Posted on Sunday, 17th September 2017 by

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In order to meet the cyber challenges of today, we must build upon the knowledge, skills and abilities of tomorrow. In order to protect networks and our critical infrastructure, we must be armed with the right resources, people and tools. To do this, many organizations across the globe are developing partnerships with universities, academic groups, private industry, government and more to foster this holistic approach to cybersecurity.

One example is the Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cybersecurity Program has been implemented in partnership with the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The goal for this endeavor is to “reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise for the nation.” In addition, the CAE program supports the President’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). NICE surrounds the notion of building a digital nation with the goal of “broadening the pool of skilled workers capable of supporting a cyber-secure nation” (nsa.gov).

Cybersecurity, an integral function of the intelligence community,  has become and will remain a top priority of our nation, particularly with the advancement of technology and subsequent sophistication of attacks. There is an increasing demand for a skilled workforce that is qualified to meet our security needs going forward. Organizations across the globe, big and small, are focusing on the creation of additional jobs in the cyber arena, thereby increasing hiring for cybersecurity professionals; protection of information systems and critical networks are a top priority for everyone. Staffing these jobs can mean the difference between success and failure for these organizations. Partnerships with the organizations mentioned above, and specifically the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), foster a strong workforce positioned for success. DHS is able to provide tools, resources and the education required for a sustainable, cyber focused workforce. Personnel can then be trained to meet demands, fill gaps, and more effectively match to defined roles and responsibilities. In addition to talent, retention is also a critical component for organizational success. DHS and many other agencies are actively working with their personnel on retention and bonus programs to ensure a stellar workforce.

DHS offers a cybersecurity workforce tool as a resource for other organizations striving to achieve world class protection. First, identifying and quantifying your current personnel, will promote strategic planning and development in critical areas; gaps will be closed. Understanding the needs of the organization, both present and future, along with the needs of your personnel will ensure the professional development programs are provided while organizational goals are achieved. A robust hiring program will complement existing pool of qualified personnel and an even more robust education and training awareness program will lend itself to continued security protection. Finally, developing key talents….establishing skill enhancement and training opportunities will attract and retain qualified personnel (USCERT.gov)

Meeting the needs for future cyber challenges won’t be easy. However, with proper focus, planning and preparation, we can posture ourselves for a chance at a better. With the myriad of partnerships, information sharing and collaboration opportunities organizations have at their fingertips, as well as the knowledge, skills and expertise of others, they can work together, easily to reduce risk, and protect networks and critical infrastructure.

References:

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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, Law Enforcement jobs

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Posted on Friday, 8th September 2017 by

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These positions primarily serve as analysts and advisers to management on the evaluation of the effectiveness of government programs and operations or the productivity and efficiency of the management of Federal agencies or both.

Positions in this series require knowledge of: the substantive nature of agency programs and activities; agency missions, policies, and objectives; management principles and processes; and the analytical and evaluative methods and techniques for assessing program development or execution and improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Some positions also require an understanding of basic budgetary and financial management principles and techniques as they relate to long range planning of programs and objectives. The work requires skill in: application of fact-finding and investigative techniques; oral and written communications; and development of presentations and reports.

The federal government employs 70,919 management and program analysts of which 1,068 work overseas. The Department of the Navy is the largest employer with 9,516 civilians employed followed by the Department of the Army with 7,095 and there are 5,574 with the Veterans Administration. All cabinet level and large independent agencies employ substantial numbers in this series.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-12 is $79,720 to $103,639 per year

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.

Duties

Management analysts typically do the following:

  • Gather and organize information about the problem to be solved or the procedure to be improved
  • Interview personnel and conduct onsite observations to determine the methods, equipment, and personnel that will be needed
  • Analyze financial and other data, including revenue, expenditure, and employment reports
  • Develop solutions or alternative practices
  • Recommend new systems, procedures, or organizational changes
  • Make recommendations to management through presentations or written reports
  • Confer with managers to ensure changes are working

Although some management analysts work for the organization that they analyze, most work as consultants on a contractual basis.

Whether they are self-employed or part of a large consulting company, the work of a management analyst may vary from project to project. Some projects require a team of consultants, each specializing in one area. In other projects, consultants work independently with the client organization’s managers.

Management analysts often specialize in certain areas, such as inventory management or reorganizing corporate structures to eliminate duplicate and nonessential jobs. Some consultants specialize in a specific industry, such as healthcare or telecommunications. In government, management analysts usually specialize by type of agency.

Organizations hire consultants to develop strategies for entering and remaining competitive in today’s marketplace.

Management analysts who work on contract may write proposals and bid for jobs. Typically, an organization that needs the help of a management analyst solicits proposals from a number of consultants and consulting companies that specialize in the needed work. Those who want the work must then submit a proposal by the deadline that explains how the consultant will do the work, who will do the work, why they are the best consultants to do the work, what the schedule will be, and how much it will cost. The organization that needs the consultants then selects the proposal that best meets its needs and budget.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is the typical entry-level requirement for management analysts. However, some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

Few colleges and universities offer formal programs in management consulting. However, many fields of study provide a suitable education because of the range of areas that management analysts address. Common fields of study include business, management, economics, political science and government, accounting, finance, marketing, psychology, computer and information science, and English.

Analysts also routinely attend conferences to stay up to date on current developments in their field.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) offers the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation to those who meet minimum levels of education and experience, submit client reviews, and pass an interview and exam covering the IMC USA’s code of ethics. Management consultants with a CMC designation must be recertified every 3 years. Management analysts are not required to get certification, but it may give jobseekers a competitive advantage.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Management analysts must be able to interpret a wide range of information and use their findings to make proposals.

Communication skills. Management analysts must be able to communicate clearly and precisely in both writing and speaking. Successful analysts also need good listening skills to understand the organization’s problems and propose appropriate solutions.

Interpersonal skills. Management analysts must work with managers and other employees of the organizations where they provide consulting services. They should work as a team toward achieving the organization’s goals.

