Ten Steps To a Federal Job® training provided valuable resources for a community losing hundreds of jobs from the closing of the Salt River Navajo Power Generating Station. Career transition, resume writing, and development will support a community formerly employed by the power station for over four decades.
By Diane Hudson, CFJST / CFCC
Federal Resume Writer & Trainer
Last month I trained National Park Service (NPS) employees, and community service career counselors within the community career services office, Page Public Library, and Cocoina Community College in Page, Arizona. This is a collaborative effort initiated by Michelle Kerns, Deputy Superintendent, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument. To learn more about the NPS near Rainbow Bridge, Arizona: https://www.nps.gov/glca/index.htm
Collectively they are working together to provide career coaching and resume writing, including federal resume development training, to locals who will be laid off from the Salt River Navajo Power Generating Station, which is situated on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.
The site was opened in 1970 with three generating units completed in 1974, 1975, and 1976 respectively. The plant provides power to Arizona, California, and Nevada. The Navajo Generating Station is the largest coal-fired power plant in the Western United States, and it’s slated to shut down in 2019. Hundreds of Navajo people who rely on jobs there are devastated.
The Navajo Nation has relied on the coal industry for the last four decades. The energy companies have provided hundreds of families with some of the best-paying jobs on the reservation. The revenue, taxes, and royalties comprise about a third of the tribe’s operating budget. A plant closure means the coal mine that feeds the plant may also shut down. Together, the Navajo Generating Station and the mine that feeds the plant employ about 800 people. SRP reported in January that of the 433 employees at Navajo Generating Station in 2017 when the closure was announced, 152 have taken new SRP jobs, 36 retired, 15 declined new jobs and 15 were terminated (either decided to take a job outside SRP or fired for poor performance). That left 215 awaiting a job offer elsewhere at SRP or remaining through the closure.
To learn more about the plant closure: https://www.srpnet.com/about/stations/ngs/default.aspx
**You can see in the picture below that one of the stacks has already been shut down.
The National Park Service provided the participants who attended the federal resume writing class with a list of federal positions that will likely open in the next six to 12 months ranging from equipment operators to administrative assistants. The NPS and community services employees who were trained on federal resume writing on Thursday, returned to class on Friday, as mentors and coaches to the personnel being laid off from the plant, helping them to draft their federal resumes in a computer lab.
Many of the participants have not drafted resumes in many years, and many had received information that their ‘one-page industry style resume’ would work fine for usajobs. A solid federal resume is three to five pages and provides human resources and the hiring panels with enough information to rate the resume with a score and make a hiring decision based off of federal classification standards.
I provided training in federal resume writing and the class engaged in several small group exercises to help the participants build out mini-accomplishment stories for their resumes. I created a resume using the outline format on the screen, led a live review of a federal announcement and how to navigate usajobs, and each participant built a resume in usajobs, focusing on key skills, competencies, keywords, and self-assessment questions.
Breaking down the qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities, and responsibilities, I identified the keywords needed to build a strong federal resume for WG / WL (Wage Grade) employees.
Below is a sample announcement, keyword list a excerpt of an Outline Format Federal Resume for this job!
Maintenance Mechanic Leader
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
National Park Service
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Maintains current knowledge, and answers questions of other workers on procedures, policies, written instructions, and other directives. Passes on to other workers the instructions received from the supervisor by assigning daily tasks to individuals of the work group. Demonstrates proper work methods and works along with others to set a work pace. Ensures necessary plans, materials, supplies, equipment and tools are available when needed.
Recommends operation needs per work requests to the supervisor. Ensures safety and housekeeping rules are followed. Additionally, this position performs the following non-supervisory work involved in the maintenance and repair of grounds, exterior structures, buildings and related fixtures and utilities, requiring the use of a variety of trade practices. Carpentry, Painting, Electrical, Roofing, Masonry, Plumbing, Cement work and Heavy equipment operation.
To qualify for this position, you must have sufficient knowledge and ability in the following job-related factors:
- Ability To Do The Work Of The Position Without More Than Normal Supervision (SCREEN OUT)
- Ability To Lead Or Supervise (SCREEN OUT)
- Knowledge of Equipment Assembly, Installation, Repair, etc.
- Technical Practices (theoretical, precise, artistic)
- Use of Measuring Instruments
- Ability To Interpret Instructions, Specification, etc. (includes blueprinting reading)
- Ability To Use and Maintain Tools and Equipment
- Knowledge of Materials
By identifying the keywords and competencies from the responsibilities and qualifications, I was able to create a list of keywords to outline the resume. The keywords are used in CAPITAL LETTERS followed by short duties paragraphs (these entries are summarized from a student in class who outlined his resume and prepared several accomplishments stories* (*sample below):
LEAD AND SUPERVISE PERSONNEL: Managing the controls, supervised and managed diverse trades’ specialists (electricians, equipment operators, and mechanics) at geographically separated sites to repair segments of the power grid. Determined personnel resources needed to manage the repair operation. Resolved employee absences and called in contractors to cover the absent personnel.
TRADE PRACTICES: Knowledge of the skills and abilities of varied craftsmen including electricians, mechanics, maintenance, and equipment operators to maintain turbines. Skillfully coordinated the efforts of multiple craftsmen for repair and maintenance projects.
USE AND MAINTAIN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT (E.G., EQUIPMENT ASSEMBLY, INSTALLATION, REPAIR): Operate the DSC computer system, radio system, telephone system, and engage the emergency response team as needed. Operate, install, and repair various equipment, machinery, and control panels; and teach and oversee others in the repair and maintenance of equipment.
APPLY AND INTERPRET INSTRUCTIONS AND SPECIFICATIONS: Read complex instructions, blueprints, and specifications. Interpret these instructions for maintenance crew and trades craftsmen. Write work requests and trouble tickets.
SAFETY: Inspect the work area daily. Use a safety checklist and procedures for equipment and facilities including for hazardous materials; identify and mitigate possible hazards.
After developing a few short duty paragraphs focused on the keywords and competencies, add a list of specific accomplishments or projects in mini accomplishment story bullets using the CCAR format (Context, Challenges, Actions, Results):
+ *As the operations specialist at Salt River Project, restarted a unit that generated electricity and supplied power for the Central Arizona water project. Coordinated the activities of diverse craftsmen including maintenance personnel, electricians, and other equipment specialists to repair a broken turbine. Personally managed the control panel, working remotely with the equipment specialists to quickly meet short deadlines. Repaired the complex generating equipment / turbines, working 24/7 shifts, and ensured customers received electricity and water in the region.
** As he began to build more accomplishments stories and detail out his problem solving abilities, project management, and supervision, he began to create a resume that will most likely qualify him for several types of equipment operator-type positions in the federal government system via usajobs.gov.
Click here to use the accomplishment story CCAR builder (Context, Challenge, Actions, Results)
NPS and the community service personnel plan to hold additional federal resume writing training classes in the coming months and weeks as a service to the local community. For more information on employment / hiring events and assistance: Click here.
Diane Hudson is a consultant to the Resume Place with more than 25 years of experience in writing federal resumes and managing federal applications. She is a master trainer of all things federal (for job seekers and career counselors) including Senior Executive Service (SES), Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs), federal resumes, KSA narratives, and federal interviewing. Diane’s resumes are published in 60+ books and periodicals, she is co-author of “The New SES Application” with Kathryn Troutman, and she is a regular contributor to RP books as a chapter author and case study author. Diane is a former Special Agent Investigator for the DoD, and Employment Specialist/Recruiter for Northrop. She holds 9 career coaching / industry-specific credentials.