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How I Got the Job: Katie DeCelles, 24

How I Got the Job: Katie DeCelles, 24

How I Got the Job

Sue Dye Babson, special to The Kansas City Star (via YellowBrix)

The job: Program analyst

The employer: The Kansas City Regional Financial Center is one of four Financial Management Service processing centers throughout the country. The Financial Management Service, a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, provides central payment services to federal program agencies. FMS also operates the federal government’s collections and deposit systems, provides government-wide accounting and reporting services and manages the collection of delinquent debt owed to the government.

My role: I am part of the two-year Federal Career Intern Program. Because of this “internship” status, I have the opportunity to take advantage of a lot of internal training while pursuing my career here.

My job responsibilities include being part of a project team lead group for Payment Application Modernization, an effort to make the current payment system more up-to-date. I also assist the senior project analyst with tasks such as maintaining our project budget, travel expenses and transcribing minutes for several key meetings — just to name a few. I am learning as much as I can. Working for the government requires you to carry around a glossary of acronyms for awhile so you know what everyone is talking about!

How long have you been in this position?

Since April 2009.

How did you find your job?

While studying the last few months at the South Kansas City campus of DeVry University, I took advantage of DeVry’s incredible career services department. I had a great career counselor who was constantly e-mailing me career opportunities. When I was sent information about this position in November 2008, I applied. It was a long process.

The first step was to mail in a packet that included the application, my resume and an outline of my skills. About a month later, I got an e-mail asking me to complete a questionnaire online. About another month later, I interviewed with a panel that included the project manager, senior analyst and training coordinator.

After another month, I had a lunch interview with the director of the Kansas City Regional Financial Center, the deputy director and the project manager. After completing the security clearance, I was offered the job by the headquarters office in Washington, D.C.

It worked out perfectly for me since I was graduating in March and had a current job that I was having to part with.

What helped the most in the job search?

Having a great advocate (my career counselor) who has resources.

What is your best advice for others in the job search?

Consider working for the government. You can search jobs at The process does take some time, but if you can get a temporary job just to keep your family afloat until the government job pulls through, it will be well worth the wait. Also, make a great first impression by personally handing in your resume if possible; it’s best if you can hand it to the hiring manager. Or, go directly to an employer’s Web site and apply that way.

What is your educational experience?

I have a bachelor’s degree in business, with a concentration in human resources, from Kansas City’s DeVry University (March 2009). I graduated from DeVry while working full-time at an apartment complex. I learned a lot about hard work while taking on such a demanding work and school load at the same time. I am so glad I did it that way, though, because school feels more like an accomplishment since it was challenging for me.

Is there anything else you would like to share related to the job search?

Improve your resume. Research online for good resumes, or go to a school like DeVry and ask for resume examples and copy the format. It should be organized by the order of importance, be appealing to look at and showcase you in three seconds. I recommend adding a skills section under your school completion section that highlights all the skill sets the employer is looking for. However, try not to be too generic. Highlight skills that pertain to the job you are applying for, such as computer skills, communication skills, leadership skills, etc. Bold the important words so when they glance at it in three seconds they can determine that you have an education, important skills — and boom — they throw your resume in a “follow up”pile.

How does this job fit into your long-term career plans?

I plan on being here or in the government the remainder of my working career. With the government, I have an incredible career advancement opportunity that can take me as far as I want with the help of hard work and dedication.

See the original at The Kansas City Star

Sue Dye Babson, special to The Star

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