The Department of Defense (DOD) relies on a mix of volunteer federal civilian employees (from DOD civilian and other federal agency civilian workforces) and civilian contractors to provide support to our overseas military forces. Deployed civilians are currently filling critical vacancies in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq and other Middle East hot spot locations. Along the way, these dedicated volunteers have gained expertise and enhanced their careers while supporting the challenges of the Global War on Terror.
IN THE 1ST QUARTER FY 2017, THERE WERE OVER 45,000 CONTRACTOR PERSONNEL WORKING FOR THE DOD IN AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ, AND OTHER MIDDLE EAST LOCATIONS ACCORDING TO USCENTCOM’S REPORT TO CONGRESS. THIS NUMBER PROVIDES ONLY A PARTIAL PICTURE OF TOTAL CONTRACTORS IN OVERSEAS OPERATIONS. THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF OTHER CONTRACTORS EMPLOYED BY FEDERAL AGENCIES (SUCH AS THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT AND THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT) AS WELL AS PRIVATE CONTRACTORS FROM WELL-KNOWN WAR ZONE COMPANIES
YOU ANSWERED THE CALL OF OUR NATION AND DEPLOYED TO SERVE IN THE VITAL ROLE of supporting war fighters, providing stability and helping to rebuild nations. During your 6-to-12-month deployment (or perhaps longer), you lived and worked under field conditions in dangerous theaters of operation.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO COME HOME AND CAPITALIZE ON YOUR DEPLOYMENT SKILLS. Translate that experience into the skills you need to build your resume, set yourself apart from your peers, and compete for new, higher-level stateside opportunities.
WHAT WAS YOUR DEPLOYED MISSION AREA?
- BASE SUPPORT
- COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT
WHAT TYPICALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU RETURN FROM DEPLOYMENT? Many volunteer federal civilians choose to return to the position they held prior to their deployment. Others return to positions of similar grade, level and responsibility in the same organization they worked for when stateside. Some have applied for and been selected for promotions while deployed.
FINDING A NEW OPPORTUNITY. No matter what your “return rights” are, now is a great time to utilize your broadened experience and knowledge and leverage it into a NEW, HIGHER-LEVEL OPPORTUNITY or move into a NEW JOB SERIES that you may now qualify for based on your new experience.
IS THERE CURRENTLY A “HIRING FREEZE”? The President lifted his February 2017 hiring freeze on April 12. Even under the freeze, agencies were permitted to exempt certain positions that were vital to the “national security mission and public safety responsibilities.” DOD also excepted from the freeze “civilian employees exercising return rights from an overseas assignment.” President Trump has also mandated that agencies review and streamline their programs; the civilian FY budget may take a hit.
ALTHOUGH THERE ARE NOW FEWER FEDERAL JOBS THAN WHEN YOU LEFT FOR YOUR DEPLOYMENT, NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO START FOCUSING YOUR ENERGIES ON FINDING A NEW STATE-SIDE FEDERAL CIVILIAN POSITION.
OUR TOP 10 TIPS:
- When you first deployed, your skills were probably more narrowly focused. You have added technical skills that were specific to your deployed work, but you might not need those specific technical skills at the Pentagon or other DOD agency.
- Think in terms of the requirements of the SPECIFIC FEDERAL JOB YOU ARE INTERESTED IN. That position may or may not utilize all the new skills you gained overseas.
- Don’t waste your time with “guesstimates” about the right job. We can help you identify potential opportunities and TARGET THE RIGHT POSITIONS.
- Familiarize yourself with the “knowledge, skills and abilities” (KSAs) frequently listed in civilian DOD Announcements. Depending on the series/grade, those KSAs might include:
- LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT
- BUDGET MANAGEMENT / COST CONTROL
- CUSTOMER SERVICES
- DATA ANALYSIS AND COMPILATION
- BRIEFINGS AND PRESENTATIONS
- BUILDING COALITIONS AND POLITICAL SAVVY
- PROGRAM ANLAYSIS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND PROBLEM-SOLVING
- INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS
- Understand the meaning of “general experience” and “specialized experience” stated in USAJOBS announcements. That will inform you about the required length of experience and level of responsibility that you will need to qualify for a higher-level position.
- Learn how to translate your “deployed” experiences into civilian language. Don’t try to write, edit, target and submit a federal resume without calling on our expertise.
- Use the tried-and-true RESUME PLACE FORMAT – the “Outline Format” preferred by agency HR specialists – and the USAJOBS Builder for your resume.
- Capitalize on your NEW ENHANCED SKILLS. As a deployed civilian, you successfully built enterprise-wide experience and cultural/regional knowledge. Those new skills will be valued in NEW OPPORTUNITIES, particularly LEADERSHIP positions.
- Think about at least 3 accomplishments that will tell the HR specialist and manager that you are a GREAT performer, that you think ahead, solve problems, save money, meet deadlines, lead teams, are an effective change agent. We’ll help you fine-tune those accomplishments.
- Be sure that you match your resume to the Announcement. YES – each of your resumes needs to be tailored slightly differently. The HR specialists spend days drafting the announcements and you need to take time to read them, find the keywords and skills and incorporate them into your resume.
GET HELP WITH YOUR FEDERAL RESUME
TARGETED TOWARD THESE TYPES OF POSITIONS:
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EllenLazarus is a Resume Place Certified Federal Job Search Trainer, Federal Resume Writer and Career Coach. She is a former Legislative Branch senior executive.
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