Dan’s Take: Do You Want to Work for the Federal Government?

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Graduate Assistant Dan Ambrosio is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Walden University. In Dan’s Take, he shares his perspective on career management from a student’s eye view. Dan lives in Germany where he teaches business English. He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out. 

My Mother, a Criminal Program Specialist, has been working for the United States Marshals Service for 14 years. Through the years, she has gained a lot of experience with the Federal hiring process and job search.  Fortunately, she shared useful information with me that may help anyone with a desire to work in the US Federal Government.

All US Federal job announcements are posted on USAJOBS.govSearch Filters can be adjusted to search for the type of work you are interested in, such as technology, law enforcement, administration, or you can search for agencies within departments such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agency within the Department of Homeland Security. The Search Filters feature can also search by location. Some jobs may have an age limit. For example, many law enforcement positions have an age requirement of under 37 years at the time of hire.

All job announcements are divided into applicant eligibility categories called Hiring Pathways that show who is eligible to apply. Eligibility categories include: open to the public, current federal employees, veterans, and displaced federal employees among others. In general, positions are only open to U.S. citizens and nationals.

Jobs are classified with a grade of GS-1 to GS-15 based on the level of education and experience required. Higher grade levels correspond to higher pay. Applicants should apply for positions with grades that match the applicant’s combination of education and experience such as mid-level management positions (GS-9 positions) that are open to the public require a master’s degree. In some cases, experience can be substituted with a higher level of education than the position requires. In other cases, applicants for upper management positions (GS-12 and above) which are open to the public, must have both the required level of education and relevant work experience; education as the sole qualification will not be accepted.

USAJOBS.gov requires the user to create an account that includes a profile. There is an option to build your resume in the USAJOBS resume builder.  While USAJOBS allows Word/PDF resumes, some agencies prefer that the resume is created in USAJOBS.  Some positions may close as soon as an appropriate applicant is found or a set number of applications are received even though the closing date is up to a year in the future. When you see a position of interest, apply as soon as possible; some positions may close within days or even hours.

All applications must be submitted through USAJOBS.gov (click the APPLY button within the job announcement). The department may require completion of additional Federal forms such as a “Declaration of Federal Employment” or a “Drug Questionnaire.” The application review process differs based on the type of job and agency; it can often take weeks or months.  An applicant can see the status of their application by signing into their USAJOBS account and going to “Applications.”

Overall, getting a Federal job can be quite challenging; however, it can also be rewarding.  Jobs tend to open and close quickly, so look at USAJOBS.gov often for current openings and make sure that your resume is formatted properly and showcases your qualifications. I hope this information finds you well and good luck in your job search!

For more information about applying for US government jobs,  check out the Government resources page on the Career Services website  and view the archived webinar, Navigating the Federal Hiring Process.

Written by Dan Ambrosio, Walden DBA Student, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Blog Dan Ambrosio

(Edited by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor)

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Use Keywords to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

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Do you have a LinkedIn profile?  If yes, you have a lot of company!  As the world’s largest professional networking site, LinkedIn has become the go-to place for jobs.  Companies post jobs, job-seekers search for openings, and recruiters seek good matches.  With hundreds of millions of members, that perfect match is just a matter of time, right?  Maybe.  I’ve been a LinkedIn member for many years, and my original profile was nothing more than an extension of my resume with a photo thrown in for good measure.  But when I decided to pursue a new job, I realized I needed to optimize my searchability and increase my exposure.  I want to share a few tips on one of the most powerful tools in the LinkedIn toolbox:  keywords.

Virtually everything on your LinkedIn profile is indexed and searchable.  Near the top of this index in ratings is your professional headline, which serves as your branding message and can be up to 120 spaces long.  The default headline is your current job.  In my previous profile, I had the generic “IT Teacher,” followed by my school name.  My first step in optimizing my profile was to expand my headline to “IT Teacher, Software Developer, Web Designer, and AI Enthusiast.”  By highlighting several of my technology-related roles and adding an interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), I increased my searchability in specialty areas where I have experience and an interest area I hope to pursue in the future.

