There is No Magic Method
Today I just wanted to reflect on what I’ve already posted about.
Nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering as we have only touched on the basics so far. But what we have done is set the ground work for what’s to come next. But first we have to understand the importance of the Profile settings which I’ve gone into some detail about. Some readers out there may have been like “FRC what you’ve told me I already know” and that’s great, but from my experience just setting your profile up properly sets you up for success. Imagine if you are the spouse of a veteran or perhaps a caretaker of a disabled veteran and missed out on an opportunity you’ve been looking for, all because in your initial stages you didn’t check the right box.
Being honest here, there was a time where I applied for a position for the Air Force. If you work in the DOD (Department of Defense) you know that the Air Force has some serious benefits attached beyond the traditional pay. I missed a box on the application and only knew I did once I was “not referred,” it was fairly darn close to my dream job in a dream city that I had wished to go to. I can’t tell you how frustrated I felt and there was nothing I could do to argue my position as I hadn’t followed the simple rule of properly filling out the application. I will say in my defense, it was an oversight of my own that was created because I had faxed it in beyond the close date. Yes, this is an available option if you are within a certain group of federal applicants, so it’s possible many of you don’t fit. More details on applying to a closed application at another time.
Above I mentioned close date and application completion. Two very, VERY important things to maintain. There is of course a third area that is very particular which I will post about moving forward, but the Required Documentation is also key to you getting your chosen career in the federal government. See, you have to understand that although the federal government wants people from everywhere to work for the various agencies, attention to detail is a priority and let’s face it, I’ve even had to face the music by not having the proper documentation in correctly.
So I lied. There is a magic part to all this. Most of us have the ability to print out the application posting which will break down all of the various parts of the application. Having this on hand as a checklist can help you to make sure you’ve got all the parts ready to upload into the database and to move forward with your application on-time and 100% completed. I have taken to printing my application as a means to getting everything loaded onto my document list to have for submission. This will also prepare you for those little bits that the HR recruiter is looking for and while this sounds again easy and should be something we all are aware of, most applications have a box during submission two times that will ask you if you have uploaded all requested documents. Thankfully they have made it easy and have a ready made box that tells you all that you need to upload.
Enough of that right?
Where do we go from here? How many of you have searched for jobs or career paths through different agencies? Typically if you want to know who’s hiring and for what position you can go straight to USAjobs.gov, enter a search term in the box and bam! out pops your result or the dreaded “there is nothing that meets your search at this time” message. I hate that one. Working in the mental health field I have learned how to narrow my searches down to a science, but every now and again I will search for Europe or St. Croix just to see what’s available as my skillset is varied and I have several avenues I can work with in finding a position. I suggest you do the same, just to see what’s out there. This will give you a better understanding of pay, if relocation expenses are paid, if the position is only open to certain hiring authorities, or this can be invaluable when planning your career in advance to note the skills or combination of education and experience you may need to get that job in the Alps where you ski all day…
I can’t tell you that certain times of the year are better “hiring seasons” for certain areas of government work. But what I can tell you is to check often. There is also a setting that you can USAjobs email you positions you are interested in. Personally I have the USAjobs.gov set on my cell phone so I can bring up the search menu, type in what I’m looking for, and either there’s positions open, or there aren’t. Max time out of my day perhaps 10 minutes.
One thing you should understand is that different agencies send postings out for certain periods of time. Often I will see postings open for a 7 day window and then other times they can be open for months. The postings that are open for months typically will tell you that they are looking to fill positions globally and that they may pull resumes to see if they find any that fit their criteria and you may get an email telling you, dear applicant have made been “referred” for a position. Always good to see no doubt. Rarely but not unheard of some agencies or departments will use “immediate or expedited hire” authorities which step up the hiring cycle so you may have a posting close and depending on how badly needed that position is, you may hear from an HR official quickly and be offered a position upon interview for immediate hire.
After all that being said. You should know that the entire federal hiring process holistically can be extremely slow!!! I have met many people who had a posting close, then be referred, then be interviewed within a matter of weeks only to be offered finally the position three months, six months down the road. In other words, don’t start packing your desk until you have a package from a hiring official in your hands. It is completely understandable that it will take you, if you’re currently working at least two weeks before you can start a new position. So don’t think they will force your hand on that issue and I will tell you from experience the HR officials don’t like someone on boarding in the middle of a pay period either. For example, you tell HR official you can start on July 7th, like I did at my previous position, just like I said, they asked me to start on the 12th because it was the first day of a new pay period. More to come about on-boarding as well.
That’s the magic. Print out the job application, check your boxes, and make sure those documents are available..