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)

photo Denise

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

2017 Global Days of Service!

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It’s Global Days of Service this week at Walden! Students, alumni, faculty, and staff around the globe will be participating in community service activities to make a difference to others.  Volunteering is a wonderful way to learn about issues facing your community, meet new people, have new experiences, and most importantly, contribute to positive social change. Our planet is facing many challenges. As members of the Walden community, we have a wide range of knowledge, skills, and energy to contribute. Here are some resources to help you find a volunteering opportunity that fits your values and interests this week and beyond:

Volunteering resources on the Career Services website: http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/careerservices/volunteeropportunities

Archived webinars on the topic of social change including Maximizing Career Success Through Strategic Volunteering: http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/careerservices/careerwebinars/socialchange

Join the Social Change Networking Hour on October 26th at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time to learn about how others contribute to positive social change and share your experience. You can register at:  http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/careerservices/careerconnections/events

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor

photo Denise

Dan’s Take: Grammarly

Graduate Assistant Dan demonstrates how to use Grammarly to improve your everyday writing. Improve your cover letters and emails to employers by using this free writing tool!

For information on how to access Grammarly please visit these resources:

Walden’s Writing Center Grammarly Resources
Grammarly Website

A Doctoral Student’s Tips for Life Balance

Blog A Doc Student's Tips for Life Balance

An exceptionally challenging part of my life as a Walden student has been maintaining a healthy balance between school and career.  Like many Walden students, I have work and family obligations, and I must carefully structure my daily routine to accomplish the sometimes overwhelming amount of work and study.  Let me share four time-saving strategies I use to maintain a healthy balance.

Organize Space to Stay Focused
I’ve found that having a specific space set aside for my course studies works well.  While most of us don’t have the luxury of having a personal office and a work or school office, there is a trick I use to make it seem like two offices.  I have a folded sign that reminds me of my end goal of earning my doctorate, which is located next to my computer monitor.  When it’s time to study, I stand up my sign with “Dr.” in front of my name; when I’m at my desk working on non-academic projects, I fold it down.  This simple step serves as a powerful reminder of why I’m studying so hard and helps me stay focused on achieving my long-term goal.

Manage Time Wisely
Focusing on the here and now is the most important habit I’ve cultivated.  Some call it mindfulness, a habit of disciplining the mind to focus on what is in front of you, not the past or the future.  This takes practice!  One tool to help with this task is the Pomodoro technique, a popular way to give yourself a break and refresh your focus.  While it’s common to use 25 minutes of study and breaking for 5, you can experiment to find what works best for you.  On days when I feel sharp and on my game, I like to study for 30 and take 5.  On days when I feel sluggish, I may go 20 and 10.  Learn how to get started with Pomodoro to save time and get more done.

Maximize Technology Tools
Technology provides many great tools to assist with time management.  I prefer to use Evernote to organize my research, and Nozbe to manage my busy schedule.  Learn more about these tools to determine if they are right for you!  I have also found that using technology effectively requires personal habits that reinforce the strategies.  In other words, these tools will work only if you stay truly committed to your goals.

Say “No” or “Later”
I also consider a part of staying focused is being willing to say no when necessary.  If a friend wants to go out on Saturday night when you have a big paper due on Sunday, you may have to politely decline.  You can always tell her another Saturday night will work, but you need plenty of notice to organize your week in advance.  This approach will enlist your friend as part of your support group, an important strategy to help leverage your efforts.  Rewards, whether a night out with friends or a piece of chocolate for a great study day, are also great motivators to keep you energized.

I have discussed time management and technological tools to assist you in creating a productive space, rewarding yourself for work well done, and enlisting your support network for leverage.  Whether you are balancing your academic work, professional career, busy personal or family life; or a combination of all these factors, these tools can help you stay on track for long-term success. My final recommendation follows from the successful implementation of these ideas: enjoy the process!  Learning is a joyful experience, like feeling the excitement grow every day as you take small steps toward the finish line.  Deploy the strategies, enjoy the journey, and success will follow!

Written by Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson
Martin Culberson

Have you heard about ResearchGate, a Professional Networking Site for Researchers?

When you think of large online professional networking sites, you probably consider LinkedIn and Google+. Are you aware that there is a valuable site for academic networking? It’s called ResearchGate.

ResearchGate is a free professional networking site for scientists and researchers founded in 2008 by medical doctors, Ijad Madisch and Sören Hofmayer, and computer scientist, Horst Fickenscher.  Madisch came up with the idea after he struggled to find an expert to consult concerning a problem he faced in his research. The site provides a platform for over 4 million members globally to share their data and research results. ResearchGate encourages sharing not only successful research results, but also failures. Madisch discussed in an interview  that much can be gained from exploring the reasons for failure and avoiding repeating the same mistake, but this opportunity is often missed because failures are typically not shared. The site also fosters discussion, consultation, and collaboration between researchers with similar interests and across disciplines. Dr. Daniel Salter from the Walden Center for Research Quality made this comment about ResearchGate, “One aspect of this site, which sets it apart from some of the similar ones, is the Q&A section.  RG members can subscribe to feeds in particular content areas, post questions to the community about research, and provide feedback and answers to questions posed by other scholars.”

ResearchGate members can upload a photo, create a profile based on research interests, expertise, and skills, and follow others’ research. The membership application requires that you use your institutional email address.  ResearchGate also has an extensive list of job postings for research related positions. You do not have to be a member to view the job postings at http://www.researchgate.net/jobs/

The Walden Career Services Center is a passionate advocate for building a strong professional network. Online professional networking provides an opportunity to exponentially increase your contact with other professionals, learn from others, and have an impact in your field. Check out ResearchGate.net at http://www.researchgate.net/aboutus.AboutUs.html

For more resources on publishing:


Written by Career Services Advisor, Denise Pranke