Posted on Sunday, 29th October 2017 by

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There are many occupations in the federal government that require electronics technician skills both in the General and Wage Grade Schedules. The primary General Schedule (GS) occupation is the electronics technician GS-0856. The postal service also hires electronic technicians to service their mail delivery automation equipment.

The federal government employs 8,072 GS-0856 electronics technicians of which 222 work overseas. The Department of the Army, Air Force and Navy are the largest employers with 5,368 civilians followed by The Department of Justice with 806 and the Department of Transportation with 537. Many cabinet level agencies and a few large independent agencies such as NASA employ electronics technicians.

Many GS-0856 electronic technicians can qualify for related jobs such as system specialists with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the Transportation Specialist GS-2101 Series. These jobs require additional training at the FAA academy in Oklahoma city for each specialty. Randy Baldwin, featured in this article, and Dennis Damp, host of this service, spent many months in training at the academy throughout their careers first as a GS-0856 technician and later as GS-2101 system specialists. The GS-2101 series with the FAA offers work in automation, communications, navigation, and surveillance / radar occupations.

You will also find many opportunities in the WG-2600 Electronic Equipment Installation and Maintenance Family. This job family includes occupations involved in the installation, repair, overhaul, fabrication, tuning, alignment, modification, calibration, and testing of electronic equipment and related devices, such as radio, radar, loran, sonar, television, and other communications equipment; industrial controls; fire control, flight/landing control, bombing-navigation, and other integrated systems; and electronic computer systems and equipment.

There are 10,299 federal wage grade workers employed in the WG-2600 group of which 68 work overseas or in the U.S. Territories. The largest employers are the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force with 8,411 civilians employed.  The Veterans Administration employs 233, and the Treasury Department 144. Other cabinet level and a few large independent agencies employ small numbers of this group.

Additionally there are 866 civilians that work in the WG-3300 Instrument Work Family.

Interview with Randy Baldwin

Randy Baldwin started his federal government civilian career with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an electronics technician (GS-0856) after discharge from the U.S. Air Force and ended his career as a Special Projects Officer, GS-14, in Leesburg, VA. He was interviewed for this article to provide insight into this occupation.

 

Randy Baldwin

Mr. Baldwin had an extensive and diverse career with the federal government and after retiring he went on to start several successful companies including Just Write Laser Engraving.

He started his career in 1971 originally working for the Navy as an electronics Wage Grade technician. Since there were limited advancement prospects, he searched for positions in the GS-0856 job series. Randy applied for FAA positions in both the Eastern and Southern regions. He was originally hired in Athens, GA as a GS-856-09 electronics trainee. Randy said this was the best decision he could have made for career progression and to take care of his family. He retired at the GS-14 pay grade.

Randy’s last position, before retiring, was special projects officer. He states that every day was different from the next and a challenge. He represented the Eastern Region’s engineering organization. One of the projects he handled was initiating computer control monitoring of various  environmental systems, such as air, heat, and fuel. Another major project was coordinating the upgrade of all underground fuel storage tanks to both Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state standards.

Randy’s greatest challenge was successfully completing an Engineering Mathematics for Engineering Technicians home study course. Randy said that you had to pass the course. If you did not pass it, “you might as well look for another job.” Another course Fundamentals of Radar, was a four-month course in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Again, this was a make or break course for your career, as before he passed it and went on to bigger and better opportunities in the FAA.

The FAA invests considerable time and resources to training their specialists. To retain your position initially trainees must pass fundamental courses that impart the knowledge they will need for advanced systems training.

Randy emphasizes, to be successful “work hard and you will be rewarded. Apply yourself, do a good job and take pride in that. The reward may not come at once, and not even by the same people you currently work for.” Working hard is the best advice that Randy has to offer others.

Electronic Technician (GS-0856) Qualifications

The electronic technician series covers technical positions supervising, leading, or performing work involving applying:

  • knowledge of the techniques and theories characteristic of electronics, such as a knowledge of basic electricity and electronic theory, algebra, and elementary physics;
  • knowledge of electronic equipment design, development, evaluation, testing, installation, and maintenance; and
  • knowledge of the capabilities, limitations, operations, design, characteristics, and functional use of a variety of types and models of electronic equipment and systems related to, but less than, a full professional knowledge of electronic engineering.

