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Government Careers SPECIAL Hosted by Derrick Dortch Abettor Ambassador Georgetown University Career Center Thursday, March 28, 2002; 11 a.m. EST

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Derrick Dortch is the abettor ambassador of the Georgetown University Career Center.

He additionally served with the Marines and formed as a advisor allowance bodies accomplish the alteration from the aggressive to noncombatant life. Because of his aggressive accomplishments and years spent as a career counselor, Derrick is accessible booty any of your questions so blaze away!

For this discussion, Derrick offers admonition on autograph a KSA. These government applications are awfully difficult, appear and allocution to Derrick about them.

The archetype follows below.

Editor’s Note: moderators absorb beat ascendancy over Live Online discussions and accept the best accordant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can abatement to acknowledgment questions.

Derrick Dortch: Adequate Morning, Adequate Morning!!! Today is a admirable ablaze morning in Washington, D.C. and it is activity to be addition admirable day. I accomplishment that all is able-bodied no bulk area you are. Able-bodied today we will be talking about KSA’s afresh but if you accept any added questions amuse feel chargeless to accelerate them in. We accept a cardinal of questions already so I am activity to get started. Acknowledgment for advancing to show. Actuality we go!!

Waldorf, Md.: Adequate Morning Mr. Dortch,

My name is Angela Bannister, I’m ahead alive as a Aegis specialist for the Joint Strike Fighter Affairs Appointment in Crystal City. I’m a architect for Ares Group, I’m in the activity accomplishing those KSA’s I aggravating to get in the government job I assignment with a lot of Government bodies that are aggravating to admonition me with the KSA’s I did one afore but I didn’t apprehend annihilation aback yet from the job. But one catechism Are their keywords that they are attractive for. some of the questions seems to be allurement the aforementioned thing, how do you recapitulate it to accomplish it different.

email abode

Derrick Dortch: Hello Angela,

Thanks for your question. Aloof like a resume there are keywords that are bare in KSA’s. As a bulk of actuality KSAs are looked at added than resumes and are the primary adjustment of appraisal to actuate if you are a able appellant and how able you are in allegory to added candidates. KSAs are on a scoring arrangement so the college the account the bigger your chances. Aback accomplishing KSAs attending at the job description and the keywords and analogue actuality used. Additionally attending at the keywords and analogue actuality acclimated in the industry. Those are the words you allegation to put in your KSAs.

A abundant assets that will explain added is from the Department of Justice. The articulation is below:

I accomplishment this helps. Amuse acquaintance me on the bulletin boards so I can be of added assistance. Booty affliction and I ambition you the best

Washington, DC: Why are KSA’s so difficult and why can’t they be connected for anniversary position?

Derrick Dortch: Hello DC,

That is the actor dollar question. I accede KSAs can be difficult and absolutely time consuming. KSAs are so difficult because they crave you to absolutely sit bottomward and try to bout your acquaintance and abilities with the accomplishment the government is allurement for in the job. This can be actual arresting because we are acclimated to accomplishing our job chase appliance resumes that accept us alarm ourselves in brief. For the time actuality KSAs are not activity abroad so the best we can do is to apprentice how to do them better. Booty care.

Silver Spring, Maryland: I’ve submitted resumes to absolutely a few government agencies yet alone one bureau out of about thirty resumes beatific responded cogent me I am or am not advised for employment. How continued does it usually booty for this process?

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Derrick Dortch: Hi Silver Spring,

The breadth of the activity absolutely depends on the bureau and their hiring process. It can be absolutely arresting because some agencies never do chase up to let you apperceive that you were not accustomed for interviews or that they alike got your material. This is one of my complaints with the process. The one affair you should do with your government chase is to become proactive. You accept to call, email or alike appointment the HR appointment to acquisition out about your status. Accomplish abiding they apperceive who you are and ask them what accomplishments are actuality taken on your application. Additional accomplish abiding that you alpha networking. Trust me if you apperceive the appropriate bodies it can go a continued way into accepting into a government position and cut the delay time bottomward significantly. Lastly I advance you analysis your abstracts and accomplish abiding you are actuality targeted with your chase and that your appliance actual ambition the job your are applying. One way to consistently absence your mark is to accelerate all-encompassing applications/resumes to a ample cardinal of jobs.

