Monthly Archives: February 2015

JOB SEARCH TIPS FOR VETERANS

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Transitioning Military and Veterans have a huge range of skill sets.  They have acquired a wealth of knowledge, skills and competencies from serving our country.  The training and education that they received during their military service is transferable to those skills being sought by the companies and organizations looking to hire.  In addition to these valuable skills, the Veteran brings a unique sense of leadership and teamwork to any organization!

Veterans also understand the commitment to achieving organizational objectives and goals.  In addition, they have demonstrated the ability to work effectively and efficiently within multi-cultural environments. So when an organization hires a Veteran, they are bringing an individual on who is committed to serving both an organization and this nation through their continued service.

Prior Military personnel also have technical skills in highly sought out arenas, such as; IT, Communications, Security and Medical technology to name a few.  Many Veterans also hold the required security clearances that are needed for some government contract and Federal positions.

START THE TRANSITION: 

The typical military transition process should be started as far out as 24 to 18 months, don’t wait until you are out!  Many transitioning military don’t get the chance to start up their transition this far in advance. If given the chance to jump start the transition process, take full advantage of the time to get your ducks in a row, so you are well prepared.

Many Veterans join the service young, maybe even straight out of high school.  They may serve 20 years or more and then retire. Perhaps they haven’t served that long and had just never had to write a resume or career document ever!  So the first thing they want to do is create, update, and tailor their resume.

GATHER DOCUMENTS:

When they sit down to write their resume & career documents, there is so much they have achieved & accomplished while serving their country. I always suggest  to gather all your evaluation reports, service awards and letters of commendations.  Include all documents that speak about themselves all throughout their military career.

DECIDE A CAREER FIELD:

Some may already know if they want to stay in the same field and pursue opportunities within that field.  Still many Veterans may want to make a career change. Veterans need to figure out what career they want to target when they transition out of the military. It would behoove them to have a target for their job search needs. This will ensure their resume will showcase their career highlights and will make them shine in their job search. Hands down the most important thing that a Veteran can do to improve their chances are:

  1. Tailor their resume to the actual position that they are applying to. I can’t stress that enough.  One should not just have one general resume to distribute to all the jobs he/she may be applying to.
  2. I usually recommend to Veterans to think about what they have done in the past 10 to 15 yrs and have them create one master resume/career document. From that master document they will be able to take and insert the information to create a resume they tailor to each position that they are applying to.

So the easiest way I tell people to do it is to take their master document and pull apart the job announcement that they are planning to apply to.  Go through that job announcement and develop some industry keywords and phrases for that particular position, next you will include those keywords & phrases into your new resume.  The reason they need to do this is to ensure that their resume will pass through the applicant tracking system that many organizations are utilizing nowadays in order to weed out hundreds of applicants.

Many Veterans have been out of the workforce for a bit and they probably have not had the experience of getting their resume passed through a computerized applicant tracking system.  Since Veterans have been out of the job search for a few years now, they have not had to write their own resume or apply to a job before. They also may not be aware of the latest resume trends and have a tough time figuring out how to tailor a resume.

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COVER LETTER:

Cover Letters just like the resume should speak to the job announcement as well! This is a key piece of information that many job seekers don’t take the time to do.  What I tell my clients is to do your homework.  Find out what the hiring manager or the Human Resource managers name is.  Ensure to include their name on the cover letter and address the cover letter to that person.

This will show them that you actually took the time to do the research and learn about the organization. This is one sure fire way to stand out in your cover letter! Many job seekers utilize the generic “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”.  This may not get you noticed.  Start off your cover letter with an introduction with a few sentences and then add some bullet points to compliment your resume.

In the end, the qualities a Veteran has includes respect for others, pride, honesty and a sense of belonging, it enables Veterans to adapt into any organization. Many transitioning service members and Veterans are eager to serve. Let’s face it the military instills discipline and work ethic into them from day one!  Follow these job search tips and you will landing interviews before you know it!

If you still have any questions regarding your resumes or federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services.  http://www.first-classresumes.com/She is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 

 

Job Search Items to do on a Snow Day

 

In the Washington D.C. area four to six inches of snow fell overnight, prompting the closure of the federal government, schools and businesses.  It was the area’s first major snowfall of the season, and crews worked throughout the morning to clear roads and sidewalks.

So if you are like me and stayed inside sipping on some hot chocolate and keeping warm, why not work on some items needed for your job search! Below are a few items to work on and check off of your to do list!

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Create a Cover Letter

Cover letters are an excellent opportunity to add qualifications we can’t fully clarify in our resumes.  They also assist job seekers to allow them to come across as real people to prospective employers.  Don’t just throw together a cover letter and think the hiring manager won’t read it.  You may be missing out on the chance to land the job.  In order to take advantage of a cover letter’s full potential perform the steps below.

Make sure you include a salutation in your cover letter.  The greeting you select will depend on the information you have about the organization.  Assuming you know the name of the Human Resource manager, your salutation should be listed as follows:  Dear (Mr. Smith) followed by a colon or a comma.  Ensure you address the hiring manager with their proper title (Ms. or Mr. etc.).