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:

For this article we will cover electrical and electronics engineering technicians for the private sector.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help engineers design and develop computers and other electrical and electronic equipment.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment. They often work in product evaluation and testing, using measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment. They are also involved in the manufacture and deployment of equipment for automation.

Duties

Electrical engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Put together electrical and electronic systems and prototypes
  • Build, calibrate, and repair electrical instruments or testing equipment
  • Visit construction sites to observe conditions affecting design
  • Identify solutions to technical design problems that arise during the construction of electrical systems
  • Inspect designs for quality control, report findings, and make recommendations
  • Draw diagrams and write specifications to clarify design details of experimental electronics units

Electrical engineering technicians install and maintain electrical control systems and equipment, and modify electrical prototypes, parts, and assemblies to correct problems. When testing systems, they set up test equipment and evaluate the performance of developmental parts, assemblies, or systems under simulated conditions. They then analyze test information to resolve design-related problems.

Electronics engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Design basic circuitry and draft sketches to clarify details of design documentation, under engineers’ direction
  • Build prototypes from rough sketches or plans
  • Assemble, test, and maintain circuitry or electronic components according to engineering instructions, technical manuals, and knowledge of electronics
  • Adjust and replace defective circuitry and electronic components
  • Make parts, such as coils and terminal boards, by using bench lathes, drills, or other machine tools

Electronics engineering technicians identify and resolve equipment malfunctions and then work with manufacturers to get replacement parts. They also calibrate and perform preventative maintenance on equipment and systems.

These technicians often need to read blueprints, schematic drawings, and engineering instructions for assembling electronic units. They also write reports and record data on testing techniques, laboratory equipment, and specifications

Education

Programs for electrical and electronics engineering technicians usually lead to an associate’s degree in electrical or electronics engineering technology. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary institutions that serve local students and emphasize training needed by local employers.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework. Some of these colleges allow students to concentrate in computer electronics, industrial electronics, or communications electronics.

Prospective electrical and electronics engineering technicians usually take courses in ANSI C, C++ programming, Java programming, physics, microprocessors, and circuitry. The Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET accredits programs that include at least college algebra, trigonometry, and basic science courses.

Important Qualities

Logical-thinking skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians must isolate and then identify problems for the engineering staff to work on. They need good reasoning skills to identify and fix problems. Technicians must also be able to follow a logical sequence or specific set of rules to carry out engineers’ designs, inspect designs for quality control, and put together prototypes.

Math skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians use math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Electronics engineering technicians in particular must be able to use hand tools and soldering irons on small circuitry and electronic parts to create detailed electronic components by hand.

Observational skills. Electrical engineering technicians sometimes visit construction sites to make sure that electrical engineers’ designs are being carried out correctly. They are responsible for evaluating projects onsite and reporting problems to engineers.

Problem-solving skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians create what engineers have designed and often test the designs to make sure that they work. Technicians help to resolve any problems that come up in carrying out the engineers’ designs.

Writing skills. These technicians must write reports about onsite construction, the results of testing, or problems they find when carrying out designs. Their writing must be clear and well organized so that the engineers they work with can understand the reports.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers certification in electrical power testing. This certification would benefit those technicians working in the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry.

ETA International also offers certifications in several fields, including basic electronics, biomedical, and renewable energy.

The International Society of Automation offers certification as a Control Systems Technician. To gain such certification, technicians must show skills in pneumatic, mechanical, and electronic instrumentation. In addition, they must demonstrate an

understanding of process control loops and process control systems.

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

GS-0856 Electronics Technician (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

Specialized Experience

These duties are relevant to a GS-09 to GS-13, and you must have at least one year of experience for the next successive grade.

GS-09

  • providing assistance with collecting and evaluating electronics equipment performance data.

GS-10

  • providing assistance with collecting and evaluating electronics equipment performance data
  • interpreting and analyzing designs, diagrams, and schematics to evaluate feasibility.

GS-11

  • providing assistance with collecting and evaluating electronics equipment performance data
  • interpreting and analyzing designs, diagrams, and schematics to evaluate feasibility
  • evaluating faults in the operational configuration of electronic systems and equipment.

