Posted on Monday, 25th April 2016 by

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Good times are here again for all veterans seeking employment opportunities. This year is off to a roaring start with the unemployment rate standing at an astounding 5%. Economists consider an unemployment rate of 5% to be full employment after factoring out seasonal and structural unemployment. In addition, a look at the monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that we are adding in excess of 225,000 jobs each month. It does not get much better than that!

Puzzle pieces concept for employment within the United States of America.

Reinforcing the promise of employment are the statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau about the steady flow of legal immigrants into the United States, which at last count numbered one million per year. They are coming to the USA for one reason, jobs.

What kinds of jobs are available? The short answer is everything from entry-level positions to jobs in senior management. Airlines are seeking entry-level customer services reps and reservationists. Big Box retailers, like Walmart are seeking experienced truck drivers at a starting salary of about $75,000 plus excellent benefits. Investment companies like BlackRock, an asset management firm, have postings on their career pages for a variety of finance related positions. Posted jobs include Web Infrastructure Engineers. A quick look a Craig’s List reveals a wide variety of local jobs. And, there are numerous federal government jobs available, which you can find on this website. There is no reason why any veteran should be out of work in these good times.

Companies in most industries, particular those considered “military friendly companies” are seeking veterans to fill many jobs cutting across all functional lines throughout the entire United States. Who are these companies? What opportunities are they offering? Let’s consider companies in just three industries; food, shelter, and defense.

The Food Industry

All people need food to survive regardless of the economic cycle. This robust industry includes companies like Walmart, Acme, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, McDonalds and Chipotle. They are always seeking employees for a variety of jobs across the USA. We are not talking about the stereotypical “store floor” jobs like shelf stockers, but behind the scene jobs like sales reps, marketing managers, and human resources managers. You never see these people on the store floor. For example, I just reviewed the Career pages for one of our favorite military friendly employers, Costco. I found jobs not only at hundreds of store locations, but also at the home office in Issaquah Washington, and at many regional offices scattered throughout the country. The jobs spanned every imaginable occupation from Pharmacist to Customer Service Representative to Lawyer and Accountant. Costco is a community conscious employer, noted for treating its employees with dignity and respect. When you are on the Costco website, go to the Jobs page and click on “Costco and Veterans. And, when you are in a Costco store check out the hot dogs at their food counter. For a buck-fifty, you get a huge hot dog and a 16 oz. soft drink. That’s the reason why Costco sells in excess of 150 million hot dogs each year. Costco operates its own hot dog manufacturing facility because no one supplier could produce that many in any one year. It’s the same for rotisserie chickens; 150 million sold each year. This smooth marketing giant is looking for job candidates with a long-term career horizon.

The Shelter Industry

This industry includes everything from residential and commercial construction to the manufacture and sale of products found in the finished buildings, like doorknobs, windows, floor tile, and appliances. Some of the companies in this flourishing industry are the upscale homebuilder, Toll Brothers, and home goods retailers like Lowes and Home Depot. Residential and commercial building is booming and this industry offers hands-on jobs in the construction trades for carpenters plumbers, painters and electricians, structural steel workers, and many others. In addition, there are jobs in corporate infrastructure for supply chain managers, information technology managers and human resources directors.

One of our favorites is Home Depot, a military friendly company. I reviewed their website and found many excellent job opportunities. Some of them are: Sales Consultant, Roanoke VA; Installation Services Manager, Raleigh NC; IT Developer, Atlanta GA; and Security Officer, Tempe AZ. Go to their website for more job listings and be sure to read what Home Depot does for veterans.

The Defense Industry

Companies in this huge industry are constantly seeking veterans for a variety of technical and non-technical positions. Military friendly leaders in Defense are: General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and Raytheon. GE, one of our all-time favorites, is moving its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Boston and that move alone will create hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs for veterans in the Bay State.

A favorite in this sector is Pratt & Whitney. Air force veterans will know why. Pratt has a very successful record of obtaining government contracts for all types of military aircraft and aircraft components. Their latest win from the Department of Defense was a $1.4 billion contract for F135 aircraft engines. To meet the completion deadline, Pratt will hire thousands of new employees to fill a wide range of technical and non-technical jobs. The company values the discipline and skills veterans have, and actively recruits candidates with military experience.

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Pratt & Whitney released the following statement on their webpage: F-35 Joint Program Office Awards Pratt & Whitney LRIP 9 Contract for F135 Engines. Go to the website for more information about this contract and remember to look for job openings. You will find them listed under United Technologies, Pratt’s parent company, Under Careers, look for U.S.Military and note what they have to say about veterans. They even provide a Military Skills Translator to help veterans translate their military skills into civilian terms. You will find a wide array of job opportunities that include the following: Financial Planning Analyst, Hartford, Ct; MBA Intern, Rockford, IL; F135 OT&E Field Service Representative, Edwards Air Force Base, CA; and, Server and Storage Specialist, Rockford, IL.

Moving Forward

In our June article, we will focus on the process of job-hunting for veterans. It is more than just crafting a dynamite resume. Also, we will list more of our favorite industries, and companies in those industries offering jobs for veterans. Stay tuned!

Takeaways

This is a very robust job market. All veterans will find well-paying and meaningful jobs if they follow the guidelines for civilian job hunting. You can find them in my book, OPERATION JOB SEARCH, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. It is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

Veteran’s Resources

Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, c 2016, JIST Publishing Co.

This helpful resource lists thousands jobs by industry. It describes each job, the required qualifications, the approximate salary, and the number of anticipated job openings for the next five years. It is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Jist Publishing.

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 Vacancies, Veterans Preference

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Posted on Friday, 8th April 2016 by

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NASA Jobs – What It’s Like To Work For NASA

Space the final frontier as the TV show “Startek” so aptly states. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been around since 1958 and has been going where no man has dared to go and that includes the Moon.

NASA’s vision is to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind. They have been around for more than 50 years and this agency is constantly looking for new ways to explore space, as well as, use what they learn here back on Earth.

 

International Space Station

International Space Station

This large independent agency employees 17,176 professionals, technical staff, administrative, and other support personnel at 10 regional centers. The largest occupational group ─ engineers in the GS-0800 series ─ employs 9665 as of December 2015 according to FEDSCOPE, the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) data center. They employ 4,222 aerospace engineers in the GS-0861 series, 120 mechanical engineers GS-0830, 805 GS-0855 electronics engineers, and a cross section of other engineering, technical and administrative support staff.  Astronauts are classified under the GS-801 general engineering occupational series and there are 2,985 employed under the GS-0801 series at NASA. Not all GS-0801 positons are astronaut positions.

To get a better perspective about this fascinating agency historian, Brian Odom, who works at Marshall Space Flight Center, located on Redstone Arsenal, AL was interviewed for this article.

Q & A with Brian Odom

How and why did NASA get started?

