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July 3, 2012
By Rachel Ponder, APG News

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The "Applying for Federal Employment Workshop," offered at Army Community Service, walks participants through the process of searching, applying and securing government jobs. ACS has partnered with the Susquehanna Workforce Network to offer these workshops at APG on a bimonthly basis.

"A number of folks requested this workshop," said Employment Readiness Program Manager Marilyn Howard. "A federal resume is so different than a traditional resume. The application process is lengthier, more complicated. Also, the process has changed so much over the years."

During the June 21 workshop, Federal Employment Specialist Kim Justus and Business Services Representative Terri Kearney from the Susquehanna Workforce Network emphasized the importance of carefully following all directions, because applications with missing information are not considered. Justus and Kearney also emphasized that job seekers should give themselves plenty of time to complete the application process, especially when applying for a federal job for the first time. Justus said that the first application could take up to fifteen hours to complete.

"Applying for a federal job is a marathon, not a sprint," she said.

Justus told participants that when they see a job announcement they are interested in, they should print out and review the assessment questionnaire that accompanies each job announcement. The questionnaire helps applicants determine if they are qualified for the job.

"Do the questionnaire first, just to make sure there are no surprises," she said.

Justus added that the key to a successful job search is organization. She recommended that job applicants save a copy of each job announcement and resume submitted because the time between applying for a job and being contacted for an interview can be months. She also recommended that job seekers keep a master list of closing dates and contact information for each job.

Justus and Kearney walked attendees through researching vacancy announcements on www.usajobs.gov and other federal agency websites and creating a federal resume. Kearney said that a resume submitted to USAJOBS must include special key words and phrases found throughout the vacancy announcement to pass the initial screening process. After the initial screening process, human resources specialists review the resumes and determine who goes on the best qualified list and prepare the list of certified eligible candidates for the supervisor in charge of hiring.

"At some point your resume will be read by actual humans," Kearney said. "Don't copy and paste every piece of information. Make sure you can support everything you say on your resume."

Capt. Beau Taylor from the 20th Support Command said that he thought the workshop was highly informative. Taylor said he would like to pursue a federal job when he leaves the Army.

"Hopefully this workshop will make this transition easier," he said. "I highly recommend it to others."

Johnnie Crowder, a Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical employee, said that she attended the workshop so that she could offer assistance to her Family and friends.

"People are always asking me how they can get a government job," she said. "The application process has changed over the years, so I needed to take this workshop in order to help them."

The next workshop will take place on August 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Army Community Service, Building 2503 on Highpoint Road. For more information and to register, contact Howard, ACS Employment manager, at 410-278-9669/7572. This workshop is open to everyone. The Susquehanna Workforce Network offers free workshops, job fairs and other career information at their Aberdeen, Bel Air and Elkton offices. For more information,visit http://www.swnetwork.org/.