GS-12

  • providing assistance with collecting and evaluating electronics equipment performance data
  • interpreting and analyzing designs, diagrams, and schematics to evaluate feasibility
  • evaluating faults in the operational configuration of electronic systems and equipment
  • developing designs, diagrams, and schematics for technical feasibility

GS-13

  • providing assistance with collecting and evaluating electronics equipment performance data
  • interpreting and analyzing designs, diagrams, and schematics to evaluate feasibility
  • evaluating faults in the operational configuration of electronic systems and equipment
  • developing designs, diagrams, and schematics for technical feasibility
  • analyzing and diagnosing faults in the operational configuration of electronic systems and equipment.

 

Job Prospects:

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

Employment of electrical and electronics engineering technicians is projected to decline 2 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Some of these technicians work in traditional manufacturing industries, many of which are declining or growing slowly. In addition, employment of these technicians in the federal government is projected to decline. However, employment growth for electrical and electronics engineering technicians will likely occur in engineering services firms as companies seek to contract out these services as a way to lower costs.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians also work closely with electrical and electronics engineers and computer hardware engineers in the computer systems design services industry. Demand for these technicians overall is expected to be sustained by demand for workers in this industry because of the continuing integration of computer and electronics systems. For example, computer, cellular phone, and global positioning system (GPS) technologies are being included in automobiles and various portable and household electronics systems.

Job Vacancy Announcements

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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 Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Tuesday, 24th October 2017 by

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How can we look to history to help guide us on how we approach our professional career, now? In a world of uncertainty, complexity and confusion, how can we remain steadfast in what it is that ‘we’ want to do…how will we contribute to society while satisfying our own needs. How can we obtain the skills, knowledge and abilities to poise ourselves to make good, sound decisions when it comes to our career and professional training, etc?  These are questions that can be answered if we look to our ancestors…how did they do it? How did they become satisfied in their careers; should we do what we love, first, and figure out how to get paid for it?

With many professionals today looking for career growth in a technologically changing world, how are they to do it, like their mothers and fathers did, and ensure sustainment and happiness? Currently, many folks feel that a year in one job is ‘too long’….which, in reality, isn’t a long time, but sometimes it just feels that way. Managers, then, are a key component to job satisfaction; they need to ensure they are mentoring and assisting employees with their wants, needs, desires, while equally assessing and enhancing their knowledge, skills, and abilities to do so. Given this scenario, the employee too, needs to determine what their particular ‘success’ looks like; money is not a motivator for everyone so the worst thing you can do is base success on how much you make. Instead, each individual needs to determine, on their own, what satisfaction is for them, and then success will follow. Maybe you are looking for more time off with your family or an opportunity to go back to school or do some traveling with your company…whatever it is, this is what your approach should be, instead of chasing the dollars. A job that maybe doesn’t pay as well as you’d like, but offers a great work/life balance with good benefits and opportunities to advance is maybe what you really want.

Being independent and focusing on the contributions you will make to the company will bring forth collaboration and goal setting with your manager. Your willingness to be happy in the moment and commit to the “now” will showcase your satisfaction to your leadership; it’s not that you don’t want to advance, of course you do, and you will…but you need to take a stoic stand at some point and ‘enjoy’ your success, regardless of where you are. By realizing that you are in between the current and desired state is a necessary part of moving forward; many of us don’t do this. Instead, we are constantly looking for more…more ways to change, more things to do, more ways to increase salary, etc.; relax….it’ll come. The key to remaining steadfast in a crazy and changing world is to stay calm; make contributions to society and to your position, take an interest in yourself, enjoy the happy. It’s okay to embark on professional development, training, etc. to better yourself…you are working on your desired state, just be sure that you leave some time to realize where you are and what you have achieved, thus far. In order to love what you do, you have to give yourself time to enjoy what you have accomplished…it’s okay, you will get to the next goal…and its okay to take your time.

Reference:

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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 Tuesday, 17th October 2017 by

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It comes when you least expect it. It comes when you can least afford it. It comes when you thought your “safe” job was forever. Usually the event takes place at about 3 PM on an ordinary work day when your boss calls you in for a “friendly” chat. It can happen anywhere: in an office setting, on a construction site, or in a retail store.  Where and when it happens does not matter. The results are the same for every worker; a president, a retail clerk, an editor, a truck driver, a sales representative, or an IT director.

This event is being fired or laid off by your employer and it has many different names; fired, laid off, downsized, reorged out, rightsized, riffed, whacked, kicked out, canned or just plain “let go.”  How often does it happen? Each day 50,000 American workers lose their jobs. That’s over 20 million workers per year!

LOSING YOUR PERSONAL IDENTITY

The ramifications of job loss are staggering, particularly for mid-career workers who have serious family and financial obligations like a home mortgage, car payments, insurance, child care, and high school or college tuition. When your boss says, “this is your last day on the job” your world seems to be coming apart at the seams. You are no longer Mary Jones, Marketing Director for General Electric, or Joe Smith, Sales Manager for Metlife Insurance; now you are just plain Mary and Joe. No job title or company name to define who you are. No salary and benefits to render you a self-sufficient human being. No money for food, shelter, clothing and other modern day necessities. Next to divorce or death of a loved one, being fired or laid off is the most traumatic event a worker can experience.

This event has no favorites. When you are fired or laid off you might think, “Wait a minute. It can’t happen to me. I’m sixty years old and letting me go would be age discrimination.”

 OR

“I’m African American.  Downsize me and that’s racial discrimination.”

  OR

“I’m a woman. Fire me and that’s gender discrimination.”

Dream on. There is no mercy when your employer decides to shrink the payroll. You are going, no matter what you are or who you are. You are finished. Done. Kaput. Wiped out. Welcome to the real world!

THE GRIEVING PROCESS

When you are escorted from the job site to your car or public transportation, the grieving process sets in and it is not pretty. It usually begins with humiliation, followed by anger, resentment, depression and finally acceptance.

Humiliation

Humiliation affects workers in many different ways. To some it means losing face, degradation, confusion, and shame. To others it means indignity, disgrace and dishonor. Whatever it means personally, your ego is crushed like nothing else.  “How could this be happening to me? I’ve played by the rules, met job objectives and my reward is being let go.”  You just can’t believe you are the target of a blood-letting at your employer.

And what about the talk from former coworkers? “What are they thinking and saying about me? Do they believe that I did something seriously wrong? And how about my family? Walking in the door and saying I’ve been fired will be extremely painful.” This loss of dignity, this utter humiliation, sets you up for the next stages in the grieving process, anger and resentment.

Anger and Resentment

Anger and resentment are usually directed at the boss and/or the human resources director, but it could reach as far as the president or CEO. “How could ‘they’ do such a thing to me, an honest and dedicated worker?” To shortcut the anger stage, remember that your being let go was in all probability not personal. It was most likely the result of a general company initiative to save money. Employers do not lay off workers without serious forethought because hiring another worker is very costly. When you trace the chain of events that led to your being let go, it most frequently comes back to the numbers. Most workers move past the anger stage by hurling some juicy epithets at their former employer, ones that you would not want to see in print. If you are still in this stage, try it. Tell your former boss and the HR director in no uncertain terms how you feel.  Get it off your chest, in private, and then move on.

Depression

Most workers enter a state of self-pity after suffering a serious misfortune that has multiple ramifications, like losing a job along with a paycheck and benefits. You can short circuit this phase of the grieving process by remaining positive about the future. In America, a country that employs 155,000 million workers, there is always something out there for those who know how to hunt for a job.

The best solution to head off depression is to remain active. Devise a job hunting plan as soon as possible making your number one priority personal networking by attending conferences and job fairs where you will meet potential hiring managers. Sitting at home and texting your friends and acquaintances a tale of woe could lead to depression and sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you find yourself in such a state, do seek professional counseling.

Acceptance

After being out of work for a month or more, you will meet others who suffered the same fate.  This did not happen only to you. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, www.bls.gov, reveal that: each day 50,000 workers are laid off or fired in the United States; and, that today’s workers will change jobs six times during their working years.

This is not the end of the world. In America, jobs are always available for workers who know what they want and know how to implement a job hunting plan.

There are some positives after suffering job loss. First, you will have time to examine your career goals, and second, you will have time to examine and possibly rebuild your persona and character. This is important because a character flaw could have been responsible for your being let go.

REDEFINING YOUR PERSONA AND IMPROVING YOUR CHARACTER 

Being fired or laid off is traumatic, but it does have two specific benefits.