Problem-solving skills. Management analysts must be able to think creatively to solve clients’ problems. Although some aspects of different clients’ problems may be similar, each situation is likely to present unique challenges for the analyst to solve.

Time-management skills. Management analysts often work under tight deadlines and must use their time efficiently to complete projects on time.

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

GS-0343 Management Analyst (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

Duties:

  • Analyzing, evaluating and improving efficiency of internal administrative operations and policy determinations
  • Conducting ongoing analysis of insurance programs nationally and for long-range planning involving the benefits available to Federal employees, annuitants and their families
  • Managing and assessing complex programs to ensure relevance and value proposition of employee benefits policies
  • Proposing changes to enhance benefits offered in the various programs;
  • Recommending and proposing management plans to administer the programs;
  • Preparing analysis of insurance programs to include the effects of the insured, Government agencies sponsoring the programs, administration of public policies and overall administration of the programs
  • Preparing analysis of pending or newly enacted legislation to determine effects on employee benefits

The positions used as reference for the Federal Government positions were from the Department of Health and Human Services in the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) and The Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The OPM job is in the Office of Planning & Policy Analysis (PPA), Policy Analysis Group. PPA provides direct support to the Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the agency in the analysis of policy options, administrative and legislative initiatives. The organization is also responsible for providing the Director with the analyses needed to assess trends and issues impacting OPM, other Federal agencies and departments, and the Federal workforce.

Job Prospects:

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

Employment of management analysts is projected to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for consulting services is expected to grow as organizations seek ways to improve efficiency and control costs. As markets become more competitive, firms will need to use resources more efficiently.

Demand for management analysts is expected to be strong in healthcare. This industry segment is experiencing higher costs in part because of an aging population. In addition, federal health care reform has mandated changes to business practices for healthcare providers and insurance companies. More management analysts may be needed to help navigate these changes.

Growth will be particularly strong in smaller consulting companies that specialize in specific industries or types of business function, such as information technology or human resources. Government agencies will also seek the services of management analysts as they look for ways to reduce spending and improve efficiency.

Growth of international business will also contribute to an expected increase in demand for management analysts. As U.S. organizations expand their business abroad, many will hire management analysts to help them form the right strategy for entering the foreign market.

Jobseekers may face strong competition for management analyst positions because the high earning potential in this occupation makes it attractive to many jobseekers. Job opportunities are expected to be best for those who have a graduate degree or a certification, specialized expertise, fluency in a foreign language, or a talent for sales and public relations.

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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, Overseas Jobs

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Posted on Friday, 1st September 2017 by

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A job search is a process, not something that you invent every morning after a cup of coffee. Evaluating, interpreting and responding to a job description are integral parts of that process. All job descriptions are not created equal.  They vary in format and content and job candidates who learn how this part of the process works will save time and improve their chances of finding that elusive “right” job. Federal job announcements include detailed job descriptions and are often more comprehensive than those found in the private sector.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS

Job descriptions are simply a concise rendering of the job title, job responsibilities and qualifications. They go by different names: job ads, classified ads for employment, career opportunities and the like.  Sometimes they include a description of the company. They rarely include compensation and benefits, or names and titles of the hiring manager.

Interpreting a Job Description

A candidate’s gut reaction after reading what appears to be an inter­esting job description is to respond with a resume and other requested information without a second thought. This is unfortu­nate because job descriptions exist for a number of reasons, and what you read is subject to misinterpretation. To begin, where do these job descriptions originate?

Job descriptions are written by one of three individuals: the hiring manager, the human resources director, or a recruiter working collaboratively with both. In the federal sector the Office of Personnel Management develops a general description using federal qualification standards for each occupational title and then allows the hiring agency to modify them with specific skills sets needed for that position. Hiring managers write the most reliable job descriptions. They are realistic and portray the position and requirements honestly. It is in their best interests to fill an open position as soon as possible. For them, time is of the essence. Human resources directors write credible job descriptions, too, but many times they lack details known only by hiring manager, the person to whom the job reports. Recruiters sometimes write job descriptions at the request of the hiring manager or human resources director. Usually they are credible documents because the recruiter works closely with the hiring manager and the human resources director.

Are Job Descriptions Realistic?

The job description is written with the ideal candidate in mind, and rarely, if ever, does that person exist. In all of my years recruiting for positions from entry-level to CEO, I have never found a job candidate who met every one of the requirements and qualifications on the job description. Employers always make compromises and experienced candidates know this. If the hiring manager or human resources director did not make compromises, nobody would ever be hired. For example, when you read a job description that says, “four to six years’ experience required” do not disregard it if you have only two years’ experience.

Why Job Descriptions Exist

Job descriptions are written to attract candidates for a job opening for one particular position, or for multiple positions with identical requirements but in different locations. For example, one job description will serve for three sales representatives who will work in different parts of the country.

Also, job descriptions are written because the company needs to avoid the appearance of discrimination, or to meet OEO require­ments, even though the company hiring manager may have already selected an internal candidate. (The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is a federal government agency that oversees fair employment hiring practices. All companies doing business with the federal government must sign an OEO doc­ument agreeing to meet rigid recruiting and hiring practices.)

Beating the Internal Candidate 

When a job comes open for any reason, the first place a company looks for a replacement is within its internal workforce. Frequently, a company knows the internal candidate who will get the open spot, but writes and posts the job description just the same to meet the OEO and/or other state and federal regulations. After a rea­sonable amount of time during which the company gathers resumes from both internal and external applicants, the pre-selected internal candidate wins the job. All of the candidates who applied for this position unknowingly submitted their candidacy in vain. The company will never admit to it, but rest assured that this happens every day. To avoid the internal candidate trap, one of the first questions to ask in a phone or personal interview is, “How many internal candidates are you considering? If you already have your selection and are interviewing me for other purposes, I’d rather not waste your time and mine by proceeding through the interview.” If nothing else, it will let the interviewer know that you have the experience and maturity to play the game.