Other LinkedIn areas where you can insert keywords are your Summary, Skills & Expertise, and Projects sections.  In my original profile, the Summary section included generic excerpts from my resume.  A re-write highlighted specific accomplishments while weaving keywords such as “Java” into the narrative.   I also added “Python” to my Skills and Expertise section, and included “Trello” and “Microsoft Project” keywords in Projects.

Keywords increase your LinkedIn profile exposure and help you get noticed.  For a more in-depth look at LinkedIn and other social media sites, visit the Walden University Career Services Center’s Networking and Branding tab and watch the webinar, Maximizing Social Media to Proactively Manage Your Career.  When you are in a pool of hundreds of millions of networkers and job seekers, optimizing your profile is critical to your overall LinkedIn strategy.  Keywords are a quick and effective way of upping your odds for that dream job!

Written by Martin Culberson, Walden DIT Student, Career Services Technology Graduate Assistant

Martin Culberson

Dan’s Take: Connecting with Employers at Career Fairs


Graduate Assistant Dan Ambrosio is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Walden University. In Dan’s Take, he shares his perspective on career management from a student’s eye view. Dan lives in Germany where he teaches business English. He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out. 


Career fairs are an excellent way to meet hiring managers face-to-face.  It is effortless nowadays to apply for multiple jobs through the Internet. As a result, companies tend to receive an overwhelming amount of applications and resumes.  The challenge for job hunters is to stand out among all of these applications and make themselves known to potential employers.  One of the ways to get yourself in front of a hiring manager and to network with business professionals is to attend a career fair.

Recently, I participated in a couple of career fairs where multiple companies were hiring.   Bring more hard copies of your resume than you think you need, so recruiters are never left empty-handed. Every hiring manager I spoke with wanted a copy of my resume. Also, make sure that you thoroughly review your resume beforehand (e.g., check for grammar, style, action verbs, etc.). A resume will do just fine at the career fairs; no one asked me for a cover letter.

Make sure to look your best.  While this is not a formal interview process, dressing professionally shows professionalism and sometimes hiring managers will interview and hire on the spot.  I found it beneficial to introduce myself  before asking any questions about their organization and available positions.  The length of each conversation depended on the number of their current openings and future opportunities.  The hiring managers I spoke with gave me their business cards which allowed me to email or call them directly if I decided to pursue an opportunity at their company.

Research the companies and positions available as much as possible before attending. Often the career fair’s website will list the companies in attendance and the positions available. This information will help you to prioritize your time. Even if you do your research, it is essential to ask questions.  A career fair is a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of company culture and demonstrate your interest.  Even if the position or the company is not for you, the managers may know someone who is!  If there is a position that you are interested in, remember to follow up with the person you spoke with at the career fair.

Career fairs are also an excellent way to network.  It never hurts to get to know someone professionally and possibly connect with them on LinkedIn.  It is much simpler to get to know an organization when you meet a representative in person, versus clicking “apply” online.  Unfortunately, career fairs are not available all the time.  That being said, most major cities have them. I found the career fairs that I attended by searching on Google.  Most career fairs will require that you register and bring proof of registration. So far, the career fairs I attended have been free.  Some career fairs are larger than others, so bring plenty of resumes. I hope your job hunt is going well and good luck at your next career fair event!

For more career related information visit the Walden Career Services Center website.

Written by Dan Ambrosio, Walden DBA Student, Career Services Graduate Assistant


A Global Days of Service Story

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As a Ph.D. in Human Services student at Walden University, I recently participated in a local Global Days of Service event in St. Paul, Minnesota.   First of all, I received an email inviting me to partake in a Walden University service event at Harriet Tubman, a crisis center committed to providing safety, hope, and healing to families.  I gladly responded to the email because I have been inspired to engage in service work after my experience with the organization, Feed My Starving Children, years back. Also, I have worked several years in the mental health field, which gave me an understanding of the struggles many individuals face in their lives. After registering for the event, I received an email with directions to the volunteer site, and I decided to invite my girlfriend, who is a social worker, to come along with me.

