Live from NextGen: Movin’ On Up In Your Organization

What is the best way for current and future federal government employees to move up in their career? HR specialists from the NIH speak to the process from their own experiences moving up the GS Schedule and evaluating candidates.

Michelle Lipinski, Senior Human Resources Specialist, starts the break-out talking about the 15 level GS pay scale – be strategic about how you seek promotions. She cites the book Ten Steps to a Federal Job by K. Troutman as a good resource for thinking about your resume and your potential for: (Core Competencies, Personal Mastery, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Customer Service, Flexibility/Adaptability, Creative Thinking, Systems Thinking, Technical Competency, Organizational Stewardship).

Important tips:

  • In an interview, HR managers want to know how you have turned failures into successes. If asked where you have failed in the past, and you say that you have never failed before, you have turned them off instantly.
  • Even if you are applying for a job in your own agency, look at the job position overview. Ask yourself, who is this position geared to? You have to align with what they are looking for. If there are specialized requirements, the qualifications standards guide on the OPM website will help you determine what the agency is looking for.
  • Be very prepared to talk bout everything that you put on your resume. You should grab your performance plan and have your elevator speech ready for every aspect of yourself that you are promoting

Rebekah Geiger, GS-14 government rock star, National Institutes of Health, took the second half of the breakout session. Her talk spoke to the following points:

Align Yourself – If possible, make all effort to align yourself with a manager who wants to see me grow. A manager who is perpetually thinking about what he or she can do to improve the quality of their staff is someone who you want to seek out. Also, make sure that the people who you connect yourself with understand OPM regulations so they know what the options for training and opportunity are.

Identify Your Career Plan – Promotions are challenging, and there are tons of resources that will help you choose what to put on your resume and how you will be able to back up what you are capable of doing.

Advocate for Yourself – Make sure to know what to say yes to, and if you can’t do what is asked of you, make sure to be able to say no when no is the right answer. Make sure that you are advocating for getting the training you need in order to keep your career on your planned track.

Be Creative – Make sure you know the pay and promotion system and know how the system can work for you.

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