Client Business Information & Solutions

Smarter Not Harder, LLC
Dr. Jenice Armstead
Client Business Information & Solutions

Easiest way to market and advertise your goods/services

Use other Social Media outlets with Twitter to maximize your social presence
• Upload photos and dates of events
• Show Products
• Use # to advertise on other “hot topics”

Groupon Merchant Services – Free Advertising
https://merchants.groupon.com
https://www.groupon.com/merchant/resources

• Create a Groupon Campaign
• Submit/Approve Campaign (Cost, Point of Contact Info, etc.)
• Use bullets for Campaign keep potential client’s attention
• Receive payments easily
• Use your social security to number for sole proprietary businesses
• Use Groupon Merchant App to quickly redeem vouchers
• Groupon supplies itemized lists of payments

Create customized business cards and marketing materials (reasonable cost)

Create Business Plan – http://www.va.gov/osdbu/docs/vepbusinessplanoutline.pdf

• Use business plan template
• Outline services and fees
• Detail customized packages for clients
• Offer a “free” gift” or “discount” for referrers/returning clients

O*net – http://www.onetonline.org

• Outline Tasks, Duties, KSAs
• Create job descriptions for employees
• Knowledge
• Skills
• Abilities
• Work Activities
• Median Hourly/Salary
• Review Market and Advertising

Available for consultations

Dr. Jenice Armstead

Dr. Jenice Armstead

How to Answer Key Interview Questions: Future Plans

When you are interviewing you will be asked about your future and what your plans are.  This is a tool that selecting officials use to see where you plan on “being” in a determined amount of time.

You will be asked:  What are your long-term goals?  What are your long-term career objectives?  This is not an opportunity for you to “spill your guts” keep it professional and stay focused.  Think about this question before you interview, you shouldn’t take more than 5 – 7 minutes.  Talk about your professional goals and what educational aspirations you have.  DON’T talk about your personal life or what personal projects you are working on.

Selecting officials want to know: How do you plan to achieve your career goals?  They don’t want details, this is a rhetorical question that is meant for them to see if you know how to lay out goals and patterns on how to achieve goals.  This is actually a tactic to see how you focus on objects and how you plan to achieve objects.  Again, keep it professional not personal – stay focused.

The final future plan questions the selecting official will ask:  What do you see yourself doing in five years from now?  and What plans do you have for continuing your education?  These questions help selecting officials to determine what kind of professional “drive” and motivation you actually have.  It is my personal advice to answer all interview questions, keep in mind you can “respectfully” decline to answer any interview questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking.   If you don’t plan on continuing your education or haven’t thought about what your goals are for the next five years, it’s okay – use your imagination and stay focused on the professional conversation.

Dr. Jaye

How to Know If You Are Eligible for Special Government Hiring Programs

Government agencies are able to hire in all career categories and using Special Hiring Authority (SHA), and many agencies are taking full advantage of this hiring ability.
Government agencies have the ability to use Special Hiring Authority for recruiting people – outright. The key is to research the agency’s SHA options.
Individuals who have special priority selection rights under the Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to received consideration for special priority selection.

Federal employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit proof that they meet the requirement of 5 CFR330.605 (a) for CTAP and 5 CFR330.704 for ICTAP. This includes a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent Performance Rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location. Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible.
To see if you feel you meet the requirements of one of these programs on Office of Personnel Management: click Here for information on – Employee Guides

Individuals who have Veteran’s preference, and submit a DD214 Member 4 copy (VEOA Employment Opportunity Act, Veteran’s Recruitment Appointment) To be eligible for a VEOA appointment, a veteran must be honorably separated and either a preference eligible or have substantially completed three or more years of continuous active service. Under the Veteran’s Guide, vets that have a disability of 30% or more can be hired – out right for the position they would qualify for if they were to submit their resumes. For example, if a 30% vet qualified as an information technician – a hiring official could hire them straight into the position.

