We hear that the economy is improving, but we know there are still so many people looking for work. And although people hear that the federal hiring process has improved, many are still finding it a difficult journey. But there may be hope.
Under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, Department of Defense agencies including the Air Force Materiel Command, Defense Information Systems Agency and various entities with the Department of Navy have been using their “expedited-hiring authority” to fill critical acquisition positions.
I know what many of you are saying right now: “I don’t have a background in acquisition, contracting or procurement.”
But the acquisition process in the federal government is so complex that there is a need for people in a range of career fields. The list is long, but it includes auditing, contracting, life-cycle logistics, quality control and assurance, and science and technology management. So you may have a background that is a perfect fit.
Just by doing a quick search on USAJOBS under the acquisition career fields, I found agencies looking for people from biologist to computer scientist to telecommunications specialists.
In accordance with DAWIA, many of these positions require employees achieve a certain level of Acquisition Career Field Certification within two years of being hired. But don’t let that worry you. The government will send you to Defense Acquisition University for training and certification.
If you’re already a federal worker or government contractor with Level I, II or III acquisition certifications or part of the Acquisition Corps, that may expedite things: You would be deemed a highly qualified candidate.
When checking USAJOBS or job-search engines such as Indeed.com, do a keyword search for “expedited hiring authority” or “expedited” on USAJOBS. You can also search for “acquisition.” These positions are nationwide as well as worldwide, so some jobs will no doubt include interesting travel opportunities.
The key is to think outside the box and where your skills, experience, education and other qualifications might apply to the acquisition mission. Sharpen your resume to make your case.
Who knows — this may be your ticket to the fast lane of government employment.
— by Derrick T. Dortch, president of the Diversa Group, is a career counselor who specializes in government job searches and military transition. Published in The Wasington Post on May 25, 2011 at http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/politics/acquisitions-skills-could-put-you-on-the-fast-track/2011/05/25/AG230UBH_story.html.