Be “Race Day Ready” on your Annual Appraisal
and Federal Resume – Top Ten Tips
I see a lot of my neighbors out running – early in the morning, during their lunch hour, after work. Some are fast, but most are just out enjoying a 3 or 4 mile jog on their favorite trail, maybe catching up on their favorite podcast. Sometimes I’ll ask a passing runner what they’re training for, and almost all will tick off a few races they have on the books later in the year. Many of these races will have hundreds if not thousands of participants. For most of the runners I talk to, their chances of placing, even within their age group, are slim to none. Yet that doesn’t keep them from training for the big race. I bet most runners have an internal voice telling them “I haven’t run my fastest one yet.”
Annual appraisals and federal resumes are like always-upcoming events on the race calendar. Good preparation, even just a little each week, can and will lead to success. Most runners don’t just show up and expect to run a successful 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Marathon without methodically putting in the work. Neither should federal employees expect to push out a quick annual appraisal submission or cut and paste their position description into a resume and expect results. Appraisal and resume wins are intertwined, and with just a little bit of effort, you can use them to land the time off, the raise, the quality step increase, or even the promotion you deserve.
Here are my “top ten tips” to get you “race day ready”…
- Create your own personnel weekly activity report (WAR) and provide a copy to your supervisor. Even if they don’t ask for it, providing leadership a record of your weekly accomplishments gives you the maneuvering space to accomplish more on your terms. It will also make both of your jobs much easier during annual appraisal time. Early and often in the appraisal cycle is the time to lay the groundwork for year-end success.
- Then, track down where the senior leader WAR reports are filed, and ensure you tie your accomplishments to the leader’s weekly accomplishments. If what you’re doing doesn’t dovetail with what your leadership is doing, it’s time to re-assess where and how you’re spending your energy.
- Next, volunteer to sit on award package panels. If you want to compete with the best, review the best, and take note of how they use words for maximum professional impact to get results.
- Now, link your accomplishments to the organization’s goals. For example, if you’re an Air Force GS-346-12 C-130J Weapon System Manager, tie your efforts to Air Mobility Command’s mission of “Rapid Global Mobility.”
- With your great portfolio of accomplishments, develop clear, concise award bullets that flow left to right, from accomplishment to action to result.
- Always compete for awards when appropriate, regardless of the level. Bullets from award packages, reviewed and updated by multiple people within a work center, can easily transfer to an appraisal or resume. And… maybe you’ll win.
- When you win, help your boss out. Write up a suggested time-off or monetary award letter in accordance with your local civilian personnel guidelines for them to submit. If you’ve done the “training program” to this point, the letter will write itself, and your boss will thank you!
- At appraisal time, cut and paste the bullets from your winning award packages and supporting WAR reports into your annual appraisal. This is super easy—if you’ve already put in the effort throughout the year.
- Add to your appraisal that you’re a multiple award winner, earned time-off awards, and are delivering peer-leading performance in support of the organization’s mission of x, y, and z. You’re now well on your way to that elusive quality step increase.
- Finally, take your award-winning bullets and build them into your regularly updated resume in narrative form. In your key accomplishment areas, expand your bullets into the Challenge, Context, Action, Result (CCAR) format for maximum impact. Always keep an updated record of ten or so accomplishments in CCAR format to ensure you have relevant work evidence matching the federal job announcement qualifications.
Don’t just finish, be your best. And get on the podium! When you follow an appraisal and resume “training” plan, you’ll always be “race day ready” to “Stand out, Get Noticed, Get Hired.”
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Jobseeker’s Guidebook, 9th Ed. – Ten Steps to a Federal Job®, Kathryn Troutman, Author
The Author: Kathryn Troutman is the author of many award-winning career guides including the best-selling Federal Resume Guidebook, 7th Edition (Best Reference Book/Gold in the Independent Press Awards and more) and The Stars are Lined Up for Military Spouses, 2nd Edition. Troutman is the Founder and President of The Resume Place, a groundbreaking Federal resume writing and job coaching service in Baltimore, MD.
Based on the Ten Steps to a Federal Job® method, Kathryn Troutman and Resume Place, Inc., manage and teach a train-the-trainer Certified Federal Job Search Trainer / Certified Federal Career Coach program. The CFJST / CFCC has been taught for 20 years and employment readiness, career counselors and transition counselors teach and coach the Ten Steps method at military bases and job centers.