Wisdom Wednesday: Earning Veteran’s Preference

There are many factors to “earning” veteran’s preference when applying for a federal or government job.

The Office of Personnel has created a “Veteran’s Guide” to help those agencies ensure they are giving veteran’s the right preferences, this guide is the all tell all on seeing if a veteran has status or not. Yes, you read that right, just because you are a veteran doesn’t mean that you automatically are able to apply for government jobs. In order to apply you have to be a veteran and stipulations apply.

First thing is first, you must be a veteran or have some other kind of veteran status. This is just one of many criteria one must meet to become eligible for veterans status. To receive preference, a veteran must have been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (i.e., with an honorable or general discharge). This is crucial because, if you have a dishonorable discharge you are disqualified from veteran status.

Note: Military retirees at the rank of major, lieutenant commander, or higher are not eligible for preference in appointment unless they are disabled veterans upon being discharged or separated from the military.

The key is know what type of Veteran’s preference you have, the following explains what Veteran’s preference actually is:

5-Point Preference (TP)
Five points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a veteran who served:
During a war; or

During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or

For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or

During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or

For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or by law as the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or

In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference.

A campaign medal holder or Gulf War veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligibles separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.

When veterans with 5 point (TP) status apply for federal positions, 5 points are automatically added to their application scores. Yes, federal applications receive scores. When you complete a federal application you receive a score from 1 – 100 percent, applicant scores are tallied up once the announcement has closed. If your application did not receive a “high enough” score you should be contacted by the human resources of the position for which you applied. If you have any additional questions about your application, contact the human resources office of the agency for which you applied.

Veterans Job Information: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/index.aspx
Veteran’s Guide: http://www.opm.gov/staffingPortal/Vetguide.asp

Getting Government Application Updates

After you have submitted your government application wait until the job announcement closes to check the status of your application.  Log into your www.usajobs.gov profile and click on the title “Application Status” on the left hand side.  Then find the announcement you wish to check on.  Go to the “application status” which is a blue underlined word and click this hyperlink.  Some government agencies don’t link the application status to this hyperlink and some agencies do.  If the agency does use this hyperlink, you will be redirected to the agency website where you submitted your original application.  You will be able to view the status of your application here.

If the agency does not use this hyperlink, it will say “no application status available” this is okay.  Don’t be discouraged.  Click on the job announcement title and a second window will open up.  Scroll down to the bottom of the job announcement and find the point of contact.  You will see contact phone number or an email address.  Contact this person and request the “Applicant Status.”  Sometimes, you may get a HR Specialist whom doesn’t want to talk or gives you a vague answer.

If this happens, ask a more specific question like “Has the selecting official received the list of applicant’s resumes that have been referred and qualified for the position?” This will ensure you get a more detailed answer.  I recommend always contacting the point of contact via email; this will ensure you have written documentation in case you have any issues with this job announcement in the future.

All the best to you, and if you have any questions – you know where to find me.


Writing Your Government Resume

Many applicants don’t know how to write a government resume for www.usajobs.gov. There are a few methods for writing and creating a government resume, the first key is to review the major duties of the job announcement. You MUST “mirror” your resume on the major duties and the announcement job description to ensure you have all the information required to meet the minimum qualifications for the position you are applying for.

It is recommended that applicants create a word document and type your “basic” resume up in the desired format. Once you have your basic resume, make a folder for other more specific resumes you may need to create for positions you may apply for. Once you have your basic resume completed you will be able to edited the basic resume and tailor it toward other positions you wish to apply for.

Second, in order to tailor your resume, it is suggested that applicants use the “major duties” section of the job announcement as a outline for what information to include when completing the application. Basic resume information pre-written will allow for easy transfer of information and it is important to explain in detail how you meet the “major duties” of that particular job announcement. You can do this in bullet format, or in a standard resume format. Either way, you need to custom tailor your resume in order to receive full qualification consideration from the agency advertising the job announcement.

If your basic resume doesn’t state those exact “major duties” you may not be found qualified for the job announcement. Don’t be afraid to contact the point of contact on the job announcement. If there is a number or an email address, you may contact that point of contact to ask about the major duties, job description or to ensure your application was received or not.

The bottom line is to custom your resume toward the job announcement in order to ensure your application receives the attention it deserves. Keep in mind, if you over state your qualifications your application can be discarded or your applicant score could be lowered. Ensure to be honest in answering the applicant questions. The details are key, but exact verbiage is important as well.

