Saturday, April 30, 2011

5 Tips to Network Better

  1. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth; use them in that proportion. People like being asked questions and listened to and this will enable you to find out more about them, so when you respond, it is from an informed position.
  2. Think of networking as serving others and exploring what their needs are and how you can help them. Find out the issues and needs of your target audience and become an expert  .
  3. Set goals for any networking opportunity. Imagine the occasion is over. What have you done or achieved? Who have you spoken with and what is the next step? Are you information gathering or sourcing relevant business cards to follow up?  
  4. For major networking events, do some research and prepare key points or questions to ask your target contacts. Take a look at their web site, annual report or recent press coverage. Forewarned is forearmed.  
  5. Networking is an 'important but non-urgent' activity. Plan it in your diary regularly to ensure it happens. Set aside specific times of day, days of the week or month to catch up with your contacts.
Give it a try!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Good news... If you're graduating this year you'll make more than the class of 2010

A Spring 2011 Salary Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) show that the average salary offer to all Class of 2011 graduates now stands at $50,462, which is up 5.9 percent over the overall average of $47,673 to Class of 2010 graduates.

Among the college Class of 2011, engineering dominates the list of top-paid majors, according to NACE’s Spring 2011 Salary Survey. 

Survey results indicate that engineering majors account for seven of the top 10 spots on the list. In fact, the only non-engineering major among the top-five highest-paid is computer science ($63,017), which is second on the list. (See Figure 1.)

That four of the top five top-paid majors are engineering and all received average starting salary offers in excess of $60,000 strongly indicates the continued high demand for these graduates. Furthermore, the entire top-10 list underscores the interest employers have in hiring technical majors.

For additional information about a career in enginnering stop by

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Do you know any person ages 16 to 24 who's in need of free career training?

If you do, then pass the word.... Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps young people learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job. For eligible young people at least 16 years of age that qualify as low income, Job Corps provides the all-around skills needed to succeed in a career and in life. This great program is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Through a nationwide network of campuses, Job Corps offers a comprehensive array of career development services to at-risk young women and men, ages 16 to 24, to prepare them for successful careers. Education, training, and support services are provided to students at 124 Job Corps center campuses located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Job Corps centers are operated for the U.S. Department of Labor by private companies through competitive contracting processes, and by other Federal Agencies through interagency agreements.

Job Corps offers hands-on training in more than 100 career technical areas, including: automotive and machine repair, construction, finance and business services, health care, hospitality, information technology, manufacturing, renewable resources, and many more. All training programs are aligned with industry certifications and are designed to meet the requirements of today's careers.

Job Corps also offers the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or a GED for those youth who don't have either. For youth who already have a high school diploma, Job Corps can help them prepare for college through partnerships with local colleges. Resources are also available for English Language Learners.
Courses in independent living, employability skills, and social skills are offered to all Job Corps students in order to help them make the transition into the workplace.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining Job Corps, call (800) 733-JOBS or (800) 733-5627 where an operator will provide you with general information about Job Corps, refer you to the admissions counselor closest to where you live, and mail you an information packet. Good luck!!!

If you're looking for a career with the Federal government, don't forget to stop by 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Employment Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities

What Is the Workforce Recruitment Program?
The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a resource to connect public and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workforce. Employers seek to fill both temporary and permanent positions in a variety of fields.
Myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions about people with disabilities often stand in the way when people with disabilities look for jobs, resulting in a high rate of unemployment. Statistics show that people with disabilities from minority backgrounds encounter even greater difficulty in obtaining work. The WRP aims to eliminate this workplace discrimination one student, one employer, and one job at a time.

Who Is Eligible to Participate in the WRP?
An applicant for the program must
  • have a substantial disability
  • be a United States citizen
  • be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher learning on a substantially full-time basis (unless the severity of the disability precludes the student from taking a substantially full-time load) to seek a degree OR
  • be enrolled in such an institution as a degree-seeking student taking less than a substantially full-time load in the enrollment period immediately prior to graduation OR
  • have graduated from such an institution within the past year
What Does the WRP Offer to Colleges and Universities?
The WRP provides a unique opportunity for colleges and universities to
  • tap into a system that has been successfully placing students with disabilities in summer and permanent positions in the public and private sectors for over 15 years, at no cost to the school, the student, or the employer
  • bring together the resources of their disability services, career services, and veteran services offices to promote more effectively the job seeking skills and career readiness of their students with disabilities
  • provide their students with disabilities a chance to grow personally and professionally through participation in this nationwide program
What Does the WRP Offer to Eligible Students?
The WRP is an excellent way for students with disabilities in all fields of study to
  • market their abilities to a wide variety of potential employers across the United States
  • sharpen their interviewing skills during a required one-on-one meeting with a WRP recruiter
  • gain valuable skills, experience, and contacts on the job
  • prove that people with disabilities can be excellent employees
How Does the Program Work?
The WRP operates on the following timeline:
  • By early August, the schedule of recruitment visits to schools is confirmed and posted online under the Resources section of the website (
  • From September through November, recruitment visits, which include 30-minute personal interviews with individual candidates, are conducted.
  • By early December, a database composed of student applications and profiles are made available to employers in the public and private sectors.
  • Once the database is released, interested employers make direct contact with students about temporary and permanent job offers. The database is active for one year.
The WRP is co-sponsored by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Defense, with support from other federal agencies.
How Can You Participate?
  • If you want to be the coordinator for WRP on your campus and you are an employee in a disability services office, career services office, or other faculty or staff member please contact the WRP Coordinator at
  • If you are an eligible student, share this information with your school's disability services coordinator, career services coordinator, or other faculty and staff member and ask him or her to contact the WRP Coordinator. Please understand that we work directly with campus coordinators, and cannot respond to inquiries from individual students.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great Career Choices for Students - Working for the State Department

Have you ever considered getting a jump start on your career while you're still in school? Then the Student Career Education Program (SCEP), also known as the Cooperative Education Program (Co-Op) could be your answer.
This forward-thinking partnership between you, your school and the U.S. Department of State puts you at an advantage by combining your academic studies with on-the-job training and relevant career experience.

You'll apply theories and work on projects that give real-life meaning to your classroom instruction. You'll have the choice to work full- or part-time. And you'll earn a paycheck as you serve your nation. Due to the unique partnership between the student, the school and the Department of State, the student is paid a government salary and is expected to work either part or full time in a capacity that is compatible with the student’s course load. Students are required to work in areas that are directly related to their academic program and career goals. Participants provide support to bureaus in the Washington D.C. area and some regional areas.

Eligibility requirements
You must be:
  • At least 16 years of age
  • A U.S. citizen
  • Enrolled in a degree, certificate or diploma (full- or part-time) program
  • In good academic standing at your school
  • Able to meet security requirements
Compensation & Benefits
  • Accrue annual and sick leave
  • Sick Leave accrued at a rate of 4 hours per pay period, 13 days per leave year
  • Eligible for pro-rated health and life insurance coverage
  • Paid federal holidays
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Thrift Savings Plan (equivalent to 401(k)) with Government matching
  • May qualify for credit towards degree requirements
How to Apply
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and placements are made throughout the year. The State Department keeps applications on file for 6 months in hopes of matching you with a bureau. In order to apply, you should electronically send your resume and cover letter if possible to
To qualify, you must be pursuing a degree, certificate or diploma (full time or part time), and at least 16 years of age. You also need to be in good academic standing at your school, a U.S. citizen, and able to meet security requirements.

What is the Work Schedule?

Students typically work part-time while school is in session and full time during breaks. There are no limitations on the number of hours a student can work per week. A specific work schedule will be submitted that fits with the student’s academic schedule as well as the bureau’s need. This program is the perfect work-study combination.

How are Students Paid?

Students are paid at regular government salary rates (typically GS-1 through GS-5). Pay is dependent on the level of education and experience the candidate may possess, based on the qualification standard of the job the applicant is seeking.

What is the Application Process?

An application is a student’s resume, cover letter and most recent (unofficial) transcript. All items need to be electronically submitted to identifying the subject as “Cooperative Education Applicant Resume.” Please attach documents using Microsoft Word.

  1. Be sure to include in your resume:
  2. School and Degree Pursuit
  3. Security Clearances (If Applicable)
  4. Veterans Preference (If Applicable)
  5. Location Preference
Washington DC - Metro Area; Arizona – Phoenix; California – Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego; Colorado – Denver; Connecticut – Bridgeport; Florida – Miami; Georgia – Atlanta; Hawaii – Honolulu; Illinois – Chicago Louisiana – New Orleans; Massachusetts – Boston; Missouri – Saint Louis New Hampshire – Portsmouth; New York – New York City; North Carolina – Greensboro; Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Puerto Rico – San Juan; South Carolina – Charleston; Texas – Dallas and Houston; Washington – Seattle

When is the Application Due?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and placements are made throughout the year.

Contact Information for Student Programs

If you have any questions or concerns:

Email: identifying the subject as “Cooperative Education Program Inquiry”
Phone: (202) 261-8888 (Ask for the Co-op Coordinator)
What to Expect as a Cooperative Education Applicant

Before submitting your resume and cover letter to we suggest you bring it to a school counselor or career services to look over. You want to make sure these items have all your information, are formatted well and have no spelling errors, since this is your first impression with managers.

After you submit your application, you should receive a receipt of application email, no later than one week from when you applied. If you do not get a response, please resubmit your application.

As we said before, once the State Department receives your application, they keep your resume on file for 6 months in hopes that they will find you a placement in that time. They are unable to tell applicants the status of their application because these positions are need based, and they become available as needed.

Placements are made when:
  1. A bureau coordinator or manager contacts the Cooperative Education coordinator, requesting the need for a student with certain characteristics, for example: a certain major or work experience background.
  2. Next the Co-op coordinator goes through the file of applicants and sends the best matches to the bureau coordinator or manager.
  3. The bureau coordinator or manager then goes through the applications and sets up interviews with those they are interested in hiring.
What to Expect if You Have Been Appointed to a Cooperative Education Position

     A. Once a bureau coordinator or manager has interviewed you and given you a verbal offer for the Co-op  position, you will need to provide them with the following materials:
  1. An updated resume that includes your birth date and social security number.
  2. A current official transcript. (If you are just beginning a term in school and do not have a transcript yet,   please submit a proof of enrollment.)
  3. Completed Co-op agreement.
     B. Once your bureau coordinator or manager has received all these materials they will send them to  Human Resources – Student Programs to process your appointment.

     C. Student Programs will contact you with information regarding your tentative offer for the Co-op position as well as the security clearance process.

     D. Students tentatively selected for the program must undergo a background investigation and receive either a Secret or Top Secret security clearance.

     E. The security clearance process takes approximately 90-120 days to complete from the time the forms are received. Investigations may take substantially longer than 120 days if you have had extensive travel, education, residence and/or employment overseas, or if you have dual citizenship, foreign contacts, immediate family or relatives who are not citizens of the United States and/or a foreign born spouse or if there is a security, suitability or medical issue to resolve. These issues could include a current or past history of drugs or alcohol abuse, as well as a recent history of credit problems. Although these problems will not necessarily preclude you from receiving a security clearance, they will lengthen the time required to complete the clearance process. It is important to be completely honest when filling out your security questionnaire.

Note: It is possible that you could receive an interim clearance, which would allow you to work at the Department of State while your investigation is still taking place.

      F. Your offer is not official until you receive written notification from Student Programs. Once you receive that, you will be able to schedule a time for orientation.

Non-Competitive Conversion into the Civil Service

A great benefit of the Cooperative Education Program is that after the completion of certain requirements, it is possible that the participant be converted to a civil service position. However, a non-competitive conversion is not guaranteed.


     A. Participants in the Co-op program may be non-competitively converted to a career or career-conditional appointment when students have:
  1. Completed, within the preceding 120 days, at an accredited school, course requirements conferring a certificate or degree;
  2. Completed at least 640 hours of career-related work before completion of, or concurrently with, the course requirements;
  3. Been recommended by the employing agency in which the career-related work was performed; and
  4. Met the qualification standard for the targeted position to which the student is appointed.
    B. Conversions must be an occupation related to the student’s academic training and career related work experience.

    C. The non-competitive conversion may be to a position with the same agency or any other agency within the Federal Government.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are all the positions in the Washington D.C. area?
A: Co-op positions are typically only in the Washington D.C. area. Most students go to schools that are located in the Washington D.C area and then commute to work. There are very few instances that a student is placed in another city. However, in the rare cases that they are, they are typically at passport agencies. If you are interested in working outside of the D.C. area please specify that on your resume and cover letter.

Q: What type of work will I be doing?
A: Every Co-op placement is different. As long as the position is directly related to your academic major and/or career goals.

Q: I can’t attach an unofficial transcript, what should I do?
A: If you are unable to attach an unofficial transcript to your application, you may submit your resume without it. Please note that if you do receive a placement you will need to send in your current official transcript.

Q: What should I do if I want to update my resume?
A: Updating your resume whenever you have made changes is encouraged. This way they will be sending your most current resume to managers. If you would like to update your resume, please electronically submit it to identifying the subject as “Updated Resume - last name”

Q: Do Co-op students receive benefits?
A: Yes, Co-op students receive several types of benefits. Students earn annual and sick leave based on a prorated basis of how many hours worked per pay period. They are also eligible for both health and life insurance coverage.

Q: Can my work experience while on the Student Temporary Employment Program count towards the required 640 hours necessary for noncompetitive conversion career conditional employment?
A: Yes, if the work performed is related to the student’s academic studies and career goals. There should be clear documentation showing the “relatedness” between the work, actual duties/tasks/assignments, performed while on a STEP appointment to the work that will be performed while on a SCEP appointment.

