Getting the Most Out of a Gov Career

You’re a government employee! Congrats! You’re a rockstar! But now that you are in government, what’s next? How do you rise through the ranks? How do you become a decision maker?

At the earlier stages of our careers, it’s sometimes tough to picture ourselves at the top of the organization, being the leader. Nevertheless, planning for your long-term career path is just as essential as putting out the day-to-day fires that you encounter on the job today.

That’s why GovLoop is spending the next month focusing on how to maximize you career – we’re calling it your  Career Coach Corner. We will be interviewing government career coaches to answer some of your most pressing questions.

Today I’m talking to Colleen Farrell, Human Resources Specialist at the Office of Personnel Management.

Ask a lot of quesstions

Sometimes what you don’t know can hurt you. When you are a new government employee you can be resistant to asking clarifying questions because you don’t want to appear behind the 8-ball, but Farrell says that is a mistake. “Young government employees don’t ask any questions, and I think that’s really important. Your job is to find out basically what your manager really wants. That is your job. Ask the questions.”

A whole new world – explore it

The good thing about government is there are so many unique opportunities and jobs throughout the government. You don’t have to stay in the agency you started with. “You want to get as much experience as possible. As a young fed you should venture out. Ask yourself, do you want to stay in the same field? As long as you have 52 weeks of service you can move within government with relative ease,” said Farrell.

If you want to explore government in a different way, one of the best vehicles for is trainings both online and in-person. (Just a quick plug: GovLoop has some awesome trainings you should check out!)

We have trainings here at OPM. Trainings offer someone who has been working in one area of government an opportunity to explore other areas and get a clearer picture of that branch of government,” said Farrell. “For instance, in my office we offer staffing and recruitment services center. But there are other parts of HR, a psychology section for example. You could take a training from that department”

USAJobs.gov redux

USAjobs.gov has received a lot of flack over the years for being cumbersome and hard to navigate. But Farrell says the new search feature is helping streamline the process. “The new search criteria allows job seekers to look up positions by agency and by area.”

Farrell’s USAjobs insider tips:

  • Create a new account for each specified search
  • Have each of your searches send you an email digest of new job openings
  • Include key words for the job positing in your resume – make it buzzworthy

What are your secrets to finding a new government job? What questions do you want answered by our career experts. Hit the comment section and ask!

GovLoop Career Resources:

*Find all of our Career Coach Interview here.

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Charlie Jackson

Heh…you asked input front page: At 69 I’ve had 3 major careers, each one connected with Customer Service. I’m flunking retirement because this is my best career–enabling me to put it all together to help others with an innate ability to solve their issues. IMO, Customer Service, both in-house and to public is THE key for younger generations wanting to advance. in fact, become a Customer Servant to your fellow man and doors will open. How? Think ahead–I.e., What kinds of information would I need in my boss’s capacity and where would I get it? I once coined a formula in an article: CS= (s+a)2. Customer Service equals speed plus accuracy, squared.