Happy Government Job Hunting,

10 Tips for Applying to Government Jobs – Book Excerpt

The job market has changed; it has changed for the better in many ways. This economy has bounced back from one of the worst economic down falls of this century. The job market is flooded with new job seekers and excellent opportunities for the taking. The need for fresh talent is apparent; the need for new ideas is infectious. New graduates, new job seekers and new ways of understanding this new job market are more concentrated than ever before … these are all apart of the new equations of obtaining employment opportunities for the job seeker.

The federal sector are hiring, let it be clear that the federal sector has created jobs and internships. There are a few things that job seekers must understand about obtaining employment in this federal sector job market. The federal sector is more organized than ever before. The federal sector has gone through a reform of implementing new job hiring practices. The federal sectors new job hiring practices include: the use of extensive interviews, panels of board members, personality tests, demonstration of work knowledge, skills, abilities and job experience.

There are some great ways for job seekers to “stand out” from the competition, but first the job seekers needs to understand what some of the loop holes are when it comes to finding and applying for federal employment in this new job market. Do not be discouraged in this new job market. You are the human capital fabric of the economy.

This new job market requires the creation and use of multiple resumes, live website links to electronic resumes, resume social media sites, job seekers to keep the information up to date at all times, and most of all for the job seekers to have a full understanding of what their “digital finger print” looks like. When I say “digital finger print” I mean, understanding what public information is available for potential employers to search and find on job seekers via the internet. It is good practice to “Google” or look up oneself on the internet to see what information is publicly available for all to view. Just as one would conduct a “Credit Score” clean up, a “digital finger print” is just as important to conduct on a quarterly basis.

Federal government positions are not as difficult to apply for as most believe they are.
Many times there are document requirements, time requirements, and pre-qualifications to read carefully before job seekers can complete the federal government job application. Most federal government job announcements are conducted completely online at www.usajobs.gov. A computer and Internet connection are two initial requirements of the federal hiring process. This may sound like a lot, but in fact once you read this book you will realize that it sounds a lot scarier than it is to complete. The federal sector job hunting experience is all about organization and attention to detail.

You have come to the right place to get your 10 Tips for Applying for Government Job announcements. The federal hiring process is all about due process, time requirements, deadlines and required documents. One of the main keys is to read the entire job announcement applying for. It is a good practice to print the entire job announcement out and use a highlighter to ensure all of the “T’s” are crossed and “I’s” are dotted.

In the government hiring process, entire applications can be completely removed or trashed if the application package is not completed by the candidate, by the deadline. There are not “if, ands or buts,” hiring managers are not legally required to extend deadlines unless there is a viable reason to do so. In most cases, only disabled personnel have this benefit. In this case, the disabled candidate must provide documentation for the disability in receiving an application extension.

These are only a few of the topics that are covered in 10 Tips for Applying for Government Jobs. This book was created for the job seeker to keep this book on hand to organize, keep track of and provide a greater understanding of the government hiring practice.
This book will start you off in the right direction with giving the job seeker 10 tips for applying for federal government job announcements and positions.

Book Excerpt: 10 Tips for Applying to Government Jobs


Knowing What to Look For: Government Positions

The federal job search is not an easy task; to many it can be down right intimidating and most never complete their first application. Federal applications have unfamiliar language and regulations related to them. There are two main elements to look for when applying for federal employment opportunities, and those are “Public” or “Merit” positions. Simply put, “Public” job announcements are those positions whom any United States Citizen may apply for. Keeping in mind, the eligibility and qualification factors. “Merit” job announcements are those positions whom current federal workers, prior federal workers, past federal workers, displaced federal workers, or United States Veterans may apply for.

In the search, you may conduct an advance search for these key works to cut down on wasted time searching threw every federal position on the site. This is a critical element when searching for job announcements, at any given time a job seeker could spend a minimum of 8 to 10 hours a day searching through jobs without using this step to narrow down the job announcements they are eligible for. For instances, if you are looking for a Administrative Officer position, in Tampa, FL go to the “Advance Search” and type in “Administrative Officer, Tampa, Fl, salary range, and public or merit.” This will eliminate all the Administrative Officers that are not in your criteria and save you a ton of time and efforts that could be put toward a different search for more federal employment job opportunities.