When we arrived at Harriet Tubman, we registered and took pictures in the main hall, and connected with other volunteers from the Walden community.  After refreshments, the Harriet Tubman staff introduced themselves and explained the organization’s mission.  We were then divided into several groups and assigned tasks including tending the garden, packing boxes, assembling items, and others.  I happened to choose the furniture group.  Our five group members moved furniture from a large storage area to a parking lot, for pickup by another nonprofit organization. Moving furniture was not easy, but due to our collaborative effort, we managed to complete our tasks early.  I enjoyed working with selfless people who want to contribute to their communities and people in need.

The amazing part of my volunteer experience was that the president of Walden University and faculty rolled up their sleeves and worked alongside everyone in unity.  I even had the opportunity to take photos with faculty members and the president, an experience I will cherish forever.

Would you like to expand your social impact?

Read about Walden University’s Social Change vision
Watch Career Services’ Social Change Series webinars
Visit the Volunteer Opportunities page

Written by Ph.D. in Human Services Student, Isaac Allotey

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Edited by Associate Director of Career Services, Dina Bergren

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Career Services Welcomes Our New Internship Advisor!

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Katy Peper

The Career Services team would like to introduce Katy Peper, who recently transitioned from her prior role as an Academic Advisor, into her new role as an Internship Advisor. Katy brings 10+ years of professional experience in higher education, with experience in career advising, academic advising, teaching, and residence life. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University.

Would you like to know more about Katy? Read the interview below!

Dina Bergren: What are you most passionate about working with Walden students?

Katy Peper: I love working with Walden students because they come from all over the world and from all walks of life. I never know who I will meet and what I will learn from each new person I talk to.

Dina Bergren: How would you describe your greatest strengths?

Katy Peper: My greatest strengths are my ability to analyze as well as my strong sense of responsibility. I find it easy to evaluate situations and think through all of the possibilities. A sense of responsibility also comes naturally to me, and I take ownership of what I say I will do.

Dina Bergren: What career development activities have you engaged in?

Katy Peper: I love attending professional conferences to continue learning and developing my skills. Right now, I am on the 2017 fall conference committee for the Minnesota College Professional Association. Life-long learning and staying current on issues facing students is highly important to me.

Dina Bergren: What career advice would you give students seeking career advancement?

Katy Peper: My number one piece of advice is to start early and not wait until graduation! Whether you are continuing in your current field or switching fields, find ways to get involved through volunteering, professional associations, and other experiential activities. You never know when a new opportunity will present itself.

Dina Bergren: What are you most excited about in your new role as Career Services’ Internship Advisor?

Katy Peper: I am excited to see how my role will develop over time. I hope to create new career resources and improve processes. To me, that is very exciting!

Dina Bergren: What do you enjoy outside of work?

Katy Peper: I enjoy spending time with my family and volunteering with greyhound adoption through Greyhound Pets of America, Minnesota. I also enjoy being outside (no matter the season). My favorite activities are camping, hiking, and gardening. I would love to try snowshoeing in the winter!

Would you like to learn more about how the Career Services Center can assist you in reaching your career goals? Visit the About Career Services page!

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services, and Katy Peper, Internship Advisor

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photo Katy


Three Reasons to Attend the Walden Social Change Networking Hour

“Conversation is the vehicle for change.” – Terry Tempest Williams

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To continue in the spirit of Global Days of Service, the Walden University Career Services Center is hosting the Walden Social Change Networking Hour on Thursday, October 26,
7:00 p.m. ET. During this hour-long online networking event, you will have the opportunity to make up to six new contacts and share ideas on how to improve human and social conditions. Here are just a few reasons to register now for this exciting global event:

Meet New People

The Walden Social Change Networking Hour is a unique opportunity to connect with students, alumni, and staff to spark meaningful conversation.  As an online student, it can sometimes be difficult to build meaningful relationships with fellow students and alumni. During this live event, you will be able to chat with Walden community members from all over the world who share your social change interests. The Walden Career Connections platform saves a transcript of your chats so you can follow-up after the event. Exchange contact information or connect on LinkedIn to continue the conversation!