  1. It opens the door to examining and possibly reshaping your persona.
  2. It provides an opportunity to rebuild your character.

Redefining Your Persona

The word persona derives from the Latin where it originally meant a theatrical mask. In theatrical terms, it translates into an assumed personality. In today’s world it refers to that part of your personality exposed to the public. It is the apparent you that people see and it may be different from your character, the real you. It is you who created your persona, either consciously or subconsciously.

People in the public eye such as TV personalities, actors, and politicians frequently assume a certain persona that appeals to their target audience. Take politicians, for example. They want to be viewed by constituents as caring for their welfare and the needs of the country as a whole, but in reality, some politicians use public office for personal gain.

Persona in the private sector is similar. Look at your own persona in the workplace. If you were in a leadership position, i.e. the boss, what was your persona? Was it in conflict with the real you? Did you portray yourself as the good, compassionate, helpful, caring boss dedicated to making the company great? However, did you assume this persona, this mask, to hide your real motivation; to oust your boss and move up in rank and compensation?  Could it have been the reason why you were let go from your job as Regional Sales Manager in a staged “reorganization” while your friend Mary, another Regional Sales Manager was kept on the payroll?   Only you can answer that after a private, honest meeting with yourself.

Before implementing your job hunting plan discover who you really are. Were you the one who used every chance to derail your boss while playing Mister Good Guy? If your introspection reveals a difference between your persona and the real you, take measures to make these two competing entities one and the same. How do you begin? With honesty. If you have any doubts about how you are seen, ask your former boss and coworkers what they thought of you, no holds barred.

Rebuilding Your Character

For our purposes, we define character as the aggregate of traits and features that form and identify the real you. Your character is the set of values and ethics that you hold dear. They determine not only what you say, but also how you act.

This period of downtime provides an excellent opportunity to learn who you really are. Looking back, you might find that the real you became lost in the corporate culture, maybe disguised by a preoccupation with political correctness.  In the course of your previous job, you may have forgotten what you truly believe or how you feel. It’s time for a homecoming with yourself to find out who you really are.

To begin the process of rebuilding character, you need a foundation upon which everything else rests. We like the foundation stones posited by Character Counts!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to character education. One of their constructs is the Six Pillars of Character, which act as the foundation for building character. They are: trustworthiness, fairness, respect, caring, citizenship, and responsibility. You can review this material at:  www.charactercounts.org.

MOVING FORWARD

The rebuilding process may be filled with fear, doubts, maybes, should haves, would haves, and could haves.  However, it is not these burdens that will drive you to distraction. Rather, it’s the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Learn from the past but do not accept the past as prologue. Get rid of the two demons, regret and fear, that will inhibit your growth. Move forward with confidence. Using your intelligence, energy, passion, and your revised persona and character, you will succeed. The world is yours for the taking!

TAKEAWAYS

  • Persona is the face you present to the public at large.
  • Character is who you really are.
  • Persona and character must work in harmony for growth in your career.
  • Regrets about the past and fear of the future are two demons that will inhibit your growth. Let go the regrets. Face the future with confidence and hope.
  • Integrity and trust form the foundation for your character.
  • Having good character means being who you are even when nobody is watching.

For additional information about rebuilding your character after being fired of laid off, please refer to my book, Moving Forward in Mid-Career: A Guide to Rebuilding Your Career after Being Fired or Laid Off. It will be available in paperback or eBook In December 2017 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

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

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

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Posted on Tuesday, 10th October 2017 by

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Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are all fantastic sources of marketing – for yourself! These are free tools that we can use to search out a new career, or perhaps look for some professional development opportunities or just some inspiration. All of these social media sites are great avenues to exchange information, collaborate with colleagues, friends, co-workers, etc. In addition, many large and small businesses are utilizing these applications to showcase ‘hot jobs’ and to search out new and unique talents. Retiring? No problem – these social media sites also provide a myriad of part-time and volunteer opportunities as well.

