Browsing: Uncategorized

Maximize your time as a Presidential Management Fellow

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Tips for current or aspiring Presidential Management Fellows and the managers and associates who advise them: Before applying to the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, consider its advantages and disadvantages versus other federal fellowship programs or entry-level positions. The PMF program offers prestige, training, networking, mentoring and substantive experience. But so do many other federal internship and fellowship programs and entry-level jobs. Many such positions have simpler and faster application procedures than the PMF’s. And some entry-level jobs pay better. If you apply to be a PMF, keep pursuing other career options. Only about one in 10 applicants are accepted into…

Your LinkedIn profile should open strong

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Open your LinkedIn profile with a bang by instantly conveying your professional stature and by concisely packing as much information as possible into your header and your summary. Your header is the title following your name. It shouldn’t necessarily match your job title, particularly if your title has only a ho-hum ring or does not capture your stature or areas of accomplishment. Consider spicing up your header by calling yourself an “expert in X.” Do you recoil at the thought of calling yourself “an expert” even though you’re a seasoned professional? If so, you’re not alone, if my experience is…

LinkedIn is key to getting a job, promotion

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My informal survey suggests that LinkedIn may be the most popular social media website among seasoned professionals. Harder evidence of LinkedIn’s indispensability: According to a Jan. 27 New York Times article, “In Hiring, a Friend in Need Is a Prospect, Indeed,” some large companies are finding qualified candidates by recruiting new hires from the LinkedIn networks of their current employees. In the process, they are bypassing reams of nameless applications from recruiters and job boards. So if you’re seeking a nonfederal job, it is practically de rigueur to create an impressive LinkedIn profile. And if you’re seeking a federal promotion, the same is…

Job applications require your best efforts

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The 17th-century French scientist and mathematician Blaise Pascal said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” The principle that writing concise documents takes more time than writing long-winded ones applies to just about every type of document, including reports, fact sheets, websites, letters, presentations and applications. Instead of leaving the preparation of documents to the last minute, take time to: Tailor each document to its target audience. When deciding what to leave in or out and how to order your document’s contents, consider what your audience most wants and needs, and prioritize accordingly. And when…

Use metrics to promote achievements

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Statistics, measurements, counts and other metrics sound scientific, inarguable and objective. If you bolster your resume, answers to interview questions and updates to your supervisor, LinkedIn profile and other professional documents with such metrics, they will sound scientific, inarguable and objective. By quantifying your achievements, you will also underscore their heft and help prove that you’re an action-oriented go-getter rather than a self-promoting talker. “Time” metrics are one way to help quantify your achievements: Your years of experience or hours of training or courses. Tight, non-negotiable deadlines you met, or the number of work products (such as press releases, articles,…

Give your résumé an eye-catching format

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A winning way to craft your résumé is to begin by brandishing your name — followed by abbreviations for any certifications or graduate degrees you earned — in large, bold font on the first line. And cite in large, bold font your professional title on the second line of your résumé. By doing so, you’ll instantly broadcast to harried hiring managers who only skim your résumé what you are and what you could do for them. Your professional title should be honest, but need not necessarily match the job title of your current job, particularly if the latter fails to…

To get hired, think like a hiring manager

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Want to understand how to impress hiring managers? It takes one to know one, as the saying goes. So the best way to understand hiring managers is to become one. You may be able to do so by volunteering to serve on a hiring committee. If you serve on a hiring committee, you will be shocked, outraged, entertained, horrified, humored, impressed and enlightened by how job seekers present themselves. But more importantly, you will be rewarded for your service with insider insights about how hiring managers think and how job seekers fail and succeed in their job quests — information…

Power of validation can lift you above the rest

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Which of these statements is more persuasive and impressive? “I am an excellent swimmer. I know you will be impressed by how well I swim when you watch me.” “I won an Olympic gold medal in swimming.” The first statement — unsupported by any objective validation — could easily be dismissed as self-serving propaganda and an empty, presumptuous promise. By contrast, the second assertion is impressive because it incorporates objective, inarguable, universally respected validation: an Olympic medal. The second assertion meets the gold standard, literally. You can similarly use the power of validation to prove that you have met the…

Preparation essential when considering ‘retirement career’

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Because of the bad economy, the limitations of federal retirement benefits, the housing crisis, ever-increasing health care costs and lengthening life spans, the phrase “retirement career” is no longer an oxymoron. But beware: Retirement careers often require long-term planning. The first step for considering your options is to identify your earliest possible federal retirement date, based on your age and years of service. If you’re a full-time fed and want to keep working for the federal government after reaching retirement eligibility, you probably have two main options: Continue your current federal career path, provided that your job doesn’t have a…

Take these steps before becoming a federal contractor

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My Sept. 24 column reviewed potential federal contracting opportunities to consider if you start your own business after leaving your federal job. Here are tips I collected from federal contract managers on how to win contracting bids: Follow solicitation instructions to the letter, and submit all required documents. Discuss solicitations that interest you with your target agency’s contracting officer (CO) before you submit proposals. Also, consult him if you anticipate missing deadlines or if you hit other obstacles while preparing proposals or fulfilling contracts. It is the CO’s job to communicate with vendors; don’t be shy out of the mistaken…

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