NASA was started on October 1, 1958 on the order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. NASA was created to ensure a peaceful, civilian program dedicated to exploring space. The spur for the program was the US participation in the International Geophysical Year (IGY) from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958. During this time, the Soviet launch of the first satellite, Sputnik I and later the US satellite, Explorer I, increased the popular interest in space exploration. NASA grew out of concerns of national security that were characteristic of the Cold War.

What is the history on the Saturn, Apollo and Moon Programs?

The Saturn program (Apollo was the payload for the Saturn Launch Vehicle) developed out of President John F. Kennedy’s goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth” before the end of the decade. The Saturn V Launch Vehicle that was designed to fulfill that goal was 364 feet tall with a booster stage capable of producing 7.5 million pounds of thrust. Marshall Space Flight Center, then under the direction of Dr. Wernher von Braun, was tasked with overall management of the vehicle. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 became the first manned spacecraft to land them on Moon. Five more landings would follow from 1969 to the final trip by Apollo 17 in December 1972. These missions served as a demonstration of technological development in the US, a program for scientific exploration of the Moon, and developed a feasible program for living and working in space.

Current NASA Programs to include the International Space Station, Mars and others?

The International Space Station (ISS) serves as a working laboratory in space where research not possible on Earth is performed. Orbiting 240 miles above Earth and travelling at 17,500 miles per hour, the ISS has been continuously occupied since November 2000 and serves as a blueprint for the further exploration of space. The ISS is a truly international effort with support from five space agencies representing 16 nations.

Information about Marshall Space Flight Center?

Marshall is home to four National Historic Landmarks including the Redstone Test Stand, Propulsion and Structural Test Facility, Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand, and Neutral Buoyancy Simulator. Constructed by the Army in the early 1950s, the Redstone Test Stand was the first test stand in the United States to accommodate an entire launch vehicle and is the oldest landmark at the Center. The Redstone Test Stand was used for testing the Jupiter-C vehicle that launched our first satellite, Explorer I in 1958 and the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle that launched the United States’ first astronaut into space.

The NASA Organization

NASA Headquarters, in Washington, provides overall guidance and direction to the agency, under the leadership of the administrator. Ten field centers and a variety of installations conduct the day-to-day work, in laboratories, on air fields, in wind tunnels and in control rooms.

NASA conducts its work in four principal organizations, called mission directorates:

  • Aeronautics: manages research focused on meeting global demand for air mobility in ways that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, while also embracing revolutionary technology from outside aviation.
  • Human Exploration and Operations: focuses on International Space Station operations, development of commercial spaceflight capabilities and human exploration beyond Low-Earth orbit.
  • Science: explores the Earth, solar system and universe beyond; charts the best route of discovery; and reaps the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society.
  • Space Technology: rapidly develops, innovates, demonstrates, and infuses revolutionary, high-payoff technologies that enable NASA’s future missions while providing economic benefit to the nation.NASA does more than space exploration, they use their technology for other organizations to take advantage. Its mission is “Bringing NASA technology down to Earth”.The job occupations that will be featured in our next articles are all employees that work at Marshall Space Flight Center located on Redstone Arsenal, AL.

Technology Transfer Program

NASA does more than space exploration, they use their technology for other organizations to take advantage. Its mission is “Bringing NASA technology down to Earth”.

This program pursues the widest possible applications of agency technology to benefit US citizens. They partner with industry through the use of licensing agreements, in supporting the economy and create jobs. The Technology Transfer Program website is http://technology.nasa.gov./

The job occupations that will be featured in our next articles are all employees that work at Marshall Space Flight Center located on Redstone Arsenal, AL.

Our next Q&A will be with Christopher Todd Cannon, an Exhibit & Artifacts Manager, GS-1010 located at Marshall Space Flight Center.

Credits

  • Angela D. Storey, Public Affairs Officer, Marshall Space Flight Center
  • NASA website: www.nasa.gov

Other Career Information

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 Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 10th March 2016 by

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Leaving military service creates many challenges for veterans especially when confronted with finding viable and rewarding careers that compliment their active duty work experience.  I know only too well about the trials and tribulations associated with this often traumatic move.  My number was called for the draft during the Vietnam War in 1968. I passed my physical and was advised to report for duty in two weeks if I didn’t join another branch of service. I immediately crossed the hall at the Federal Building and joined the U.S. Air Force for a four year tour.  I served a total of 10 years, just over three years active and the remaining time with the Air National Guard.

I was fortunate, the Air Force trained me to be an avionics technician and my skill set was transferable to the private sector.  In my case I was hired by the Air National Guard as an avionics technician under the Palace Chase early out program as the Vietnam War wound down.  Others that entered the service at the same time were not as fortunate and most were left to their own devises to find and secure employment.  Many leaving the service at the time were out of work for a year or more and most had to be retrained. This also happened after 9/11 and according to David Henry Weiss, author of Operation Job Search, “Among post-9/11 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 33 percent have been unemployed for longer than one year and 17 percent have been unemployed for more than two years.“

This doesn’t have to be your story. The truth of the matter is that no matter what duties you performed on active duty many facets of your service will enhance your private sector job search. None of the least is the disciplined life you led while serving, your attention to detail, and your ability to follow orders and not question everything that comes your way. Employers benefit from these skills and seek them out. Therefore, you are already ahead of the game if you know the rules to follow that will get you there.

Operation Job Search; A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers by John Henry Weiss provides the game plan all veterans need to find their path in life. This new book is what I consider to be the job guide Bible for anyone leaving the military and for veterans who haven’t found their niche yet.  This new book outlines the process you will need to take, how to develop a viable and realistic job search plan, and you will learn about all opportunities including private sector and government jobs to considering starting your own business.  You will discover how to prepare for the job interview, what clothes to wear, and review numerous training and job apprenticeship programs with many companies nationwide.

 

Operation Jobs Search  by John Henry Weiss

Operation Jobs Search
by John Henry Weiss

This indispensible guide will improve your chances and help you obtain not just a job but the career of your dreams. Another advantage is that you don’t have to read the entire 466 pages. You can go direct to the areas of interest no matter where you are at in your search and get the help you need to succeed. There are also sections devoted specifically to female veterans.

This excellent reference is available at all bookstores and on Amazon.com. It may also be available at your local library.

In your search don’t ignore opportunities with the federal government. According to the Office of Personnel Management’s report titled Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch, Fiscal Year 2014,” 30.8 percent or 612,661 current federal employees are veterans.  The Veteran’s Preference Program gives veterans a distinct advantage when applying for federal jobs.

Helpful Federal Career Planning Resources 

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

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Posted on Tuesday, 8th March 2016 by

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Federal Meteorologist Jobs Overview:

The meteorologist (GS-1340) has to have knowledge in very specialized areas such as meteorology/atmospheric sciences and advanced mathematics (calculus).  This job series falls under the Physical Science Group. This group includes all classes of positions, the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform research or other professional and scientific work or subordinate technical work in any of the fields of science concerned with matter, energy, physical space, time, nature of physical measurement, and fundamental structural particles; and the nature of the physical environment.