What do Job Descriptions Really Say?

The typical job description will state the title of the position and where it is located. It will list the job responsibilities either in bullet point format or in a text paragraph. Usually these are broadly stated items. The job requirements and/or qualifications specify educa­tional background, years of experience, and fields of expertise. The requirements are usually overstated and nobody on Earth or Mars will ever possess all of them. For example, some job descriptions may state, “ten years’ experience in web design” but the company will hire someone with three to five years’ experience. It happens all the time.  There are always exceptions and compromises companies will make for certain positions. However, some jobs require strict adherence to the specs in the job description because of legally required certifications and licenses.

Warning!

If the job description or online application requests your age, driv­er’s license number, or social security number, do not apply. This is your personal and confidential information. Share it with the employer only if you win the job because such personal information is required for tax and identification purposes.

WHERE ARE JOB DESCRIPTIONS POSTED?

A job description is posted in various places, not just on a company website. The same job description on the website could be on various job boards like Monster, on social media sites like Linke­dIn, and on websites of recruiters. It could easily find its way to a dozen or more places, which is one reason why companies receive so many resumes in response to a posting. When you see the same job posted in multiple locations, it is a sign that the employer may be looking for many resumes to satisfy OEO or other requirements.

When  you see the same job posted on multiple sites, always respond to the job description posted on the employer’s website. If the selected candidate is hired directly by the employer instead of an outside source, the company saves money because it does not have to pay a fee to a job board or recruiter. That saved money could result in a more lucrative salary offer or better benefits for the selected candidate.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS WITH STRICT REQUIREMENTS

Job descriptions for positions requiring certification and licensure leave little room for compromise by the company. Examples are jobs for medical personnel, educators, lawyers and certain government personnel, that by law require licensure and cer­tification.

THE BIG RED FLAGS OF JOB DESCRIPTIONS

Frequently, postings on job boards, or even on LinkedIn, are tricky to say the least. I have identified the big red flags of job descriptions. Note them well.

Red Flag #1. The job description does not disclose the name of the company or its location. The company could be a back alley operation or a prominent company on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. You just don’t know. The reason for this non-disclosure is known only to the entity writing and posting the job description, and you do not have time to play games. Do not send a resume or click the “Apply” button if there is no company name.   Doing so is equivalent to sending your resume into space and a waste of your precious job searching time.

Red Flag #2. The job description does not state the name of the com­pany contact or job title. It might say, “Send your resume to Position # 256, or Job #897.” Sending your resume to a job number is equivalent to sending your candidacy to the third moon of the planet Jupiter.  If there is no contact name and title on the job description, but it looks interesting, call the com­pany customer service department and ask for the name and contact information for the human resources director and hiring manager. Then you can submit your candidacy to a living person by email or ground services like UPS or FedEx.

Red Flag #3. Some job descriptions are nothing more than a general statement about a particular kind of job. Recently, I saw one of these on the LinkedIn site called “Recent College Grads.” The job title was “Virtual Executive Assistant to the CEO.” There were no bullet points about responsibilities and qualifications and did not include the name of the company, the hiring manager, or location of the company. In addition, it had a deceptive major heading titled “Professional Chemistry” under which were three bullet points: “upbeat demeanor”

“adaptable attitude” and “composure under pressure.” This could have been a bogus job description. It gave you nothing but asked for much personal information after you hit the “Apply” button. Handing out your personal information to an unknown entity is a recipe for potential disaster. Never submit your resume or appli­cation for what appears to be a bogus job description, even if it comes from a reputable source such as LinkedIn.

ELEMENTS OF A CREDIBLE JOB DESCRIPTION 

Job descriptions come in all sizes and shapes and are written by any number of sources. They are not all created equal. Some are bare bones and others are encyclopedic. There is a natural tendency for all candidates to respond to every job description that seems to match their vision for employment.  However, you can spend useless hours responding to job descriptions that have no merit and will not yield even a thank you from the employer.  Your reward will be utter frustration to the point where you cry out in desperation, “THERE’S NOTHING OUT THERE!”  Learning which job description to disregard and which to address is just another part of the search process. Here is a list of elements that credible job descriptions should have, and a brief example of each.

  1. The name, location and description of the company. Example: “Facebook, a social media company located at 127 Smith Rd., San Jose, California.”
  2. The job title, and the title of the person to whom it reports. Example: “IT Assistant reporting to the IT department head, Mary Smith.”
  3. The job location. Example: “The job location is the corporate regional sales office in Seattle Washington.”
  4. A list of responsibilities and expectations. Example: “Selling product line to hospitals; meeting sales goals; reporting customer concerns to marketing; written quarterly sales plans; daily expense accounting.”
  5. Background qualifications. Example: “Experience in residential HVAC installation and repair. HVAC certification”
  6. Desired level of education. Example: “BS in biology.”
  7. Required certification or licenses. Example: “State of New Jersey. Certified Nurse Midwife certification and license.”
  8. A general description of the compensation and benefits package. Example: Base salary; bonus based on performance; life insurance; medical/dental insurance; IRA; paid annual vacation; paid holidays; paid sick days; long term disability insurance.

Do not expect every detail of the job to be on the job description. As you read it, make notes for discussing the particulars with the hiring manager during the interview.

HOW TO RESPOND TO A JOB DESCRIPTION WITH A CAREER PROFILE  

If you decide to pursue a position you found through any source and it does not contain any red flags, what do you do next? Conven­tional wisdom says that you should submit your resume to a person with a name, a title, and company affiliation. However, is that all one should do? Send just a resume?

Consider this. Hundreds or maybe thousands of other can­didates probably saw the same job description that you saw on a company website. What happens next? Hundreds or thousands of candidates will, like sheep, send only their resumes. Why? Because that is what the job, descriptions requested. Just submitting a resume and maybe a cover letter means that you will be one of hundreds or thousands applying for that same position. For example, Southwest Airlines receives over 100,000 resumes each year. To distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd submit a Career Profile, which consists of the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • College transcript
  • Letters of reference
  • Certifications and licenses
  • Any articles or blogs you have authored as an example of your written communication skills

Submitting the Career Profile is one of the tools in your job-hunting repertoire that will give you a distinct advantage over the competition and enhance your prospects of landing a job.

