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Rock My Resume: Anna Ellis
September 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm #142448
Why do you want your resume reviewed?
I have worked in some capacity with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 2007. I began as an intern, graduated to a fellow, and now serve as a contractor. Every year I have to worry about my employment status because that’s the nature of the budget beast. I now have a family and need stability.
What is your current situation (employed, seeking, etc.)?
I am currently employed as a contractor with the CDC seeking a FTE position.
Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)?
I submit to at least one USAJobs.gov position weekly. I am also keeping my ears to the ground about the new Pathways proposal.
What’s the main issue you’re encountering?
I keep receiving “Eligible Not Referred.” After speaking with HR I understand the GS-9 positions (and even a couple of GS-11 positions) were beat out by Vet Pref. I am not against Vet Pref. at all, so I understand. Now I only apply to GS-11 or higher. I consistently score 94-96 on my apps.
Can you share 1 link to a job you’re interested in applying for?
Two most recent apps
November 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm #142459
Hey Anna – I know it’s been a bit of a wait (since this is free, we’ve had a huge backlog), but we’re getting close to being able to review your resume. In fact, if you can share a new open job announcement (links above are broken due to USAJOBS changes), I could even bump you up to an immediate review! Thanks – Andy (GovLoop Community Manager)
December 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm #142457
Thanks Andrew. Sorry for the late response, been traveling. Here are some very recent job anouncements
Job Title:Health Communication Specialist
Department:Department Of Health And Human Services
Agency:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Job Announcement Number:HHS-CDC-DE-12-560395
$59,987.00 to $93,470.00 / Per Year
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 to Monday, December 12, 2011
SERIES & GRADE:
Full Time – Permanent
1 vacancy(s) – Atlanta, GA United StatesView Map
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED:
United States Citizens
Become a part of the Department that touches the lives of every American! At the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) you can give back to your community, state, and country by making a difference in the lives of Americans everywhere. It is the principal agency for protecting the health of citizens. Join HHS and help to make our world healthier, safer, and better for all Americans.
This position is located in the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office of the Director (OD), Office of the Associate Director for Communication (OADC) in Atlanta, GA.
Additional selections may be made from this announcement.
- U.S. Citizenship is required.
- Background investigation is required.
The incumbent will plan, implement, and evaluate a variety of health communication and marketing activities designed to impact positive health outcomes. Develops and implements communication and marketing programs, projects, and strategies for the general public and other audiences. Applies health literacy methods to develop messages and materials. Design and evaluate health literacy projects and teach clear communication skills. Works with senior health communication specialist to ensure health communication activities are based on theory and use accepted principles, methods, and practices. Provides consultation, technical assistance, and training on program and project implementation in internal and external groups. Prepares presentation materials. Researches and evaluates activities related to health communication and marketing. Serves as a liaison between program and other communication and marketing staff and with external stakeholders on program specific issues.
Minimum Qualification Requirements for Health Communication Specialist, GS-1001-11.
Have one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-9 grade level in the Federal service, assisting in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of health literacy communication and marketing activities.
Have a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree, or three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree, or LL.M., if related from an accredited college or university. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent one year of full-time study. If that information cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will satisfy the one year of full-time study requirement.
Have a combination of specialized experience and graduate education as described above. To combine education and experience, determine the applicant’s total qualifying experience as a percentage of the experience required for the grade level. Then determine the applicant’s education as a percentage of the education required for the grade level. Finally, add the two percentages. The total percentage must equal at least 100 percent to qualify.
Minimum Qualification Requirements for Health Communication Specialist, GS-1001-12.
Have one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service, developing, implementing and evaluating health literacy communication and marketing activities.
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
Once the application process is complete, a review of the resume and supporting documentation will be made and compared against your responses to the assessment questionnaire to determine if you are qualified for this job. If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and/or experience, you may lose consideration for this position. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your eligibility. Category rating procedures will be used to rate and rank candidates. The category assignment is a measure of the degree in which your background matches the competencies required for this position. Qualified candidates will be ranked into one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified.
