Are things warming up in more ways than just the weather?
Are you ready to bounce back from 13 months of duck and cover?
Does watching the federal government grow give you ideas about joining if you’re on the outside or unemployed? Or if you’re already inside, are you ready to move from survivor mode to the executive suite?
Now, 2021, is the time. According to one of the top how-to-get-a-federal job experts, things have rarely if ever been a better time. Kathryn Troutman, founder of The Resume Place, has been guiding people into and up in government for decades. And she says the impact of the war against COVID-19 has created a golden opportunity for people looking for work — steady work — with Uncle Sam. While many private sector jobs have disappeared or been put on hold, the government is hiring big time. While state and local governments are laying off people because of reduced revenue, the federal government is funding its own drive. It’s just incredible. There are so many STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — jobs governmentwide. And for experienced feds whose life has been on semi-hold for the past 13 months “there’s never been a better time” to go for a coveted Senior Executive Service job. She said a large number of SES people chose to retire during the national lockdown, either because they didn’t want to lead operations by Zoom, were leery of continuing to work at the office or just plain figured it was time to go and have some fun. Some SES folks also didn’t like the direction the career service appeared to be taking under the previous administration.
Whatever the reasons, the government is hiring at a pace unseen in years, she said. The government is also taking steps to speed up the hiring process. Troutman will be our guest at 10 a.m. EST today on Your Turn. You can stream the show live here or listen on the radio at 1500 AM in the D.C. area. She’ll talk about best ways to get into a government, especially in STEM fields — and also how to move up and into the SES. Here’s how she puts it:
“A person who has a degree in a STEM field or is in mid-career should certainly look at the U.S. government in addition to the private sector. Now, more than ever, federal STEM employees are important for keeping America safe, meeting current threats and preparing the United States for the future.
Obviously, public health is the hottest STEM area right now, because of the challenges of getting Americans vaccinated and other COVID-19 issues. Typing “FDA” (Food and Drug Administration) into the USAJOBs search function one recent Monday, I found 99 vacancies with the agency that day. These included Technical Information Specialist, Health Scientist, Microbiologist, Physician, Consumer Safety Officer and Chemist.
In a recent look at the CDC USAJOBs showed 123 openings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including Public Health Analyst, Epidemiologist, Public Health Advisor, Behavioral Scientist and Health Scientist.
Type in the word CYBER and see what comes up. Last week you could find 285 federal jobs open worldwide. Just about every agency you could think of is hiring cybersecurity IT people, and remember that cyber and IT often go together in federal positions.
Sometimes, like now, the government needs to move faster, so a process was created called “Direct Hire.” This is a searchable term on the USAJOBs website. These are the positions most critically needed in government at the moment, including IT Specialist (Cyber), Public Health, Contract Specialist and Law Enforcement as some areas that could be designated Direct Hire. The time it takes to hire is cut down because the USAJOBs Self-Assessment Questionnaire is eliminated, the announcement is open to only 100 or fewer applicants, and every qualified candidate is sent on to the hiring official.”
In certain situations, Direct Hire applicants can actually send their resumes directly to the hiring official rather than loading it onto USAJOBs. This was the case for some open STEM positions affiliated with the Navy. In an earlier interview, Troutman said she’d spoken to the HR person listed on the Navy Direct Hire announcement. He gave her a tip to share with jobseekers:
“So now I always tell jobseekers that your resume must show that you have the required qualifications. The Navy HR person told me that they cannot infer any information. The manager may see that an applicant is well qualified, but can’t hire them if the right words aren’t on the resume. They can’t call and ask that the resume be amended either.”
On today’s show, she’ll also talk about her books on how to move quickly and efficiently in the federal job market.
The highest ever recorded temperature in the United States is 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley, California. True to its name, the valley’s low elevation at 282 feet below sea level make it one of the hottest places on Earth.