Cleared Job.Net Presents Cleared Job Fair June 11th, 2008

June 5, 2008

Wednesday, June 11th 11am- 4pm

DoubleTree Crystal City
300 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
 
Meet with Arrowhead Global Solutions, Arete Associates, AT&T Government Solutions, BAE Systems(NS), CACI International, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, CSC, DoD Inspector General Office, Everest Technology Solutions, General Dynamics – IT, JB Management Inc, L-3 Communications(GSES), Lockheed Martin, Luna Innovations, McClendon Corporation, Navy Engineering Logistics Office, Nortel Government Solutions, Northrop Grumman(MS), SAIC, SRI International, Solers, Terremark Worldwide,
Trusted Computer Solutions and more coming!

 

 

 

Active or Current Security Clearance Required

 

 

Meet with Arrowhead Global Solutions, Arete Associates, AT&T Government Solutions, BAE Systems(NS), CACI International, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, CSC, DoD Inspector General Office, Everest Technology Solutions, General Dynamics – IT, JB Management Inc, L-3 Communications(GSES), Lockheed Martin, Luna Innovations, McClendon Corporation, Navy Engineering Logistics Office, Nortel Government Solutions, Northrop Grumman(MS), SAIC, SRI International, Solers, Terremark Worldwide,
Trusted Computer Solutions and more coming!
 

 

Active or Current Security Clearance Required

Soft Skills: The Keys to Success

 

 

 
 
No matter what the current economic forecasts are, jobseekers that hold a security clearance enjoy bright prospects, especially if they offer employers a combination of technical skills and interpersonal abilities. You may have the technical skills needed to work, say, in the IT field, but what about your “soft skills,” such as interpersonal skills, the ability to write and speak clearly, and customer-relationship building skills. 

 

 

 “If you have these soft skills or develop them, you will be able to maintain your success,” agrees Patricia A. Frame, founder of Strategies for Human Resources. To find out if you have what employers are looking for in today’s marketplace, do your own personal soft skills/competencies audit:

  • Which skills do you need in your current job?
  • What do you know about the need?
  • How would you evaluate yourself on each skill you need?
  • How would your boss evaluate you on each?

Then assess the skills needed for other positions that interest you, says Frame. Look at position descriptions or job ads to consider both promotions within your current organization which interest you and external opportunities. Once you have assessed your current competencies versus needed ones, develop a plan, Frame advises:

  • Pick one competency you want to work on.
  • Identify your goal and what steps are needed to achieve it.
  • Put in a timeframe
  • Identify how you will know you have achieved your goal. 

Next, ask others for help. “Soft skills by their nature involve working with others, so you need others to help you develop yours,” Frame suggests. Share your plan with your boss, a mentor, or a talented co-worker and ask for their assistance and feedback. Then it’s time to practice.  Ask your co-workers, a mentor, or friend for feedback and specific information on what you did well and what still needs work. “Often keeping a record of what you have tried and what results you got will help you to keep going and to improve,” Frame advises. 

 

Finally, tackle another area. “No, it never ends,” says Frame. “Not if you want to succeed at work or in life.”

Patra Frame will be presenting career search strategy seminars at the upcoming Cleared Job Fair at the Double Tree Crystal City on June 11th.

 

 

 

 

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Any Resume Presence in Yokosuka Japan

May 13, 2008

Any Resume Consulting will continue to expand services in the Yokosuka Japan area. Any Resume will now be advertising in the Yokosuka Seahawk Base Newspaper to reach all servicemembers and civilian contractors in need of our top-notch technical writing services.


Personal Finances and Security Clearances – (Part 2 of 3)

April 4, 2008

MITIGATING DELINQUENT DEBT

The following conditions generally mitigate the delinquent debt concerns listed under Guideline F of the Adjudicative Guidelines For Determining Eligibility For Access To Classified Information.

Not Likely to Recur: The likelihood of a financial problem recurring is greatly reduced if the problem occurred long ago, occurred under unusual circumstance, or was an isolated incident.  Examples of these types of situations include, writing one or two clusters of unintentional insufficient fund checks, loosing track of a couple of bills as a result of relocating, or having “paid collection” accounts from a few years ago.  Favorable changes in financial habits and lifestyle over a period of time can mitigate more recent financial irresponsibility.  Formerly delinquent debts (delinquent debts that were eventually fully satisfied) are given more or less weight depending on the applicant’s more recent credit dealings.  The existence of current debt problems increases the significance of past debt problems.

