Saturday, August 29, 2009

How To Get A Federal Government Job

I've been fortunate and kept my employment during the current recession, but I believe it's always important to keep your ears open. So when my alma mater, Case Western Reserve University, offered a seminar on how to get a job with the federal government, I made plans to attend. Here are my notes from that presentation.

The starting point for finding and applying for a job with the federal government is the US Office of Personnel Management website. There you will find much information about government jobs, including a link to, a monster-like job search site.

Applying for a federal job is somewhat demanding. Senate bill 736, sponsored by Ohio Senator Voinovich among others, addresses Federal Hiring Process Improvement.

One TLA (Three Letter Acronym) that is vital to the application process, is KSA, which stands for:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities

More on KSA's later.

Step one is to create a MyUSAJobs profile / account on the website. Believe it or not, a good source for clarification of job descriptions is Wikipedia!

Remember to reference key words in your application & resume. Key words will be nouns and / or noun phrases.


  • start with verbs
  • use key words from the job announcement

The government uses software to compare applications with announcements, so using the same words in your application as were used in the announcement will make you a better match!

KSA's are mandatory. The job description may or may not be. Customize your resume / application to meet the needs of the job. If given the option, always send a paper resume.

On your resume - use an objective. These are less common now on private sector resumes, but on a resume for a federal job, base your objective on the job announcement. Federal job resumes can be up to 6 pages in length.

Other useful websites for job informatioin include:

KSA's are initially the most complicated part of the application, but can be simplified using the following format:

  • context - "In my position as ..."
  • challenge - "I was asked to ..."
  • action - What did you do?
  • result - What happened?

KSA's should range in length from 2/3 of a page to 1 1/2 pages.

Finally, once you land an interview for a federal job, create a script, practice and rehearse!

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Luke Playing Soccer

Here are some pictures of Luke playing for his AASL team.

In the Medina 8/16 album, he's in pictures 8 (wearing blue), and 20, 39, & 43 (wearing white).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Things I've put through the machine: Part II

I must amend this post.

I have now additionally washed a wooden spoon and a bottle of prescription medicine.

This is a problem in large blended families because:

1. You have LOTS of laundry to do
2. You have children constantly packing to go back and forth.
3. You have less time to check pockets and piles for items that actually don't need washing (like PS3 controllers and hair ties).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fieldtrip: Monsoon Lagoon

106: Number of round trip miles driven to Monsoon Lagoon
5: Times I was asked "Are we there yet?"
Zero: Instances of missing charges
$15.95: Per person entry fee
Priceless: Day care boys so exhausted they sleep the whole trip home and leave early the next day to go home and nap.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

George on Church

"This is where I get my sweetness." (George said yesterday as we pulled into the parking lot to drop Emma of at youth group.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rachel - Swimming Like A Fish

8 year old Rachel has been participating on the swim team at her mom's this summer. Unfortunately all the competitions are during the day. I took a vacation day and took her to her final meet, the league championship.

There were 9 teams and a total of 508 swimmers of various ages. Rachel competed in 4 races. The 4x25 Medley Relay, 25m Backstroke, 25m Breaststroke, and 4x25 Freestyle Relay.

First up was the Medley Relay, where she swam the 3rd leg (breaststroke). She started in 3rd place and held her position, and her team finished 3rd.

Next was the Backstroke. There were 5 heats, 35 swimmers in all, in the 8 and under girls backstroke. Rachel was in the final (fastest) heat but she was in an outside lane, meaning she was around the 6th or 7th fastest time, coming into the race.

She started decent, swam hard all the way, and finished strong. It looked like she was 2nd, but when they announced the results, Rachel was the champion! Her time was 24.54!

Next came the Breaststroke. She was this time in the 2nd of 3 heats, against slower competition. She swam well again, winning her heat in a time of 32.65. She ended up faster than 2 swimmers in the final heat so she was awarded 7th place overall.

Finally she swam the 3rd leg in the freestyle relay. She started in 3rd, and swam well, almost catching the girl in first. However, the girl in 2nd also swam well, catching up to the girl in first. Rachel's team finished 3rd again.

They had a t-shirt stand and Rachel wanted a sweatshirt. I told her before her first race she had to be top 3 to get a sweatshirt. Well she certainly was, and not only did I buy her the sweatshirt, but I paid a little extra to get a sparkly puppy-dog pawprint on the sleeve.


Upon my surprise county child care inspection this morning, day care boys(ages 7, 7, and 11) were promised an ice cream treat on the way home from the park today if they behaved.

I told them when we left the park they would have a choice from a vanilla cone, a strawberry sundae, or a chocolate sundae(nuts optional.) We got to McDonald's about 12 minutes later. They still had not made up their minds. One asked for a chocolate cone and another a shake. I patiently repeated their choices, then one complained I was rushing him.

When we finally left, I heard one griping that I didn't take them to Hershey's(a local ice cream store with about 50 flavors and at least 3 different kinds of cones.) I'm glad I didn't. We would still be there making up our minds.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Things I have washed in the washing machine:

tube of SPF
Pokemon cards
race car
permanent marker
and most recently, a PS3 controller

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jam Time

I've tried my hand at making freezer jam the past two summers, both times using strawberries. This time thanks to the generosity of my brother-in-law, I'm using wild blackberries.

The first time I used the regular recipe. After seeing exactly how much sugar was in it, the following summer I tried this low sugar recipe. It didn't taste as good right away so it was kind of ignored down in our deep freezer. After about 6 months we gave it a try again and it was terrific. I'm not sure what was accomplished by letting it sit in the freezer but it was worth the wait. We got a terrific tasting low sugar jam.

This is the same recipe I'm using today with all the wild blackberries. I'll let you know how it goes.

Easy Low Sugar Freezer Jam