For detail information about federal careers, visit

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Deal with Stress

Washington DC:
Roberto wont admit it upfront. In these recession-hit times, as he desperately hangs on to his own job, he is forced to pull the weight of three of his colleagues who have retired within the last year and not been replaced.

In the deepest privacy of his home, the suave web designer will sometimes blurt out the tabooed S word: he feels like a stressed out rat on a treadmill that's going nowhere all. What Roberto needs is not a change of job but a change of pace or a break from the burden of pushing what seems like a gigantic load up the company ladder. But like 85 out of 100 working professionals, he has not used all the vacation time he's entitled to and may even loose some of the leave if he doesn't use it by the end of the year. He feels going out of sight is tantamount to going out of the boss's mind, something that is likely to send wrong signals up and down the hierarchy, no matter how small a organization. Nor will he consider seeking treatment for stress for fear of being branded as weak and vulnerable. So he continues to suffer silently, under a fake smile and weight of the super alpha male armour he puts on at work.

Professionals like Roberto need to recognize that stress is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase. You can blame it on the economy, the gas prices at the pump, paying the bills, or the new 24/7 routine or whatever. But the stark fact is that stress levels around this country are at record highs.

According to Taylor Clark, author of Nerve, a new book on stress, the increase in stress levels is part of a long-term trend in the U.S.: “Over the last several decades, both through good economic times and bad, the United States has transformed into the planet’s undisputed worry champion.” According to his figures, 18% of the population suffers from anxiety disorders, while sales of anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax are at record levels – and rising.

According to the American Institute of Stress recent surveys and studies confirm that occupational pressures and fears are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults and that these have steadily increased over the past few decades. The number of people who called in sick due to stress has tripled in the past four years. 42 per cent of employees think their co- workers need help managing stress.

A survey taken by Northwestern National Life Insurance Co, Princeton Survey Research Associates, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., Yale University and The Families and Work Institute reported that:

  • 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful;
  • 25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives;
  • Three fourths of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago;
  • 29% of workers felt quite a bit or extremely stressed at work;
  • 26 percent of workers said they were "often or very often burned out or stressed by their work";
  • Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.

Take a Break
So how does one take a break without losing one s place at work? Try shutting the office door and closing your eyes for 15 minutes. Lean back and breathe deeply. You'll be surprised at how this changes your perspective. Exercise, another winner, gives your mind brief vacation while sending a surge of endorphins through your body.

It's important to realize that taking short time-outs to refuel and refresh doesn't mean you are goofing off, according to Robert J. Kriegel, author of the book, How to Succeed in Business Without Working So Damn Hard . When you take a break, your brain doesn't shut off. The ideas you have been considering shift to a back burner where they incubate. The problems you have been working on make an unconscious shift from the left (logical) to the right (intuitive) brain. Then, boom! When you least expect it, the lightning strikes and you have resolved a problem that had been bothering you.

Breath in... Breath out
The wisdom of stress relief through deep, even breathing is hardly new. Alena Bowers, writing for, explains that "although it is unclear just exactly when the practice of deep breathing began, the Buddha was said to have taught the important of sitting and going within to experience the breath." Akira Hirakawa and Paul Groner write in their book, "A History of Indian Buddhism," that it is thought the Buddha lived around 80 years old and died sometime between 460 and 490 B.C.E.

Experts tell us that deep breathing exercises clarify the mind and increases will power and constructive emotions. Another method, according Mr Davis, is to perform all your duties with your hands; let your heart be with god.

Many modern gurus liken being with god to a change of perspective, a shift away the egotistical stance to a universal one. What you definitely should do is take thinking time. People in some of the high- pressure occupations, like sports for instance, take time-outs. Why? To regroup, re- energise, rethink and restrategize. Discussing the importance of this type of creative break, Horst Schulze, the president of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, spends a half-hour every morning meditating on better ways to provide great customer service. Stepping back from the action provides you with a different perspective, allowing you to see the big picture.

Other tips include:

Set realistic goals for yourself
- Reduce the number of events going on in your life and you may reduce the circuit overload.
Don't overwhelm yourself - by fretting about your entire workload. Handle each task as it comes, or selectively deal with matters in some priority.
Don't sweat the small stuff - Try to prioritize a few truly important things and let the rest slide.
Do something for others - to help get your mind off your self.
Avoid extreme reactions - Why hate when a little dislike will do? Why generate anxiety when you can be nervous? Why rage when anger will do the job? Why be depressed when you can just be sad?
Selectively change the way you react - but not too much at one time.  Focus on one troublesome thing and manage your reactions to it/him/her.
Get enough sleep - Lack of rest just aggravates stress.
Avoid self-medication or escape - Alcohol and drugs can mask stress.  They don't help deal with the problems.
Try to "use" stress - If you can't remedy, nor escape from,  what is bothering you, flow with it and try to use it in a productive way.
Try to be positive - Give yourself messages as to how well you can cope rather than how horrible everything is going to be.  "Stress can actually help memory, provided it is short-term and not too severe.  Stress causes more glucose to be delivered to the brain, which makes more energy available to neurons.  This, in turn, enhances memory formation and retrieval.  On the other hand, if stress is prolonged, it can impede the glucose delivery and disrupt memory."  All Stressed Up, St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, p. 8B, Monday, November 30, 1998
Most importantly: if stress is putting you in an unmanageable state or interfering with your schoolwork, social and/or work life, seek professional help.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day 2011...Four Awesome Green Jobs

Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.
~Motto of the Baltimore Grotto, a caving society

It’s hard to avoid the word “green” these days. From policies to programs, it seems that green is cool—and red hot. Green is often used as a synonym for environmental or ecological, especially as it relates to products and activities aimed at minimizing damage to our planet. Scientists and engineers have long had important roles in the environmental movement. Their expertise is focused on a variety of issues, including increasing energy efficiency, improving air and water quality, and sustaining natural resources. And, with interest in such projects growing, there should be additional opportunities for these scientists and engineers in the future.

This blog describes the job duties, employment, outlook, wages, and training requirements for conservation scientists, environmental engineers, environmental scientists, and hydrologists. Conservation scientists, environmental scientists, environmental engineers, and hydrologists are among the workers who apply their specialized knowledge to a variety of environmental issues. This specialized knowledge comes from college study in math and sciences, including biology, chemistry, geography, and statistics. In addition, good communications skills are essential for writing reports and sharing project results with employers, colleagues, or the public.

These workers gather and analyze information to create solutions to the problems they study. Conservation scientists usually work independently, but environmental engineers, environmental scientists, and hydrologists are often part of a team.

Conservation scientists

Conservation scientists develop strategies to help manage, improve, and protect the Earth’s resources. To devise these protective strategies, conservation scientists often collect samples of soil, water, and plants, as well as record data on plant and animal life. After they have analyzed the samples and data, these workers create a conservation plan. Their plan offers strategies for optimizing resources while minimizing damage to the surrounding environment.