Beyond Applicant’s Control: Financial problems often arise due to situations beyond a person’s control, such as medical debts, divorce, loss of income, victim of crime, bad investments, business downturn, and natural disasters.  In such situations if a person acts reasonably and responsibly (including bankruptcy, when necessary) to resolve their debts, the financial issue can be mitigated.  The debts do not have to be fully resolved at the time of adjudication, but there should be verifiable uninterrupted efforts toward this goal.  Being a victim of predatory lending practices, particularly involving subprime mortgages, appears to somewhat fall into the category of situations beyond an applicant’s control.  Much will depend on individual circumstances.  Applicants who are lawyers, accounts, and people with experience in the financial services industry will have difficulty convincing anyone that they were victims.

Counseling/Good Faith Effort to Repay: Conscientious participation in credit counseling or a debt consolidation program can significantly mitigate financial concerns.  Consistent, systematic, good faith efforts to repay or otherwise resolve debts without formal counseling will have the same effect.  If it is obvious that an applicant is only taking such action because they know that it is required to obtain a security clearance, it will not convince an adjudicator that the problem is unlikely to recur after the clearance is granted.  Therefore, efforts to resolve financial problems should begin as soon as possible.  Obviously the earlier corrective action is taken, the more likely the problem can be fully mitigated.  In some instances actions, such as credit counseling, initiated only a few months prior to applying for a clearance can substantially mitigate security concerns.

Disputed Debts: When business records, including credit reports, indicate that an applicant owes money, the burden of proof shifts to the applicant to disprove the claim.  If an applicant has several sizeable credit accounts listed as “paid as agreed” and only one delinquent account, adjudicators are much more inclined to accept even minimal evidence from the applicant that the delinquent account information is erroneous.  Conversely, if an applicant disputes half of the accounts listed on their credit report, adjudicator will want to see convincing evidence to support the applicant’s claim.  Efforts to dispute erroneous credit report entries immediately after learning of them will also help to substantiate the applicant’s position.

Article Credit: William Henderson

William H. Henderson is a retire security investigator, author of Security Clearance Manual: How To Reduce The Time It Take To Get Your Government Clearance, and regular contributor to ClearanceJobsBlog.com.


Personal Finances and Security Clearances (Part I)

April 4, 2008

This is the first of a three-part article on the impact of delinquent debt on security clearances.  Part 2 will cover Mitigating Delinquent Debt.  Part 3 will cover Delinquent Debt & Interim Clearances and What To Do If You Have Delinquent.

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS—DELINQUENT DEBT

A sampling of Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) security clearance hearings from 2007 showed that about 50 percent of clearance denials involved “Financial Considerations.”  This was two times greater than the next most frequently listed issue for clearance denial.*

Guideline F: Financial Considerations is one of 13 criteria listed in the Adjudicative Guidelines For Determining Eligibility For Access To Classified Information.  Excessive indebtedness increases the temptation to commit unethical or illegal acts in order to obtain funds to pay off the debts.  Most Americans who betrayed their country did it for financial gain—about half were motivated by a real or perceived urgent need for money and about half by personal greed.

Aside from compulsive/addictive behavior, deceptive/illegal financial practices, and unexplained affluence, the remaining potentially disqualifying conditions detailed in Guideline F can be boiled down to one security concern—delinquent debt.  High debt to income ratio and excessive indebtedness are listed as a potentially disqualifying condition, but this rarely comes into play absent any past or present delinquent debt or obvious signs of unexplained income.  Low credit scores are not listed as a potential disqualifying condition, because factors unrelated to debt affect credit scores.

DELINQUENT DEBT

Delinquent debt is by far the most common financial concern.  In adjudicating these cases the following factors are taken into consideration:

• Cause of debt
• Response to debt
• Amount of debt

Cause of debt is generally more important than the amount of debt, because it reveals more about a person’s reliability, trustworthiness, and judgment.  Of people who seek credit counseling, roughly 50 percent are due to irresponsibility.  If the debt was caused by irresponsibility (including reckless behavior) that is likely to continue, the problem is magnified.  If the debt occurred due to situations beyond the applicant’s control and the applicant is handling the debt in a reasonable manner (including bankruptcy or debt consolidation), the significance of the problem is substantially reduced. 