For an expanded version of this material, read Chapter 32 in my book titled, OPERATION JOB SEARCH, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers, Skyhorse Publishing Inc. c 2016. It is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and eBook.

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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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 24th August 2017 by

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The girl scouts of the USA will begin offering 18 cybersecurity ‘badges’ for their participants (girls K-12) in September 2018. Badges represent the scouts accomplishments and opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), while they continue to exemplify leadership knowledge, skills and abilities. The girl scouts make up about 1.8million girls…exposing them to these subject areas can only help narrow the technical gender gap and increase opportunities. With cybersecurity professionals in high demand, it is a strategic move in the right ‘technical’ direction; it will not only reduce the shortage we expect to have in cybersecurity careers, but will motivate, educate and arm them with the expertise…positioning them for success in the future.

In an industry that is ever growing, ever challenging, and ever surprising us, the need for a robust and diverse set of talent is critical…and the girl scouts are doing their part to satisfy this need. Ms. Acevedo, CEO of the Girl Scouts, offer that the badges give “skills to navigate the complexities and inherent challenges of the cyber realm.”  How will they be earned one may ask? Simple…through hands-on activities, field trips, mentoring and meetings (similar to the other badge requirements). In addition, through games and various techniques, the girls will enhance their knowledge in the STEM areas while collaborating, sharing and exploring partnerships.

With only 11% of females in the cyber workforce, teaching the scouts about cyber is a smart strategy; they will not only develop courage, confidence and character, but with a targeted security focus. The girls will have the knowledge, tools and resources to conquer cyber issues, bolster internet safety, and prepare themselves and others to protect. Preparedness and partnerships are key in the fight against cybercrime and the introduction of this new ‘badge’ is only the beginning.

The collaboration, partnerships and information sharing that will take place in addition to the acquisition of the badge will foster additional knowledge, skills and abilities in the field. The motivation and renewed interest that comes from the pursuit of the badge justifies the need for more work in the cybersecurity arena. The girl scouts recognized this critical need and stepped up to meet the demand through education, learning, achievement and recognition….good for them!

Girl scouts across the nation, regardless of background, race, ethnicity, etc., they too, can take part in this unique opportunity. The program will reach those in kindergarten through sixth grade and is a partnership between the Girl Scouts and a security company called Palo Alto Networks.

With a cyber focus on prevention and restoration, the scouts will work on digital operations, emerging cyber threats and more; through hands-on problem solving and education, they will learn about vulnerabilities and mitigation, critical to protection. Skills developed can be carried into their futures and built upon, reducing barriers to cybersecurity employment.  With women currently being underrepresented in this industry, this new strategic opportunity for the girl scouts aims to tackle this problem one badge at a time.

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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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Student jobs

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Posted on Friday, 11th August 2017 by

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This series covers all classes of positions the duties of which are to manage or direct, or to assist in a line capacity in managing or directing, one or more programs, including appropriate supporting service organizations, when the paramount qualification requirement of the positions is management and executive knowledge and ability and when the positions do not require competence in a specialized subject-matter or functional area. (Positions in which specialized subject matter or functional competence is a necessary qualification requirement are classifiable to whichever specialized or general series is most appropriate.)

The federal government employs 14,122 program managers of which 173 work overseas. The Departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the DOD are the largest employers with 5,494 civilians employed.  The Department of Homeland Security employs 1,629 and the Treasury Department employ1,495.  All large cabinet level agencies and many large medium sized agencies employ this occupation.

Federal Job Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • The yearly salary for a NH-4 pay scale is $103,842.00 to $143,796.00 per year (this includes a 17.82% locality pay for Huntsville, AL) or $116,833.00 to $181,031.00 per year (this includes a 27.10% locality pay for the Washington D.C. metropolitan area).

Qualification requirements differ between agencies

The program manager USA Job announcements used for this article were for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), which is part of the Department of Defense (Huntsville, AL) and the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) (Washington, D.C.)

Thoroughly read the entire job announcement to determine the special skills and requirements for each position that you apply for. Each agency will have their own variations on what is required for that job occupation and you must tailor your application and federal style resume to the job announcement’s  requirements.

MDA (from USA Jobs announcement)

The Program Manager, serves as an advisor to agency management on critical acquisition processes such as acquisition strategies, market research, acquisition planning, source selection planning, request for proposal preparation for key agency programs.

Assess, manage and eliminate risk related to program cost, schedule and performance. Conducting acquisition planning and, in coordination with the technical program office, determine acquisition strategies to be used in the acquisition of a specific program element.

FAA (from USA Jobs announcement)

As Program Manager, incumbent serves as the Group Manager, Headquarters Administrative Services Group. In this capacity, incumbent will direct the work activities of five teams.

As Group Manager, incumbent exercises the full range of supervisory responsibilities, to include, but not limited to: assignment of work, setting priorities, selections, promotions, coaching, disciplinary actions, evaluating individual and organizational performance, and training. Uses advanced knowledge of budget policies and procedures to define, plan and organize staff, and other resources; which includes managing the budget, allocating/reallocating resources among subordinate teams, and requests for needed additional resources. Incumbent projects short/long term strategic planning and prepares justifications to support resource requirements.

Specialized Experience

MDA (from USA Jobs announcement)

  • Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information, and draws logical conclusions. Analyzes and provides solutions to complex problems.
  • Ability to apply systems acquisition processes, policies, procedures, and practices necessary to develop and assess technical and economic feasibility, including cost, schedule and performance.
  • Ability to research, plan, coordinate and brief actions in support of leadership’s goals, objectives and vision.
  • Experience working with and across executive staffs, joint staffs, commands, agencies and the services.
  • Experience in acquisition of complex weapons systems and equipment or closely related systems and equipment development, procurement, and life-cycle management.