There were 31,566 federal workers employed in Physical Science Group within all Executive Branch departments, and in many large and small independent agencies with 261 employed overseas. The largest employer is the Department of Interior with 5,850 followed by the Department of Commerce with 5,534 and the Department of the navy with 4,195 civilians employed. A number of large independent agencies hire in this group including the EPA with 2,750 employed.

Phillip Manuel is a meteorologist who is a senior forecaster (GS-1340) with the NWS located at Blacksburg, VA.

 

NOAA Phillip Manual

Phillip Manuel specializes as a National Weather Service Incident Meteorologist (IMET), assisting Federal and State Incident Management Teams on large wildfires.  This picture was taken at the Stouts Creek Fire in southwest Oregon in August 2015.  IMETs Phillip Manuel and Scott Weishaar are getting ready to launch a weather balloon to gather weather information to help them make weather forecasts for the incident.

Manuel served as a general forecaster and is currently a senior forecaster and he explains that “Both positions are listed as being a “Forecaster,” but as a Grade 13 you assume more Supervisory Controls.  The GS-13 position requires you to serve as the shift leader, routinely supervising at least one GS-12 full performance level meteorologist (General Forecaster) and one GS-11 Hydrometeorological Technician.   As the shift supervisor, you are ultimately responsible for all NWS products, warnings, and advisories produced on that shift, and for their coordination with other NWS offices.   Senior Forecasters lead and coordinate staff efforts and provide direction, guidance, instruction, and assistance to the shift staff.”

Q&A with Phillip Manuel

What were your reasons for becoming a Forecaster?

Public service. I enjoy forewarning people about the weather, especially extreme weather. I also get an adrenalin rush during high impact weather events and it is important for me to predict when these events are going to occur.

Forecasting has always been a passion. As far back as I can remember, I have been captivated by the weather. As a child, I loved being outdoors and would spend countless hours staring at the sky. Thunderstorms were my favorite and I would risk life and limb for the thrill of being outside during the storm to watch the cloud formations, see the lightning, and hear the thunder.

Extreme weather such as hurricanes and the crippling ice storms from the 1970s had similar effects on my psyche. It was nothing unusual for these storms to knockout the power for weeks at a time, forcing my family to use oil lamps for lighting and wood stoves for heating and cooking.  This sort of living forced us to pay special attention to the weather. For whatever reason, I felt a need to warn my family and neighbors when these events were about to occur.  As a teenager I became obsessed watching weather reports on television and would then relay this information to others.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job as a Forecaster?

The biggest challenge is working rotating shifts. Demand for weather data, forecasts, and warnings is a “24/7” sort of business. The vigilance and situational awareness required to do the job is only effective if I can get enough sleep to remain alert.  There is no fun in forecasting if I can’t stay awake. The shifts and work deadlines are typically out-of-sync with the rest of the working world which means there are times I have to be awake when everybody else is sleeping.  In addition, in order to remain proficient and relevant as a Senior Forecaster, I need to work both day and night shifts in order to provide the best direction, guidance, and instruction to better serve the staff and external customers.

What is the most interesting part of your job as a Forecaster?

The daily interaction with people and the variety of forecast challenges.  The job never gets boring.

Being a forecaster is kind of like being an emergency room doctor, you are exposed to everything imaginable and every shift is different.  The weather is constantly changing, which keeps the job interesting. In addition, you get to interact with people that need help.  People need weather information in order to make decisions. Their level of need is different. This makes it interesting for me because I have to communicate my forecast in a way they can understand.

What is unique about your job as a Forecaster?

The cool thing about being a forecaster is that you can specialize in a particular interest or field of study.  Within each forecast field office there are approximately 10 forecasters. Each forecaster may specialize in a particular forecast interest, such as severe weather, marine weather, winter weather, radar, aviation, hydrology, etc.  You become the “focal point” or “program leader” within the office for that field of study.  The other forecasters within the office will then seek you for advice or training concerning your expertise.

I am the fire weather program leader for my office. This is unique for me because I interact with other partner agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service and similar land management agencies, supporting their need for weather forecasts to help them when suppressing wildfires or conducting prescribed burns. What is really unique about my job is I also serve as an Incident Meteorologist (IMET). I travel nationwide in support of Federal and State Incident Management Teams for incidents which may involve large wildfires, HazMat, or disaster cleanup. This requires that I keep a bag packed at home ready for travel at all times. When deployed I may remain away from home for weeks at a time.

Would you recommend being a Forecaster as a good job to pursue?

I highly recommend this position to anyone who likes the science of meteorology, loves to interact with people, and is open-minded to feedback, especially when your forecast does not go as planned. People are critical with respect to weather forecasts, and you must be willing to use this feedback to make the needed adjustments to improve your job performance.

Here is another way to look at it.  Making a good forecast is like a Field Goal kicker on a football team kicking the ball through the uprights (the fans cheer).  If you make a bad forecast, it’s like the same kicker missing the uprights.  Your job evaluation and satisfaction will become based on how consistent you are at getting the ball through the uprights (a good forecast), and especially when the game is on the line in order to win the game (a forecast warning which may save lives).

The GS-1340 seriesincludes positions that involve professional work in meteorology, the science concerned with the earth’s atmospheric envelope and its processes. The work includes basic and applied research into the conditions and phenomena of the atmosphere; the collection, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of meteorological data to predict weather and determine climatological conditions for specific geographical areas; the development of new or the improvement of existing meteorological theory; and the development or improvement of meteorological methods, techniques, and instruments.

The federal government employs 2,966 meteorologistsof which 34 work overseas. The Department of Commerce is the largest employer with 2,558 followed by the Department of the Air Force with 1`51 and the Army with 96. About half of the cabinet level agencies employ small numbers of meteorologists along with several large independent agencies including 19 with NASA.

Positions in this occupation require full professional knowledge and application of meteorological methods, techniques, and theory.

Mary Beth Gerhardt is a meteorologist forecaster (GS-1340) with NWS and located at College Park, Maryland.

 

NOAA Mary Gerhardt

NOAA’s National Weather Service meteorologist Marybeth Gerhardt being interviewed about winter weather for CBS News affiliate from Pittsburgh. October 2015. (Photo: NOAA)

Q&A with Mary Beth Gerhardt

What were your reasons for becoming a Forecaster?

A sheer passion for the weather steered me towards a career in meteorology, and the idea of forecasting for an agency whose mission involves providing forecasts for the “protection of life and property” is what motivated me to specifically apply for a forecasting position with the National Weather Service.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job as a Forecaster?

Attempting to predict a chaotic atmosphere will always be my biggest challenge as a forecaster.  Although forecasting can be stressful due to the heavy responsibility of the National Weather Service mission, the satisfaction of delivering a spot on weather forecast that people received, understood and heeded, which saved lives, is a satisfying feeling.

