Creating a Job Search Plan

I often hear comments along the lines of, “I’ve never had to look for a job, they have always just fallen into my lap!” While that may have been true in the past, for most of us, a successful job search requires organization and effort. You will need to develop a routine to be successful in your job search. It is important to do something to move your job search forward every day.   You will need to create a new set of priorities and schedules—and write it down so you can hold yourself accountable. [Read more…]

The Top 10 Reasons You Were Not Picked for an Interview

Over and over I hear, “if I could only get an interview, I could get the job…” Yet, far too many times, you’re not called for an interview. What could have happened…you thought you were the perfect fit…and you may have even received an email saying that you were referred to the hiring manager.

Of course, truly knowing the precise reason for not getting interviewed for a specific position is difficult to figure out but here are some of the more common reasons why you were not called for an interview: [Read more…]

I know I could do the job…if only they’d give me a chance!

I wish I had a dollar for every time a client made the above comment. While I have no doubt that the comment is true, we are currently in a buyer’s market—where hiring managers have lots of choices to make among candidates. While it is certainly possible for a hiring manager to pick someone based on their potential (especially for jobs above the entry level), in my view, it is unrealistic to expect hiring managers to do this. Let’s think about this for a moment…

Most job postings specify the criteria the hiring organization is looking for—whether through specialized experience and the occupational questionnaires in the federal government, or in a section in a private section posting that says something along the lines of, “The ideal candidate will have…” All applicants should carefully review the qualifications required. If the posting asks for 10 years of experience and you have 6, you are not likely well qualified. Or, if your experience is in a different area all together, while again, you may the basic qualifications (like a degree), you are not likely to have the specialized experience required. [Read more…]

Validating Your Experience—Third Party Endorsements

We have talked about the importance of documenting your experience on your resume and through your cover letter. In addition to documenting your experience through achievements and metrics, another way to demonstrate your expertise and effectiveness is through third party endorsements. There are several ways to approach this:

  • Consider featuring a quotation from a recent performance evaluation or award recommendation on your resume. On a USAJOBS resume, you could call it a Supervisory Endorsement and put it in the Additional Information Section of USAJOBS. Be sure to identify where the quote came from (e.g., Recent Performance Evaluation) and identify the source, either by name or title. Here’s an example:

“Branch Chief Smith is keenly versed on all laws, regulations and policies relevant to the program. He is working diligently to transform the operational paradigm from solely security to a frontline/investigative methodology…and to retool training…He is an expert on the science that distinguishes DHS’s program from all others, particularly in the area of guarding against cross contamination.” 2016 Performance Review. [Read more…]

Conduct a Social Media Audit, Part 1

Nancy Segal is now the weekly career columnist for FEDWeek. This article was originally posted in the FEDWeek Career Forum.

Your online social media profile can positively or negatively impact your job search. While social media is currently more important in private sector employment than federal, do not let the sloppy management of your social media affect your career! This audit will help you evaluate whether your online accounts are helping or hurting your chances of employment.

More than half of employers say they have rejected an applicant because of what they have found on the jobseeker’s social media profiles. [Read more…]

7 Steps to Prepare Yourself for New Administration

Nancy Segal is now the weekly career columnist for FEDWeek. This article was originally posted in the FEDWeek Career Forum.

January always brings new beginnings—a new year, resolutions, and promises to ourselves and others. This January brings a Presidential transition; if nothing else, 2017 promises change for the federal employee. There will be new agency heads, new policies, and new thinking.

[Read more…]

A Thank You Gift From Nancy

Those of you who follow me through this column know that I am a big fan of LinkedIn; its importance in the career world (even in the federal government) cannot be overstated. LinkedIn is always changing to keep its content fresh and it approach relevant.

In September 2016, LinkedIn announced that it was changing its desktop design and user interface. Of course, we do not know what features will be retained or eliminated in the redesign. To ensure you have access to all of your information, regardless of what changes LinkedIn makes, it is a good idea to back up your information.

As a free gift in recognition of your loyalty and ongoing support (and of course, the holiday season!), I am providing you with a short eBook on how to back up your LinkedIn Profile—a good habit to get into, regardless of what changes LinkedIn makes!

All the best to you, your family, and loved ones for a healthy and prosperous 2017!


I’m Still Active Duty; Can I Use Veterans’ Preference?

Most military members begin their job search prior to leaving service. If a military member is seeking a federal position, using veterans’ preference is important but if you’re still active duty, you do not have your final DD-214 or a disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). [Read more…]

Thank You Notes; They Matter

You just left the interview. You think it went great. Now what? It is not the time to let up. Everything that you’ve done up to this point is moving you forward in your job search. Keep the momentum going.

Send a Thank You

You can send a thank you via email (quick, but not as personal as a handwritten card). You can mail it (takes a few days, so it doesn’t have the immediacy of an email, but has a bigger impact due to the perceived time and care it took to handwrite a note). Or, you can drop off a handwritten note the next day (a good strategy for big companies when you can hand the envelope to the receptionist). NOTE: If you are applying for a federal job, email is essential. Most federal agency “snail mail” goes to a third party first to ensure that its safe so it may take weeks for a mailed thank you to get to a federal agency; bringing a note to the agency won’t work either as most federal agencies have difficult access requirements. [Read more…]

Specialized Hiring Authorities

As we have discussed in earlier articles, getting a federal job can be difficult. Most people are somewhat familiar with veteran’s preference but there are other special hiring authorities that may help you get the job you are targeting. Here are a few:

  • Digital Services Experts: In mid-2015, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) authorized excepted service appointments at the GS 11 to 15 level for individuals with expertise in “modern digital product design, software engineering, product management, creating and maintaining flexible infrastructure, and designing and implementing agile governance structures” according to the former OPM Director. If you fall into this category, you may be eligible for this specialized hiring authority. Twenty-five agencies and a number of programs may use this authority. As you network, be sure to mention your eligibility for this appointment; not all Human Resources personnel and hiring managers may know about this. As currently structured, appointments under this authority may not be extended beyond September 30, 2017.

[Read more…]