A Clever Job Search Strategy

A Clever Job Search Strategy

Kathryn Troutman

If you want to maximize your federal job search success you need to formulate a strategy. Here’s a helpful scenario that will help human resource specialists notice you.

John, the job seeker: John decided that he wanted to land a civilian position with the Navy in Florida. So, he Googled “Navy Civilian Jobs” and the Navy’s website came up. Then he clicked on Search for Job and filled in the screen with supply specialist with all jobs in Florida. One announcement came up — DON301. This is an Open Continuous job announcement that is posted for all bases in the world and all salary levels.

The Navy and Marines use the Open Continuous/Database Resume to collect vacancy announcements. The human resources specialist will search the resumes in the Open Continuous Databases for eligible applicants. They will check your geographic preference and contact you if you resume contains the keywords and qualifications for the position.

After reading the announcement John developed this job search objective: Separating supply technician, E-4, to obtain a civilian position with the U.S, Navy in Florida as a Supply Specialist, salary of $50,000 to $60,000.

Then, he reviewed this duties section and pulled the following keywords to build his resume:

In this occupation you may supervise, lead or perform work concerned with one or more aspects of supply activities from initial planning, including requirements analysis and determination, through acquisition, cataloging, storage, distribution, utilization to ultimate issue for consumption or disposal. This work requires knowledge of one or more elements or parts of a supply system, and/or supply methods, policies, or procedures. Supply us your resume — apply now.

John also wanted a better description of this position in government. He visited the federal hiring website,, and did a basic search for supply specialist. You will find many job announcements for jobs that will include a better description of this position. Use those descriptions to help build up the description of your Supply responsibilities. Other announcements, especially Air Force and Army, are excellent. Look for another announcement for a position that could be equal to the Supply Position at NAS Pensacola.

Posting resumes on CHART: Using CHART — the Navy’s resume building feature — John submitted his resume online, selected his geographic preferences, and self-nominated himself for the DON301 position.

Quick Tip: Be sure to say that you will accept term or temp position. Many positions are posted as term or temp right now, especially with presidential elections, and changes in Middle East War Plans.

Instead of waiting to hear back from the hiring manager, John is going to be proactive and continued to gather more information about the job, so if does get a call for an interview, he’ll be prepared.

Research the office in Florida and find the supervisor: John Googled “Navy Pensacola, Florida.” NAS Pensacola came up. John was able to find the telephone numbers and names of specific offices in NAS Pensacola. Then, he called the office and asked for the contact information for the supply manager.

Here’s the script John used: “Hello, my name is John Smith, thanks for taking my call. I’m very interested in speaking with you regarding the supply specialist position. I will seperate from the Navy in three months. I have been in supply throughout my military career and I would like to continue my career as a civilian supply specialist. I have submitted my resume to the CHART website and self-nominated for the DON201 announcement and selected Florida sites for my geographic preferences. I have a five point preference.

I know that you will hire or access resumes through the open inventory system on CHART. I just wanted to touch base with you and hope to hear from you to schedule an interview.”

Tip: Ask if it’s okay to e-mail your resume to them directly. “May I e-mail my resume to you directly? My past experience includes setting up Just In Time Supply Systems in the Middle East that have been effective for warfighters. Thanks very much for talking with me for a few minutes. I am interested in positions in three to four months.

What’s next: The supervisor will probably let you e-mail the resume to him directly. He trusts that you’ll submit your resume into CHART for the DON301, and you will self-nominate for Florida and Pensacola. And, if he searches the CHART system for a supply specialist in the next couple of months, they may look for your name. You would still have to qualify, but your chances of getting recognized will be much better.

You may have an e-mail dialogue with the supervisor, administrator, or office administrator concerning the supply work there, possible hiring, or other information about the supply center. As a result, you’ll develop a relationship with the office.

The more clever, faster hiring process: The hiring process for a new supply specialist could be easier for you take charge of your job search through direct contact and introductions to various supply offices. You can find information about your target offices and agencies online. You will still have to submit the resume for a “real announcement” in most cases, but at least they’re familiar with you and you’re gaining insight into the office and services.

VRA and 30 percent disabled? It’s possible that if you have these veterans’ preferences, you could get hired faster with the Direct Hire Authority. With the Open Inventory announcements, it can be helpful for the supervisor to know that you have submitted your resume into CHART.

For more information about finding a job in the federal government, visit GovCentral’s Jobs channel.

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