Response to debt is evaluated by the things people do (or don’t do) about delinquent debt. How people deal with debt is often a decisive consideration. Those who ignore their financial responsibilities may also ignore their responsibility to safeguard classified information.  Classic indicators of irresponsibility and unethical behavior are:

• Changing addresses without notifying creditors
• Failure to take reasonable measures to pay or reduce debts
• Knowingly issuing bad checks
• Increased credit card use immediately before filing for bankruptcy

The words, “bankruptcy” and “credit counseling” do not appear anywhere in the Adjudicative Guidelines.  This is because both bankruptcy and credit counseling can be considered positive efforts to get one’s finances under control.  What is important is the underlying reason for the bankruptcy or credit counseling.

Amount of debt focuses primarily on the delinquent amount, but as previously mentioned total debt, if it appears excessive, may also be taken into consideration.  Significant delinquent debt is a security concern.  For total debt there is a rule of thumb used by credit counselors.  If an individual’s minimum monthly payments for consumer credit (excluding credit cards that are paid in full at the end of each billing cycle and mortgages on primary homes) totals more than 20 percent of monthly take-home pay, there is a financial problem. This does not apply to unmarried military personnel who live in barracks and eat in mess halls and others who are similarly situated.  According to Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Federal Investigative Notice No. 06-07, OPM does not automatically expand investigations for financial issues, unless:

• Credit report reflects current aggregate delinquent debt totaling $3,500 or
• Bankruptcy within the past 2 years or
• Bankruptcy within the past 3 to 5 years with evidence of current credit problems.

This does not mean that delinquent debt totaling less than $3,500 is not significant, but it does suggest that, absent any aggravating circumstances or other security issues, the government is not overly concerned about small amounts of delinquent debt.  OPM considers bankruptcy only as a trigger for further inquiry.

* Guideline E: Personal Conduct was cited in about 45 percent of the cases, but was usually a issue involving falsification directly related to other adjudicative criteria.

Article Credit: William H. Henderson

William H. Henderson is a retired security investigator, author of Security Clearance Manual: How To Reduce The Time It Take To Get Your Government Clearance, and regular contributor to ClearanceJobs.com and ClearanceJobsBlog.com


Veterans Return to Bleak Job Market

April 1, 2008

Veterans Return To Bleak Job Market

 
Finding a job is turning out to be a very tough challenge for returning veterans; harder than for civilians of similar age and education.
Eighteen percent of the veterans recently back from tours of duty are unemployed. Of those employed since leaving the military, 25 percent earn less than $21,840 a year, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.The data come from a survey of 1,941 veterans who left the military between December 2004 and January 2006. The survey is in line with Census Bureau and other data that indicate employment rates and wages are lower for troops returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones than their civilian peers.

“Transitioning back into employment, education, and/or training after completing military service can be challenging for some military personnel,” the study says, adding that “it is vital” for the VA to better understand the programs and services it provides.

The survey was conducted for the VA by a consultant, who sent an analysis to the department last year. The survey findings have not been released by the VA but have been obtained by groups that advocate on behalf of veterans. They were reported by the Wall Street Journal last week.

VA spokesman Matt Smith said the VA, Defense Department and Labor Department “are working together to review the data provided in the report, interpret the data, consider what implications the data may have on programs administered by our departments, and determine what further research, if any, may be necessary.”

He said the VA intends to release the report after the internal review is finished.

According to the survey, 48.4 percent of the respondents said they took advantage of the GI Bill, which provides up to $1,000 a month for 36 months for veterans who enroll in colleges or other education programs.

But the survey findings also raised questions about whether the GI Bill paid off in terms of higher income or a better job.

“Unfortunately, we found that receiving the GI Bill was not a strong predictor of successful employment outcomes such as high earnings, responsibility in civilian work and placement in senior management,” the study says.