There are several types of conservation scientists, and they often have different job titles. One of the most common types is range manager. These workers study and care for rangelands—the open expanses of land located primarily in the Western States and Alaska that contain natural resources, such as wildlife habitats, watersheds, and mineral and energy sources. Another type of conservation scientist is soil and water conservationist. These workers study soil and water conditions and offer advice about maintaining or improving the quality of these and related resources. Soil conservationists help identify causes of soil erosion and develop plans to correct them.

Conservation scientists held about 15,800 jobs in May 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Federal, State, and local governments employed nearly 75 percent of these workers. Other conservation scientists are employed by social advocacy groups, including nonprofit organizations, and by consulting firms. A small portion is self-employed.

The mean annual wages of conservation scientists in May 2008 were $60,170, according to BLS. Mean wages were $69,090 for conservation scientists in the Federal Government and $51,520 in local government. (BLS does not have wage data for these workers in State government.) Those employed by social advocacy groups had mean wages of $54,540; those employed in management, scientific, and technical consulting services had mean wages of $55,320.

Environmental engineers

Environmental engineers develop methods, systems, and products to prevent or repair environmental harm. Environmental engineers may specialize in the types of problems they solve. Some assess the likely impact of different projects on air and water quality, animal habitats, and other aspects of the natural and human environment and then devise ways to avoid or minimize harm. Others study watersheds and other natural water systems and develop processes, policies, and machinery for maintaining and supplying clean water to the public. Still others develop wastewater treatment or other systems to control or reduce problems associated with disposal of pollutants.

Environmental engineers held about 52,590 jobs in May 2008, according to BLS. About 30 percent worked for Federal, State, or local governments. An additional 30 percent worked for engineering services firms. The remaining environmental engineers were employed by management, scientific, and technical consulting services; scientific research and were $77,970. Environmental engineers who worked for the Federal Government had mean wages of $92,750. State government workers had mean wages of $65,320, and local government workers had mean wages of $66,510. Workers employed by engineering services firms had mean annual wages of $80,450.

Environmental scientists

Environmental scientists conduct research to help identify and lessen environmental hazards that affect both humans and wildlife. This research involves collecting and analyzing samples of air, food, water, and soil to determine the state of the environment. Using their skills and training, these scientists attempt to solve problems ranging from reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to preventing the loss of habitats to monitoring waste disposal. After environmental scientists identify a problem, they come up with ways to reduce or eliminate its negative effects.

In May 2008, according to BLS, environmental scientists and specialists, including health, held about 80,100 jobs. About 45 percent of environmental scientists worked for Federal, State, and local governments. BLS data show that in May 2008, the mean annual wages for environmental scientists were $65,280. Mean wages were $58,040 for these scientists in local government; $70,450 in management, scientific, and technical consulting services; and $63,990 in engineering services.


Hydrologists find ways to optimize our use of water, protect it from contamination, and improve water sources that have been damaged or polluted. Their work helps ensure easy access to safe water for households, businesses, crop irrigation, power generation, and more.

Hydrologists study the quality, quantity, location, and movement of water. They follow water as it travels through rivers, estuaries, and streams; as it seeps into the ground; and as it evaporates into the atmosphere and returns to Earth as precipitation. Hydrologists typically split their time between the office and the outdoors, frequently traveling to field sites and working in all types of weather, climates, and terrain.
Hydrologists held about 7,600 jobs in May 2008, according to BLS. Federal, State, and local governments employed about half of these workers. In May 2008, according to BLS, hydrologists had mean annual wages of $73,540. Those in architectural, engineering, and related services had mean wages of $75,830; workers in management, scientific, and technical consulting services had mean wages of $74,760. Hydrologists employed by the Federal Government had mean wages of $78,470.

Get general information about environmental careers from the Green Careers Center, formerly the Environmental Career Center. Its employment resources include information about training and degree programs, workshops, and environmental associations. Contact the career center at:
Green Careers Center
2 Eaton St., Suite 711
Hampton, VA 23669
Toll-free: 1 (800) 745–0639
(757) 727–7895

For online listings of green jobs, searchable by sector (such as climate change or renewable energy), city, or State, visit the Green Jobs Network at

To learn more about the occupations featured in this blog, contact the professional association of the ones that interest you.

For information about conservation scientists, contact:
Society for Range Management
10030 W. 27th Ave.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80215
(303) 986–3309

For information about environmental scientists, contact:
American Geological Institute
4220 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22302
(703) 379–2480

For information about environmental engineers, contact:
American Academy of
Environmental Engineers
130 Holiday Ct., Suite 100
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 266–3311

For information about hydrologists, contact:
American Institute of Hydrology
Engineering D—Mail Code 6603
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
1230 Lincoln Dr.
Carbondale, IL 62901
(618) 453–7809

For additional information about careers in the federal government visit

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 Featured Summer jobs: Department of Defense.

Student Employment Programs

Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) is searching for top performing interns in nearly all disciplines from administrative through highly technical to place in over 50 different areas of The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). OSD is the principal staff element of the Secretary in the exercise of policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluation responsibilities.

Some of the areas available for internships are:

IT and Network Security
Acquisitions & Procurement
Graphic Design
Public Affairs & Communications
Test & Evaluation
International Affairs
Congressional Liaisons
Human Resources
Legal (General Counsel)
Defense Policy
Administration & Management
Facilities Management
Finance (Accounting, Comptroller)
Over 750 Career Areas…

Student Summer Contract Program
This program provides students a 10-week summer work experience to work as a contractor in assigned OSD organizations related to their academic course of study.  Although applications are generally accepted by the contractors for summer contract positions from mid-December through the end of February, it might not be too late, if you're interested email for more specific information about the application process. 

Unsalaried Internship Program
The Department of Defense (DoD) offers unpaid training opportunities to students in high school and college. These opportunities provide work experience related to your academic program. The program allows you to explore career options as well as develop your personal and professional skills. As a student volunteer, you will be exposed to the DoD work environment and learn about the missions and responsibilities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other Defense Agencies.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for consideration in this program, you must be at least 16 years of age at the time of appointment and enrolled, at least half-time, in one of the following: an accredited high school/trade school; a technical/vocational school; a junior/community college; a four-year college/university; or any other accredited educational institution.
Work schedules for students in this program vary. Some student volunteers work an alternating schedule, three to four months on the job, and then return to school the following semester, quarter, or term. Others choose to work part-time and attend school during the regular school year or during the summer or other school vacation periods.