What is the most interesting part of your job as a Forecaster?

Everything!  Honestly, everything from learning about the latest advances in the science and technology to actually forecasting a major winter storm and then watching it unfold across the nation continues to intrigue me.

What is unique about your job as a Forecaster?

The people I get to work with are probably the most unique aspect of my job as a forecaster.  We are such an eclectic group, and yet our shared fascination with the weather allows us to work extremely well together.

Would you recommend being a Forecaster as a good job to pursue?

I would recommend being a forecaster to anyone who is passionate about weather, but with the warning that NWS forecasters are often required to work weekends, holidays, and night shifts.  Also, because forecasting jobs are highly sought after even securing an entry level position can be extremely competitive.

Job Requirements of a Meteorologist (GS-1340)

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • $92,145.00 to $119,794.00 / Per Year
  • Degree in meteorology, atmospheric science, or other natural science major.
  • At least 24 semester hours in meteorology/atmospheric science.
  • There is a prerequisite or corequisite of calculus for course work in atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, physics, and differential equations.
  • For the GS-13 Grade level -you have to have least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade/ band level (GS-12) that includes: performing a wide range of assignments in forecasting, or techniques development, or real-time support and monitoring of meteorological data and models; Knowledge of computer programming languages such as FORTRAN and C;  knowledge of a variety of UNIX and LINUX operating systems, and an understanding of supporting operational real-time data flow and data processing.

The federal meteorologist job occupation is both a greatly complex but very rewarding. You will get both real job satisfaction and be on the forefront of leading technology advancements.

Credits

  • Maureen O’Leary, NOAA Communications and External Affairs at the National Weather Service.
  • Photos by the National Weather Service.
  • National Weather Service website:Weather.gov

Other Career Information

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

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Posted on Friday, 26th February 2016 by

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Have you ever dreamed of forecasting the weather, studying and surveying the geography of our coasts or exploring the oceans, or coral reefs? If so, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the agency for you.  NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, and was formed in 1970. There are 6,773 NOAA scientists and engineers. NOAA has a total of 12,000 personnel worldwide.

NOAA’s mission is Science, Service, Stewardship. To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts. To share that knowledge and information with others and to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.

 

NOAA Ship

NOAA Ship

History of NOAA

NOAA’s history dates back over 200 years and it is one of the oldest federal agencies. In 1807 President Thomas Jefferson formed the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (as the Survey of the Coast) to provide nautical charts to the maritime community for safe passage into American ports and along our extensive coastline.  The Weather Bureau was formed in 1870 and one year later the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries was created.

In 1970 to better handle the growing responsibility of predicting changes to both the ocean and atmospheric environments and living marine resources NOAA was formed. Today NOAA is in every state and is considered an international leader on scientific and environmental matters. It is considered America’s environmental intelligence agency.

For more NOAA history visit their site at http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/.

Programs under NOAA

National Status and Trends Program

In 1984 The National Status and Trends Program was started.  It is one of the largest and most comprehensive monitoring programs of costal marine environmental quality in the United States.  The objective of the program is to determine the existing status and the long term trends of the environmental quality of coastal areas throughout the United States.  Additionally, this program measures the levels of toxic chemicals in bottom-feeding fish, mussels and oysters, and sediments.

NOAA Seafood Inspection Program

NOAA oversees fisheries management in the United States.  Under authority in the 1946 Agricultural Marketing Act, the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program provides inspection services for fish, shellfish, and fishery products to the industry.

The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program offers a variety of professional inspection services on a fee-for-service basis which assures compliance with all applicable food regulations.  The program offers sanitation inspection as well as system and process auditing in facilities, on vessels, or other processing establishments in order to be designated as participating establishments.

The National Coastal Zone Management Program

The National Coastal Zone Management Program works with coastal states and territories to addresses coastal issues, that includes climate change.

This program is a voluntary partnership between the federal government and United States coastal and Great Lakes states and territories authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 to address national coastal issues.

National Weather Service

In our next article we be featuring two employees that work for the National Weather Service (NWS).  The NWS was established in 1870. It was originally called the Weather Bureau and was part of the War Department. Twenty years later it became a civilian agency, under the Department of Agriculture, and in 1940 was switched to the Commerce Department.

NWS Mission

Provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

NWS Vision

A weather-ready nation: society is prepared to respond to weather-dependent events.

NWS Organization

The headquarters of the NWS is located in Silver Spring, Maryland, with regional headquarters located in Kansas City, Missouri; Bohemia, New York; Fort Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Anchorage, Alaska; and Honolulu, Hawaii. The NWS has 5,000 employees in 122 weather forecast offices, 13 river forecast centers, 9 national centers, and other support offices around the country, and provides a national infrastructure to gather and process data worldwide.  Every year, the NWS collects some 76 billion observations and issues approximately 1.5 million forecasts and 50,000 warnings. For more information about the NWS you can view their website at Weather.gov.

The two employees that will be featured in our next article are Mary Beth Gerhardt, meteorologist (GS-1340) and Phillip Manuel, meteorologist (senior forecaster), GS-1340.

Credits

  • Maureen O’Leary, NOAA Communications and External Affairs at the National Weather Service.
  • Photos from NOAA website: Learn more about our work

Other Career Information

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 Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 17th February 2016 by

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The GS-1811 series includes all classes of positions, the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform investigation, inspection, or enforcement work primarily concerned with alleged or suspected offenses against the laws of the United States, or such work primarily concerned with determining compliance with laws and regulations.

There are 192,929 federal workers employed in the GS-1800 Investigation Group working within all Executive Branch departments, and in many large and small independent agencies with 3,800 employed overseas. Even small agencies employ investigators including the Federal Maritime Election Commission (3), and 15 with the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Keith Toomey, is a special agent in charge, with the Fish & Wildlife Service’s Professional Responsibility Unit, in Shepherdstown, WV.

 

Keith Toomy, Special Agent in Charge (FWS)

Keith Toomy, Special Agent in Charge (FWS)

The largest employers of the Investigative Group are the Department of Homeland Security (130,343), 28,541 with the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture employs 8,126, and there are 3,802 employed with the Department of Transportation. All of the cabinet level agencies employ workers in the GS-1800 group with 34,265 in the GS-1801 general inspection, investigation, enforcement and compliance series, 42,442 in the GS-1811 criminal investigation position, over 20,000 in border patrol enforcement GS-1896, and 21,038 in the GS-1985 customs and border protection.

Don’t overlook any agency in your job search as there are positions available in most agencies.