If you feel you meet the requirements on veteran’s preference see Vet Guide Website:
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/veterans-employment-initiative/vet-guide/
Then there are the student programs. These programs include but are not limited to the Student Career Employment Program (SCEP) and the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The government is being “forced” to hire more students; this is an easy way to gain federal experience and utilized great benefits. This is a great way to get your “foot into the door” and the programs have great benefits to include but not limited to retirement, leave, flexi-work schedules, and more. In some hiring cases, they will even pay for your relocation to the hiring area that you are selected for. The government needs to “replace” the workforce that is currently retiring and these programs work to provide YOU stability. See the websites for requirements and more information.

Click here for Information on: Student Educational Employment Program

Dr. Jaye

How to Know How Long It Takes to Get a Government Job

The government has a set process – for the most part. Most applicants apply for either Merit (Status) announcements or DEU (Delegating Unit) announcements. I have said it over and over in previous articles I have written before MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH ANNOUCEMENT YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR. Don’t waste your time or energy if you know that you are not eligible for a job announcement. You will only become frustrated when you get an email letter or letter in the mail that says “You were found ineligible because you do not meet the minimum eligibility factors or qualifications for the job announcement which you applied.”

REMEMBER – Merit is for Status applicants, this means former, current, displaced, eligible veterans or other special hiring authority applicants.

DEU is for public to apply for – anyone.

Now that we have covered that, once an announcement closes (the close date on the announcement) go back to www.USAJOBS.GOV and check to see if the announcement was Extended, Cancelled or has any Cut Off Dates (Cut Off Dates that are used to create job applicant listings and sometimes a job announcement can be filled from a Cut Off Date – so ensure your resume is updated and you get your application in before any Cut Off Date).

The closing of an job announcement, starts your “count- down clock – until hire ticking”, once it closes it takes the Human Resources Departments about 30 – 45 days to review and process all applicants and make a determination on whom is actually qualified and whom isn’t.

After the qualification process is completed, a list of Competitive or Non-Competitive applicants is sent to the selecting official. Competitive applicants are applicants whom have status, and Non-Competitive applicants are those who don’t have status. The selecting official normally has a 30 day time period to review all the applicants whom are found qualified by HR Dept. If the selecting official needs to conduct interviews, they will do so at this time period. Sometimes selecting officials request a 30 day extension to ensure they are hiring the right person for the position.

Once the hiring official has selected a person(s) for the position(s) the announcement point of contact will make a job offer to the selected applicant and the selected will be given a time period to “think” about accepting the job offer. If the job is rejected, the process of “going down the list” of second and third choices will follow, per the selecting official decision.

When a job offer is accepted, all other applicants are notified either by email or mail of the selection and why they were not selected. You are entitled to know why you were not selected, I suggest phoning the point of contact for more clarification on how you could improve your hiring changes in the future.

The total process can take up to 90 days from the closing of the announcement, all things being constant and going within the time periods accordingly. Any change can increase or decrease the time of selection by a fluctuation of 30 – 60 day, plus or minus the 90 days.

Dr. Jaye

How to Know What Documents to Use When Applying to Government Jobs

Merit Promotion (See How to Know the Difference between Which Government Job to Apply for article)

There are many documents that are required by government agencies for applications. It is important you understand the difference in required documents for a Merit announcement you are applying to, and a DEU announcement.

I have listed the required documents:
– If you are applying for consideration as a Veteran under the Veterans’ Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) or Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment (VRA), you MUST submit evidence of eligibility, such as: DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or Standard Form 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and the proof requested on the form.
– If you are applying for consideration under a special hiring authority such as a person with a disability, Peace Corp or Vista volunteer, you MUST submit the appropriate supporting documentation to be considered by the closing date of this vacancy announcement; e.g. “certification” statement (contact your Vocational Rehabilitation Office) that identifies you as a person with a disability and that describes your ability to perform the essential duties of this position, Standard Form-50, etc.
– If you applying for consideration as a Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) eligible, you MUST submit the appropriate supporting documentation as proof of program eligibility.
– If you are applying and are a current or former federal employee with Career or Career-Conditional status, submit your most recent SF-50, “Notification of Personnel Action”, (NOT an award SF-50) which shows your status.
– If you are qualifying with education, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts.
– If the position you are applying for requires specific NWCG red card qualifications or training, you must provide a copy of your IQCS report.