How to Apply

To apply for a Unsalaried Intern position with the OSD/WHS or a Defense Agency, you must meet the eligibility criteria. All applicants are required to submit:
  • A letter from the academic institution's counselor/advisor in support of the internship.
  • An official academic transcript.
  • A current resume (no special format required).
  • A cover letter identifying yourself as an applicant for the Unsalaried Intern Program.
To apply for this program, mail all required application documents to:

Attn. Unsalaried Intern Program Coordinator
Washington Headquarters Services
Human Resource Directorate
Polk Building - Suite 4000
2521 South Clark Street
Arlington, VA 22202-3918

Student Career Experience Program (SCEP)
The Federal Government has always looked to educational institutions to find students who have the skills needed to meet its future employment needs. The SCEP was created to attract talented students to Federal public service. Selected students work in careers associated with  their academic disciplines. Upon completion, most students are converted to full time employment.

Eligibility CriteriaTo qualify for consideration in SCEP, you must be a least 16 years of age at the time of appointment and be:

  • A student enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student (diploma, certificate, etc.).
  • Enrolled at least half-time with an academic or vocational/technical course load in an accredited high school, technical/vocational school, 2 or 4 year college/university, or graduate/professional school.
  • A U.S. citizen.
How to Apply

To apply for a SCEP position with one of the OSD/WHS organizations, you must meet the eligibility criteria.  Occasionally, specific SCEP opportunities are advertised on our website under the "Student Career Experience Internship Program" link in the "Other Job Announcements" box on the Employment Opportunities page, All applicants are required to submit:

  • A current resume (no specific format required).
  • An official academic transcript.
  • A copy of your current class registration.
  • A cover letter identifying yourself as a SCEP applicant that includes information about your interests and career-related goals.
To be considered in the general applicant pool for SCEP positions, mail your application to:

Attn. SCEP Coordinator
Washington Headquarters Services
Human Resources Directorate
Polk Building - Suite 4000
2521 South Clark Street
Arlington, VA 22202-3918

Workforce Recruitment Program
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, for college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other Federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview more than 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation, and develop a data base listing the qualifications of each student. Interviews are arranged from November to January. College career counselors or disability student services providers who would like to schedule a recruitment trip to their campuses should also contact Students interested in the program must work through their colleges. Due to imited staff resources, the Office of Disability Employment Policy cannot respond to direct student inquiries.

For consideration specific to the Office if the Secretary of Defense and associated agencies, contact the WRP coordinator by e-mail or U.S. mail:

WRP Intern Coordinator
Washington Headquarters Services
2521 South Clark Street, Suite 3000 Arlington, VA 22202

Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP)
Temporary positions giving students the opportunity to work year round, part time during school semesters and full time during breaks.  Positions in this program are managed by private contractor, and are not federal positions.

How to Apply
To obtain a student contract position with the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Washington Headquarters Services, you must apply directly to the private sector contractor responsible for the program's management and the employment process.  Applications are accepted for this program on a continuous basis.  Positions are filled from an applicant pool as needed.  Email for more specific information about the application process

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Featured Summer jobs: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking for energetic and highly motivated students for summer employment.  Numerous opportunities are available within EPA for students to gain valuable work experience while contributing to the mission of protecting human health and safeguarding the environment.  Student summer employment opportunities are available at EPA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at regional office and laboratory locations nationwide. 

The Student Summer Employment Program will be used for most of EPA's summer hiring.  EPA primarily hires high school and college students for administrative/clerical positions as well as technical positions in areas such as life sciences, program or policy analysis, and engineering.  Most summer positions have salaries ranging from the GS-2 to GS-7 level (a base hourly rate of $9.59 to $16.28, excluding locality pay).  Students must meet the qualifications described below plus additional requirements, dependent upon the grade level of the position and needs of the organization. 

Basic Eligibility Qualifications:

  • You must be a student.  A student is an individual who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an accredited high school, college, university, or technical or vocational school.
  • Students must be in good academic standing with at least a GPA of “C” or its equivalent.
  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • You must be age 16 at time of employment. 
  • A work permit is required for students age 16.
  • In addition to a resume, eligible veterans should submit a copy of their DD Form 214 as part of the USAJobs application.
  • You will need to provide your transcripts and a letter from your educational institution that you are in good academic standing.
Summer Employment Application Process
How and Where to Apply:
EPA summer positions will be posted on USAJobs throughout April & May. You must apply directly to USAJobs using the following link:
Once on the USAJobs website, review the opportunities that are available. After locating a position to apply for, you will need to create an account. Be prepared before starting the application process.  Please have ready an updated resume and any additional required documents.

When creating a resume on USAJobs provide details that reflect the type and scope of work you have performed including volunteer work.  Be sure to save it. The list provided below will assist you in getting prepared.

You will need to upload the following documents:
     Requirements  from Graduate Students          
          Official Transcript
          Acceptance Letter from Graduate School
          Updated Resume
     Requirements from College Students          
          Official Transcript
          Letter of Good Academic Standing & Verification of Enrollment (on official school letterhead)
          Fall/Spring Registration (on the official school letterhead)
          Updated Resume

     Requirements from High School Students          
          Report Card
          Letter of Good Standing (if graduating from high school - Acceptance Letter from university/college)
          Work Permit (in order to work in the DC area, you must obtain a DC Work Permit)
          Updated Resume

Now you are ready to apply.  Return to the position you are applying for and click "APPLY."

Follow the steps through the application process; be sure to answer each question.
For information on what it takes to be an Environmental Protection Specialist, click here!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2011 Featured Summer jobs: The U.S. Forest Service.

The Forest Service offers positions for both permanent and temporary employees. Permanent positions are for full-time employees and provide a flexible range of Federal government benefits. Temporary positions are for part-time or seasonal employees and provide benefits that vary with the position and the location. Due to the seasonal nature of many of the responsibilities of the Forest Service, such as wildfire fighting and seasonal recreation programs, many temporary workers are required.

Temporary employees have a very special place within the Forest Service. After all, most Forest Service career employees started out in temporary positions. Seeking a temporary or seasonal job with the Forest Service is a great way to learn about different opportunities so you can make the best match. It's also a great way to meet people within the organization and hone your skills so you'll be well prepared for a permanent position, should you choose to pursue one.

Want to dig a site, spend your days in the backcountry, or host a campground in the mountains? Be a volunteer for the Forest Service.

There are many opportunities, everything from wilderness stewards and trail clearing to office work and campground hosts. Working alone or with a group, Forest Service volunteers enjoy work that matches their interests and calendar.

Some typical volunteer projects range from a single-day project to a long-term undertaking for several months. There are many types of volunteer opportunities suitable for your talents and skills. The U.S.Forest Service will match your skills with your work preference to give you an enjoyable experience and best fulfill the mission of the Forest Service.

Examples of opportunities are listed below. What captures your interest?

