- June 1, 2010
The essays on federal job applications known as knowledge, skills and abilities statements are a thing of the past, thanks to recent changes in the government's hiring process, and agencies now are looking at user-friendly resumes.
The format of resumes for federal jobs is a lot different from one aimed at employment in the private sector, says Kathryn Troutman of The Resume Place, which specializes in writing resumes for the public and private sectors as well as coaching applicants through the federal hiring process. Troutman offered these tips to help federal managers know what to look for in job applicants in a post-KSA world.
Applicants should have work experiences that closely relate to those outlined in the job announcement.
The best candidates display accomplishments that demonstrate initiative and are result-oriented. Being a team player also is a desirable attribute.
How capable is the applicant in presenting information? Even without essays, managers need to determine how a candidate organizes her thoughts and presents an argument.
When Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall announced the military was phasing out American fast food joints at bases in Afghanistan, the rank-and-file weren't thrilled. No more BK Broilers topped off with Dairy Queen Blizzards.
Lines were long outside pizza and burger joints on the boardwalk at Kandahar Air Base when news of the crackdown hit, even though greasy staples still are freely available at mess halls.
Also on the chopping block? First-run movies, after Gen. Stanley McChrystal, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, decided such "nonessentials" were hampering shipments of weapons and water. "This is a war zone-not an amusement park," Hall admonished.
Maybe the top brass could use a Happy Meal.
Marathoners are a unique bunch, but even in that crowd, BethAnn Telford stands out. Telford, a special events coordinator at the Government Printing Office, ran the Boston Marathon in April in just over four hours and managed to raise nearly $60,000 for brain cancer research in the process.
An avid runner who has competed in the Marine Corps Marathon and the SunTrust Richmond Marathon in Virginia, Telford also is a brain cancer survivor. After two surgeries late last year, she had to take a few months off from training, which didn't leave her much prep time for Boston. But the former field hockey player was undeterred, despite the fact her cancer has returned.
After crossing the finish line in Boston, Telford says she was so elated that her first words were, "Where can I requalify?" The Pennsylvania native is looking forward to celebrating the creation of GPO. On June 23, the office will host a party, which Telford is planning, for employees and retirees to commemorate the day in 1861 when President James Buchanan signed the resolution establishing GPO. Asked to reflect on her accomplishments, Telford still seems surprised. "I'm amazed at myself," she says.
Charting a Course
The Federal Aviation Administration is hard at work using technology to save money, battle more sophisticated cybersecurity attacks and deploy NextGen, its overhaul of the current air traffic control system. Chief Information Officer David Bowen recently talked with Nextgov about his agency's priorities.
Q: What's on your plate for the next year?
A: We're working on some consolidation initiatives, the leading one being the Internet access point consolidation effort being driven by [the Office of Management and Budget]. We've really picked up our activities on the privacy side in terms of doing a better job identifying where our personal information is in the infrastructure, what it's being used for and how it's protected. And we're demonstrating to the agency the value of cost reduction through the deployment of IT.
Q: Where are you now focusing cybersecurity efforts?
A: We have to continue to increase our sophistication in terms of our defensive techniques. Part of that involves user education, which we do a pretty good job with. But it's just a constant leapfrog between the bad guys get better and then we get better and they get better still, and we have to get better still and keep up with them. Q: How quickly does IT change for FAA?
A: Some [NextGen] technologies are actually out there and working, some are still in the laboratory, so we have some pretty long time horizons there. The time frame around cybersecurity is probably the stuff that moves the fastest. Generally things don't move quite as fast on the government front as they do in commercial world.