your experiences. For example, stating a military work experience in general terms like this conveys little to the reader: “Treated a large number of patients at the emergency facility at McGuire Air Force Base.” Quantifying your experience like this will mean much more to the reader: “Treated an average of thirty patients per day over a twelve month period at McGuire Air Force Base.”  This is very important for federal resumes as well as you must describe in detail how you achieved required knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • The resume alone will not get you a job. A common misbelief is that sending a “dynamite” resume to multiple job boards and career pages, will result in job offers floating down to your desk like manna from heaven. The purpose of the resume is to take you to the next step in the job hunting process; a personal interview with the hiring manager or human resources director.
  • Submit your resume only to a named person with a job title at a named company. For example, address it to “Mr. James Smith. Sales Manager. Boeing Co.” Send your resume to “Job #23” or “Position 46” or “Employment Manager” and you will get a startling result. Nothing. You might as well send it to the third ring of the planet Saturn. How do you learn the name of the person you want to reach? Call the company customer service representative and ask. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you will get the information you need. Alternatively, go to LinkedIn and enter the position title and company name: Sales Manager, Home Depot. Federal resumes and application are typically submitted online through USAJOBS.gov. Keep a copy of the federal job announcement. If you have any questions about the application process or job requirements contact information is provided.   
  • Resume format and style change with the times. Here are the major components of today’s resume. Include all of the following components, in the order listed, because Human Resources Directors and Hiring Managers will be looking for them.

RESUME COMPONENTS

  1. PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION. Begin the resume with your personal identification; name, address, phone number and email address. This goes at the top of the first page with your name in upper case bold. The rest can go in lower case regular type.
  2. SUMMARY OR OBJECTIVE. This is a brief statement of your skills and how they can help the company going forward. It should run no more than ten lines and be written in paragraph format. Think of it as an advertisement for you. When submitting your resume for a specific job use OBJECTIVE. State that you are seeking the job referenced for a specific company as stated on a job description, an internet job board or on a career page. Couch your language in terms that relate to the job requirements. Use SUMMARY if you are submitting your resume to a human resources director for a non-specific job.
  3. MILITARY WORK EXPERIENCE. State your military jobs in civilian terms along with the job location and time period. Itemize your specific responsibilities in bullet point format and quantify as much as possible.
  4. CIVILIAN WORK EXPERIENCE. Use this major heading for any pre or post military civilian job experience. Use the same rubrics you used for Military Work Experience.
  5. AWARDS, RECOGNITION, COMMUNITY SERVICE. List all awards and citations you received for performance or honors going back to high school. List all charitable work you have done in both civilian life and the military.
  6. TECHNOLOGY SKILLS. List all of your technology skills including personal productivity, business and social apps.
  7. TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS CERTIFICATIONS. In this section, list in bullet point format all military and civilian online or resident certifications. Include apprenticeship programs, too. Job candidates frequently forget that certifications are an important part of their education history. Potential employers will give you positive marks for earning certifications in areas like web design, accounting, truck and driving and for working in a trade like carpentry.
  8. EDUCATION. Use one line for each school experience dating back to high school. After listing your high school and college experiences, list all professional development courses. Include bricks-and-mortar education and online education as well. And, be sure to include any bilingual training you might have had

These are the components of a clean, succinct resume that will make the hiring manager stop and take a good look at your candidacy. You need not add other major headings like “Hobbies” or “References.” You can work these items into the personal interview.

CRAFTING YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE

A digital profile is an outline of your experiences posted online. There will be online resources that require writing a digital profile. One that comes to mind is LinkedIn, which all job hunters should use. LinkedIn will ask you to provide a digital profile, which is nothing more than an abbreviated resume. Have your resume handy when you write your digital profile and follow it closely. The digital profile should be a reflection of your resume. Both must work in harmony because hiring managers and human resources directors will review both. If there is a discrepancy, they might ask, “Will the real Mike Jones please stand up?”

