New Year’s Resolutions to Enhance Your Federal Career

What do you need to do in order to improve your career prospects? Here are resolutions you can use to become more successful in 2008.

New Year’s resolutions mainly have to do with items such as health and relationships. Sometimes they also have to do with our careers.

However, we often find that our career related resolutions suffer the same fate as many of the others we make: that is – they fall by the wayside.

To make all of your resolutions more successful, break your broad resolutions down into easily achievable steps, monitor the completion of those steps and celebrate your small successes. Here are suggestions you can use for small resolutions that will help you move toward the larger goal of finding a better job.

  1. Improve your paperwork. These days, "paperwork" is a term used by those who chronologically resemble me to describe the data you submit when applying for a job. Whether your paperwork is really on paper, or whether it is submitted electronically, its quality has a big effect on the success of your job search efforts. This is especially true in the federal job application process. Review your resume or application form as well as your KSA statements. Make sure they have the right keywords, showcase your accomplishments and are grammatically correct. Have others, including perhaps a career advisor, review your paperwork/data.
  2. Focus on your immediate career goal, not just on the fact that a job has a higher grade or that it is different from your current situation. Do you have a specific job you want to move to? Or, are you simply interested in moving from the job you now have? The more focused you are on where you want to go; the easier it will be for you to get there. Investigate opportunities within your organization, focusing on the skills required, the working conditions and the satisfaction you will receive.
  3. Improve your qualifications. If you need further education or certification in order to qualify for the job you are seeking, take the necessary steps to get it. Each year (or semester) you delay keeps you from getting any closer to your goal. Many years ago a lady wrote Ann Landers, questioning whether or not she should go back to school and get her degree. She worried about being 45 years old with a degree. Ann’s answer was that she would be a lot better off than being 45 years old without a degree – which is where she would be if she didn’t go back to school.
  4. Hone your interviewing skills. How you present yourself in an interview can make you stand out from the crowd in the promotion process. Participate in mock interviews and anticipate the questions you will be asked.
  5. Maintain a positive attitude. If you visualize your success, you will be more likely to achieve it than if you don’t. Realize that finding a new and better job is not an overnight event and plan your job search accordingly.

Follow these suggestions and you have a great chance to be successful in 2008.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at to discuss schedules and costs.

About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.