  • Volunteer Management. They need managers to lead volunteer projects.
  • Maintaining and hosting campgrounds. These volunteer positions generally require a minimum of two weeks.
  • Answering phones, greeting visitors, and answering mail at Forest Service visitor centers and ranger stations.
  • Monitoring wilderness use as a Wilderness Steward/Ranger.
  • Join a group or work individually on trail maintenance and various building projets.
  • Working with specialists in wildlife, botany, and fisheries/watershed research.
To find opportunities in your particular state, click and select your state from the image map  on the left side of the page.
For additional information about becoming a Park Ranger, Park Guide, or Student Park Ranger, see:

Park Ranger
Park Guide
Student Park Ranger

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Best 2011 Jobs for College Students

These days, a good job is hard to find. But that won't be a decent excuse for a slim resume when you're sitting across from the recruiter next year. Like it or not, college students are expected to be capable of pulling good grades in tough classes while gaining professional experience on the side. Hiring managers want to know that they won't need to train new employees in the basics of life on the job. The 10 jobs listed below are great choices for students because they look good on a resume, work around class schedules, offer decent pay, or--if they're really great--all of the above.

On-campus IT support job: This is one of the best work-study jobs you'll find if you are working on a degree in a relevant area. You'll be able to gain real-world experience without leaving campus. Technology-services work can involve solving technical problems for other students and teachers as well as installing and setting up computer systems on campus. If you're in school... get as much career experience as possible. Plus, such jobs are more convenient and lucrative than unpaid, off-campus internships.

On-campus career services: Let's face it, it isn't easy to learn the ins and outs of the professional world while keeping up your grades. Working in career services can help you become familiar with the job-hunting process and become comfortable talking with employers and recruiters. Learn to give presentations to fellow students about the career services and resources offered by your school. What other job can you think of that you have an opportunity to change someone's life?

Paid internship: This is the gold standard of college jobs: You get professional experience and working-world connections, you build knowledge in a real-world work setting, and someone wants to pay you for it. If the work is relevant to the career field you're likely to pursue, even better. This is the best way to test the waters and find out if a particular field is right for you. Recruiters like to see students showing an active--and early--interest in their industry, and they look for students who demonstrate a passion for their work.

Unpaid internship: This is obviously not as great for your wallet as a paid internship, but the good news is that recruiters don't care. If you're in a financial position to take this work, it will pay off later. And if you're having a tough time finding work, consider proposing an unpaid internship to a company you're interested in. While summer internships are great, a part-time internship during the school year might be even better. It shows you can handle a lot of work. Employers know and appreciate that it's not easy to work while you're in school full time.

Waiter or waitress: Don't turn up your nose. This is honest work, you can earn a good amount of money, and employers will typically work around your school schedule. Even better, you can often return to a restaurant after taking time off, and consistency looks good to a hiring manager. The bottom line for your pocketbook and for your future job interviews: Working while you go to school is always going to be more beneficial than not working. In part, that's because the millennial generation has the unfortunate reputation of seeming "entitled," and a history of hard work shows that you're not taking much for granted.

Lab assistant: This can be a great choice if you're a student seeking a career in the laboratory sciences. Off-campus lab assistant positions are often part time and may require only a high school degree. Colleges often employ lab assistants in campus research labs, sometimes through work-study programs. Research experience can be very appealing to employers.

Professor's research assistant: If you're having a tough time finding a job, consider working closely with a professor as a research assistant. You might propose a position to a professor in your discipline. Not only will the skills you learn improve your career prospects, you'll forge an advantageous connection. The recommendation you're going to get from that professor is better than from one who knows you solely in the classroom setting.

Home health aide: If you're considering a career in healthcare--a solid choice in this economy--working part time as a home health aide could provide some valuable insight. Home health aides often work with the elderly, helping them take their medicines, work through physical exercises, and perform basic grooming. Healthcare jobs have held up during this recession, and the number of home health aide positions is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

Writer: If you're headed for a career that involves communications--and most do--you may gain advantages working, paid or not, as a writer. You might find work with a campus publication or the school paper. You might even find online editing work.

Bank teller: About 1 in 4 tellers work part time, so college students might find flexibility in a bank job. You'll gain customer service experience, and you'll be forced to become familiar with numbers. Sometimes students who are interested in working in the financial industry get their feet wet as tellers. Remember, when searching for a job, you're ideally looking for something that's relevant to your future career.

For information on careers, visit our Careers page on

Sunday, April 17, 2011

If You Live in One of These Cities, You're Probably Employed

Minneapolis, Buffalo, N.Y., Oklahoma City and Rochester, N.Y., have made it through the great recession with the smallest unemployment increases.

A government report shows that the four cities have had the smallest increases in joblessness over the past two years among cities with at least 1 million people.

None of the four relies on heavy manufacturing industries, such as autos or steel, which have been hit hard by the downturn. And all have avoided the extremes of the housing boom and bust that devastated much of California, Florida and Nevada.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Accountants have Nothing to Fear in this Economy

According to a CNN/Money job Ranking Report, Accountants have nothing to fear in this economy.

The latest CNN/Money Best Jobs in America Ranking reports that accountanting jobs of all stripes are some of the best today!  Here is how accounting related jobs fared within the top one hundred jobs ranked:

Top 100

9. CPA
(#6 last year) – "Maintain financial records and analyze the numbers. Especially in this time of economic turmoil, CPAs are needed to make sense of increasingly complex financial transactions — from buyouts to businesses grappling with changing tax laws."

62. Tax Manager – "Participates in tax planning and research activities. Supervises accounting staff. Oversees tax returns and compliance for corporations, partnerships, trusts, and individuals."

69. Accounting Director- "Manages the accounting department's daily activities. Collects and provides information for audit inquiries and gives assistance to auditors. Assists in the development and implementation of policies and procedures relating to financial management, budget and accounting."

78. Auditing Manager – "Determines financial status of establishments and prepares financial reports concerning operating procedures. Supervises staff and examines and analyzes accounting records."

Median Pay

19. Accounting Director – $119,000

Top Pay
18. Accounting Director – $169,000

Job Security
6. Tax Manager (69.6% say their job is secure)

Future Growth
6. Tax Manager (89% say jobs like theirs will grow in the future)

For additional information about accounting related  jobs, follow:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Did you Know what is the Best Career in 2011?

According to a U.S. News & World Report, the best career in 2011 is that of Computer Support Specialist

The rundown:
The widespread and expanding adoption of new technology will continue to dial up demand for those who can provide technical assistance. Computer support specialists may work for computer hardware or software vendors, such as Microsoft, Oracle, or smaller companies, answering questions or resolving problems for customers. Or they may provide technical support for a company's computer, network, and office systems, charged with tasks like assisting employees with computer issues and installing computer hardware and software. Aside from computer savvy, jobs in this field require problem-solving and communication skills, as well as the ability to multi-task in a busy environment.

The outlook:
Employment of computer support specialists is expected to increase by 14 percent, or 78,000 jobs, from 2008 to 2018, according to the Labor Department. Outsourcing of jobs to offshore locations weighs on this growth projection, but it mostly occurs within lower-level customer service positions, says Jeffrey Tarter, executive director of the Association of Support Professionals: "The real trend is for customer technical support at a much higher level--handling support for more complicated products." As the adoption of new technology becomes more widespread, demand will rise for specialists who can resolve technical issues. Industries that rely heavily on technology, such as computer systems design and data processing, will see the swiftest demand for computer support specialists. There is also a growing need for these workers in industries that are striving to become more efficient, like health care.

