Get a Life!: Advice on making that job change

Taking advantage of your current job can help in search for a new government position, writes blogger Judy Welles

It’s that time when many people think about whether they will change jobs or, if eligible, perhaps retire at the end of the year.

Some managers say that the process of finding and getting another government job involves more than how well you write your resume or application. It requires taking advantage of opportunities in your current position.

The view of one manager, who recently retired after a 30-plus year career, is that there are many ways to prepare for change by building your skills and expanding your contacts in your present job.

“You need to take advantage of opportunities such as work groups or task forces where people come together from other programs and agencies,” said Spencer Schron, who retired last January as a technical advisor in the Office of External Affairs at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Work groups give exposure to other people and perspectives and, when staffers from other agencies are involved, perhaps to other jobs. “By networking in work groups, you can also develop secondary and tertiary contacts and broaden your knowledge of other program areas. Sort of the ‘six degrees of separation’ idea,” he added.

Schron hired dozens of employees and added hundreds of people to workgroups, forums and teams during his career. Joining groups that develop is one approach to networking, but making your own group is another option, he said. For example, someone might propose an informal interagency workgroup to explore ways to improve a project or solve a problem.

On those knowledge and skill essays, or KSAs, Schron looked for people who demonstrated the ability to run with a situation and be creative. He wanted examples of how a person had overcome barriers or found a new solution to an old problem.

Schron is now an active volunteer, recently appointed to the Montgomery County, Md., Commission on Aging, which focuses on the health and welfare of older residents. In a way, it’s like joining another interagency work group, he said.

Any other ideas on ways to change jobs and move around in government?