Q and A with Keith Toomey

Why did you want to become a Special Agent in Charge? I felt it was a great responsibility and challenge to lead this office. It provided stability to the office and has allowed our program to continue to develop and evolve. I was lucky to have many great mentors at the county, state and federal level as my career progressed like Danny James and Nick Susalis to name a few. This position has allowed me to share some of that experience, but as General Gray said when I joined the Marine Corps years ago “you are first and foremost a rifleman, everything else is secondary.”  I still consider myself a working agent and handle a case load.  I think it’s important to stay current and connected to those investigative skills.

What is the most challenging part of your job? The most challenging part of this particular position is trying to balance the caseload against the amount of time our PRU agents are traveling away from their families handling cases nationwide and the stress that results from that time away.

What is the most dangerous part of your job? This profession at any level has been and will always be inherently dangerous. I constantly remind our officers and agents they need to have the courage to take decisive action when required and not worry about the current level of anti-police rhetoric in the public or press.  We were called to be and the Service employs us to be law enforcement officers which at times means things will not always be pretty or easy.  We need to be safe and go home when the work is done.

What is the best part of being a Special Agent in Charge? The best part of this position is the daily diversity.  We handle a variety of cases for the Service besides traditional Internal Affairs issues and we teach at many levels within the Service and to outside agencies as well.  We are also very lucky being located within Jefferson County, WV to have a great working relationship with the local Sheriff’s Office and State Police.

Would you recommend this job occupation? I would recommend this position but it is not for everyone.  I think the same goes for the profession as a whole.  This occupation is dangerous, challenging and requires a ton of common sense along with communication skills.  There will be internal and external political frictions each requiring your attention and tactful handling. At the end of day, it is also a very satisfying and rewarding career as long has you have the moral courage for it.

Office of Law Enforcement

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement is responsible for focusing on threats to wildlife that are detrimental.  These threats involve illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental contaminants. They will investigate wildlife crimes, regulates wildlife trade, helps Americans understand and obey wildlife protections laws, and works in partnership with international, state, and tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources.

The work of this office includes:

  • Breaking up international and domestic smuggling rings that target imperiled animals.
  • Preventing the unlawful commercial exploitation of protected U.S. species.
  • Protecting wildlife from environmental hazards and safeguarding critical habitat for endangered species.
  • Enforcing federal migratory game bird hunting regulations and working with states to protect other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.
  • Distributing information and outreach materials to increase public understanding of wildlife conservation and promote compliance with wildlife protection laws.
  • Inspecting wildlife shipments to ensure compliance with laws and treaties and detect illegal trade.
  • Working with international counterparts to combat illegal trafficking in protected species.
  • Training other federal, state, tribal, and foreign law enforcement officers.
  • Using forensic science to analyze evidence and solve wildlife crimes.

When fully staffed, the Office of Law Enforcement includes 261 special agents and some 140 wildlife inspectors. Most are “officers on the beat” who report through eight regional law enforcement offices. A headquarters Office of Law Enforcement provides national oversight, support, policy, and guidance for Service investigations and the wildlife inspection program; trains Service law enforcement personnel; fields a special investigations unit; and provides budget, management and administrative support for the Office of Law Enforcement.

The Office of Law Enforcement has the Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory which conducts scientific analyses that support federal, state, and international investigations of wildlife crime. They also maintain a National Wildlife Property Repository, which supplies abandoned and forfeited wildlife items to schools, universities, museums, and non-government organizations for public education, and operates the National Eagle Repository, which meets the needs of Native Americans for eagles and eagle feathers for religious use.

Job Requirements of a GS-1811

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • Salary ranges from $87,263 to $113,444.00 per year.
  • Provides expert technical advice, guidance, and recommendations concerning tactical field operations and the application and use of criminal investigative techniques to subordinates, other law enforcement partners
  • Plans and oversees tactical field operations, case administration, and the supervision and management of the criminal investigative unit.
  • Directing a comprehensive criminal investigative program that has handled all aspects of the criminal investigative process.
  • Directly managing/supervising law enforcement agents and analysts.
  • Maintaining liaison with other local, state, and federal law enforcement counterparts.

The GS-1811 job series covers positions which supervise, lead, or perform work involving planning, conducting, or managing investigations related to alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal laws. The federal government employs 42,442 in this occupation. The work involves:

  • recognizing, developing, and presenting evidence to reconstruct events, sequences, time elements, relationships, responsibilities, legal liabilities, and conflicts of interest;
  • conducting investigations in a manner meeting legal and procedural requirements; and
  • providing advice and assistance both in and out of court to the U.S. Attorney’s Office during investigations and prosecutions.

Work in this series primarily requires knowledge of criminal investigative techniques, rules of criminal procedures, laws, and precedent court decisions concerning the admissibility of evidence, constitutional rights, search and seizure, and related issues in the conduct of investigations. Criminal investigators conduct investigations of alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal laws. The Federal statute or law which may have been violated does not determine whether a position should be classified in this series. The actual process and the knowledge and skills used to investigate crimes determine the appropriate series of the position. Classification into the 1811 series should not be an automatic process but should be based on the work of the individual position. Work primarily requires knowledge of:

  • pertinent statutes, regulations, policies, and guidelines, including the Code of Federal Regulations or the Uniform Code of Military Justice;
  • Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures, Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and Federal guidelines on the conduct of criminal investigations;
  • criminal investigative techniques, such as protective surveys and assignments, surveillance, and undercover work;
  • the evidence required to prove a crime was committed;
  • the jurisdiction of various agencies;
  • sources of information and how to develop them (e.g., informants, surveillance, and undercover work);
  • electronic countermeasures and the latest technological advances used by criminals and investigators; and
  • decisions and precedent cases involving, but not limited to, rules of evidence, search and seizure, and detention and arrest.

Criminal investigative work is characterized by the types and scope of crimes investigated and the organization and sophistication of the criminals. Additional characteristics of criminal investigative work include: planning and conducting investigations extending over protracted periods of time; assignments made primarily on a referral or case basis; and an emphasis on identifying and apprehending individuals for criminal prosecution. During the course of their careers, criminal investigators may rotate through various assignments to include protective details, asset forfeiture investigations, and multi-jurisdictional task forces.   Some criminal investigators perform or oversee undercover assignments as a regular and recurring part of their assigned duties. Criminal investigator positions will normally be found in organizations whose primary purpose includes functions typically performed by criminal investigators, such as organizations responsible for performing inspection, compliance, enforcement, prevention, or deterrence functions.

Medical Requirements

  • The duties of positions in this series require moderate to arduous physical exertion involving walking and standing, use of firearms, and exposure to inclement weather.
  • Manual dexterity with comparatively free motion of finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, and knee joints is required. Arms, hands, legs, and feet must be sufficiently intact and functioning in order that applicants may perform the duties satisfactorily.
  • Sufficiently good vision in each eye, with or without correction, is required to perform the duties satisfactorily. Near vision, corrective lenses permitted, must be sufficient to read printed material the size of typewritten characters.
  • Duties of these positions are exacting and responsible, and involve activities under trying conditions, applicants must possess emotional and mental stability.
  • Any physical condition that would cause the applicant to be a hazard to

The special agent in charge is a very specialized job series.  It involves skills such as problem solving, use of fire arms, knowledge of various law enforcement regulations, tactical field operations, criminal investigation and analysis. This is a job occupation worth checking out.