Delegating Examining Unit: (See How to Know the Difference between Which Government Job to Apply for article)
– If you are applying for Veteran Preference, you MUST submit evidence of eligibility, such as; DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or Standard Form 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and the proof requested on the form. You must clearly identify your claim for veterans preference on your application. For more information on Veteran Preference, please go to OPMs website at: http://www.opm.gov/veterans/index.asp
– If you are qualifying with education, you must submit your college transcripts.

KEEP IN MIND: ANSWERS TO YOUR JOB QUESTIONS MUST BE SUPPORTED IN YOUR RESUME. If your answer(s) are not supported in your resume, or you fail to follow the instructions for the question(s), agencies will lower your answer(s) to reflect what was provided, for failure to follow instructions. Stay motivated and GO GET YOUR GOVERNMENT JOB.
Dr. Jaye

What to Expect from Start to Finish – Government Applications

There are standard practices that you will need to complete once you finally get your government position.  Most of the requirements are standard and some are agency specific.  Make sure to review your career contract and job announcement and contact your human resources representative for further questions.

When you are selected for the position, you WILL be subject to complete a favorable background investigation.  You may be able to start working once your finger prints clear and may continue continue to work once your entire background is cleared.  In some agencies, you may or may not be allowed to start working with the agency until your investigation paperwork has been initiated and your FBI fingerprint check cleared.  You need to read the agency requirements to ensure your hiring procedures.  In most cases, it takes a minimum of 2 weeks to clear a background, but can take longer in some cases.  The key is to be honest and fully answer all background questions.  Most agencies use an online electronic background system called eQuip to complete this process.

With most if not all government announcement applicants, you MUST be a United States citizen.  Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs.  Agencies are permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position.  Again, review and research the agency you are completing an application for.

In some, if not all government agencies before being hired you will be required to sign and certify the accuracy of the information in your resume.  You will receive a Position Description of what job duties you will be required to perform and If you make a false statement in any part of your resume you may not be hired or in some cases fired.  The key is to ensure that your resume directly reflects your actual job skills, knowledge and abilities.

This whole process from selection, tentative job offer and completion of the background investigation normally takes 4 – 6 weeks.  But, depending on the position you are hired on for you may start working as soon as two weeks.  Meaning, a selectee may start working once their finger prints clear.  Over all, if you have your professional and personal history for the past 10 years articulated in some form it will be easier to complete this process than if you have to do research on this information.  Be patience and this process will fly by.  Keep in constant contact with your point of contact, and you will be working in no time at all.

Jenice

How to Understand Government Job/Career Pay Scales

Many people know that government jobs pay well, but most people don’t know much more than that. The truth is government jobs pay includes “Locational Pay.” With most government positions, there is a increase in pay for where you are geographically located. Government agencies have different pay scales i.e. GS (General Schedule) positions.

The key to selecting a government agency to apply to is to research and find out as much as possible. You must research the agency and the pay scales of the agencies. Find out about the locality pay, hazard pay, or any other positional pays that may be associated with the desired position.

We all know that pay is an important aspect of any career selection. There are benefits to earning a position with the government. It is not so different than any other position you may have applied for in the past. There are a few exceptions…the government has great benefits that no other civilian company may or may not be able to match.

Where people get confused is with the General Schedule Step grades, GS pay scales for the Office of Personnel has pay grades within the pay grade are called STEPs. Meaning, there are “STEPS” to earning promotion within the pay grade. When you review the GS Pay scale on OPM website you will see basic, locality and then there is also a pay scale that combines basic pay and locality depending on the location of the position. Among the pay scale are the STEPS of the pay. Steps are normally given to the pay grade employee depending on “time in grade” the normal promotional time period is 1 year per pay scale and STEP.

