Fed Jobs, resumes, rejections. Help
Post ID#19259 - replied 1/21/2012 12:00 PM
I have been told that you need to snag a few of those seasonal gigs and get into the system before they start considering you.
What level gig are we talking about? It would be strange if it was lower tech stuff. Unfortunately, there are ALOT of techs out there looking for gigs and the Feds pay the best (by far). So, you could be running up against folks with 5-10 years experience and probably some military background too.
The absolute best way: Do a hitch in the Armed Services.
Post ID#19260 - replied 1/22/2012 11:41 AM
I have never figured out how to get in, either. The only federal gig I had was a one-year internship at the BLM, and it was for something I didn't ask for. I worked with a guy who, when our employer failed, went to work right away for the local BLM on a temp job. One which I also applied for, and never heard a thing about. He had never worked anywhere else, was not a veteran, had years less experience than I did, etc. I guess it's a lot of who, and not what, you know.
Post ID#19261 - replied 1/22/2012 2:12 PM
Which makes me think that the USA jobs system has major flaws in it which are very detrimental to positive and favorable experiences for the archaeology as well as the regional archaeologists who work with seasonal techs. My resume should have lined up perfectly with expected job duties and qualifications for the position applying for, and for some reason the local head guy did not even know that a qualified local had applied.
Figured there might be a way to word the resume differently. A particular Style or structure to grab the attention of the USA jobs computerized human resources department.
Post ID#19264 - replied 1/22/2012 11:13 PM
Carefully read the announcement, parsing every key word. Then incorporate those words into your responses. For example, from a recent NPS announcement for YOSE:
Provides field studies and staff work in Park Archeology program. Utilizes knowledge of current archeological methods and techniques to plan, lead and complete small archeological projects, within scope and specifications provided by supervisor. Incumbent must possess adequate field experience and competence in the prehistoric and historic cultures of California the Western U.S. to reliably identify, record, and evaluate cultural remains in survey and excavation.
Duties include: providing archeological surveys, excavations, field inspections, laboratory analysis, data management, and archeological project reports for specific plans and projects; performing field surveys and submitting reports on these surveys; leads crews of up to three people, or occasionally supervises larger crews in supervisor's absence; instructs employees in specific tasks and job techniques; gives on-the-job training to employees; checks on work in progress; and reports to supervisor on performance, progress, and training needs of employees." (emphasis mine).
This announcement is looking for someone who has, among other things listed in the announcement, run small field projects, and has recorded sites or conducted excavations to such a degree that they were capable of producing a report that offered an evaluative position on those resource identified. That person would be capable of directing several people in the field or the lab, be able to assess both the project status and the capabilities of other employees, and making those known to the supervisor so that person is both informed and in a position to make project adjustments as needed. Your task in your resume and responses is to demonstrate that by frequently referencing those key words cited above.
Hope this helps. Cheers.
Post ID#19265 - replied 1/23/2012 4:54 AM
I have applied for field tech type jobs with 10 years experience (take that back, I haven't tried in 2 years.. so it was 8 at the time) and a Masters degree and not gotten a call. A quick check over the phone almost always results in "Never saw your resume' " depsite parroting back every KSA on the announcement. and then some.
It is a very flawed process. Keep trying though. Try the very out of the way places and use the shotgun approach, you are bound to hit something. It is the most lucrative gig in this business besides owning your own very successful firm (even then).
Post ID#19267 - replied 1/24/2012 11:22 AM
KSA's are no more, it's all questionaire based now, multiple choice questions.
The feds like people with federal experience vs. those without. Be willing to start at the lower pay grade and work in places you wish you didn't have to. And even though they say that private sector experience is equivalent unless you've worked for the feds before it isn't. If you qualify for the 7 go for a 5, if you qualify for a 9 go for the 7. I know of several different Forests that routinely hire people with masters degrees at the GS 5 because they don't have the experience. The people who hire you will have gone through this before and expect you to pay your dues like they did.
Pack as many words as you can into your resume. It'll take a few stops before your resume is (if ever) makes it to the hiring official who knows just what the hell we do. Once you get past the automated crap that evaluates your questionaire your resume then gets passed to people who don't know what archaeology is. A detailed description of everything you did for every job convinces them that you know what you are doing, because if you don't then they won't forward it along.
Competition is fierce. Across the board for federal employment many job descriptions and minimal qualifications have been simplified and lowered to accomodate vets preferance (one of the reasons why KSAs have been given the boot, as well as the Federal Internship program, SCEPS and STEPS etc.) Couple this with the scapegoating of government employees in today's political landscape resulting in greater pressure to just contract jobs such as these, the number of these positions will continue to drop.
Also remember when applying to the BLM or USFS open announcement where you pick your duty stations just because you select the location doesn't mean that there's a job available.
Keep your chin up and good luck!
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