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT

When seeking a civilian job, we frequently limit our horizon to the private sector. There is an alternate job market to explore that is so huge that we refer to it as an industry unto itself.

The Federal, State, Local Government Workplace

There are approximately 22,000,000 (read, 22 million) workers employed by federal, state and local governments, making it the largest “industry” in the USA. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the federal government employs approximately 2.5 million workers in a variety of jobs at multiple locations throughout the USA and abroad. State governments employ approximately 5,500,000 workers, and local governments employ 14,500,000 workers. Federal government workers make the highest annual average salary, $81,000. The job hunting rubrics are the same for seeking government jobs. However, there are usually strict application procedures that you must follow or risk elimination. These requirements are clearly stated in the application instructions for each government jobs. Follow them to the letter.

Your most valuable guide for job hunting at the federal government level is unquestionably this website, www.federaljobs.net and the book titled “The Book of U.S. Government Jobs: Where They Are, What’s Available and How To Complete a Federal Resume. This book is in its 11th edition and was authored by Dennis Damp a former federal government employee, Air Force veteran and founder of this website.

MOVING FORWARD

Your resume will act as a door opener if you follow our directions carefully. Our advice is based on our experience as an executive recruiter working with hiring managers and human resources directors. For details about writing your resume, an important strategy in the job hunting process, please refer to Chapters 23, 24, 25 in my book, OPERATION JOB SEARCH, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. In addition, we suggest that you go to www.military.com to view sample resumes written for military veterans. When you go to the site, click on Veteran Jobs and then click on Transition Center. Next click on Get an Expert Resume. Then click on Sample Resumes, where you will find several well-crafted resumes that will serve as a model for your own resume. While you are on the Sample Resume section, review the samples for cover letters as well.

In our September blog, we will discuss these job hunting skills; how and where to find potential employers. Our Industry Spotlight will focus on the Medical and Education Industries.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Crafting a resume is just one step in the job hunting process.
  • Submit a resume only to a named person with a job title in a named company.
  • Your resume must be free from spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • Write your resume in civilian language.
  • The purpose of a resume is to advance your candidacy to the next step, a personal interview.

VETERAN’S RESOURCES

Print and eBooks

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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, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Resumes / KSAs

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Posted on Friday, 22nd July 2016 by

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Physicians & Medical Specialist Jobs with the Army

Positions are now available for those who want to pioneer innovative medical techniques while caring for Soldiers and their families in some of the world’s most renowned facilities.

Army Physicians receive competitive pay, full benefit package, generous paid time off, educational opportunities, career advancement, and the opportunity to provide uniquely challenging and fulfilling care to those in need.

Currently there are over 180 job openings at facilities nationwide and overseas. Current openings include:

  • 62 physicians
  • 50 nurses
  • 15 practical nurses
  • 9 psychologists
  • 13 physician assistants
  • 6 rehabilitation therapy assistants
  • 4 medical technologists
  • 3 physical therapists
  • 2 nursing assistants
  • 3 diagnostic radiological technologists
  • 1 pharmacist
  • 1 audiologist /speech pathologist
  • 2 dental assistants
  • 3 social workers
  • 1 respiratory therapist
  • 2 pharmacy technician
  • 1 orthotist and prosthetist
  • 1 veterinarian

There are over 330,000 Army Civilians that aren’t active duty military. They serve as an integral part of the Army team to support the defense of our nation. You can become part of their global family by providing quality, world class health care throughout the U.S., Europe and the Pacific. Medcell recruits Medical Professionals for the United States Army.

Take a closer look at their current openings: http://medcell.army.mil/currentjobs.aspx (Applications accepted on USAJOBS.)

Healthcare Careers (Federal Government) 

Applying for Federal Jobs

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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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Tuesday, 19th July 2016 by

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Department of Homeland Security Job Openings

DHS is seeking qualified candidates to fulfill mission-critical job openings within Cyber, Information Technology, and Human Resources. Join them for the DHS Technology Job Fair at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on July 27 and 28!