Median annual wages of computer support specialists were $44,300 in 2009, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $27,200, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $72,690.

Upward mobility:
After learning the ropes, you may advance to a senior-level position or eventually a supervisory role. "This is an incredibly good entry-level job," says Tarter, partly because computer support can be a pathway to other jobs within a firm. "It's not unusual for companies to recruit developers and marketing people and professional services people from their help desk," he says. "Think of going into product development--if you've spent two or three years answering every conceivable question about what's not working with a product, you're really hitting the ground running."

Activity level:
You'll work a typical 40-hour week in the office (although telecommuting is becoming more common for computer support professionals). If you're employed by a third-party support firm, you may spend a lot of time at a client's site. Computer support specialists who work for a hardware or software vendor may spend five-plus hours on the phone each day, and the rest of the time researching issues in response to customer queries, or coming up with solutions. Those who work for a company's computer help desk spend their days assisting employees, installing software, and troubleshooting the network.

Stress level:
Your job may involve fielding calls from frustrated customers, which can be a source of stress. Spending long periods of time at a computer terminal can cause eye strain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Education and preparation:
Employers tend to prefer some college background, such as a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree. A degree in computer science or related field will give you a leg up, but it's not always essential--some employers will hire applicants in any field. Since a wide range of industries employ computer support specialists, knowledge of a particular industry will give you an advantage. For example, if the job involves support for customers using accounting software, some accounting savvy will give you an edge. Knowing the specifics of a products isn't a must, says Tarter, because most support specialists receive on-the-job training.

For additional information on becoming a Computer Support Specialist click here!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Top Ten Places to Retire

In a recent Forbes article, the magazine identified 16 top retirement cities based on such factors as overall living costs, taxes, weather, serious crime, availability of doctors, driving conditions and free opportunities to stay active doing volunteer work and enjoying local bicycle/walking paths.

We've listed the top ten places for you.

Home to scores of small breweries
PROS: Low crime, no state sales tax, good climate, lots of physicians
CONS: Other taxes high, higher cost of living

Most residents aren't Mormons
PROS: Low living costs, low taxes, great mountain scenery, bracing but appealing climate
CONS: Crime rate

Unofficial nonprofit capital of America
PROS: Affordable housing, low cost of living, safe streets, lots of volunteer opportunities
CONS: Cold winters, a bit light on doctors

Home of world's largest hot-air-balloon event
PROS: Terrific weather, low taxes, lots of doctors, modest cost of living
CONS: Crime, difficult environment for driving

Vacation spot in 1930s for on-the-lam bank robber John Dillinger
PROS: Good weather, low taxes, cheap housing and living, plenty of doctors
CONS: Crime rate

Named for a Wells Fargo cofounder
PROS: Lowest crime rate on list, inexpensive living, numerous doctors, opportunities for staying active
CONS: Cold, snowy winters, floods

Warren Buffett's hometown
PROS: Inexpensive living, safe, well doctored
CONS: Really high taxes, rough winters

World's unofficial barbecue capital
PROS: Extremely affordable, good driving environment, conducive to active retirements
CONS: Crime, not enough doctors

Hometown of writer Kurt Vonnegut
PROS: Very affordable housing, encouragement for active seniors, robust medical establishment
CONS: Cold winters, crime

Birthplace of actor George Clooney
PROS: Inexpensive living, cultural amenities of college town, low taxes (especially for retirees), low crime
CONS: Hot, humid summers

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sample Resume for a Government Senior Manager

The following example illustrates a good resume for a  federal Senior Management position.  Our candidate wants to highlight his experience with ‘Leading Change,‘ ‘Leading People,‘ ‘Results Driven,‘ ‘Business Acumen,‘ and ‘Building Coalitions.‘
John Smith

1616 Any Lane                          Announcement: SES-2010-0003
Anytown, VA 22206                            
555-703-2468 (h)                                          555-692-7154 (w)

  • Highly skilled in leading and executing complex and multi-disciplinary projects at all organizational levels
  • Proven leader and manager of national programs, resources, and staff
  • Over 28 years' experience as a telecommunications and information technology professional

Executive Assistant, GS-15                                                    February 2009 - Current
Agency Headquarters, Washington, DC
Direct oversight of four major programs and nine operational divisions providing information technology services for the agency. Directly coordinate with Regional Directors and Office of the Secretary staff.
Synchronize all efforts to achieve the agency requirement to enable global support of staff operating from a securely managed network with reduced cost of ownership.

  • Created a secure data network which serves as the baseline for a global enterprise data network. This new network increased information security two-fold while providing unfettered access to critical user information.
  • Developed innovative policies for providing secure wireless email at the enterprise level. These policies are now being incorporated by other Federal Government agencies.
  • Integrated best business practices from commercial venders and created an efficient automated process to re-image more than 5,000 computer systems to a common secure baseline.
  • Met weekly with Senior Leaders to assist them in achieving the necessary change management in their organizational processes. Encouraged discussion of differences to generate the best options for implementation.
  • Created the initial templates for global enterprise that can deliver objective levels of service with measurable metrics.
  • Presented the methodology to execute a myriad of policy changes at several forums and conferences.
Senior Program Manager, GS-15                                         May 2005 - January 2009
Agency Headquarters, Washington, DC
Led of a 4,000 person communications organization responsible for providing communications and information management to staff worldwide.
  • Negotiated multi-year funding, coordination, and implementation for fiber optic infrastructure valued in excess of $20 million and supporting 10,000 users.
  • Led the transition from legacy microwave systems to a cutting edge fiber optic network with upgraded technological capabilities that increased the carrying capacity capability 90-fold.
  • Managed requirement analysis and implementation of a $40 million annual contract for communications architecture.
Program Manager, GS-15                                                     August 2002 - April 2005
Agency Headquarters, Atlanta, GA
Responsible for integrating and coordinating information technology requirements and emerging enterprise solutions nationwide. Executed an annual program budget greater than $160 million.
  • Directed server consolidation and change management of an 1800 person organization resulting in a reduction of 3 large email servers and a reduction from 11 support contracts to 3, with a net savings of more than $5 million. 
  • Expanded information assurance and compliance. Reduced non-compliance from nearly 85% to less than 2% across the organization within 5 months.
  • Successfully negotiated for critical funding to provide enterprise technology. This funding enabled the construction of 4 consolidate server locations throughout the country.
  • Successfully integrated 7 incongruous unit level networks into 1 agency-wide network. Led the migration of more than 8,000 email users from legacy exchange service to 1 email system.
Director, Transition Office, GS-15                                         June 2000 - July 2002
Agency Headquarters, Atlanta, GA
Led the new Presidential Administration transition team, from confirmation of the Secretary to the vetting, selection, and submission of all political appointee nominations including those requiring Senate

  • Built and managed the workforce needed to staff the Transition Office. Ensured employees were appropriately appraised and rewarded.
  • Inspired team commitment and motivation resulting in the processing of over 5500 applications for 140 political appointment positions.
  • Established a comprehensive vetting and tracking process that enabled senior selection officials to effectively and fairly interview prospective candidates and make selection recommendations to the President for final approval by the Senate. Completed initial recommendations to the Secretary and President for all primary positions within 4 months of commencing transition activities.
  • Directed the comprehensive preparation activities for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary for their Senate confirmation hearings, including overcoming repeated obstacles in a high pressure environment.