Specialized Experience

FAA (from USA Jobs Announcement)

  • Experience with workforce planning, human resource policies, staffing and position classifications as it relates to analyzing the ATO’s future staffing requirements.
  • Experience as a supervisor/manager, communicating the organization’s vision and objectives; setting priorities; assigning tasks and responsibilities; monitoring and evaluating performance; coaching and developing employee capabilities; approving leave; and recommending or approving corrective/disciplinary action as appropriate.
  • Experience leading, managing, and strategic planning for an organization, as well as collaborating with agency program executives to meet agency objectives.

The duties of a program manager are varied depending upon the agency. They can range from total supervisory duties, to developing programmatic goals. Program managers play a vital role in executing programs within an agency.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) the job outlook for mangers will grow approximately 6% between 2014 through 2024.

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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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Monday, 7th August 2017 by

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STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Programs are a curriculum that is based on education, particularly for students in these subject areas. Using an interdisciplinary and applied approach, students have access to a myriad of high-quality learning opportunities across the spectrum in the “STEM” subject areas. In addition, many academia and federal programs have incorporated science, technology, engineering and math as critical priorities for competition surrounding grant funding.

Many entering college should consider or at least explore STEM occupations which typically pay higher entry salaries and have excellent career progression paths. Far too many enter college and select a major based on false assumptions of what prospects await them upon graduation. According to the article titled  STEM Majors Will Earn Highest Starting Salaries This Year, “If you’re looking to make a lot of money right out of school, pay attention to your major: College graduates who focused on STEM fields will likely make the highest starting salaries this year.”

They go on to state that in 2016 engineers were expected to make an average of $64,891 right out of school, computer science majors $61,321, and math and science majors will earn an average salary of $55,087.  All this while education and humanities majors could expect annual starting salaries of $34,891 and $46,065, respectively! There are considerable opportunities for those willing to tackle the STEM curriculum.

STEM ensures a cohesive learning portfolio with real-world application. More students should focus on these topics; according to the Department of Education, only about 16% of students are interested in careers within the STEM subject areas and only 28% of freshman are specifically interested in a STEM field. Further, 57% of students lose interest in these subject areas post-graduation (Hom, 2014).

In looking at STEM skills worldwide, and taking an average 15 year old high school student as an example, to include developed and developing countries, the U.S. falls 28th out of 71 countries in math and is 24th in science. Further only about 29% of Americans rate their K-12 STEM programs above average (Desilver, 2017). China, for example, has a whopping 41% of STEM degree seeking students; they are basically three times that of the U.S. when it comes to STEM interest.

India and Brazil are also steadily increasing their STEM focus and enrollments; by 2015, Brazil had increased its engineering graduates by 68% and produced more PhD engineers than the US in 2016. Africa and Asia are incorporating incentives into foreign-educated graduates returning home; this entrepreneurial group of STEM graduates from US universities set up about 40% of the start-ups in Bangalore and Beijing in 2011 alone (Katsomitros, n.d.).

President Obama crafted the “Education to Innovate” movement in 2009 to inspire and motive students into these STEM subject fields; the campaign also focused on improvement of teacher skills in these areas. Given this, numerous agencies are partnering with education to create national strategies, funding, coursework and engagement campaigns to improve STEM experiences, awareness and education. Research programs with STEM emphasis are now coupled with grants and federal funding to foster support and interest.

In 2014, $3.1 billion in federal STEM programs and education have been applied and are increasingly expanding. Innovation, networking and skill-building are helping to foster science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, worldwide with the intent of achieving an even greater-skilled workforce in the years to come.

Specific STEM milestones for all students are incorporated throughout their educational life cycle. For elementary school, STEM coursework and education along with an awareness of each subject area as well as accompanying occupations are explored. To do this, real world problems are used to connect each of the subject areas and are presented in an organized fashion. The goal here is to attract students, motivate them and get them excited about each of the STEM subject areas; emphasis is placed on external opportunities for continuous STEM learning as well. For middle school students, STEM challenges increase; academics, and occupational fields are discussed in more detail…students begin having opportunities to dig a bit deeper into these subject areas with hands-on learning, education and observations. Finally, high school students are able to take on challenges surrounding the STEM subject areas, positioning them for additional education and/or STEM-type employment opportunities. There is a heavy focus on incorporation of external STEM activities with high school learning.

The STEM curriculum, although challenging, is very rewarding; many of the students are motivated to participate. Since STEM is less popular in certain populations and areas, many of the programs are focused here. Through a myriad of grants, educational opportunities and more, students, who would not have been exposed to these subject areas are given an opportunity to do so. In addition, female students are also targeted for the program in order to close the technology gap between them and their male technical counterparts.

With many critical sectors facing shortages, the STEM program has proved to be a worthwhile endeavor in preparation for a successful, technologically-driven future. Websites such as: STEMconnector.org offer insight into the STEM initiatives that organizations and corporations are currently providing.

References:

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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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Student jobs

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Posted on Friday, 28th July 2017 by

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This series includes positions the duties of which are to perform or supervise clerical, assistant, or technician work for which no other series is appropriate. The work requires a knowledge of the procedures and technique involved in carrying out the work of an organization and involves application of procedures and practices within the framework of established guidelines.

The federal government employs 59,819 in this occupation of which 1,340 work overseas. The Veterans Affairs is the largest employer with 11,426, followed by the Department of the Army with 10,340 civilians and the Department of Commerce with 9,006. All cabinet level and most large agencies employ this occupation.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-06 is $43,964 to $57,158 per year

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

Administrative assistants create and maintain filing systems.

Administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

Duties

Administrative assistants typically do the following:

  • Answer telephones and take messages or transfer calls
  • Schedule appointments and update event calendars
  • Arrange staff meetings
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and faxes
  • Prepare memos, invoices, or other reports
  • Edit documents
  • Maintain databases and filing systems, whether electronic or paper
  • Perform basic bookkeeping

Administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization efficiently. They use computer software to create spreadsheets; manage databases; and prepare presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, and manage stockrooms or corporate libraries. Secretaries and administrative assistants also use videoconferencing, fax, and other office equipment. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.

Executive administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. They often handle more complex responsibilities, such as reviewing incoming documents, conducting research, and preparing reports. Some also supervise clerical staff.

Administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive is the largest subcategory of administrative assistants. They handle an office’s administrative activities in almost every sector of the economy, including schools, government, and private corporations.

Education

High school graduates can take courses in word processing and office procedures at technical schools or community colleges. Some temporary placement agencies also provide training in word processing, spreadsheet, and database software.

Training

Administrative assistants typically learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. During this time, they learn about administrative procedures, including how to prepare documents. Medical and legal secretaries’ training may last several months as they learn industry-specific terminology and practices.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can demonstrate competency to employers.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification. Candidates must have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of administrative work experience, depending on their level of education, and pass an examination.

Important Qualities:

Integrity. Many secretaries and administrative assistants are trusted to handle sensitive information. For example, medical secretaries collect patient data that is required, by law, to be kept confidential in order to protect patient privacy.

Interpersonal skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff. They should communicate effectively and be courteous when interacting with others to create a positive work environment and client experience.

Organizational skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently.

Writing skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants write memos and emails when communicating with managers, employees, and customers. Therefore, they must have good grammar, ensure accuracy, and maintain a professional tone.

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

Job Announcements (Vacancies)

GS-0303 Administrative Assistant (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

Duties

  • Applying knowledge of the various types of software capabilities and functions to resolve problems and complete standard/nonstandard assignments
  • Updating database as necessary to add, remove, revise, or replace equipment information and establish or modify preventive maintenance requirements
  • Establishing and maintaining subject matter files for supervisor’s use in preparing recommendations for projects.
  • Producing a variety of recurring reports, charts, and statistical data relating to workload, timeliness, and quality control
  • Coordinating with a variety of individual inside and outside of the local organization to determine the appropriate person for responding to technical inquiries.

Job Prospects:

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

Overall employment of administrative assistants is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.

Employment of administrative assistants is projected to decline 6 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is largely because many executive administrative assistants can support more than one manager in an organization. In addition, many managers now perform work that was previously done by their administrative assistants. For example, they often type their own correspondence or schedule their own travel and meetings.

Many job openings are expected to come from the need to replace administrative assistants who leave the occupation.

Those with a combination of related work experience and experience using computer software applications to perform word processing and create spreadsheets should have the best job prospects.

Credits:

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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 Friday, 21st July 2017 by

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Thinking about leaving the Federal Sector? You are not alone, with the Internet explosion and specifically the cybersecurity challenges we are facing today, many of our colleagues are leaving their federal jobs to join private companies across the globe and embarking on new careers. However, a major move like this should not be taken lightly…there are many things to consider including: is it worth it, how do I go about it…. what about job security? These questions along with a host of others will be explored as we discuss the ins and outs of a potential transition to a private sector career.

Vesting – In order to be eligible to receive at least a partial FERS retirement benefit there is a five year creditable civilian service requirement. If you have 5 years or more of federal service when you leave you will be able to collect a deferred annuity at age 62 for life. You will also have the option of either retaining your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or move it to your new employer’s plan; this is a critical component since you may wish to ensure your TSP is retained if you plan on eventually returning to federal service. The FERS benefit booklet provides a wealth of details and information on vesting, contributions, benefits and more.

For example, if you worked 20 years in federal service and had an average high three year earnings of $100,000 a year your benefit at age $62 would be $20,000 a year for the remainder of your life. Your annuity would be adjusted annually for cost of living increases.  This defined benefit is worth retaining and it complements your Social Security, TSP, and other retirement savings that you would have from your new employer. Many choose to cash-in their FERS accounts when they leave and years later regret they gave up a fixed annuity for life. Secondly, if they cash it out and end up back in federal service they have to repay the amount withdrawn in order to have the years you worked previously in government added back to fund your FERS retirement.

It should also be noted that in your new private sector job survivor and disability benefits would not be available until the required 18 months of civilian service has been achieved.

Reinstatement Rights  – If you have at least three years of federal service you have certain reinstatement rights and it is easier to return to federal service. Reinstatement allows former federal employees to reenter the Federal competitive service workforce without competing with the general public. Former federal employees may apply for any open civil service examination, but reinstatement eligibility also enables you to apply for Federal jobs open only to status candidates, those already working in government.

Salary Statistics – review potential salaries from the Occupational Outlook Handbook for the following groups:

Some major reasons for making the change from government to private sector include: better compensation, a change in work roles, flexibility and/or work and life balance, or a major life event. Many employees are in demand, and particularly those with law enforcement, intelligence, leadership and cybersecurity expertise. Given this, those wishing to make this change must rewrite their background and experience to fit the private sector; becoming more of an entrepreneurial spirit while meeting the needs of a global corporation are usually expected. With a faster pace, focus on productivity and profit, additional responsibilities and greater accountability, government employees must understand all of the changes surrounding a potential private sector position.

On the positive side, you will find a solid work ethic in the private sector as employees work to get the job done, and in fact, the rewards can be significantly more than what you experienced in the federal sector.

On the challenging side, you can expect longer working hours, and adoption of new skills and new challenges. You will certainly want to do your homework, research companies of interest, weigh the pros and cons, and take into consideration personality, cultural and logistical changes as well.

