By Mr. Kevin Stabinsky (IMCOM)May 13, 2011
The search for a job is a job in itself, so to help better prepare Civilian employees and retiring or transitioning Soldiers for this task, the Fort McPherson Army Community Service (ACS) sponsored an employment workshop May 9.
The workshop, which took place 10 a.m. at the ACS center (Bldg. 62), featured the advice of Charles Huffstetler, Managing Director, HR Access, LLC., and Alfonso Lewis, ACS employment readiness program manager, in a question and feedback setting, with one-on-one counseling available. Huffstetler, who has been volunteering his services to ACS for the past 10 years, said the job market is very competitive, requiring some adjustments in the way people present themselves to a potential employer.
Citing his own experience reading rAfAsumAfAs, he said employers don't have a lot of time to read rAfAsumAfAs entirely, especially when they are receiving stacks of them. "Tell me what you want to do up front; don't make me read through pages of excess verbiage to find you on the last page," he said, adding his first glance at a rAfAsumAfA only lasts 20 seconds to a minute. "Make sure your contact info is correct."
By addressing what one wants to do upfront, Huffstetler said it shows a willingness to hit the ground running. "Training dollars are expensive," he said, adding employees who already possess the skills a company needs are valuable additions. "Employers want you to tell them what you can do for them."
In this sense, Huffstetler said skill sets and work experience can be as important as education, although education is always a key component of making oneself competitive. For those looking to stay employed by the federal government, Lewis said such skill sets are determined by questionnaires which often accompany federal job applications. As for advice on filling out these questionnaires and applications, Lewis said it is important to read the job description on the vacancy announcement.
"DoD looks for keywords (in your rAfAsumAfA) from the position descriptions written on the job," he said. Lewis also added the federal government is looking for individuals with veteran's preference, people with good morals, ethics and experience. No matter what type of job one is looking for, whether in the federal government or private sector, Huffstetler said it is important to know yourself and what you want to do.
"Know where your passion is. There is nothing worse than being in a job you don't like," he said. "It's a rough way to live if all you do is chase a paycheck from one pay period to another." Sgt. Jorge Pena, human resource sergeant, 3rd Military Police Group, Criminal Investigation Division, Fort Gillem, said he knows exactly what he wants - to teach early education up to sixth grade in Texas. An attendee at the event, he said he came to better prepare himself for that goal. "This is a great resource," said Pena, who is separating from the Army Aug. 4.
"I've gained insights into how DoD selects and hires people." Pena said Lewis helped him learn better techniques for job searching, including major federal hiring websites such as www.USAjobs.gov, www.cpol.army.mil, and www.federalgovernmentjobs.us. He also said Lewis helped him set up accounts at these sites. "Anyone out there separating or retiring should use these resources (at ACS)," Pena said. Another resource, unfortunately one often overlooked, people should use is networking, Huffstetler said.
"A vast majority of success comes from networking; who do you know and who do they know," he said, adding sites such as LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), a professional networking website, can help people build up their network. Besides expanding one's network, Lewis also said people should expand their horizons in where they look for a job.
"When looking for a job being mobile expands your opportunities greatly," he said. Overall, both Huffstetler and Lewis shared the opinion that looking for a job is a large endeavor that can't be approached with a lazy, relaxing attitude. "I call it the three p's," Lewis said. "When searching for a job you need to be proactive, be patient and be persistent."