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Career Development Program Lessons Learned Banner

Lessons Learned

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  • If you have a Lessons Learned submission, please email it to

    Applicant's point of view

    • Don't wait until you see a job announcement to get your resume into
    • There is a "process" and you must be actively and intimately involved with to assure your resume is up to date and ready to forward for consideration of a job.
    • If you have not created an account with, go into the system and create an account. Prior to entering into the system, determine what your user name will be and a password which contains at least two alpha characters,
    • Resumes should contain the following information, at a minimum:
      • Name, address, home and second phone number and a current email address,
      • Employment History to include job title, dates employed, employers name, address, salary and hours per week, and supervisors name and telephone number and if they can be contacted. Then a basic, but thorough description of you work experience, as it would relate to a particular job you are applying for.
        • Pay attention to keywords, whether you are writing your resume for the first time or updating an existing one. Key words are based on the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the position you are writing for.
      • Education, starting with the most recent college or university working back to the first degree attained.
      • Training, starting with the most recent that is most applicable to the job you are currently doing or the job you are applying for.
      • Certifications, starting with the most recent certification name and date attained or recertified, paying attention to those certifications that are most applicable to the job you are currently doing or applying for.
      • Computer Skills, stating the software package(s) you have a proven proficiency working in or with (e.g. Microsoft Office, Outlook, CEFMS, P2, SPS, SharePoint).
      • Volunteer Experience, stating the volunteer position title, the dates of service, the location of the volunteer service, volunteer service program manager or supervisor, and a brief description of work experience, begin attentive to the keywords that describe the knowledge, skills and abilities.
    • Consider using a single keyword to convey multiple skills and qualifications, such as "interpreter", where it can be assumed you have experience providing programs to the public, developing displays or brochures.
    • Review other job opportunities and look for the keywords in those announcements. Focus on the "requirements," "skills," or "qualifications" sections of the job announcements, and look for "buzzwords" and desirable credentials for your ideal job.
    • Your resume should be concise and ask yourself, "Can a hiring manager see my main credentials within 10 to 15 seconds?", "Does critical information jump off the page?", "Do I effectively sell myself on the top quarter of the first page?"
    • State your qualifications, skills or experience at the top of your resume, not letting key requirements for the job get buried down in the resume.
    • Use numbers to highlight your accomplishments. Example, "Wrote 25 news releases in a three-week period under daily deadlines."
    • Think money and articulate ways you have helped your organization save money and other resources. Example, "Utilized the SCA Program for conducting non-visitor assistance Ranger duties, saving the Project $50,000 in labor."
    • Think time, "Time is Money" and articulate ways you improved efficiency. Example, "Developed an electronic timesheet to track daily In/Out to job, hours worked, labor code(s) used for that day, electronically signed, etc., saving each employee 1 hour per week, saving the Project 23 hours in employee labor."

    Manager's point of view

    • Take your time and understand how USAJOBS selects individuals.
      • Words are important, and how the system searches can be a problem. Spend time understanding the pitfalls with help from your local CPAC representative.
      • For example, managers have voiced their concerns where the individuals listed as qualified for "Lock and Dam Operators" are employees of the Federal Prison systems that "OPERATE LOCKS."

    • Send out job announcements early. Take advantage of the in-house email systems available to broadcast jobs, specifically the NRM Community Forum, the Park Ranger CoP, and the OPM CoP to name a few. Advance notices will help potential employees get their resumes updated or into the USA Jobs system.

    • Keep a running list of individuals that contact you about their interest in a particular job.
      • You can use this list to ask your local CPAC if specific individuals made the qualifying list (four to six individuals).
      • This is not a pre-selection exercise. This is one way to determine if the "SYSTEM is working." It is your only way to determine if known qualified individuals are making the qualifying list.

    • Supplying the CPAC with the right skills set for a particular position is extremely important in receiving a quality "Qualifying List." Example, Supervisory Natural Resources Specialist/Chief Park Ranger skills set could include supervision, personnel management, leadership, budgeting, financial management, and program management to name a few.

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