The DHS plans to make hundreds of on-the-spot conditional job offers at the upcoming job fair to fill mission-critical roles across the Department. They are seeking out the best and brightest computer scientists, engineers, analysts, mathematicians, problem solvers, and innovative thinkers.

The DHS offers rewarding work in Cyber, Information Technology, and Human Resources and they need your expertise in Cloud Infrastructure and Services, Agile Development, and Mobile Technologies.

They are hiring for grades GS-09, GS-11, GS-12, GS-13, GS-14, and GS-15. Salaries for these grades in the DC Metro area range from $53,435 to $160,300. Candidates must be U.S. citizens and able to obtain/maintain a Secret up to a Top Secret/SCI security clearance based upon position requirements.

The following announcements are open for this exciting event:

  1. Information Technology Specialist (INFOSEC), GS-2210-09/11. Apply at USAJOBS.
  2. Information Technology Specialist (INFOSEC), GS-2210-12/13/14. Apply at USAJOBS.
  3. Information Technology Specialist (INFOSEC), GS-2210-15. Apply at USAJOBS.
  4. Management and Program Analyst, GS-0343-12/13/14. Apply at USAJOBS.
  5. Human Resources Specialist, GS-0201-09/11/12. Apply at USAJOBS.

How to Apply

Attendees of the DHS Technology Job Fair are strongly encouraged to apply for vacancies prior to attending the event.

Fill out an application(s) on USAJOBS. Create or update your personal profile, upload your resume, and apply for one or more of the job announcements through USAJOBS. The online job application deadline is July 29, 2016.

Interview. If you apply by July 20, 2016, and meet the requisite qualifications for the role, you will receive an invitation from DHS for a specific interview slot at the job fair event on July 27-28. The invitation will provide important instructions and requirements for any additional information that should be brought to the interview. If you apply, but are not invited to interview, you are still welcome to attend the event, and your application will be maintained until January 28, 2017. The vacancy announcement will be open through July 29 should you choose to apply after attending the event, but you are not guaranteed the same expedited interview process.

Get hired! If selected, you will receive a conditional job offer on the spot and start your security clearance process the same day!

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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 Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Law Enforcement jobs

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Posted on Sunday, 17th July 2016 by

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Air Traffic Controller Jobs

The National Airspace System (NAS), managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is designed to safely and efficiently move air traffic cross country and at terminal facilities. The FAA staffs 22 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs), over 150 Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities (TRACONs) and Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) located at major airports throughout the country and U.S. Territories. This vast network ensures the safe operation of commercial and private aircraft in the United States and international airspace assigned to U.S. control.

Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft to maintain safe separation in air and on the ground at terminal facilities. They also coordinate all ground traffic at FAA ATCT airports including vehicles used by airport authorities, airlines, fire equipment, and system specialists that must have access to airport runways for maintenance and various other purposes.

Their primary and immediate concern is safety however they must also work efficiently to minimize delays. Some regulate airport traffic through designated airspaces; others regulate airport arrivals and departures.

The FAA hires air traffic controllers as retirements occur or individuals leave for other reasons or are promoted and leave the active controller workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase from 18,739 controllers today to 22,400 by 2022. The median salary is $122,950 a year or $59.11 per hour. Air traffic controllers and other FAA employees are in a core compensation pay band system instead of the competitive service’s General Schedule (GS) pay system. The job series preface is FG instead of the GS you typically see on the USAJOBS.GOV site. New hires without prior air traffic control experience must be 30 years of age or younger.

There are three paths to employment one of which is passing the Air Traffic Selection and Training Aptitude Test (AT-SAT).  This test is an eight-hour computer based pre-employment test that is used by the FAA to measure aptitude required for entry-level air traffic control specialist positions.