Early career planning, solid mentors and relationship building are critical components when making a shift. Career counseling is a must to navigate this type of change; reach out to others within your personal and professional network for advice, guidance and support. In many cases, moving to the private sector can not only satisfy financial goals and objectives, but can also offer great flexibility (closer to home and/or part time hours). By doing your homework, determining whether to work for a small or larger company, a service or product based firm, or type of role, planning is key. In addition, talking with government colleagues who already moved to the private sector can prove extremely helpful; listen to their challenges, pitfalls and positive outcomes in order to take everything into consideration for a comprehensive decision.

Be sure to address your financial situation; can you afford to take a risk at this time in your life should the new job not go as expected; is there an opportunity to return to your former agency through the use of reinstatement rights as mentioned previously in the article?

Transitioning to the private sector can be scary, but extremely rewarding with the right planning. By staying connected, taking your time, and doing your own research, you can land that (next) dream job, easily.

References:

References & Career Planning Tools 

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

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

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Posted on Friday, 14th July 2017 by

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “the labor force is projected to grow over the next 10 years at an average annual rate of 0.5 percent, a slower rate than in recent decades. Demographic factors—including slower population growth and the aging of the U.S. population—in addition to the declining labor force participation rate will be responsible for the projected growth of the labor force.”

The BLS also indicates that “the labor force is anticipated to grow by 7.9 million, reflecting an average annual growth rate of 0.5 percent, over the 2014–24 period. The growth in the labor force during that time span, is projected to be smaller than in the previous 10-year period, 2004–14, when the labor force grew by 8.5 million, or 0.6 percent, annually, on average.

Individual trends for federal government employment are incorporated within each occupational BLS profile.  The federal sector is projected to decrease by up to 15% by 2024 however that isn’t across the board. Certain federal  occupations may increase their numbers during this time period depending on proposed organizational changes implemented by the party in power. You have to use the BLS’s detailed statistical tables to view the changes in each government and private sector occupational category.

Women will have an increased role in the labor force and their numbers will grow from 46.8 percent in 2014 to 47.2 percent in 2024. During this same period, the number of men is projected to grow by 0.4 percent, which is slower than the previous decade. The rate will be downward from 53.2 percent in 2014 to 52.8 percent in 2024.

According to BLS “The labor force will continue to age, with the average annual growth rate of the 55-years-and-older group projected to be 1.8 percent, more than 3 times the rate of growth of the overall labor force. The group’s share of the labor force is anticipated to increase from 21.7 percent in 2014 to nearly 25 percent in 2024.”

The BLS does analysis every two years on the various job categories that will be relevant for the next ten years. The latest data available, December 2015 for the 2014-2024-time period. BLS indicates “these projections, labor force participation rates are analyzed and projected for more than 136 different groups, including men and women as well as 17 age groups and 4 race and ethnic groups. The basis of these projections is the past long-term behavior of the labor force participation rate in each of a number of detailed categories according to the data provided by the BLS Current Population Survey (CPS) Program.”

To get more information about labor force projections visit the BLS website.

Hot Job Trends

The BLS cites, “Healthcare occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024. With the increase in the proportion of the population in older age groups, more people in the labor force will be entering prime retirement age.”

Additionally, the BLS states, “the labor force participation rate is projected to decrease and labor force growth to slow. This slowdown of labor force growth is expected, in turn, to lead to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 2.2 percent annually over the decade. This economic growth is projected to generate 9.8 million new jobs—a 6.5-percent increase between 2014 and 2024.”

Here are some interesting statics from the BLS on why the health care and related industries will be at the top:

Labor Force and the Macroeconomy 

  • The civilian labor force is projected to reach 163.8 million in 2024, growing at an annual rate of 0.5 percent.
  • The labor force continues to age. The median age of the labor force was 37.7 in 1994, 40.3 in 2004, 41.9 in 2014, and is projected to be 42.4 in 2024. At the same time, the overall labor force participation rate is projected to decrease from 62.9 percent in 2014 to 60.9 percent in 2024.
  • The labor force participation rate for youth (ages 16 to 24) is projected to decrease from 55.0 percent in 2014 to 49.7 percent in 2024. The youth age group is projected to make up 11.3 percent of the civilian labor force in 2024 as compared with 13.7 percent in 2014. In contrast, the labor force participation rate for the 65-and-older age group is projected to increase from 18.6 percent in 2014 to 21.7 percent in 2024. This older age group is projected to represent 8.2 percent of the civilian labor force in 2024 as compared with 5.4 percent in 2014.
  • Labor force diversity is projected to increase, with white non-Hispanics making up 59.6 percent of the civilian labor force in 2024, compared with 64.6 percent in 2014.
  • Real GDP (2009 chained dollars) is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.2 percent, from $16.1 trillion in 2014 to $19.9 trillion in 2024.
  • Within GDP, medical services will continue to grow as a share of nominal personal consumption expenditures. This category is projected to account for 18.0 percent of consumption in 2024— higher than its 16.7-percent share in 2014 and 15.0-percent share in 2004.

The BLS not only looks at age groups, demographics, ethnicities, but the projections of economic conditions.

On the flip side, BLS predicts that construction, and manufacturing jobs will still have some growth but will decline and will not be at the peaks they once were.

The BLS indicates:

  • Service-providing sectors are projected to capture 94.6 percent of all the jobs added between 2014 and 2024. Of these 9.3 million new service sector jobs, 3.8 million will be added to the healthcare and social assistance major sector.
  • The healthcare and social assistance major sector is expected to become the largest employing major sector during the projections decade, overtaking the state and local government major sector and the professional and business services major sector. Healthcare and social assistance is projected to increase its employment share from 12.0 percent in 2014 to 13.6 percent in 2024.

For more information relating to the trends in job occupations is located at: www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecopro.pdf

This article provides an overview on the trends and economic outlook that is based on BLS analysis for the next ten years (2014-2024).

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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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Saturday, 1st July 2017 by

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It is the season when thousands of students march to the stage to receive their AA, BA or MA degrees from colleges and universities across the country. It’s a happy time for all, especially for parents who proudly witnessed their children receive that coveted diploma that only 40% of the citizens of the USA possess. But along with that diploma, 68% of recent college grads received an invoice for a student loan averaging $37,000, an unwelcome burden not only for the graduates but also for their parents. So now that our recent college grads have a diploma and a student loan to repay, what’s next?