Vice President, Government Sector                                       July 1997 - May 2000
Corporate Headquarters, Bluefield, VA                             Annual salary: $145,000
Responsible for developing a new Government Sector business unit. Established and implemented information technology programs in support of Federal Government contracts.
  • Implemented metrics for defining efficiency, effectiveness and overall success of the business unit.
  • Developed program managers in order to leverage their full range of expertise and capabilities. Encouraged workforce diversity to create atmosphere conducive to high quality service.
  • Ensured programs were awarded subsequent contracts. Exceeded corporate goal for contracts by $10 million.
Special Projects Officer, GS-14                                              August 1995 - June 1997
Agency Headquarters, Roanoke, VA
Provided administrative and protocol support to the Director and Deputy Director of an agency engaged in global research and development of security protocols and emerging technologies. Maintained Top Secret
security clearance.
  • Successfully led an organizational change management initiative to maintain relevancy and core expertise. Collaborated across agencies to build strategic relationships resulting in an increase in customer requests for briefings by agency experts.
EDUCATION:Master of Business Administration, MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA
Bachelor of Science - Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:Leadership for a Democratic Society, Federal Executive Institute, Charlottesville, Virginia

Special Act Award                       1997
Secretary's Award                        2002
Special Service Award                 2005
Special Commendation Award    2009

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Overqualified Candidate

Some job candidates have more skill, education, or experience than a position requires. These “overqualified” candidates often face particular challenges in finding a job. To succeed in the job market, overqualified candidates need to understand an employer’s concerns, highlight their experience, and communicate effectively.

Employer concerns. An organization with high employee turnover can make future job candidates wary. Reluctance to hire overqualified candidates sometimes stems from these turnover fears: Employers believe that an overqualified worker will continue to seek a job more closely aligned with his or her credentials—and leave when one turns up.

Cheri Butler, associate director of Career Services at the University of Texas at Arlington, says prospective employers have reservations about hiring overqualified candidates: “If I hire him, will he stay? Will he be unhappy with the wage we offer? Does she only want a paycheck? Why would she apply to a job that is below her skill and experience level?” As a result, employers may prefer the “just right” candidate, someone with the correct level of qualifications, who seems a safer choice.

Highlighting experience. Overqualified candidates mindful of this employer hesitation may worry about calling attention to their experience. Many choose to prepare a functional, rather than chronological, resume to emphasize their skills without underscoring years of work. Some experts advise overqualified candidates to downplay their experience on a resume to avoid rejection during the initial culling of applicants. This strategy is similar to choosing keywords from the job description to avoid automatic rejection.

But downplaying experience doesn’t mean disregarding it. In fact, Tina Garrett-Ragland, director of human resources for an automotive supply company in Roanoke, Virginia, suggests that overqualified candidates highlight their skills in the cover letter. “Downplaying your experience might get you an initial interview, but writing a good cover letter can produce better results,” she says. “Use the cover letter to explain why you want the job and how you will use your transferable skills to do the job well.”

A forthright cover letter marks overqualified candidates as thoughtful and honest early in the process—and may help to eliminate a prospective employer’s doubts about their early departure.

Effective communication. Effective communication helps an overqualified candidate reassure prospective employers about concerns they may have. The overqualified candidate has motivations, intentions, and reasons for wanting a particular job, and it’s up to him or her to explain what those are. An overqualified candidate may have many incentives in mind—such as change of pace, relocation, less stress, and more stability—when pursuing some jobs.

Overqualified candidates should emphasize how the organization benefits from their abundant skills. For example, an employer might value  overqualified candidates because of their high level of expertise and experience, sometimes across various fields. “These candidates are attractive because they possess professional maturity and can fill many roles inside an organization,” says Garrett-Ragland.

It is vital that overqualified candidates communicate to prospective employers their intention to stay long term, why they want the job, and how they plan to do the job well. Those who demonstrate motivation and an ability to pick up new skills are less likely to be known as overqualified candidates—and more likely to be called employees.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Spring 2011.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wanna Job? Do the Research First

For many people, the only thing harder than being out of a job is searching for one. The difficulties associated with finding employment can wear down even the most resilient job seekers. Applying for dozens of jobs each week and getting few or no replies can slowly erode your self-esteem. And this loss of confidence can prove detrimental to those of you trying to market your skills to would-be employers.

The good news is that you can avoid many of the mistakes that keep can keep you from winning a job. You can learn how to choose the best channels for applying, why you shouldn’t rely on online resources exclusively, and how to use your contacts effectively. By demystifying the job search process, you can improve your chances for success—provided you’re willing to put in the hard work, time, and patience required.

Research for job readiness

The Internet has transformed the job search process, changing the way we find job openings and research potential employers. Few organizations advertise job openings exclusively in printed classified ads, and some may not use print media at all. Today, information about employers, including job openings, is most often found on the Internet.

Focus the job search

Before beginning your quest for work, you should complete a personal evaluation of your goals. In particular, you should determine the type of work you want to do, where you want to do it, and for whom. Only after you have that information can you start a focused search for work. Although many of you know the type of work you want to do, others need help matching their interests and skills with a specific career. Skills self-assessment guides are particularly useful to anyone who is still exploring career options.Deciding whom to work for also takes research. You should avoid what career experts call the “shotgun approach” to finding a job. This is where you send out 100 resumes in the hopes of getting an interview and possibly a job. Try to focus your search to a few companies or the government.A more targeted approach produces applications that express a better understanding of the organization and its business, reducing the likelihood that your application will to unanswered.

Using online resources

Ideally, you learn about the industries and organizations that interest you before looking for work. Employers expect you to know who they are, what they do, where they operate, and how they compare with others in the industry—especially since such information is readily available online. Useful resources include newspaper articles, industry publications, employee blogs, and online discussions. You can use forums, also known as discussion boards, to communicate with people who work in your desired industry or organization.

Specialized job boards are another useful resource. These boards cater to a particular group, such as a university’s student body or alumni or members of a specific trade or professional association. Specialized job boards feature openings for job seekers who are already part of a wider network. By scouring these boards, you can determine which organizations are actively hiring and can gather information on work duties, minimum requirements, and compensation for specific job openings.