Career Matters

By Lily Whiteman

Expand your career network with contacts

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As they say, information is power. So here are some information sources to help you increase your power to network, obtain advice, generate potentially pivotal contacts, get into the limelight and make strategic career moves.

Leadership directories. Need intel on a particular fed? Gathering background information on hiring managers before interviews or on new bosses will probably help you to anticipate their emphases and to prepare effective pitches for them. Such background information may also reveal to you shared common ground that will help you establish positive rapport with them.

One way to obtain such information is to download, for a fee, profiles of federal leaders, managers and staffers at www. leadershipdirectories.com. (Also, remember to look for intel on particular feds via Google searches, LinkedIn and Facebook.)

Also available at leadership directories.com are the Congressional Yellow Book and Federal Yellow Book. These directories provide the titles and contact information — including current email addresses — of leaders, managers and staffers at each federal agency and congressional office. This information may be helpful if you want to identify feds you should target for informational interviews, requests for advice, speaking invitations or invitations to join interagency workgroups.

You may be able to access these directories for free through your agency’s public affairs office or through academic libraries.

GovLoop.org. This ever-growing social networking site for government professionals offers various free services, including opportunities to advertise or find job openings, announce events, ask questions to the government community, lead or participate in online trainings and discussions about best practices in particular fields or about general career, management or leadership issues.

GovLoop features a “Rock Your Resume” service that offers free feedback on resumes from professional career experts. “Govloop’s Mentors” program provides training on nurturing mentoring relationships, and matches some users with mentors. Hint: The more you interact with other feds, the better your chances will be of developing key relationships and finding unadvertised openings.

Resources provided by federal career coach Derrick Dortch. These resources include Dortch’s radio show, Fed Access, which airs at noon Friday at 1500 AM in Washington, D.C., and is archived at www.federalnewsradio.com. The show covers a wide range of career topics including successful career maneuvers, security clearances, high-demand jobs, the work of particular agencies, federal hiring trends, special hiring programs, best practices in various federal sectors, and career options in fields of special interest, such as intelligence and espionage.

Dortch also writes on federal careers for The Washington Post. Find these articles by typing his name into the search window at www.washingtonpost.com.

Unions. Some unions email their members the latest news on the ongoing budget battles and the status of legislation addressing federal salaries and benefits.

Websites on agency performance. The Partnership for Public Service provides annual ratings and analyses of employee satisfaction at hundreds of federal organizations at www.bestplaces towork.org. A federal site, www.performance.gov, posts articles and data on agency efforts to improve federal practices in acquisition, financial management, human resources, technology, performance improvement, open government, sustainability and customer service.

 These sites may help you identify best practices in your field. And when you are job hunting, these sites may help you identify the achievements of your target agencies — information that you may want to incorporate into your cover letters and job interviews to demonstrate your knowledge of your target agencies.

 

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