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

Other Career Information

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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 Saturday, 30th January 2016 by

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The GS-0701 series covers professional positions that supervise, lead, or perform work in the veterinary medical sciences. The work involves promoting the health and welfare of both animals and the public through diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and understanding of animal diseases; conservation of animal resources; and advancement of veterinary medical knowledge. Learn more about holding a federal veterinarian jobs below.

The federal government employs 2,226 Veterinary Medical Officers. The Department of Agriculture is the largest employer of this group with 1,774 employees. The Department of Health and Human Services employs 34 while the DOI, VA, Army, EPA and the Smithsonian Institute employ small number of this occupational series. There are 23 veterinarians working for the Department of the Interior.

Samantha Gibbs is a  is a veterinarian with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at the Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, Maryland.

 

Samantha Gibbs, Veterinarian (FWS)

Samantha Gibbs, Veterinarian (FWS)

The wildlife veterinarian has many different services that they must perform. These services may include, but are not limited to:

  • Wildlife capture efforts.
  • Animal capture and handling, applicable chemical immobilization, and tagging-collaring-surgical procedures necessary for assessing individual animal movement, environmental conditions.
  • Training of professional wildlife biologists in wildlife capture, handling, and/or animal processing;
  • Development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for safe wildlife capture, handling, tagging, and sampling in collaboration with other federal agencies and/or other international, state, local, or private organizations.
  • Successful application for DEA Controlled Substances registration.

Q and A with Samantha Gibbs

Why did you become a Wildlife Veterinarian?

Growing up, I had a strong interest in wildlife ecology and conservation. After high school I went to work for a wildlife veterinarian and began to understand the strong role veterinarians play in forwarding wildlife conservation goals.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Probably the most challenging part of the job is turning research science into management actions that will improve wildlife health at a population scale. More often than not, there isn’t much we can do once a disease has begun to spread in wildlife.

What is the most unique experience you have had as a Wildlife Veterinarian?

I was once capturing wild ducks for avian influenza testing in northern Australia and had to ensure that when I released the birds after being swabbed they didn’t head towards the river because there was a line of crocodiles waiting at the water’s edge for a tasty treat!

What are the rarest and most common species of animals that you have come in contact with?

I have worked with hundreds of bird species, some quite rare and many very common. I currently serve as back-up veterinarian for the whooping cranes that are being bred and raised at Patuxent. I have also had the opportunity to work with bison, rhinos, Florida panthers, lions, manatees, feral pigs, and frogs!

What are some of the duties you have to perform as a Wildlife Veterinarian?

My work varies from field activities to research to policy. I provide field support such as surgical implantation of satellite transmitters in ducks, taking fat biopsies from bison, and performing post-mortems on animals that are a part of die-off events. I am involved in the development and implementation of research projects that investigate wildlife diseases. And I provide technical assistance for policy decisions that involve wildlife health issues.

Would you recommend Wildlife Veterinarian as a good career path?

The career of wildlife veterinarian has been an amazing journey for me. It involves many years of studying, sometimes extreme field conditions, sometimes long hours at a computer, and lots of travelling, but for me it is certainly been well worth it for the crazy events, kind people, and fascinating wildlife I have experienced along the way.

Basic Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Salary for a GS 12/13 ranges from $71,012.00 to $109,781.00 / Per Year.
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent degree, i.e., Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD), obtained at a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA).
  • Possession of a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice veterinary medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States that includes successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or its predecessors, the National Board Examination (NBE) and the Clinical Competency Test (CCT).

Additional Requirements

GS-12: To qualify for a GS-12 is listed below:

  • Master’s degree in an area of specialization, including but not limited to, animal science, avian medicine, food safety, infectious diseases, veterinary clinical sciences, pathobiology, biomedical sciences, veterinary anatomy, veterinary preventive medicine, comparative biological sciences, epidemiology, veterinary parasitology, molecular veterinary biosciences, public health, microbiology, pathology, immunology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, wildlife, zoological animal medicine, or sciences related to the work of a veterinary medical officer position.
  • Successful completion of two years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position.
  • Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service.

Examples of specialized experience for the GS-12 grade level include:

  • Implementing health monitoring and treatment programs for large herds of production livestock (cattle, sheep, and swine).
  • Recording and analyzing health records in order to implement appropriate prevention and treatment programs.
  • Working with animal care personnel and herd managers to appropriately train and educate on new practices relating to animal care.

GS-13: To qualify for the GS-13 are listed below:

  • Ph.D. degree in an area of specialization, including but not limited to, animal science, avian medicine, food safety, infectious diseases, veterinary clinical sciences, pathobiology, biomedical sciences, veterinary anatomy, veterinary preventive medicine, comparative biological sciences, epidemiology, veterinary parasitology, molecular veterinary biosciences, public health, microbiology, pathology, immunology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, wildlife, zoological animal medicine, or sciences related to the work of a veterinary medical officer position.
  • Successful completion of three years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position.

Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.

Examples of specialized experience for the GS-13 grade level include:

  • Interpreting and implementing the Federation of Animal Science Societies Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching in a research environment; or
  • Experience following or implementing Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) policies and procedures as they relate to care of animals in research; or
  • Experience as or working with an IACUC Attending Veterinarian to implement appropriate animal care in a research environment.

Medical Requirements: Individuals must be physically and mentally able to safely and efficiently perform the full range of duties of the position without creating hazards to themselves or others.

Veterinary Medical Officers who inspect or supervise inspection activities in privately owned slaughter houses and processing plants must meet specific medical standards