The Category Rating Process does not add veterans’ preference points but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category. Preference eligibles who meet the minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category (except in the case of scientific or professional positions at the GS-9 level or higher). Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics):
1. Knowledge of communication theories, principles, practices and techniques.
2. Knowledge of health literacy methods.
3. Ability to research and evaluate activities to analyze the effectiveness of health communication strategies.
4. Ability to perform liaison activities to partners and customers.
5. Skill in oral communication.
6. Skill in written communication.
The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the major benefits offered to most Fede
To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:
1. Your Résumé
2. A complete Assessment Questionnaire
3. Other supporting documents:
– Veterans Preference Documentation, if applicable
– College Transcripts, if applicable
December 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm #142455
Thanks Anna – Just queued you up for December…you should get a review by end of the year!
December 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm #142453
Thanks so much for this valuable service. I am looking forward to any suggestions
December 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm #142451
Thanks for participating in the Rock Your Resume program. I apologize for taking so long to respond to you post. I hope you are having a terrific holiday season.
You have a lot of great experience and your current resume does a decent job of showing the basics of what you bring to the table. You also have a very well organized and presented federal resume. The suggestions I have for improving what you have now focus on a more effective way to present your qualifications and how to write the descriptions of your experiences.
BTW, everything I discuss below, and more, is discussed in greater detail in my new book the 2nd edition of the Student’s Federal Career Guide located at http://www.amazon.com/Students-Federal-Career-Guide-2nd/dp/0982419058/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324572910&sr=8-2
The kindle version should be available soon too. Although it focuses on students, there are a ton of great tips and suggestions for everyone in it. Check it out!
My first suggestion is that you include a Summary section at the beginning of your federal resume that would follow your name, contact info, and federal objective (job number, veteran status, etc.) sections.
The Summary section of your resume is your opportunity to create a lens through which employers will read your resume. Give them something direct and to the point that will focus their attention on what it is they are about to read. Here is a good example:
“Program analyst with three years of project experience working on teams implementing community development programs, grant writing, and data analysis. Business and organizational development expert with first-hand experience of the Congressional appropriations process and knowledge of effective strategic management practices.”
The other thing that will help your presentation is to use a “modified chronological” format. This is a hybrid version of the functional and chronological that is organized in reverse chronological order, but has subsections focused on the skills sets the employer has said they need.
Each description, then, has longer bullet points that are focused on specific skill sets determined by the job announcement. For example, a recent client of mine was applying to a position at a university that had a number of distinctive requirements. He had a number of shorter bullet points that weren’t cohesive or understandable, so I suggested something like this:
- Recruitment and Marketing ‑ Develop employer outreach strategy and marketing plan, requiring relationship and network building in all sectors and publication of the first brochure sent to over 5,000 contacts around the world. The number of employers holding on-campus recruiting events almost doubled in this timeframe and the number of employers participating in the annual Employer Site Visit program increased 50%.
- Communications – Customize and administer, in conjunction with director, the web-based career management system, which gives student and alumni 24-hour access to job and internship announcements, an event calendar, employer contacts, and career-related documents.
- Project Evaluation ‑ Create and administer electronic surveys and evaluations for students and alumni in order to organize relevant and timely workshops, seminars, and career fairs. Attendance at events increased over the past four years including twice as many employers participating in the Elliott School career fair from 35 (2001) to 74 (2005).
- Training ‑ Advise students and alumni on career plans, job search strategy, organizational research, professional development opportunities, resume writing, informational interviewing, salary negotiation, and networking techniques. Review 200-250 resumes and cover letters per year.
That kind of bullet point pulls together the skill sets he used (developing, implementing, creating), what/who/how/why he did these things, and his accomplishments. And it focuses the employer’s attention on those skills sets the employ said it needed. It also gives much more context to the employer and the sense that my student’s work had a much broader impact.
You don’t want to have massive bullet points for every skill set, just those that highlight the things that mean the most to the employer.
Another way of laying this out is to have several bullet points under one sub heading like:
Strategic Planning and Policy Development
- Develop strategic plan for new one-person career development office, monitor program budget, and serve on Executive Committee for school that has grown by 80% in 3 years.