Even those using the GI Bill may not be competitive in the labor market. Private-sector personnel officials, for example, reported that many veterans “were not prepared to market themselves to the business environment — they did not seem to understand the culture and expectations; thus were not career ready,” the study says.

In general, returning military personnel often have trouble finding jobs that match their military occupations.

Article credit: Stephen Barr
Washington Post


Study Shows Troops Paid Fairly but Differently

March 25, 2008
 
It is one of the most politically sensitive questions on Capitol Hill: Are the troops getting paid the right amount?
A new Defense Department study suggests that the answer is yes, when basic pay, cash allowances, free health care, pensions and tax breaks are taken into consideration.

When those elements are combined, military officers and enlisted personnel are compensated as well or better than 80 percent of their counterparts in the private sector of similar ages and educations, the study said.

That runs contrary to popular perceptions, shaped in the late 1970s, when military pay fell behind private-sector wages, and reinforced in the early 1990s by reports that several thousand military families relied on food stamps to make ends meet.

Congress became concerned about such perceptions and realized that pay comparable with the private sector is critical to maintaining an all-volunteer force, so it began pumping up military salaries.

Over the past decade, Congress usually has set military pay raises at one-half of a percentage point above the average annual private-sector wage increase. Since 2001, the Pentagon calculates, average basic pay has grown by 32 percent.

But there is more to military compensation than pay, and the Pentagon’s study, released this month, emphasizes the importance of benefits — a departure from previous pay studies, known as quadrennial reviews of military compensation.

The study was headed by Jan D. “Denny” Eakle, a retired brigadier general who served for 29 years in the Air Force. When she retired, she was deputy director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which is responsible for paying more than 5 million people.

One of the study’s goals is to help educate military personnel about compensation so that they better understand what kind of income they will need to maintain their standard of living if they leave the armed forces, Eakle said in an interview.

The study begins with regular military compensation — basic pay, housing and food allowances and an estimate of the federal income tax advantage gained by receiving tax-free allowances. It then adds an estimated value for the free health care received by the military, the value of retirement benefits and additional savings for being able to avoid state and Social Security taxes.

“Military members who focus solely on cash compensation will tend to systematically undervalue the compensation package they receive,” the study said.

For example, an officer who is a college graduate with four years of service and who decides to leave the military will need to carefully review job offers, Eakle said.

 

 

In 2006, that officer would have had an income of $66,000 in pay and non-taxable cash allowances. The officer would need to earn at least $72,000

 in the private sector “in order to have the same take-home pay,” she said.

“Virtually every private-sector company, if it offers benefits, makes sure people understand what the benefits are worth,” Eakle said. “In the Department of Defense, we have not done that very well, if at all.”The study recommends that the Pentagon adopt the more comprehensive approach to measuring military compensation. But the troops may be skeptical of the idea.

Cindy Williams, a research scientist in the security studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the department already provides members of the armed forces with an annual explanation of their compensation. But, she noted, “I have heard military families refer to that as the ‘lie sheet.’ ”

“The fact is that the structure of military pay is so different from the structure of pay in the private sector, that it is very difficult for people serving in the military to understand just what their pay is,” Williams said.

Steven P. Strobridge, director of government relations at the Military Officers Association of America, agreed that the annual compensation statement “upsets military people,” especially those who are repeatedly deployed overseas and feel they are making sacrifices, financially and emotionally.

“When anyone says we need to educate people on what a good deal they have, you have to be careful,” he said.

The association prefers that Congress stick with its practice of providing annual raises that slowly but steadily narrow the difference in military and private-sector average wages, rather than “fuzz the issues” by assigning values to military benefits, Strobridge said.

Based on the Labor Department’s employment cost index for measuring wage growth, he said that military personnel would need a 6.8 percent pay raise next year to catch up with the private sector.

The White House has proposed a 3.4 percent military pay raise in 2009, but Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) has introduced a bill calling for 3.9 percent. Key House leaders have signaled that they want to provide more than what the White House requested but have not said how much more.

Eakle said the study shows, however, that any debate should not be about a pay gap and whether it exists. “That is really not looking at the big picture,” she said. “It’s not about pay comparability as much as being able to do a true comparison to the private sector.”

Stephen Barr’s e-mail address isbarrs@washpost.com.