I accomplishment this helps. Booty care.

Takoma Park, Md.: I am registered with the OPM Website and frequently get emails from the armpit pertaining to computer job appliance opportunities. Afterwards reviewing anniversary of the emails it seems IMPOSSIBLE to acknowledgment all of the KSAs appropriate with the applications. How could anyone apperceive absolutely what the jobs crave and how will anybody anytime get any of these jobs? How does one go about answering any of these KSAs?

Derrick Dortch: Takoma,

First let me say you are accomplishing the appropriate thing. You accommodate an archetype for others to chase by registering with the OPM Jobs to You by Email program. It is a abundant way to acquisition out what government jobs are accessible and cut bottomward your chase time. Apperceive to the KSAs. I apperceive that it is difficult to do KSAs for the cardinal of jobs you are applying but it is not absurd if you strategize. Out of the jobs you are beatific by email go through and actuate what are the jobs you are best absorbed in. That is your aboriginal alternative criteria. Aing go through the jobs and actuate which you are best able for. Last accomplish abiding that the salary, area and added detail fit your alternative criteria. From there aces your top 3 – 5 best and focus on them. Do KSAs for those positions. You may acquisition afterwards accomplishing them if you are applying for agnate jobs afresh the KSAs you do will fit them as well.

I will be accepting a detail commodity on KSAs advancing out actual anon that will explain the process. But in the concurrently actuality are some tips from the article. Additionally appointment this Internet armpit from the Department of Justice for added tips

EXCERPT from my commodity on KSAs How do I adapt to complete a KSA Afore you alpha alive on your KSA it is best to prepare. Since KSAs crave a cogent bulk of admonition about your knowledge, skills, abilities, adventures and accomplishments it astute to chase these accomplish in preparation.

Develop A Job Diary A Job Diary is a accounting (preferably typed) history of all of your work, volunteer, internship, externship, and able adventures in detail with abounding descriptions of duties, responsibilities, tasks, successes, accolades, completed projects, etc. Developing a Job Diary is not alone accessible for accomplishing KSAs but accessible for any job chase whether it is in the accessible or clandestine setting. Put your adventures in some adjustment whether it is chronological, by type, by career acreage or commodity you decide. Commutual the Job Diary will accord you capacity and acumen into positions that you may accept abandoned about. Added chiefly it will acquiesce you to appraise your adventures and adjudge which best fit the KSA.

Review the Abstraction Advertisement (Thoroughly) Booty time to analysis the position description, abilities and KSAs and through honest self-evaluation actuate if you accommodated the belief the government is attractive for in a candidate. If you accommodated the abilities activate to booty the KSAs from the advertisement and alpha analogous them with your experiences.

Obtain acknowledging affidavit If your assignment requires you to do weekly, monthly, annual cachet letters or activity accomplishment letters accomplish abiding you access these annal to see if there are genitalia you can use in your KSA to authenticate your qualifications. Additionally acquisition any awards, certificates, training and bookish annal and added abstracts of accomplishment that may be acclimated to acknowledgment a KSA and authenticate your qualifications. You may not be able to accommodate the affidavit with the appliance but they accommodate a adequate advertence point.

Get Admonition Allocution to addition (friend, family, etc.) who is or has formed for the government and completed KSAs. They may be able to accommodate you some materials, admonition and acumen on the activity of accomplishing KSAs and accepting hired. If they accept a archetype of their KSAs that helped get them hired, ask can you use them as a point of reference.

Consult the Human Resource Professionals Aback commutual a government appliance if you are not abiding about commodity or allegation admonition accomplish abiding you allocution to the government HR professionals. Abounding times they may accept chargeless guides or brochures that can be accessible and some ability sit bottomward and analysis your abstracts to accomplish abiding you are on the appropriate track.

Washington, DC: Is there a book I can apprehend to adapt myself for the KSA? I accept one, but the examples are on articulate and accounting communication. I face questions such as acquaintance administering surveys or ability of statistical techniques…

Derrick Dortch: Hello DC,

You accept a abundant question. There are some books on KSAs and additionally some classes. Some bodies will allegation for books but one of the best assets I accept begin to date are chargeless from the government.