Interview with Danielle Richards (Day in the life of an air traffic controller)

 

Danielle Richards - ATC

Danielle Richards – ATC

Danielle Richards began her career in 2008 when she reported to the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City to begin training to become an air traffic controller. After training, she reported to the FAA ATCT at LaGuardia Airport in New York. She completed on-the-job training and became a Certified Professional Controller at LaGuardia Tower. Richards later transferred to the Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) in Virginia in 2012. She recently returned to LaGuardia Tower as an Operations Manager. Her job series is FG- 2152, however, air traffic employees are not in the traditional grade structure for federal employees, the pay band is KJ.

Why did you become an Air Traffic Controller? 

The truth is I knew nothing about air traffic control. My father had a friend who had a friend who was a controller, and that’s how I found out about it.   The application test was open to the general public back in 2007 and 2008. My father persistently was asking me, “did you apply yet” that finally convinced me to take the test. Little did I know that it would be the best decision that my father convinced me to make!

What are some of the unique aspects of being an Air Traffic Controller?

Air Traffic Control is unique. The air traffic control community is much smaller than you might think. Before I became an air traffic controller, I never met anyone in the field. Now it seems like controllers are everywhere. Every time I meet a new controller, they either know, worked with, or have heard of someone I know.

You have to love air traffic and be respectful of the great responsibility you have been given. People who don’t even know who you are trust you, and in many cases they don’t even know what controllers really do. Pilots and the flying public trust controllers despite the fact that they will never see you or meet you. It is very humbling when you think about it.

Air Traffic is never a one-person show. Everyone works together to get the job done. You build a trust with your co-workers that is critical. One more thing, timing is everything. You wouldn’t believe it, but in air traffic even a second or two makes a difference in the efficiency of your flight.

What are some of the challenges you face being an Air Traffic Controller?

A challenge that we face on a day-to-day basis is making quick decisions. There is no time for indecisiveness. Another challenge is that you are constantly multi-tasking. You have to focus on what you are doing while listening to another controller giving you instructions or information. However, the biggest challenge that I face is not taking the job home with me. If you think about all of the people’s lives that you touch in a day, a week or a year it can become overwhelming.

Are there any dangerous aspects involved with being an Air Traffic Controller?  

Air travel is the safest mode of transportation. Safety is the top priority of every air traffic controller.

Would you recommend this as a good job occupation to for a prospective job applicant? 

I would absolutely recommend this as a great occupation. If you want a career that is challenging and rewarding, that uses your strengths and develops your weaknesses; if you want to grow personally and professionally and have a career that you can be proud of doing every day, then Air Traffic Control is what you are looking for.

Air Traffic Controller’s Basic Requirements

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) specifies the following basic requirements for this position.

To become an air traffic controller, an applicant must

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a bachelor’s degree, or work experience, or a combination of education and experience totaling 3 years
  • Pass medical and background checks
  • Achieve a qualifying score on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pre-employment test, which includes a biographical assessment
  • Pass the Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test (AT-SAT)
  • Complete a training course at the FAA Academy (and start it before turning 31 years of age)

The AT-SAT is an 8-hour, computer-based exam. Some of the characteristics tested include arithmetic, prioritization, planning, tolerance for high intensity, decisiveness, visualization, problem solving, and movement detection.

Controllers also must pass a physical exam each year and a job performance exam twice per year. In addition, they must pass periodic drug screenings.

Air Traffic Controller’s Job Description (FG-2152)

NOTE: The following information is excerpted from OPM’s GS-2152 job series qualification standards. Air Traffic controllers are in the excepted service and their core compensation pay bands are different than the standard GS pay scales listed here. The FAA assigns a pay band to each of these levels and the corresponding pay is derived from their pay tables. The job series preface is FG for the FAA.  Use this information to understand the qualification requirements from entry level to a full performance air traffic controller.

Qualifications - Excerpted from opm.gov.

General Experience for GS-4 and GS-5

Progressively responsible experience that demonstrated the potential for learning and performing air traffic control work. Two years of such experience is required for GS-4 positions, and 3 years is required for GS-2152-5 positions.