Excerpt from: 10 Tips for Apply to Government Jobs


Two-Cent Tuesday

Two-Cent Tuesday

June 26, 2013, was a historical day in our great Nation. The Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. Marriage is being re-defined as simply “Loving Relationships.” On Nov 14, 2013 in a private ceremony I wedded my beloved “Husbian.” We have been together for 11 years and in the span of those 11 years anything could have happened. In the 11 years my “Better Half” and I have been together we have been through many trials. Our military careers were threaten, my “Better Half” had 3 major surgeries which disabled her from walking for up to 3 – 6 months each surgery, we were not covered by any spousal benefits, no income tax acknowledgements and a series of other personal dilemmas came against us. But, you know what “they” say? Love will always prevail!

Many of those whom are legally married are protected and afforded rights and liberties; we still have along way to go for marriage to be legal for everyone in all states and countries. The world has a lot to change, including worrying about who I love and who loves me unconditionally. Rights and liberties are for all, not only for those who feel they deserve them – but each and every one of us. Until this is fully understood, how love is defined love will continue to be divided.

Office of Personnel Management Same Sex Marriage Benefits

All the Best,
Jenice Armstead-McGinnis



Two-Cent Tuesday

As an employer or employee it is always good business sense to keep up with your knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) of your field of choice. There are plenty of business sites for increasing your knowledge and skill base. O*Net is a great place to start. O*Net has every and any job description you can think of which exists. Not only will you gain a healthy knowledge of the job description, but the site gives you information about similar jobs and salary or wage grades for the position. Empower yourself with knowledge and check out onetonline.org.

two cents

The Government Shutdown is Finally Over

The government shutdown is finally over, for now. The Senate and the House of Representatives only delayed the debit instead of implementing a debit increase. This simple means that the United States still has to pay its bills. If the bills are not paid, there will be another government shutdown in December. Just in time for the holiday season. I’m sure Jesus never wanted to celebrate his birthday by putting millions of people in a state of anxiety, depression and upset. The fact of the matter is there are government legislation bills that must be implemented now in order to prevent another government shutdown happening.

Thinking about this gives people some real perspective on how to make small changes for the better in the financial stability of their own household. If we take this as a learning opportunity, then everyone must take a hard look at his or her financial backbone. How are you spending your money? Are you spending in more places where you should be instead saving it? Have you used your credit card like an imaginary money dispenser? Do you know what the APR is on each credit card(s)?

Here is your challenge: Take some time out and do a budget for yourself or for your family. Write down the monthly expenses and payments you make on your loan(s)/credit card(s). You will be surprised at what you don’t know about your finances. Be empowered, and learn from the federal government shutdown. You have the power to change your life for the better.

For more information on creating a budget go to: Creating a Budget



Unemployment Benefits: Putting to Rest the Rumors


The 2013 Government Shutdown has caused many federal agencies to send workers home without pay or until further notice.  The question has come up if employees are eligible for unemployment benefits?  The answer to this question is: YES!  If you are ever fired or displaced from a position due to any other content other than your own accord you are eligible for unemployment benefits.  Unemployment benefits are just that … a benefit and a right of the worker.  Each state regulates for employers to pay unemployment insurance for all workers.  Contrary to what the news or peers may say, you are eligible for unemployment benefits under these circumstances:

  • If you are fired from your job
  • If you are laid off from your job
  • If your company furloughs your position
  • If your company conducts a Reduction in Forces (RIF)

Unemployment is processed differently depending on the state you file your claim in.  The unemployment amount depends on how much you earned at the position you are displaced from.  Overall, filing for unemployment insurance for most states starts with filling out an online application.

Know your rights.  For more on unemployment insurance go to the Department of Labor

The Difference between an Administrative Furlough and a Shutdown Furlough

There are many misconceptions on what a furlough actually is and how a furlough works in reference to federal employees. There are two different types of possible furloughs. There are administrative furloughs and a government shutdown furlough. The long and short of the different is administrative furloughs are planned events and a government shutdown is an unplanned event.

Administrative furloughs can be by government agency that has scheduled reductions in force (RIFs) for budgeting reasons, not enough work for employees, a lawsuit or other foreseeable situation. It is up to the budgetary funding on which employees would remain receiving pay and those that would not. In most cases of administrative furloughs pay is reimbursable.