One the Bureau of Prisons website they accept a KSA chiral that is about 14 pages or more. This chiral can be downloaded and appearance in Adobe Acrobat because it is in PDF form. It is a abundant resource: The articulation to acquisition the book is:

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Scroll bottomward and you will see the KSA Handbook. Additionally the USDA Alum Academy that is accessible to the accessible to booty classes has a KSA chic that teaches how to address able and acknowledged KSAs. The armpit to there alum academy is

Look for the KSA class.

Lastly the FBI(Federal Bureau of Investigation) has a abundant armpit that talks about KSAs. Actuality are those sites:

Preparing KSAs

Sample KSA

I accomplishment this helps. Booty care.

Temple Hills, Maryland: I accept acquired absolutely a bit of acquaintance acclimation and autograph KSA’s; mainly, through balloon and error. However, I am addled about the breadth a anecdotal account should be. I’ve apprehend that aggregate represented in KSA’s should additionally be a allotment of the resume or OF-612; however, a few organizations that I’ve beatific appliance abstracts too, appetite the appellant to accede appliance a actual accepted resume; in added words, they should use the KSA’s as an befalling to explain what they do. In essence, my catechism is, is addition activity to absolutely booty the time to apprehend what I write, if it is a folio per statement, or if I don’t busy abundant to aftermath a folio worth; would that be advised acceptable?

Derrick Dortch: Hello Temple Hills,

From my conversations with government HR staffs and analysis the KSA is actual important. In abounding agencies KSAs, not the resume, SF-171 or the Optional Appliance for Federal Appliance (OF-612) are the sole base to chargeless if you are awful qualified, able or not able for a position. Poor, responses to KSAs that abridgement thoroughness, capacity and accuracy can anticipate you from actuality alleged as a awful or best-qualified appellant and confused advanced to interview. The exercise of commutual a KSA, if done accurately should additionally accord you a account of whether or not you are able for the position or should attending into addition opportunity.

Are far as breadth is anxious do not focus on it. The key is to accomplish abiding you put abundant admonition in to accommodate a assured acknowledgment to the recruiter that you accept the qualifications. This can be done in resume architecture with bullets and activity sentences with activity verbs that get your point across. Focus added on the actuality of the acknowledgment to the KSA rather than the breadth but accomplish abiding your responses can be apprehend and accepted quickly. Aloof like resume I am abiding KSAs are apprehend over in abrupt attractive for keywords and added alternative belief in your material. So accomplish abiding you put those keywords and activity verbs in your responses. I accomplishment this helps. I will accept an commodity out anon (next two weeks) that will explain the KSA process.

Take care.

Charlotte, North Carolina: With the advancing retirement of “baby boomers” in the federal government in the aing 3 – 10 years, do you apprehend the government to do a lot of hiring aural the aing few years?

Derrick Dortch: Hello NC,

Great question. Yes with the retirement of babyish boomers in the aing few year the government at present is attractive and planning on how to ample their ranks in the future. At present there are a ample cardinal of opportunities accessible for bodies who are absorbed in alive for the government. No bulk what blazon of job you appetite from accountant to appropriate abettor to administration analyst there will be jobs available. Alpha attractive at USAJOBAS to see what agencies are hiring and what are the HOTJOBS for now and the future.

Take care.

Washington DC: My aboriginal government job was in 1985 for about 8 months. I larboard for the clandestine sector. I now assignment for the Assembly and am attractive to move aback to the federal government.

Will my Assembly acquaintance admonition me and can I use my antecedent government acquaintance to get aback in?

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Derrick Dortch: Hello Assembly worker,

That charge be an absorbing job alive for the Senate. We acknowledge your work. Let me acknowledgment your catechism like this: YESSSSS your assignment acquaintance in the Assembly will absolutely admonition you move aback into alive for the federal government. The Assembly is one of the best able bodies in the government and I am abiding you accept been absolutely a bit of acquaintance and ability that any government bureau could use. The key affair is for you to do a brace of things. Use your Assembly network. Use your contacts and arrangement to admonition you get your bottom in the door. Network, Network, Network. Second, Actuate what government agencies you appetite to assignment for and ambition them by contacting the appropriate people. You may accept admonition that is not readily accessible to the accessible after digging deeply. Use it to your benefit. Lastly get your resume and added appliance abstracts up to date. I apperceive it will assignment out for you. Booty affliction and I ambition you the best.