Specialized Experience (GS-7 and above)

Experience in a military or civilian air traffic facility that demonstrated possession of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the level of work of the specialization for which application is made. This experience must have provided a comprehensive knowledge of appropriate air traffic control laws, rules, and regulations.

Examples of specialized experience include:

For Station Positions: Providing information to pilots on such matters as weather, air routes, navigational aids, and airport conditions before and during flight. This specialization also requires:

  • Judgment to select only essential and pertinent information from a great mass of data;
  • Skill to present essential information to pilots clearly, concisely, and quickly before or during flight; and
  • Ability to act decisively in emergency situations.

For Terminal Positions: Issuing control instructions and advice to pilots in the vicinity of airports to assure proper separation of aircraft and to expedite their safe and efficient movement. This specialization also requires:

  • Ability to act decisively under stressful situations and to maintain alertness over sustained periods of pressure;
  • Skill to coordinate plans and actions with pilots and other controllers; and
  • Judgment to select and take the safest and most effective course of action from among several available choices.

For Center Positions: Controlling aircraft operating enroute along the airways to assure proper separation and safe and expeditious movement of such aircraft. This specialization also requires:

  • Skill to control aircraft operating at very high speeds over great distances;
  • Skill to arrange air traffic in patterns that assure maximum safety and minimum delay at points where such aircraft are “handed off” or transferred to other facilities or other sectors within the center; and
  • Judgment to estimate when and where traffic congestion will build to a point that necessitates changing patterns, and to plan accordingly.

For Research and Development Positions: Experience in a terminal, station, or center that demonstrated the ability or potential to:

  • Create, design, and/or develop new air traffic control systems or concepts; and
  • Analyze, test, and evaluate current or new air traffic control procedures, methods, systems, or concepts.

For Combination Positions: Positions involving a combination of the duties of two or more specializations require that applicants meet the qualification requirements for the appropriate specializations.

Up through GS-7, specialized experience in one specialization is fully qualifying for reassignment or promotion into another specialization. At GS-9 and above, experience and training in one specialization is qualifying for another specialization if the applicant’s total background indicates that he or she can gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities required in the new assignment after a reasonable period of orientation and training. All positions at the full performance level of each specialization require skill and training in the work of the specialization.

For all specializations, qualifying specialized experience must have provided the ability to:

  • Arrive quickly at well-reasoned solutions to complex problems;
  • Adjust quickly to different assignments, changing conditions, and workload fluctuations;
  • Remain calm and controlled during and after long periods of tension and fatigue; and
  • Speak rapidly, clearly, and distinctly.

Level of Experience: For each grade level, creditable experience must have equipped applicants with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the full range of duties of the position for which application is being made. Such experience is typically demonstrated by accomplishment of assignments of the difficulty and responsibility described in the position classification standard used to evaluate positions at the next lower grade level in the normal line of promotion to the position being filled.

Education

For GS-5 Positions: A full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree meets the requirements for GS-5.

For GS-7 Positions: Superior academic achievement at the baccalaureate level or 1 full year of graduate study meets the requirements for GS-7.

Alternate Requirements for GS-7 Positions

Applicants who pass the written test qualify for GS-7 if they:

  • Hold or have held an appropriate facility rating and have actively controlled air traffic in civilian or military air traffic control terminals or centers;
  • Hold or have held an FAA certificate as a dispatcher for an air carrier;
  • Hold or have held an instrument flight rating;
  • Hold or have held an FAA certificate as a navigator or have been fully qualified as a Navigator/Bombardier in the Armed Forces;
  • Have 350 hours of flight time as a copilot or higher and hold or have held a private certificate or equivalent Armed Forces rating;
  • Have served as a rated Aerospace Defense Command Intercept Director; or
  • Meet the requirements for GS-5 and pass the written test with an appropriately higher score.

Maximum Entry Age

Under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 3307, a maximum entry age has been established for Terminal and Center positions.