Here is a web site for the Office of Personnel Management that will give you more insight on how this agency categorizes its pay grades and locality pay. For more information click on: Government Pay Scales

Happy Government Job Hunting,
Jenice

April Events

Employment Event: Career Source Florida

For those looking for employment who may need some extra assistance with preparing and finding a position, a job club will be held next Friday April 24, 2015 from 0900 am until noon. The location is 609 North Powers Drive, Suite 340, Orlando, Florida 32818 at the West Colonial “Career Source” Office.

The job club will consist of networking, open dialogue about issues concerning finding the right job, resume critique and referrals to open positions that may interest you. If you would like to attend, please email Jaime Quarnoccio, 
Veteran Representative-LVER Email Address: JQuarnoccio@careersourcecf.com or phone 407-531-1231 x7339 for more information go to Career Source Florida for more information and event announcements.

All the Best,
Jenice

How to Write Government Application KSAs (Knowledge, Skill and Ability’s)

Federal government applications evaluated by a human resources specialists. They will review your responses to the User Information, Core Questions, and Vacancy Questions. The job specific questions will relate to the knowledge, skills and abilities required of the position. Many applications are “thrown out” because of a lack of KSAs addressed by the applicant.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL federal positions are advertised on www.usajobs.gov. DON’T be fooled by “other” websites that promise to advertise federal jobs for a “small cost.” Many of these “other” websites charge applicants to view federal positions and merely re-route the job links, but rest assure that these “other” websites are “pulling” information from www.usajobs.gov to get information about advertised federal positions.

No matter what agency you are applying to, the advertised job will have KSAs or Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. You need to read the entire job announcement. At times, federal agencies require applicants to submit addition information about specific job announcement KSAs. (Go to the PRINT PREVIEW button to view the entire announcement requirements)

Example job announcement KSAs:
• Knowledge of the laws and regulations governing the realty program and the ability to use sound professional judgment to resolve conflicts with other resources.
• Skilled in understanding laws and regulation and analyzing realty programs
• Ability to evaluate and process realty applications and proposals and conduct compliance examinations on authorized actions.

This statement is ALWAYS in federal job announcements:
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS MUST BE SUPPORTED IN YOUR RESUME. If your answer(s) are not supported in your resume, or you fail to follow the instructions for the question(s), you will have your answer(s) adjusted to reflect what is provided, for failure to follow instructions.

This means if your resume does not “match” the required KSAs within the advertised job announcement, the agency may manually lower your application score. Federal applications are scored from 0 points to 100 points. Your goal is to receive as many points as possible. Human resources specialists review applications with the highest scores first.

Overall, KSAs are important and you will be evaluated based the information submitted to the job announcement. The key to writing government KSAs is to put the EXACT KSAs which are found in the job announcement within your resume or application WORD-FOR-WORD. Then go into detail about how your qualifications meet the KSAs.

Happy Job Hunting,
Jenice

How to Apply for Government Jobs

There are many benefits to applying and earning a government position. In this economy people are looking for job stability and benefits. The government has job security, benefits and more.

In this economy, the government sector is hiring all types of positions. Many government agencies are still receiving stimulus money to create new jobs in all career fields. Government agencies are having problems finding the people to apply for the positions. That’s right, agencies are having problems finding people, because the public isn’t applying for government jobs as they did in the past. There are positions that need to be filled such as: Grounds Keepers, Administration Assistants, Administrative Secretaries, Engineers, Forest Rangers, Information Technicians, Clerks, Legal Assistants and the list goes on and on and on and on.

There are some keys factors to completing government job applications. First of all, you need to create or update a personal profile on the main free government website: www.usajobs.gov. This is a “free” website that all government jobs are posted on, no matter what government department it is. There are a ton of scams that “say” they need a payment in order for you to gain access to federal positions. This is false! It is completely FREE to search and apply for government jobs. Although, many federal agencies fill jobs using private sector personnel, USAJOBs allows applicants looking for specific positions to “searches” tailored to the seeking candidates needs.