Facebook is not only a social media and communication mecca, but it also serves as an opportunity to utilize social media for career opportunities. Perhaps you are looking into making a career change and want to know a bit more about a company, its culture, employees, benefits, work/life balance opportunities and more — Facebook is your answer!  More and more companies are reaching out to individuals across the globe to market, network and attract potential employees on this site. Not only will you be able to interact directly with company leadership and professionals, you will be able to post comments, ask questions and explore their key goals and objectives, strategic vision and purpose. Facebook is a platform whereby individuals can do their homework, learn a great deal about others and their potential industry, and then make a decision. A great career resource tool, Facebook is a ‘must’ for the job seeker; you can look as you wish and post what you’d like about yourself ..all while potential employers are just a click away.

Twitter is another social media tool that revolutionizes communication. More companies and their employees are tweeting about a myriad of opportunities, expectations, job listings, culture, salaries and more. If you are looking for a career change or perhaps just thinking about one, Twitter can provide those details that may help you in your decision making. More and more companies are posting open houses, career fairs, internships and more as the interest grows. With the explosion of cybersecurity these days, Twitter is one of the first to utilize their platform as a tool; they routinely offer a variety of cyber options for part-time, full time, students, executives and professionals…all in a tweet. You can list yourself as a ‘follower’ to receive routine updates on those venues or persons of interest; or perhaps take part in tweeting what you are looking for.

These social media platforms are a two way street; by taking a proactive approach you can learn about your (next) potential employer while controlling what you would like them to know about you. Whether by posting a resume, asking questions, or indicating interest in a particular skill set, these emerging technologies are a critical component of career decision making. User friendly and easy, these tools can get you connected in no time, globally, to a network of individuals that can shape your next career move. Give it a try….do some homework and create your profile, you will be glad you did!

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 Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 5th October 2017 by

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Cybersecurity surrounds the hardware, software and services that protect a compilation of computers, networks, data and infrastructure. There are many forms of protection to include risk management, access control, incident response, destruction and more. Many startups are working to protect against these threats – from hackers, malware, and/or criminals that would seek to do harm. With such a variety of opportunities in cyber space, and the growing sophistication of hackers and criminals, companies are eagerly looking to becoming a part of this endeavor (Blankenship, n.d.).

The explosion of cybersecurity has had its impact on everyone, we see an increasing number of business start-ups in specific areas like: cloud infrastructure, data centers, incident response, risk assessments and more. The cybersecurity market has become flooded with a myriad of startups hoping to gain a foothold in this highly competitive space. In addition, there is a lot of funding up for grabs; grants are available in upwards of $25 million with expected increases over the next several years. Movers and shakers in the cybersecurity niche can expect to acquire funding, particularly if they are unique in their security products, tools or services.

Some of those notable in the industry are as follows (Chickowski, 2017)

  • Bitglass – cloud access
  • Bromium – malware protection and solutions
  • Cyence – risk modeling platform for insurance
  • Darktrace – anomaly protection (self-learning platform)
  • Demisto – information sharing and collaboration platform
  • Druva – cloud platform
  • io –security and compliance monitoring
  • Fugue –cloud operating system/enforcement
  • IntSights -Cyber attack detection and response platform
  • Kenna – Risk intelligence and vulnerability platform (prioritizing and remediating vulnerabilities)

Funding and investments into firms, like those above are becoming more prominent. Security firm Trend Micro has recently become the latest organization to throw their hat into the cyber investment opportunity world. Headquartered in Japan, Trend Micro is offering $100 million tied to opportunities in the internet of things (IOT) space. Trend Micro is famous for its IT security products, particularly in the areas of antivirus and threat protection; they are seeking fresh ideas, innovation and new approaches. Organizations, like Trend Micro, believe these investments are critical to its core business process; insights uncovered will foster improved business models, close gaps and address skill shortages…the learning will not only benefit the startup but also TrendMicro as well (Russell, 2017).

One new focus area is that of phishing attacks; cybersecurity companies and startups in particular are flocking to develop threat management platforms for this issue. They tackle the problems of these specific emails and work to mitigate them; developing phishing attack solutions and protections can save businesses massive amounts of money, not to mention their reputations.

Cybersecurity funding deals topped $866 million in the first quarter of 2017 with an additional $588 million worth of investments in third quarter on over 50 deals. Private funding has also topped $3.93 billion this year with a total of 509 deals, putting it on track to become a 2017 record. Examples include: Tenable Network Security in Columbia, MD ($302 million); Tanium inc. in California ($295 million), Lookout, inc. in California ($281 million), OpenPeak in Florida ($233 million) and CrowdStrike ($256 million) (Stewart, 2017).