In the case of a federal government shutdown, government agencies, which have reserved funds for mandatory employees budgetary funds, would use this method in case of an unscheduled shutdown. This is technically namely called a “emergency” shutdown. “In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law.” In most cases, unless the federal agency has reserved funds for such an event, employees will be ordered to shutdown and not return to work until mandated to do so.

Either way, both furloughs have lasting effects on the Nations economy and the United States citizens as a whole. For more information on government furloughs go to www.opm.gov


The Federal Government Shut Down: Why It’s Really Happening

The federal government has officially shut down. It has been 17 years since the last federal government shut down; many citizens are misguided and misinformed with bogus reasons for this federal government shut down. The Federal Budget Committee has come to a census for a 6-month plan for the American Debt, but it has been rejected. The budget is only half of the reason for this federal shutdown. In addition, Republicans want to suspend the Affordable Healthcare Act for 1 year. What many Americans need to understand is that the Affordable Healthcare Act has been implemented as of today, and it is here to stay. You can go to www.healthcare.gov to enroll into a healthcare plan that fits your needs for your financial status. Here are some facts about the Affordable Healthcare Act:

  • The Affordable Healthcare Act is not a government ran program, you may choose your own plan and provider.
  • Healthcare is mandatory, but now it is affordable no matter your income status

The truth be told, the federal government shut down is a bulling tactic by the Republics that voted against fair negations of policy for the American people. Many federal and government workers will be furloughed with suspended or delayed pay. This is not the way to show how democracy works, it is the duty of those elected into office to keep their constituents in mind when creating, implementing or destroying a policy which will effect the entire Nation. The bare bones facts of the situation are that “Obama Care” is one of the best healthcare policies since the implementation of Social Security. Why wouldn’t you enroll in a more affordable healthcare program? Change has come, and it is time to embrace it – not to fight against it.


For more information about the Affordable Healthcare Act go to healthcare.gov
All the Best,

Using Veteran Educational Benefits

Online degrees have come a long way from your basic degree, now there are a variety of different options for degree programs with excellent online universities. Now, with technology you can earn your degree in more than one way.

Online degrees are becoming the new way for people to go to school and still work. Going to school online is a great way to “get ahead” in your career and to make yourself more value and stay competitive. Here are some tips for you to start or continue to earn your degree online. There are tons of online schools. Some schools have special “Military scholarships” for active and veteran military personnel.

The Montgomery GI Bill and Post September 9/11 educational programs allow for all military personnel serving during that time also received 9/11 educational benefits. Another excellent educational program for veteran graduate students is the Yellow Ribbon Program. These benefits are transferable to other military dependents from any active duty or veteran military personnel. Many online schools can offer up to 50% military scholarships to all undergraduate degree programs and a 20% military scholarship to all graduate degree programs. There are time stipulations on utilizing your military educational benefits. Make sure to check the termination of time requires before you begin a program.

Many online schools have regional and national accreditations. It is important to know whom your school is accredited through in case you want to transfer or get a job in a different state than the school you are attending.

For more information check out www.va.gov and www.saintleo.edu

Applying for Government Jobs

Job security is important. People need job stability and benefits. There is job security in government positions, along with providing benefits and more. Many government agencies are receiving special hiring funding for creating new jobs in all career fields of the federal sector.

Government agencies are having problems finding eligible and qualified people to fill the positions. That’s right! Government agencies are having problems finding candidates, because the public isn’t applying for the government jobs. The positions that are needed to be filled range from: grounds keepers, administration assistants, secretaries, engineers, forest rangers, information technicians, legal assistants and the list goes on and on. Many people who are taking advantage of opportunities, being found qualified, and ultimately hired into the governmental industry, and you can too.

There are some keys factors when it comes to applying to government positions. First of all, you need to create or update a profile on the main “free” government website USAJOBs. Most federal government jobs are posted on this website for the public to apply for. Although, some federal agencies fill jobs using private sector staffing agencies, most use USAJOBs as their main job announcement forum. USAJOBs allows applicants to look for specific positions, and the application process is extremely easy to follow.

Search for your desire job, directly apply to any job announcement that is posted to the public and upload your documents. Applicants can conduct an advance search which allows for exact location and salary preferences to be determined by the applicant. For more information on how to apply for government jobs, check out my book “10 Tips for Applying to Government Jobs.”