Job Requirements

  • Maintains up-to-date knowledge of field anesthesia techniques, ensures compliance with Animal Welfare Act requirements and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) approved protocols.
  • Strictly adheres to Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) rules and regulations for the use and storage of controlled substances.
  • Assists in the development of the annual budget and work plans.
  • Establishes and maintains liaison with research and management biologists from natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, and universities who have expertise specific to wildlife capture and anesthesia as well as wildlife diseases, their epidemiology, and management, to exchange information and develop techniques and methods related to population and habitat management, monitoring, and evaluation.
  • Reviews scientific proposals and reports to evaluate hypotheses, research design, appropriateness of methods, probability of success, and overall importance to wildlife disease management or science.
  • Analyzes disease report summaries and determines the impact on resources, develops action plans as required, coordinates actions with the Refuges and other Service regions as warranted.
  • Fields questions concerning the report and response from various sources, representatives from other Federal and State agencies, and the media.
  • Analyzes the impact of wildlife morbidity and mortality events on populations, and assists wildlife biologists and/or managers as needed to evaluate impacts to harvest regulations or other population goals.
  • Prepares reports and articles for publication in scientific literature and for presentation at professional meetings.
  • Provides oral and written presentations on significant wildlife health and disease issues ranging from highly technical professional audiences, to congressional and agency staffs, to news media, and the general public.
  • Mastery of, and skill in applying, advanced concepts, principles, practices, and methodology of veterinary medicine.
  • Professional knowledge of, and ability to apply, wildlife management concepts, principles, practices, including field techniques and methodologies, to manage an active complex, regional, wildlife management program.
  • Knowledge of, and ability to apply, the principles, practices, techniques, and concepts of population ecology and wildlife biology as related to the management of free ranging wildlife populations.
  • Familiarity with population-limiting factors based on habitat nutritional quality, climate change, predation and competition, or other demographic factors sufficient to incorporate into wildlife management plans.
  • Ability to synthesize existing information, apply new scientific findings, developments, and advances to meet innovative, complex, controversial, long-term wildlife health and management needs that are national and international in scope.
  • Ability to provide creativity and critical-thinking skills necessary to apply veterinary advances in approaches and new scientific developments to local resource issues, and determine cause-and-effect relationships between species, their habitats, and disease.

In our next article we will continue with the FWS and our Question and Answerwill be with Keith Toomey, Special Agent in Charge (GS-1811).

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

Other Career Information

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 Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Monday, 11th January 2016 by

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One of the important functions of the Federal Government is to communicate with the public concerning the programs administered and activities engaged in by various Federal agencies. This communication is provided by the public affairs specialist (GS-1035) and serves the dual purpose of: 1) informing the broad spectrum of individuals and groups affected by agency programs of the benefits, services, or requirements of such programs; and 2) assessing the degree of understanding or interest the public has in these programs and activities. The public affairs specialist salary ranges from $90,823.00 to $118,069.00 / Per Year.

The federal government employs 5,519 public affairs specialists. The Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force are the largest employers of this group with 2,052 civilian employees. The Department of the Interior employs 312 followed by the VA with 297. Positions are available in all cabinet level and large federal agencies.

Valerie Fellows is a public affairs specialist working at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Ecological Services Program in Falls Church, VA.

 

Valarie Fellows (GS-1035) FWS

Valarie Fellows (GS-1035) FWS

Q&A with Valerie Fellows

Why did you decide to become a Public Affairs Specialist?

My background was in wildlife management, biology and toxicology, so I always dreamed I would one day work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But I never really “loved” the notion of daily field work: schlepping through remote areas day after day, fighting off mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds, taking Dramamine just to be able to get through the day on the boat, etc. I loved it every now and then, but not every day. Our field biologists are really amazing for loving that type of hard labor!

Plus, I’m an extrovert and I’m pretty good at communicating!

Combine those factors and it came very naturally for me to support the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by communicating to the media and the public about the work we do and why it’s important for the public. I am able to combine my strengths for communication with my passion for wildlife, and I absolutely love my job.

What is your greatest challenge as a Public Affairs Specialist?

Staying relevant with the public. Our field offices are involved in managing really complex environmental issues that can’t be fixed overnight, and trying to tell the story of what they are doing and making it relevant to the issues the American public cares about is challenging. Science and technology is advancing at an extremely fast pace, but if we don’t deliver our messages about why people should care and keep it pertinent to the issues important to them, then eventually science could lose support.

What is most interesting about being a Public Affairs Specialist?

No two days are the same. Every day is a different topic or issue and it’s always something new to learn about.

What is the most unique aspect about being a Public Affairs Specialist?

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with some monumental announcements for my agency – including the recovery of the bald eagle and its removal from the Endangered Species Act – which was 5 decades in the making and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s birth. To have just a sliver of the public engagement on those pieces of conservation history is extremely fulfilling, and I was so grateful for it.

Would you recommend the Public Affairs Specialist job occupation?

Yes! I’ve loved my jobs in this series at all levels. I’ve made mistakes and learned from them, but I love the excitement and results that our agency gets from connecting to the public on conservation issues!

Public Affairs Specialist Duties

In addition to the general public, Federal agencies communicate with many specialized segments of the population, e.g., farmers, taxpayers, military personnel, educators, State and local government officials, manufacturers, and so on. Federal agencies communicate with the general public and these other pertinent publics in a variety of ways, for many different purposes, and in countless organizational settings across the country, and around the world.

Public Affairs includes positions responsible for administering, supervising, or performing work involved in establishing and maintaining mutual communication between Federal agencies and the general public. They also communicate with various other pertinent entities including internal or external, foreign or domestic audiences.

Positions in this series advise agency management on policy formulation and the potential public reaction to proposed policy, and identify and carry out the public communication requirements inherent in disseminating policy decisions. The work involves identifying communication needs and developing informational materials that inform appropriate publics of the agency’s policies, programs, services and activities, and plan, execute, and evaluate the effectiveness of information and communication programs in furthering agency goals. Work in the series requires skills in written and oral communication, analysis, and interpersonal relations.

Positions in the Public Affairs Series are primarily concerned with advising management on the formulation and articulation of agency policy and designing, executing, and evaluating the information programs that communicate agency policies, programs, and actions to various pertinent publics.

Public affairs positions work in and contribute to a variety of functional programs. The term functional program refers to the basic objectives of a Federal agency and its operations and activities in achieving them. A functional program may include the entire mission of an agency or any one of many programs administered by the department or agency. Positions in this series require a practical understanding and knowledge of functional programs to facilitate communication between an agency and its publics on program-related problems, activities, or issues. Much of this program knowledge is obtained from specialists in the functional program areas or through review of agency developed material, interviewing program specialists, or reading professional and trade publications.

Job Requirements

    • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
    • Identifying internal and external target audiences for various issues, programs and activities and independently developing the full suite of communication tools and products to reach those audiences.
    • Preparing and/or overseeing the development of news releases, feature articles, publications, speeches for program and management officials, fact sheets, briefing papers, radio and television scripts and other public informational.
    • Advising on personal appearances and interviews, sets up news conferences in support of a public affairs plan or directed to specific audiences.
    • Establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with representative of appropriate media and national organizations or public interest groups, as well as counterparts in other Federal, State or local government agencies.
    • Determining the form, extent and timing of media information programs which will maximize the education of information to the public.Conducting complex and exhaustive research and assist in providing comprehensive data to media representatives.Skill in making oral presentations; analyzing the effectiveness of crisis communication plans. Maintaining a network of subject matter experts for use as quality information sources.
    • Skill in setting up and conducting impromptu news conferences and briefings
    • Experience managing established social media campaigns and utilizing a diverse array of social media platforms to communicate information about agency, programs, policies, initiatives and other relevant information to the public.

In our next article we will continue with the FWS and our Question and Answer with Samantha Gibbs, a Wildlife Veterinarian (GS-0486).