The articulation is : absolutely

Derrick Dortch: Acknowledgment for the catch! Derrick is activity to stick about about 15 account best today to acknowledgment added questions. There a ton of them today, acknowledgment for your patience.

DC: Is the government hiring engineers with high-level aegis clearances and industry experience?

Derrick Dortch: Hello D.C.

Yes the government is hiring engineers with aegis clearances. Abounding agencies from Department of Defense to Department of Accompaniment to CIA allegation you. Go to the USAJOBS armpit at USAJOBS and do a chase beneath able and series. Attending for architect or accompanying jobs. You should appear up with plenty. Booty care.

Waldorf, Md.: Hi Derrick

I was affected to abandon from a government position. How adamantine will it be to re-enter a additional government position.

– Sean

Derrick Dortch: Sean,

Sorry to apprehend that. There may be some adversity and abundant of it depends on the situation. Listen accelerate me an email on It will be a anniversary or two afore I can acknowledge because I accept a excess of questions to acknowledgment but I will get to you. Amuse accelerate me the capacity and I will address you then. Booty care.

Arlington, Va.: MS Bannister,

If it for a aegis specialist job with the Govt. the best important affair is do you accept acquaintance with the reg. or instructions independent in the job description or KSA. Amuse put the KSA’s up beneath govt. careers and I will try to admonition if it involves aegis specialist jobs.

A DOD adjudicator

Derrick Dortch: Hey, thanks. Glad to see you’re back!

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Foggy Bottom, DC: Adequate Morning!

Lucky for me that I clicked on Washingtonpost appropriate aback you are on!!! Here’s my catechism – I’m about to access my final year of Law School, and absolutely appetite to assignment for the government. The bacon differences amid clandestine firms and the accessible area is giving me abeyance however. Since I’m not your archetypal law alum with little assignment acquaintance (I’ve got bristles years of authoritative acquaintance in the non-profit sector) will I be able to acceleration aloft the $45,000 ambit to get a job in the $70,000 range? My aeon activity to Law firms are accepting $125,000 starting salaries!!!

Please advise.

Thank you.

Derrick Dortch: Abundant catechism Foggy Bottom,

Your assignment acquaintance will admonition you acceleration aloft into a college bacon ambit but I can not absolutely say whether it will automatically hit $70,000 appropriate abroad or not. You will eventually accomplish that abundant and go into six digits as you assignment up to a GS-15 akin or become and Senior Executive. I apperceive this accord you abeyance but abominably the government will never pay what the clandestine area will pay. The pay you absolutely accept is the account you accord aback to your country and its citizens. Like I said you may get $70,000 appropriate abroad but it all depends on your qualifications, the bureau and the job. I aloof appetite to acquaint you that it may not be automatically accessible it may booty a brace of years. I accomplishment this will not advance you abroad from the government option. You complete like you will be a abundant advocate and the government needs you. Booty care.

Arlington, Va.: KSA accept to be different. You can’t use the aforementioned KSA’s for a arrangement administrator, affairs analyst and auditor. All us govt. advisers aloof sit about all day cerebration up asinine KSA’s for abstraction announcements. Right. My bureau has and ages excess of cases and we are attractive to appoint abundant appellation and architect positions. It is my compassionate that all DOD CAF’s allegation help. Best are actual desperate.

A DOD adjudicator

Derrick Dortch: Acknowledgment for the input!

Arlington, VA: How do I acquisition the bodies to arrangement with to acquisition a government job? Area do I accommodated these people?

Derrick Dortch: Three recommendations:

First go to conferences, seminars, branch or whatever you are absorbed in area government admiral are speaking, presenting or will be present. Arrangement in that setting.

Join Associations area bodies from the government in the accurate acreage you are absorbed in will accept associates and appear seminars and added events. Arrangement in that setting.

Two books: Leadership Directories: Federal Edition Get this book that has the numbers and acquaintance names for abounding government agencies. Try to acquaintance them by email or mail and ask for mentorship, advisory interview, what are the accessible openings, etc.

Plum Book Go to any chase agent and blazon in the PLUM Book. It is a agenda of bodies in government positions as well.

Use these assets wisely. I accomplishment this helps. Booty care.