One of the main factors is to review “eligible and qualified” factors of a job announcement you want to apply for. This part can be a bit tricky; the key is to go to the “Who May Apply” and “Requirements” tab at the top of the job announcement. Review the information. There is where the details of “Who May Apply” for the position and what the “Requirements” are for the position. If you feel you meet the requirements move on to the next step and “Apply” for the position.

Remember, when using USAJOBS your profile information is “attached” to your application when you submit it. Make sure to complete your USAJOBS profile before applying for any positions on USAJOBS. Supplemental documents are also “attached” to any application you submit via USAJOBS. Make sure that all your documents i.e. DD214, SF 50, unofficial transcripts, cover letter or training certifications are all attached to the document section of your profile.

Happy USAJOB Hunting
Jenice

How to Answer Key Interview Questions: Education

We all know that education is vital in today’s job market. The fact is education comes in all arrays of quality and may be obtain in a variety of ways. You don’t have to have a degree to be considered educated, but you do have to have proof that you completed an educational program for which you are claiming you acquired the knowledge from.

During your interviews selecting officials may want to know: What courses you liked most while attending school? What courses did you like least? These questions are steered toward the selecting official finding out more about you and what types topics interests you. This could be a mode of examining your personality traits or rating your ability to be trained on the job you are interviewing for.

The next possible question: Why did you choose your course of study? This question is geared toward the selecting official gaining a deeper understanding of your professional agenda. This question is asked with the intentions of understanding the applicant’s passion for the field. Be honest and be short. Don’t give a long answer; the selecting official doesn’t want to know your entire educational background, only what pertains to the position you are applying for. Keep it short and sweet unless asked additional questions. Examples of experiences with training programs should show what you learned and how you applied the knowledge.

Selecting officials want to know if you prepared for the interview. Make sure to practice answering these questions on your own or with a friend. It is helpful to use an audio device for you to review and critique yourself. This will improve you interviewing skills.

Happy Job Hunting,
Jenice

How to Answer Key Interview Questions: Training Information

Training and education are core elements of the job force. Without training and education work experience will only get you so far. With training, education and experience you will practically be handed more opportunities than you will know what to do with. But, inflating education and training accomplishments on your resume will hurt you in the long run. Be honest and factual with what you have been trained on and what you need training in. Always include On the Job Training (OJT), this is as valuable as formal education.

Some questions you will be asked: What training have you had including grade school or college? Many applicants are finding that they need additional education and training, but experience goes hand and hand with education and training. With this question you need to elaborate on any certifications you many have as well as any courses online you have taken as well. Online courses from an accredited school are important to discuss. There are ways of obtain knowledge if you have not obtained formal education

Interviewers will also ask you: What workshops, OJT or other training do you have? This is an open-ended question targeted toward learning more about ability to be trained. If you are human resources professional, they will want to know if you have been to any staffing or employee relations workshops. If you are information technology professional they will want to know if you have been to any fiber optic, customer service or trouble shooting workshops. If you haven’t been to any workshops or OJT, state that and also state your interest in developing your skills for the benefit of the company. The new job market wants to understand your ability to want to learn and grow as well has your past training background.

One of the last questions you WILL be asked is: Do you have any skills that are not listed on your resume or in your application? This is a great opportunity for you to “talk yourself up.” This means that you have an opportunity to talk as much about you and your skills and how unique you are. This is your time to shine, so don’t put every single detail on your resume. Give yourself some “room” to talk about yourself.

Happy Job Hunting
Jenice

How to Answer Key Interview Questions: Work Experience

We all have had an interview at one time or another in our professional careers. Interviews are hard enough as it is with getting through the first cuts of other qualified applicants, now that you have the interview all set up there are some questions that will be asked of you during the interview. The key to an interview is not one single thing, yet many items that you will be evaluated on.