 

What’s Next!

The good news is that this is the best time in the past ten years for college grads entering the job market. Our economy is virtually at full employment and employers are looking high and low for additional workers to maintain and grow their businesses. A recent survey by Career Builder reveals that 74 percent of employers contacted stated that they plan to hire recent college grads. And, a recent Forbes survey indicated that the starting salary range for recent college grads is $45,000-$53,000. Good times are here again….for those college grads who know what kind of work they want to do and how to find job opportunities that will provide a paycheck to enable them to become self-sufficient.

Some of our recent college grads have decided on a career path that will take them to graduate school or to a specific job niche in the private or public sector. However, most others do not have a clue about what happens after the applause, handshakes, and the trip back home to live with Mom and Dad. The conventional, but erroneous, wisdom says that the way to a job after graduation is to sit down and write a “killer” resume and send it to multiple jobs boards. Then, like magic, a job will appear that pays well and provides satisfaction for the rest of your working years. That is just not the way it works.

To make that job appear sooner rather than later, the recent college grad must look at job hunting as a process that includes: learning ones aptitude and abilities; targeting a specific job in a specific company; developing a personal relationship with the hiring manager and human resources director; preparing a creditable resume; learning the basic rules and protocols for interviewing; attending conferences and trade shows at local convention centers; learning how to network with established workers; making cold calls on companies located in office and industrial centers; learning how to negotiate a job offer; and finally establishing an office at home to make it all happen. Each step in the process is a learned skill for all workers but especially for the recent college grad entering the adult world of full time work. Sadly these skills are not taught in colleges which sends the learning process back in the lap of the recent college grads and their parents who still have the primary responsibility for educating their children, college degree notwithstanding.  All steps of the process are important but at the top of the list is leaving the house to find hiring managers in the flesh. You do that by making unscheduled calls at company offices and attending conferences and trade shows.

Learning what kinds of jobs are available is an important start in the job hunting process. According to recent surveys here are the best industry sectors for 2017 college grads.

  • Business and scientific services
  • Educational Services
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Government

Functionally, the job categories most in demand are:

  • Information technology
  • Customer service
  • Business development
  • Finance/accounting
  • Production

So where does a recent college grad begin to look for a job?  It’s more than just throwing darts at a board and hoping one will stick. Finding companies that offer cutting edge products and services is a good way to start. But, who are these companies?  To get you moving in the right direction, here are twenty companies recommended in The Muse Newsletter, www.themuse.com.

  1. Caesars Entertainment…casino gaming resorts in the USA and abroad
  2. World First…financial services focusing on cross country payments
  3. Polaris…. consulting and compliance services for healthcare and life sciences
  4. Taboola…helping publishers monetize their content
  5. Good Apple Digital…digital planning media services
  6. Bonobos…contemporary custom made men’s clothing
  7. CreditCards.com…partners with banks to provide credit cards for consumers
  8. Synapse…developer of transformative digital products
  9. BackCountry.com…online supplier of high quality outdoor gear worldwide
  10. Redfin…real estate brokerage services for buyers and sellers
  11. Vanguard….worldwide financial investment services
  12. Revcontent…delivers content recommendations using widget technology
  13. 540…provides cutting-edge technology solutions for government agencies
  14. Black Mountain Systems… IT workflow management for financial companies
  15. Hirevue…provides solutions to recruit, train and retain workers
  16. Bridgestone Americas…global supplier of products for manufacturing and mining
  17. Fluxx…digital grant management for philanthropy initiatives
  18. PrintFleet…provides data driven remote print management solutions
  19. Agile…information technology staffing, recruiting and personnel management
  20. Tillster…provides software to manage mobile payments to restaurants

These companies are noted for their employee friendly culture and for providing a work environment where workers will find life/work balance…..and a little fun. Their web pages provide images of their recent college grad workers and the company work environment.  Go to the Internet and research each company for job opportunities in your location.

For those not interested in private sector corporate jobs here are two viable alternatives.

  1. Joining the military…..Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard. This is an option rarely considered by recent college grads because of a general misunderstanding about what happens in the military. The most common misperception is that joining the military means that you will be deployed immediately to fight in the trenches in some god forsaken place like Afghanistan. The reality is that for each active combat job, there are hundreds of jobs behind the scenes similar to jobs in the civilian world. The big plus for spending time in the military is that one learns lifelong leadership skills, discipline and focus. And, what could be a better way to begin your working life than to serve our country, to give back for all the blessings we have inherited for being born in America? In addition, serving in the military provides substantial benefits to all veterans, like tuition reimbursement to continue ones education, lifelong healthcare and a pension.
  2. Pursuing a federal government job. The federal government, the nation’s largest employer with over 2.5 million employees, offers interesting jobs that pay as much as or more than comparable jobs in the private sector. The majority of federal government jobs are not political jobs and most are located away from Washington DC. The focus of these jobs could be anything from law enforcement, environmental conservation to finance to cybersecurity… and everything in between. In addition, there is a federal government program titled, The Recent Graduates Program. Explore the many federal jobs that are available stateside and overseas.

To begin the process of finding a job straight out of college we recommend that all recent grads and their parents read the following books:

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD; A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. John Henry Weiss.  Skyhorse Publishing Inc. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. Dennis Damp. Bookhaven Press. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher

Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor. Jist Publishing Company. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

Moving Forward

There has never been a better time for recent college grads to look for a job because employers are seeking additional workers as our economy expands. Those who take the time to learn how the adult world of work really works and who follow the rules in this article and in the above cited books should have no trouble connecting with employers seeking intelligent, energetic and passionate recent college grads.

Copyright 2017 by John Henry Weiss Author of WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD.

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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 Jobs, Job Vacancies, Law Enforcement jobs, Overseas Jobs, Student jobs

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