Mt. Airy, North Carolina: Adequate Morning Mr. Dortch:

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Are there any adequate examples on how to adapt resumes targeting government positions, or do you accept advancement on accounting material? This is commodity I afresh became absorbed in and anybody that offers admonish ends with “Be patient”!!

Derrick Dortch: Hello NC,

Well I am activity to alpha off with adage “Be Patient” but additionally adage “It is Possible.”

There are some abstracts out there on advancing government resumes. The Appointment of Personnel Administration (OPM) has a cardinal of assets accessible for chargeless that allocution to about the federal resume and how to adapt it. USAJOBS Careers and they will accept some assets on how to adapt federal job applications. I will additionally put some links up on the Jobs armpit aing week. Booty care. Derrick will be about till 12:30, stick around.

Harrisburg, Pa.: Is it accurate it is difficult to get jobs with Congress if you are aloft age 30? If so, what can addition over age 30 who wishes to acquisition a job with Congress do?

Derrick Dortch: Hello,

This is not accurate that it is adamantine to get jobs with Congress if you are aloft 30. Congress has a cardinal of positions accessible in the House and Assembly for bodies with different acquaintance and skills. Congress does appoint a ample cardinal of interns to assignment for their offices but they accept a ample cardinal of able staffers alive there as well.

Go to this articulation to acquisition out about appliance opportunities in the House. Appliance Opportunities in the House of Representatives

Here is admonition about the Assembly from the Assembly armpit at

Each Senator is amenable for hiring his or her own staff. You may accelerate your resume anon to your Senator. Senators generally attending for agents who accept an amalgamation with the accompaniment they represent. Senators can seek the abetment of the Assembly Placement Office, which accepts resumes from job seekers. The Placement Appointment will advanced resumes to a Senator’s appointment aloft request.

You can accelerate your resume to the Assembly Placement Appointment at the afterward address: Assembly Placement Appointment Room SH-142 Hart Assembly Appointment Building Washington, D.C. 20510

Take affliction and I accomplishment this helps.

Oak Hill, Va.: Hello Derrick, I accept two questions: I was apprehensive how difficult for addition who has been in the clandestine area for 17 years to get into the Federal Government sector? You acknowledgment “network, network, network”. I am afraid to apperceive how one cannot get a job alike with the best qualifications, if they do not accept the “network”. I can accept how this is accessible in the clandestine sector, but in the federal sector, which is an according appliance befalling place, isn’t your accomplishment and acquaintance added important than whom you know? Do you accept any comments on this?

Derrick Dortch: Abundant Catechism Oak Hill, VA,

It is adverse that I accept to put so abundant accent on arrangement but aloof like the clandestine area area there are few jobs and abounding bodies attractive to ample them the government is the aforementioned way. Additionally clashing the clandestine area the government will crave you to ample out abundant forms and KSAs and accommodate added abstracts to get noticed. If these forms are not done accurately afresh generally times you are not absolutely considered. With the aerial aggregate of applications advancing in candidly abounding in the government are accomplishing the best they can with bound resources. I do acclaim them but this is why I accept put so abundant accent on networking because sometimes it is accessible for applications to get absent in the pile. Networking helps you to angle out of that pile.

Do not get me wrong. Abounding bodies do administer for government jobs and aloof delay and get called. This has happened to me several years ago aback applying for a government position. It took two years from the time I beatific the appliance but I eventually got a alarm for an interview. So it can be done. But for those who see this appearance I do apperceive that networking does work. Your abilities consistently bulk and should never be underestimated but sometimes you accept to do added things and bazaar yourself to get noticed, alike in the government sector.

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Take care.

Derrick Dortch: Able-bodied it has been a abundant appearance with a lot of abundant questions. I alone ambition I could get to more. I allegation to apprentice how to blazon faster. Able-bodied we will be aback in April for addition appearance and I accomplishment to see you then. If you appetite to ask your catechism for me to acknowledgment amuse acquaintance me on the bulletin boards. Booty affliction and accept a admirable day and blow of March. I will additionally accept an commodity about KSAs up on the Washington Post – Jobs armpit in the aing two weeks.

I aloof appetite to acknowledge Korina Lopez my abundant ambassador for addition abundant show. I attending advanced to seeing you afresh in April.

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