Networking is key in federal job hunt

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By Derrick Dortch
Wednesday, October 27, 2010; 9:27 PM

Look for federal careers expert Derrick T. Dortch's column on government jobs on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month.

Washington is a networking town. No news there. But when you're looking for a job, no matter where you live, networking has to be a big part of your tool kit.

As I've said many times, success is about what you know - and who you know.

With President Obama's hiring reform mandate, networking is about to become even more important in the federal job market. That's because the hiring initiatives include a greater focus on managers and supervisors.

The presidential memorandum states: "Managers and supervisors with responsibility for hiring are to be more fully involved in the hiring process, including planning current and future workforce requirements, identifying the skills required for the job, and engaging actively in the recruitment and, when applicable, the interviewing process."

Indeed, there has always been some involvement from managers and supervisors in the hiring process, but now it's being ordered by the president. That's good news for federal job seekers and federal employees trying to make career moves.

It means that if you can get your resume in the hands of a manager and they are impressed, it could open the door to an interview and possibly a job.

Your federal career success tool kit should include more than an online resume that you use to apply on USAJOBS, AVUECENTRAL and so on. You also need a "Targeted Networking Resume," as well as what I call a "Targeted Presentation Style Resume" for when agencies ask that a resume be faxed, e-mailed, snail mailed or hand-delivered.

Your targeted networking resume should be a two- to four-page resume geared toward the agencies of your interest. It should include your relevant success stories, skills, experience and education. Use this resume strategically in your federal job search.

If you are in a big city, there is no excuse not to network. There are too many opportunities to do so. I know some people are not comfortable with networking, but you must do it.

Get involved in associations tied to your career interests. Many will have government employees, and some have groups that specifically represent federal workers.

If you are interested in the intelligence field, for example, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers has great programs and speakers from agencies and companies focused on intelligence. There is also the National Military Intelligence Association and the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. That's just a few. Most have memberships for students and other interested individuals.

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