Work Experience

Your work experience will be the first items up for “conversation” after the small talk with a selecting official. They will want to know: Why are you interested in the job? This isn’t a trick question; it’s a question the selecting official really wants to know. Are you looking for a career change? Are you looking for a new position because you were laid off? The key to answering this question is to be honest, don’t give your whole life story – but be honest.
Many government agencies like to know that the applicants have done some research on the organization. So, the next question will likely be: Why are you interested in working for this organization? This is an open ended question that can be short and sweet. You should make some kind of reference to the research you have done on the organization. For example, if you are interviewing for a Fire Fighter position – you could answer with something to the reference of “I am interested in working for this organization because I agree with the mission statement of saving lives and preserving the wild life.” Yes, it is cheesy, but if it’s true you should say it. Again, you need to be as professionally honest as possible. This will also come into handy with the next question: What do you know about the company? You will be able to elaborate on the previous answer you gave about the previous question.

The next question is vitally important: What do you feel you can contribute to this organization? This is a question that you MUST answer with YOU in mind for what YOU can contribute to the company. For many selecting officials this question is a “make or break” factor. If an applicant starts with what they feel they need from a company instead of what they CAN and WILL contribute to a company, the interview will be cut short. The key is to stay focused on what YOU can BRING to the COMPANY, not what you want from the company.

There are a series of questions that are often asked in conjunction with each other: Why did you leave you last job? What would your last employer say about you? Would your last employer re-hire you? And Give me an example of a situation where you had to make a decision? What was the situation? What was the decision? And what was the result? Now, these questions are called “character questions.” These are designed to “weed out” the real applicants from those whom have not been so honest during the interview. The best advice I can give is to be honest, have professional examples in mind before the interview and take your time answering the questions. You can ask the selecting official to re-state the questions, you can write the questions down and you have all the time in the world. REMEMBER: YOU are there because they saw something in your resume, phone interview or overall application that they liked.

Happy Job Hunting,

Jenice Armstead

Welcome to “Smarter Not Harder LLC”

Dr. Jenice Armstead started “Smarter Not Harder HR” to provide a necessary and innovate service for growing human capital value and organizational management.

Smarter Not Harder LLC provides services to both individuals and businesses.  Individual services include: mentor coaching, resume development, government job application assistance, business proposal assistance and help with how to start a business.  Business services include:  human resource management, human resource development, implementation and training courses for organizations to grow their human capital value.

Smarter Not Harder LLC portfolio includes management and technical resources, providing solutions devoted to job description development, job classification, job Stress Management, Affirmative Action Plans, Diversity & Inclusion and Government Regulation/Compliance. Our focus is to assist organizations manage human resources management, occupational safety standards and increase productivity.

Smarter Not Harder LLC delivers customer-value through addressing the challenges of a changing economy.  Showing organization strategies as the foundation for human capital value to constantly grow and develop employees.  The workplace is ever changing.

Smarter Not Harder LLC provides interactive subject matter expert knowledge for business solutions that make organizations more effective and efficient.  Smarter Not Harder has all of your human resources management needs in one place.

Smarter Not Harder LLC Services Include:

Individuals:  Cover Letter & Resume Services, interview preparation, professional portfolio development (Subject Matter Expert in Federal Hiring/Interviewing)

Organizations:

Employee Handbook Review, Customized Employee Handbook, Workplace Policies, Customized New Hire Booklets, Customized Separation Booklets, Evaluation Program Development, Disciplinary Actions, Performance Management, Complete HR Library with Customized Documents

Special Projects:

Compliance Audit, Termination/ conducted on-site, New Hire Orientation, Candidate Screenings, Workplace Investigations, Sexual Harassment Trainings, Management Trainings, Job Description Development, Department Development and On-Site Support

 

For more information about Smarter Not Harder LLC:

contactme@jenicearmstead.com

For more information about Smarter Not Harder HR services email:
Jenicearmstead@gmail.com

Jenice Armstead