Test Requirements

Applicants for competitive appointment and inservice placement to all positions in this series at GS-7 and below must pass a written test. A written test may also be required for positions above GS-7.

Personal Qualities

In addition to meeting all other requirements, applicants must demonstrate possession of the traits and characteristics important in air traffic control work. Applicants who qualify in the written test and/or meet the experience and training requirements will be required to appear for a pre-employment interview to determine whether they possess the personal characteristics necessary for performance of air traffic control work.

Additional Screening Requirements

Applicants who have passed the written test (and the interview, if required) may be required to pass additional air traffic control aptitude screening for positions in the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. Persons who do not pass the aptitude evaluation testing requirements will not be appointed to these positions.

Training Requirements

At all trainee and developmental levels, employees must learn the skills needed for operation at higher levels of responsibility. Failure of employees to meet training requirements for or accept promotion to higher grade air traffic control specialist positions may constitute grounds for reassignment, demotion, or separation from employment.

Certificate and Rating Requirements

Air traffic control specialists in all specializations must possess or obtain, within uniformly applicable time limits, the facility ratings required for full performance at the facility where the position is located.

Applicants must possess or obtain a valid Air Traffic Control Specialist Certificate and/or Control Tower Operator Certificate, if appropriate. These certificates require demonstrating knowledge of basic meteorology, basic air navigation, standard air traffic control and communications procedures, the types and uses of air navigation aids, and regulations governing air traffic.

Facility ratings require demonstration of a knowledge of the kind and location of radio aids to air navigation, the terrain, the landmarks, the communications systems and circuits, and the procedures peculiar to the area covered by the facility.

Medical Requirements

In general, air traffic control specialist applicants and employees must have the capacity to perform the essential functions of these positions without risk to themselves or others. The provision of sufficient information about physical capacity for employment requires that before appointment applicants undergo appropriate pre-employment physical/medical evaluations.

In our final article in our series on the FAA we will interview an airway transportation systems specialist (GS-2101).

Credit

  • Arlene Salac, Public Affairs Officer, Washington, D.C.
  • FAA website: http://www.faa.go v
  • Photos provided by the FAA

Additional Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

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 Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 13th July 2016 by

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Writing a Federal Resume

Many federal job applicants are unaware of the requirement to provide a detailed federal style resume with their application. The federal style resume is typically 3 to 10 pages or more compared to the one page private sector version. The best qualified are selected for interviews and to make that cut you must provide detailed supportive information that confirms your qualifications for the position. Basically, you must provide a work history that highlights what you did in your prior work history to achieved the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for the job.

The key to landing a federal job is tailoring your federal resume to the job announcement, now called the Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA). OPM is offering free (online) hour and a half long briefings to explain each section of the JOA to help applicants identify the right job. According to OPM, “These presentations highlight a 3 part process to assist applicants in writing their Federal resume. Attendees will be shown a real JOA and walked through reviewing the JOA to determine qualifications and interest, identifying the important requirements and then tailoring their resumes with that JOA. Lastly, it will provide a quick overview of the resume builder on USAJOBS.”

The agenda, meeting dates, and times are available on OPM’s web site. Four sessions are initially scheduled for July 28 and 29. Registration is limited to 1500 participants. Other dates will be announced on USAJobs so visit their site frequently if you would like to attend a session.

There are professional services available if you need assistance that provide a free review of your background, previously prepared documents, and job announcement. Those who can put their thoughts on paper logically and have the time to tailor their federal resume to the JOA are able to complete their application on the USAJobs resume builder. Our federal resume sample will help you focus on the task at hand. I suggest completing your federal resume off line on your desktop first. Simply copy and paste what you compiled on your desktop into the resume builder after spell checking and taking your time to compose your resume. Too many rush through the process on the resume builder leaving out key information and the final document may have typos and spelling errors.

If you are interested in a federal job take advantage of OPM’s online virtual briefings and research the process to ensure your application includes the supporting information required to be rated “Best Qualified” for the position.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

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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