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Public Affairs Specialist

Other Career Information

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 Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 16th December 2015 by

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NASA is recruiting astronauts through a job announcement that was posted on December 14th. They will announce their selections in mid-2017 and this new group of astronauts will potentially fly on four U.S. spacecrafts during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

According to NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden, “NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars and we’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to help get us there.” Those selected will go to space on American-made spacecraft and participate in the exploration of Mars.

 

Astronaut - Space Exploration

Astronaut – Space Exploration

The application process is rigorous to say the least and those seriously interested must follow the guidance provided in the USAJOBS job announcement and submit all required paperwork. Print out the job announcement and use a highlighter to identify each step that you MUST take to successfully apply. According to USAJOBS, “To receive consideration you must meet the minimum requirements by the closing date of the announcement; and submit all required information by the closing date of the announcement via USAJOBS.” Follow the ‘How to Apply’ section of the job announcement to ensure you provide all information requested.

Completing and submitting a professional application is only half the battle. Applications must also present themselves confidently and professionally in the job interview. Those who prepare for the interview will be better able to handle this often tense final step in the selection process.

Duties

Astronauts are involved in all aspects of training for and conducting operations in space, including on the ISS, on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and in the development and testing of future spacecraft. This includes extravehicular activities (EVA), robotics operations using the remote manipulator system, the ability to operate and conduct research experiments, the ability to operate as a safe member of an aircraft crew (including flight planning and communications), and spacecraft maintenance activities. Astronauts also participate in mission simulations to help themselves and flight controllers in the Mission Control Center operate in the dynamic environment of low earth orbit. Additionally, astronauts serve as the public face of NASA, providing appearances across the country, and sharing NASA’s discoveries and goals.

Long-duration missions aboard the ISS generally last from three to six months. Training for long-duration missions is very arduous and takes approximately two to three years. This training requires extensive travel, including long periods away in other countries training with NASA’s international partners.

Qualifications

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements before submitting an application:

1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics.

Notes on Academic Requirements:

Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must meet the basic education requirements for NASA engineering and scientific positions; specifically, successful completion of standard professional curriculum in an accredited college or university leading to at least a bachelor’s degree with major study in an appropriate field of engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics.

The following degree fields are not considered qualifying:

–Degrees in Technology (Engineering Technology, Aviation Technology, Medical Technology, etc.)

–Degrees in Psychology (except for Clinical Psychology, Physiological Psychology, or Experimental Psychology, which are qualifying)

–Degrees in Nursing

–Degrees in Exercise Physiology or similar fields

–Degrees in Social Sciences (Geography, Anthropology, Archaeology, etc.)

–Degrees in Aviation, Aviation Management, or similar fields

2. At least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience obtained after degree completion OR at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for experience as follows: master’s degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience. Teaching experience, including experience at the K – 12 levels, is considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position, provided the initial degree is qualifying.

3. Ability to pass the NASA long-duration astronaut physical, which includes the following specific requirements:

Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20, each eye. The use of glasses is acceptable.

The refractive surgical procedures of the eye, PRK and LASIK, are allowed. Note that such surgeries are permitted, but not required for potential applicants.

Since all crewmembers will be expected to fly aboard a specific spacecraft vehicle and perform EVA activities (spacewalks), applicants must meet the anthropometric requirements for both the specific spacecraft vehicle and the EVA mobility unit (spacesuit). Applicants brought in for an interview will be evaluated to ensure they meet the anthropometric requirements.

Basic Education Requirement: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major study in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics.

Degrees in engineering technology are not considered to be qualifying for this position.

An advanced degree is desirable.

U.S. citizenship is required.

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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.

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Posted on Sunday, 13th December 2015 by

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In part one of this series we introduced the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to include its history and their prominent programs. This article features the historian occupation (GS-0170) and its unique role within the FWS.

This series includes positions the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform research or other work in the field of history when such work requires a professional knowledge of established methods and techniques of historical research in the collection, evaluation, analysis, or presentation of historical facts.

The federal government employs 765 historians of which 30 work overseas. The Department of the Air Force is the largest employer with 197 civilians followed by the Department of the Interior with 171 and the Department of the Army employs 158. All but two cabinet level agencies employ workers in this group including a few large independent agencies.

Historians in the Federal Government are engaged in one or more of the following major areas:

  • Planning and conducting special historical studies relating to current problems for use by agency officials and others in developing or modifying policies and programs.
  • Planning and conducting continuing or long-range historical studies to record the policies, programs, and operations of their particular agencies.
  • Planning and preparing scholarly narrative or documentary histories for publication.
  • Planning and conducting historical studies in connection with the establishment, conservation, restoration, reconstruction, and interpretation to the public of sites of major significance in the military, political, economic, and cultural history of the United States.

Regardless of the area of endeavor involved, historian positions at full performance levels typically include responsibility for project planning and research and presentation functions

Q&A with Mark Madison

Mark Madison is an historian, (GS-0170) for the FWS and works at the National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV.

 

Mark Madison, Historian with the FWS

Mark Madison, FWS Historian

Why did you want to become a historian?

My father was a historian so I was genetically predisposed. History was my favorite reading material as a child and adult. I actually started as a biologist but got lured back to history through the history of science.

What are the top three most interesting aspects of your job?

  1. We get new historical objects almost every day we just got a 5200-pound printing press.
  2. I have just started social media with a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. It is new and keeps me humble as to my tech abilities.
  3. The FWS has the most interesting history in the federal government ranging from Rachel Carson to Red Wolves.

What is the most interesting historical find you ever came across?

A little mammal and we have a taxidermy black-footed that was rediscovered in 1981 after the species had been declared extinct in 1979. That little ferret helped save a species.

Would you recommend the historian occupation as a good career path?

Any subject you are passionate about is a good career path. I was passionate about history and conservation so being a historian for the FWS was a great choice.

Job Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in History; or related field that included at least 18 semester hours in history.
  • Professional experience that reflects knowledge of history concepts and techniques and available sources.
  • Methods and techniques of historical research in the collection, evaluation, analysis, and presentation of historical facts.
  • Research and write historical materials, and conducting special studies and creating other historical products such as oral histories.
  • Perform research, analysis, evaluates and produces written historical reports about origins, or evolution.
  • Prepare analytical studies of complex program issues, administrative summaries.
  • Provide training publications to employees and the public with a general understanding of the history of an agency and its activities.
  • Plan and execute a historical research program that documents of an agency’s history.
  • Provides guidance and advice to regional offices, divisions, and field stations on completing historical research, studies, and oral histories involving an agency’s history.
  • Plans, reviews, and evaluates projects initiated by other offices.
  • Knowledge of requirements and procedures required to initiate, and monitor contracts for historical research and studies.

In part 3 we will meet Valerie Fellows a public affairs specialist, (GS-1035) for the FWS.

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

Other Career Information

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 Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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