With the trend of startups focusing on specific security issues, they have an extremely bright future. Whether looking at incident response, process automation or protection, there is much room of any and all to capitalize on their craft. Opportunities in the cyber space are plentiful, and with the increasing demand for security protection, startups are in the driver’s seat to success.

References:

Career Planning Tools 

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

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

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Posted on Wednesday, 27th September 2017 by

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The recent hurricane disasters of Harvey, Irma and now Maria have left many without food, water, homes, electricity, cell service among the necessities of our modern lives. Many supplies and workers had been pre-positioned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prior to each of these storms.

FEMA Jobs

Now that these hurricanes have passed, FEMA will need temporary workers now and for the foreseeable future. It will take many months, even years for such locations as Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico to fully recover.

FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and was formed in 1979. Its mission is “to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.” Their vision is “A Nation Prepared.”

Additionally, FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Currently, there is a need for various temporary jobs in select locations. Some of these jobs include customer service specialists, logistics specialists, translators and Interpreters, environmental technicians, disaster survivor assistance, information technology.

The information below is excerpted from the FEMA website:

Hurricane Workforce

Immediate temporary jobs are available in several locations listed below. The site is updated frequently, and reflects the latest available positions for the FEMA Hurricane Workforce.

Application instructions in the job announcement may vary depending on position. Where applicable, please read the full job announcement by clicking on the job title linksPositions are currently available at the following locations:

  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • Puerto Rico
  • Texas
  • Virgin Islands
  • Reservisrs – On Call

CLICK HERE TO VIEW JOB VACANCIES

Due to the severity of these disasters jobs currently advertised with FEMA will be in demand for some time. Check back frequently to see what jobs are available.

Helpful Career Planning Tools

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

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

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Posted on Monday, 25th September 2017 by

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The Administrative Officer Series includes positions in which the employees are responsible for providing or obtaining a variety of management services essential to the direction and operation of an organization. The paramount qualifications required are extensive knowledge and understanding of management principles, practices, methods and techniques, and skill in integrating management services with the general management of an organization.

Administrative management work is primarily concerned with providing, securing or negotiating for the resources or services needed to manage and run an organization. It involves direct assistance to the “operating” manager — i.e., the official with the primary responsibility for the direction of an organization or unit established to accomplish a basic goal or mission.

The federal government employs 9,285 administrative officers of which 345 work overseas. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 1,809 employed followed by the Health and Human Services with 1,301 and there are 1181 with the Department of the Army. All cabinet level and many large agencies employ this occupation.

An administrative officer aids the operating manager and subordinate operating officials in getting things done through his knowledge of and skills in dealing with organization, methods, funds, people, equipment, and other tools or resources of management. Ordinarily, he has a responsible role in the management of both financial and human resources because of his/her immediate relationship to the operating manager. He generally does key work in several other vital functions or services such as management analysis, procurement, contract administration, property management, space management, security administration, reports management, data processing, and similar or closely related activities.

An administrative officer is a generalist. The total management process is his interest, and the proficiency required involves many aspects of management. General management skills are the paramount requirement. Though aspects such as budget administration and personnel management assume major importance in many positions and other aspects such as procurement and property management are also important in many jobs, no single functional, resource or service area forms a basis for the paramount skills.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-11/12 is $72,303.00 to $112,665.00 per year (Santa Cruz, CA vacancy area). GS-12 is $71,012.00 to $92,316.00 per year (Kennesaw, WA vacancy area)

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

In the private sector, administrative officers are referred to as administrative services managers.

Administrative services managers plan, coordinate, and direct a broad range of services that allow organizations to operate efficiently.

Administrative services managers plan, direct, and coordinate supportive services of an organization. Their specific responsibilities vary, but administrative service managers typically maintain facilities and supervise activities that include recordkeeping, mail distribution, and office upkeep. In a small organization, they may direct all support services and may be called the business office manager. Large organizations may have several layers of administrative managers who specialize in different areas.