Share Your Passion for Social Change

As Walden University President Jonathan Kaplan said, “Every day around the world, Walden students, alumni, faculty, and staff serve their communities in many ways large and small. This continual commitment to service is not only a reflection of our mission, it is a part of our DNA.” We know that you are passionate about making a difference in your community, your profession, and the world! Support your peers and collaborate as you share causes, organizations and volunteer experiences. Prepare to inspire and be inspired by the innovative ways Walden’s community members are using their skills to address challenges at the local level.

Practice Networking

We all know that networking is important to professional development, but many people find it intimidating and awkward! The Walden Career Connections platform is designed to make networking easy, fun, and painless. The chats are timed and text-based, which ensures that conversations are focused, and you always have someone to chat with. Best of all, you can attend the event from anywhere with an internet connection – even from your couch! If you are looking for a comfortable way to practice your networking skills, The Walden Social Change Networking Hour is a great place to start.

We look forward to networking with you!

Walden Social Change Networking HourOctober 26, 2017, from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET.   Register for the event here.

Would you like some tips on how to prepare? Read Three Tips for Maximizing Our New Online Networking Tool, Walden Career Connections!

Written by Angie Lira, Senior Career Services Advisor

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Simple Self-Publishing Strategies Using Kindle Direct

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As life-long learners, many Walden students spend a great deal of time applying their critical thinking and writing skills. The skills they acquire from this process may result in work to share with the world in the form of papers, textbooks, works of fiction, or even children’s books, and all can be self-published on Kindle Direct!

In my youth, I often wrote short stories and even a couple of novellas. However, in those days getting published was daunting, and rejection was common. Even if accepted, the process was slow and laborious. Times have changed! Now publishing an eBook or printed-on-demand paperback on Amazon is a matter of hours, not months or years! I recently spent several months writing a Sci-Fi novel, and from start to finish on Kindle Direct Publishing, my eBook was published within two hours, and for sale online in twenty-four hours. Let’s go over the basics and get you published!

File Formats for Kindle Direct Publishing

What are the basic file formats to use with Kindle Direct? While popular formats such as Adobe PDF and Apple’s ePub are accepted on the Kindle Direct Publishing Platform, Microsoft Word is recommended in either the Windows DOC format or the Apple Mac DOCX format. Best practices include avoiding special fonts, using the Word “insert” feature for tables and images, and using JPEG images inserted in a center alignment. Every chapter end should have a page break inserted, and always use the spell checker!

Proofreading Tips

One of the most challenging parts of publishing my book was the proofreading.  I enlisted several friends to help, and everyone caught errors I missed! However, rest easy, a big advantage of publishing on Kindle Direct is that your text, and your cover image, can be updated at any time after publication. Kindle Direct also offers various third-party experts to assist along the way.  For most books, the process in Kindle is straightforward: you see your book laid out just as it will be in eBook form, and you simply review the pages, formatting, and overall look. Once you are satisfied, finalize your product, and your book will go live!

Setting up an Amazon Account

To get started, go to the Kindle Direct Publishing website and set up a free Amazon account. After you set up your account, you will be directed to upload your manuscript.  Once you approve of the layout and cover, you will be guided to select royalty options. You also will be able to set up ad campaigns using ads placed strategically by genre or through keyword searches.  Ad campaigns can be monitored, adjusted, or cancelled at any time.  Sales can also be monitored.  Your eBook will be for sale in the Kindle store on the Amazon website.  Sales potential can be enhanced with a paperback and audiobook, and good reviews are great for sales!  Seeing your book online for the first time is very rewarding!

For more information about Kindle Direct Publishing go to https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200634280

Written by Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson

Martin Culberson