- Identify career development needs of 450 MPA, MPP, and PhD students, implement appropriate programs and services, and offer support to 3200 alumni. Approximately 95% of all alumni are employed six months after graduation.
- Establish systems to ensure seamless coordination with Student Disability Services, Counseling Services, and International Services Office to help clients with special physical, mental, emotional, and legal needs.
- Evaluate financial aid process for graduate students and collaborate with upper management to review and develop process to decrease waiting time to receive confirmation with purpose of increasing student recruitment and retention.
- Assess personnel needs of school according to mission and present reclassifications and proposals for new staff members to director and faculty.
Along with this structure, I find it useful to write these using a “project management” mindset. In other words, your bullet points should not be brief descriptions of individual activities, but they should show that you were involved in a much larger project.
There is no data on your resume more important than your accomplishments. Think of it this way: you’re a hiring manager with one position to fill and 10 qualified candidates clamoring for the position. Each candidate has the same basic educational and professional background. The candidate who clearly shows how their work added value at past positions will appear most attractive. Accomplishments are all that separate you from other equally qualified candidates.
If you don’t share how your work affected an organization or how your output was used, they won’t get the full picture. They could be left asking ―So What! After you write each bullet point, ask yourself that question—―So What? What’s the end of the story? And whenever possible, quantify your accomplishments.
Sometimes it’s very hard to come up with an achievement for a bullet point, or you may not have specific percentages of growth or effectiveness. In place of measurable accomplishments, give as much detail as you can. If you used a specific software or theory mention it. Did you consult with secondary AND primary resources for your research? What was the title and purpose of the conference you organized? Were your foreign language abilities necessary to complete the task?
A good tool for writing quality position descriptions is the CCAR method:
C = Context
C = Challenge
A = Action
R = Result
If you are having a hard time finding the ―end‖ of your story, try using a Skills Matrix:
Action (How did you do it?)
(accomplishment, value-added, how your work was used)
Negotiated t-shirt price
Compared competitor prices, communicated price difference to company of choice
Save organization money or
35% savings totaling $2,800.
Research & Analysis
Also, you need to look at your descriptions from the perspective of the person reading your resume and ask yourself these questions: “So what? Is this what I need?” Most of what you have written now would not give them what they need.
Avoid using verbs like conduct, perform, administer, support, assist, maintain, or the really old and tired phrase “responsibilities included.” Those are really passive verbs and don’t give you nearly as much credit as you deserve. Try to start each bullet point with an action verb that is the exact same word as you found in the job description.
Whenever you find it hard to avoid starting your bullet points with “Assisted” or “Helped,” break down what you did into manageable parts that you can describe. Everything you do relates to a skill set that an employer will find useful as long as you present it as such.
Finally, it is important that the last sub-section of every position description be a “Key Accomplishments” section. Federal HR professionals like to see a section that highlights you key accomplishments for every position. These accomplishments can be awards, recognitions, commendations, and even a retelling of those things your mentioned in the sub-sections above the Key Accomplishments. It is a good idea to flesh-out those key accomplishments from your bullet points, because they may have been buried in the project management style of writing.
For example, the second bullet point above, under Strategic Planning and Policy Development mentions an accomplishment, but it is slightly buried. Therefore, one of the bullet points under Key Accomplishments could be “95% of recent graduates successfully found professional positions six months after graduation, the highest historical success rate.”
Of course, all of this means that every organization you describe will take up a lot of space. I am not an advocate for writing long federal resumes just to get as much information onto the page as possible. I do believe, however, it is very important to give the employer all the information you can that directly relates to their needs. The more you can do that, the more likely it is you will be moved forward in the process, even if your federal resume is 5+ pages.
The hardest part now is actually writing your resume. I suggest that you not worry about the length of your resume at this point, but instead that you focus on the content. Don’t worry about length now, that will only hinder your ability to write out everything you can on the page. When you do that, you might be amazed at how much more important information appears on your resume. When you worry too much about length, you won’t allow yourself to get everyone out of your head onto the page. Just get everything out and then go back to clean it up.
In fact, that is good advice for writing in general. Writing, thinking, and researching should happen at the same time. Get everything your think about onto the page and then go back—do not edit as you write.
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