Duties

Administrative services managers typically do the following:

  • Buy, store, and distribute supplies
  • Supervise clerical and administrative personnel
  • Set goals and deadlines for their department
  • Develop, manage, and monitor records
  • Recommend changes to policies or procedures in order to improve operations, such as changing what supplies are kept or how to improve recordkeeping
  • Plan budgets for contracts, equipment, and supplies
  • Monitor the facility to ensure that it remains safe, secure, and well maintained
  • Oversee the maintenance and repair of machinery, equipment, and electrical and mechanical systems
  • Ensure that facilities meet environmental, health, and security standards and comply with government regulations

Administrative services managers plan, coordinate, and direct a broad range of services that allow organizations to operate efficiently. An organization may have several managers who oversee activities that meet the needs of multiple departments, such as mail, printing and copying, recordkeeping, security, building maintenance, and recycling.

The work of administrative services managers can make a difference in employees’ productivity and satisfaction. For example, an administrative services manager might be responsible for making sure that the organization has the supplies and services it needs. In addition, an administrative services manager who is responsible for coordinating space allocation might take into account employee morale and available funds when determining the best way to arrange a given physical space.

Administrative services managers also ensure that the organization honors its contracts and follows government regulations and safety standards.

Administrative services managers may examine energy consumption patterns, technology usage, and office equipment. For example, managers may recommend buying new or different equipment or supplies in order to lower energy costs or improve indoor air quality.

Administrative services managers also plan for maintenance and the future replacement of equipment, such as computers. A timely replacement of equipment can help save money for the organization, because eventually the cost of upgrading and maintaining equipment becomes higher than the cost of buying new equipment.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for someone to become an administrative services manager. However, some jobseekers may be able to enter the occupation with a high school diploma. Those with a bachelor’s degree typically study business, engineering, facility management, or information management.

Work Experience

Administrative services managers must have related work experience reflecting managerial and leadership abilities. For example, contract administrators need experience in purchasing and sales, as well as knowledge of the variety of supplies, machinery, and equipment that their organization uses. Managers who are concerned with supply, inventory, and distribution should be experienced in receiving, warehousing, packaging, shipping, transportation, and related operations.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Administrative services managers must be able to review an organization’s procedures and find ways to improve efficiency.

Communication skills. Much of an administrative services manager’s time is spent working with other people. Therefore, communication is a key quality.

Detail oriented. Administrative services managers must pay attention to details. This quality is necessary across a range of tasks, from ensuring that the organization complies with building codes to managing the process of buying equipment.

Leadership skills. In managing workers and coordinating administrative duties, administrative services managers must be able to motivate employees and deal with issues that may arise.

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

GS-0341 Administrative Officer (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

Duties

  • Manage processes and procedures while developing and implementing office initiatives and strategies
  • Serve as the principle administrative advisor providing management, oversight, and control of the business operations
  • Manage the unit’s administrative and financial operations.
  • Serve as the principal administrative and financial adviser to the management officials
  • Provides key assistance in vital services, such as management analysis, manpower, personnel, budget, workload reports, and automatic data processing
  • Studies regulations, reports, and work measurement data within the office, adjusting workloads, reorganizing or changing work processes, functions, and manpower
  • Manages the operating budget. Maintains operation of financial and automated systems activities; duties consist of preparing Government and contractual purchase requests, monitoring the expenditures, and ensuring proper commitments and billings
  • Represents the office in meetings.  Manages credit card accounts, commitments, obligations, and expenditures

The positions used as reference for the Federal Government positions were from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a part of Department of the Army. The employees for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide emergency support to disaster stricken areas throughout the US. Employees must pass a stringent medical screening and be prepared to live and work in extremely austere conditions. Work schedule will initially be arduous, with much overtime. Sleeping arrangements may be limited to using a sleeping bag or in the vehicle used to move from location to location. The duty station for pay purposes for these positions is Kennewick, WA with possible 75% or Greater Business Travel in various locations throughout the US.

Job Prospects:

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

Applicants will likely face strong competition for the limited number of higher level administrative services management jobs. However, an increase in the expected number of retirements in upcoming years should produce more job openings. In addition, competition should be less intense for lower level management jobs. Job prospects also are expected to be better for those who can manage a wide range of responsibilities than for those who specialize in particular functions.

Credits

Helpful Career Planning Tools

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

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

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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:

Career Planning Tools 

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

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

Credits

Helpful Career Planning Tools

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

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