Let’s assume you don’t know the name of the hiring manager.  Simply put “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “Dear (insert organization name) Team.”  Last but not least, you could address the cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern”.  However, I would not recommend utilizing this salutation.

You can first start off writing the first paragraph of your cover letter.  This is where you will state which position you’re applying for and how you heard about the job listing.  I would recommend this being about 1 to 2 sentences in length.

The second step will be to write the body paragraphs of your cover letter.  Many cover letters will have typically about 1 to 2 body paragraphs.  Keep in mind you want to keep the letter short and not take up a great deal of their time.  Ensure you answer these questions in your body paragraphs. Why do I want to work for this organization?  What work experience you have that fits the job qualifications in the job announcement? Why are you a qualified candidate for this position?

Next you will write the final paragraph of your cover letter.  In this paragraph you will wrap up your letter and how you will follow up with your application.  You want to recap in one sentence why you feel you’re a perfect fit for the position.  You will then address what you’ll do next.  If you plan to follow up with the hiring manager in a week, then input the date in your letter.  You can also just say that you look forward to discussing your qualifications further and interviewing for the position.

Always present your contact information to include email and phone number so they may reach you. In addition, state if your resume and references are attached.  Finally always thank the person for their time. Finally, you will end your cover letter with a closing statement.  “Sincerely” or “Best” are always great options.  Finish up your cover letter by typing your full name.

 

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Create a Reference List Sheet for Job Interviews 

Job seekers shouldn’t include the standard blurb “references available upon request” on your resume.   You need to have a reference page set up ahead of time to include a list of job references.

How you organized your reference list can make a huge impact in your chances of landing the position!  When you’ve reached the point in the interview process where a hiring manager asks you for your references, you will already be prepared.

Make sure to present your information accurately and in an easy to read format.  This will ensure you have a quality reference list!  Remember, everything you say or do during your job search helps to create a lasting impression in a prospective employer’s mind.

Now I certainly hope you are enjoying your snowy days this winter.  You can’t change the weather; however you can find activities that will help with your job search!

If you still have any questions regarding your resumes or federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services.  http://www.first-classresumes.com/She is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 

FEDERAL RESUME APPLICATION TIPS

FEDERAL RESUME APPLICATION TIPS

There are plenty of opportunities within the federal government, but job applicants need to know the method for landing a position within the federal government is completely different than what they are used to in the private sector.  Here are some tips job seekers will need to utilize when applying for a federal position.

BEING HIGHLY QUALIFIED FOR A FEDERAL POSITION: 

First time Federal job applicants receive disappointing ratings on their application, despite being highly qualified for the position.  The low rating is usually not a result of their qualifications, but of a poor application package.

Many job seekers descend into the same trap that countless first time Federal job applicant’s encounter. The applicants resume package must showcase details of their applicable experience and relate it to the position they are seeking.  Once they perform this, a high rating will result.

CFCC-logoREASON FOR LOW RATING: 

Your strategy should be to make qualified list most of the time!  When the Federal examiners review your resume application, they see your resume and a copy of the Vacancy Announcement for the position you are seeking. It’s the examiners job to check off each item listed under the Basic Qualification and Ranking Factors listed on each job announcement.  They will begin by taking a glance at your resume to see if your have placed those qualifications on your career documents. So it’s imperative for you to list these Knowledge, Skills and Abilities on your resume.

QUALIFICATION SOUGHT FOR THE POSITION:

So even though your resume may sound great, it won’t do the job until it clearly states that you have the qualifications sought for the position. For example, let’s say the job announcement states a candidate needs to have excellent writing and editing skills.  Your resume needs to reflect that you have an expert knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Another example may be the announcement states you need to have experience in scheduling.  However your resume doesn’t state you have made travel arrangements. It’s important to list each qualification and KSA sought so as you will receive the highest rating possible. 

THE SCREENING QUESTIONS: 

To ensure fairness across the board, the federal government’s hiring process is highly regulated.  When applying for a position you will encounter questions in your federal application.  Your replies to the questions have a major impact on your candidacy.

The Federal job announcements comprise of screening questions and affect how you will be evaluated. Always ensure your responses are supportive and tailored to each announcement. The reason being is that the agencies will evaluate a job seekers relevant experience based on the keywords in the job announcement to the keywords in the candidate’s application.

TAILOR YOUR RESUME TO THE POSITION:

So to sum it up, ensure you obtain a copy of the Vacancy Announcement for each position you seek.  Ensure you meet the qualifications to the full extent and that you are able to perform the position.  In addition, identify each and every KSA and qualification being sought.  Then revise your resume and apply with confidence. Instead of being aggravated you’ll have excellent ratings, be landing on the referred list and quite possibly an excellent government job offer to think about!

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If you still have any questions regarding your federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services.  http://www.first-classresumes.com/.  She is a Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe.