Federal Benefits Update

If you haven’t yet heard of the threats to federal benefits contained in President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, you haven’t been paying attention.  However, if you’re receiving the Solutions for the Workplace monthly newsletter, the odds are good that you’re aware of the danger on the horizon.

Most of the proposals are a re-hash of those that have been presented in the past and have gotten nowhere.  The Congressional Budget Office, the Simpson-Bowles Commission and budget proposals coming from the House of Representatives have made the same or similar proposals over the last several years.  The difference is that now the same party controls both houses of Congress and the Presidency, making the changes somewhat more likely to be enacted.  Note that I used the modifier “somewhat” in the previous sentence; it’s no slam dunk to enact such major changes to long-time benefits. [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 Just Found the “Perfect” Job Announcement: Now What?

Before you get too excited, take a careful look at the announcement:

  • Are you eligible to apply? Review the “who can apply” section of the announcement to make sure you’re eligible. If you do not meet the criteria outlined and apply anyway, you will be eliminated.
  • When does it close? Do you have time to tweak your resume (you have a resume, right??) to include the key words?
  • Do you meet the specialized experience requirement? Check under the How You Will be Evaluated section and review the specialized experience; this is a must have, not a nice to have.
  • Are there any Selective Placement Factors (SPF) listed? If so, do you have them? Are they clearly articulated in your resume? If you do not have the SPF, you should pick a different announcement; if you do, be sure to tweak your resume to clearly show your possession of the SPF.

[Read more…]

The Face of USAJOBS is Changing!

In late February, USAJOBS rolled out the first of many promised enhancements to improve the application process. The initial home page looks the same, but the application process has been reduced to 5 steps and the graphics and instructions are easier to follow. Additionally, you can save your progress on your application and return later without starting all over again.

You will still click the “apply online” button on the vacancy announcement to get started with your application; once you get to the application process you will see the five steps:

Step 1: Select Resume
Step 2: Select Documents
Step 3: Review Package
Step 4: Include Personal Info
Step 5: Review and Continue Application Process [Read more…]

The Senior Executive Service (SES) is Changing!

You may have seen the recent Executive Order (EO), Strengthening the Senior Executive Service, issued by the White House on December 15, 2015. What does this mean to you as a potential SES candidate?

The EO orders a number of reform action items over the next six months, and I believe these are the ones that potential SES candidates should note:

The Qualifications Review Board (QRB) process will be evaluated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and new alternatives to the traditional 10-page Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) submission may be deemed acceptable.

The SES application process may change. Heads of agencies are encouraged to simplify and shorten the initial application process, including only Technical Qualifications (also known as Mandatory Technical Qualifications and Professional Technical Qualifications) that are truly necessary for success. Look for more five-page (or similar) resume-only applications.

By May 31 of this year, agencies with 20 or more SES are expected to submit a plan to OPM for rotating SES members to improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration. The goal is to rotate 15% of SES for at least 120 days.

If you are considering applying for the SES, what should you do? [Read more…]