Getting Civilly Served: Jobs in Your Local Government Offices

I get these questions pretty regularly, like, “How do I ‘get in’ to working for the city – government – my local municipality?”

The short answer: apply to jobs with an amazing cover letter & resume filled with experience relevant to the position, and take civil service exams appropriate to your experience and what you’d like to do. Civil service jobs are generally long term careers that may take weeks to years to obtain – but then they tend to be the kind of jobs you can stay in until you retire.

I’m not saying due to the current financial state of the US government & related jobs are all secure – but no jobs are.

To see exam info check the website of whatever area you want to work in (posted a few months in advance of offering date, be sure you’re free!) or there are some that are walk-in. Usually exams tend to be offered on Saturdays, but you can have it moved with a  letter from a religious leader if needed (I’ve done it a bunch of times). Then they push it off to the Sunday following the exam generally.

For all US: http://www.usajobs.gov

For a pretty large list of local NY State government exams, see: http://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/cslist.shtm

For NYC DCAS Exam info & online application are here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/employment/civilservice_exams.shtml

Town of Hempstead, Nassau County: http://toh.li/civil-service-commission/examination-announcements

Suffolk County, Long Island: https://apps.suffolkcountyny.gov/civilservice/Efiling/Default.aspx

*Working smarter tip: If you plan to apply to numerous exams for jobs, save your job responsibilities & info to a word or excel doc you can cut & paste from. When you apply to additional exams it does not save your info (yes even though you need to make a login), and it will save you a lot of unnecessary typing.

Each position has minimum requirements that you must meet, some may be physical, experience, education or residency requirements of a certain length when you apply for the position – otherwise you’re out your registration money. They don’t generally refund you if you don’t qualify and will notify you by mail a few weeks later  – or they may just not put you on the list, even if you’ve taken the exam.

Exams vary in cost, but I believe they’re all under $100, which is an incredible investment if you can do well on a timed multiple choice test, since one year after appointment you get “permanency” which is more job security than you’ll get anywhere else. The salaries aren’t the most incredible, but are strong for non-profits, and the benefits & early retirement are great. 55-60ish retirement with a pension? You won’t find that too many other places nowadays.

What if you have disabilities? They offer a lot of accommodations, so don’t be alarmed about the test part, look into if they can accommodate you or if you can get an exemption to get on a list without an exam.

What if you can’t afford the fee? If you qualify for certain government benefits, you may be able to get the fee reduced or waived.

Where do I find New York City jobs listed? Don’t expect to memorize this website:

http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c000402d63e84407a62fa24601c789a0/index.jsp?cf01pg=1&cf01sz=10

What are the next steps?

The lists of people who passed the exam are ranked (first by score, then by last 4 digits of your social security #). Then when there are vacancies agencies will call you when they have an opening for an interview. Expect very short notice, usually a few days in advance. You’ll be asked to bring a lot of ID, degrees, proof of employments potentially etc. I believe this is all part of the interview process. If you can’t get your act together quickly, you’re out the opportunity.

The lists can take years, generally about 2, until they are released & names get called, so this is a plan to get a long term permanent career – not the way to go if you need a job next week/month.

Good luck!

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Cover Letter Tales From the Dark Side *ahem* Inside of Recruitment

Connecticut welcome sign, updated with new gov...

Image via Wikipedia *Notice: It doesn't say "Some State Welcomes Someone"

Anyone have any job leads for a talented writer/editor in the Northern Connecticut area (Lakeville, CT ideally)?

Let me give props to my hiring manager who I’m quoting below for sharing some advice directly with you all. Next let me repay them by giving a shoutout to anyone reading this in Northern Connecticut. My hiring manager’s brother is a super accomplished writer/editor/Yale grad who needs a full-time job in the area (yes you should never school-name drop for yourself, it’s tacky, but no reason I can’t brag for a complete stranger). He’s also happy to make a  career change to internal and external communication/PR work.

Please feel free to post any leads/ideas in comments or email them to hookabrotherup@sharon.cc of even better, hook him up directly & see his writing style (while giving his blog a nice stat traffic spike) at http://www.explanationizer.com/

Now for the juicy stuff to help you…

“Thoughts from a hiring manager:
If there’s anything you can do to encourage people to include a cover letter–a REAL cover letter–you know, one that makes the connection between their resume/experience AND THE JOB THEY’RE APPLYING FOR, you’d be doing people on both sides of the interview process a HUGE service!”

In other words, ditch the, “I believe my skills and experience would be an asset to your organization for your open position.” That only makes you look bad.

Instead try, “I would kiss your feet everyday on my way into the office and bring you coffee from a street cart if you hire me to work at google. My 15+ years of experience buying street coffee combined with my foot fetish and unwavering, slightly obsessive desire to work at google would make me an ideal Recruiting Manager for your New York offices. I want to make an amazing place to work even better, and would make sure to get google back in the #1 spot on the best places to work list by bringing in the top talent of our city. I’ve done this for 12 different companies in less than three months at each blah blah blah.”

Hope you get the point kids…just don’t creep out the hiring manager either, so keep the fetishes mum, ok?

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Mission: Meet the Kardashian Sisters & Coach them?

Edited Image via Gawker.com

So in my path towards of life coaching I’ve worked with severely socially & physically handicapped individuals. I’ve helped them to find careers, a place within their community, and comfort in their own skin.
Now how do you do that for those who, as my friend Cathy so lovingly put it, do this for people who, “Have built an empire on based on the size of their assets?”

Oh, not just the Kardashian sisters, also their bodyguard, Hector. He’s my new boy. We had a little chat, which is what brought me into this challenge (oh that and my fierce love of healthy competition). I spoke with him on the radio (yes FM, not AM, I’ll be mature in my next life. Maybe.). Unless it says something about my maturity that I’ve never watched an entire reality show, and specifically never saw the Kardashian’s one, although now I might be on one on E! EEEEEEEEEEK!

Not sure who was listening last night to me on the radio, but I pretty much got this gig by promising to help the bodyguard find a career path, as that he doesn’t want to be in the ‘security’ field for the rest of his life.

So I guess I needed a little entertainment in my life. Will keep you all updated. Worst case I’ll just be clubbing VIP style for a night.

I Dream of Google – Getting a Job in 10 Not-So-Easy-Steps

Image representing Google Search as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

…but I don’t actually work there.

Noticing a lot of traffic is coming to my blog from people googling ‘google recruiter’ and ‘getting a job at google’.

Readers are confusing my blog, ambition, and talent for recruiting for being an actual google recruiter.

Yes, I’m a corporate recruiter, no, not for google (yet…).

Although I would assume the steps to getting a job there are the same as everywhere else. Here are my tips, I hope you started on this route when you were in 9th grade. Otherwise it may be too late and you might find yourself approaching 30 without the career of your dreams, but alas at least you can blog about it and know that thousands of people are in the exact same boat. Ahoy shipmates!

1. Push yourself to be the top of your class in high school, participate in extra curriculars, and learn as many languages as possible.

2. Go go a great college & get a high GPA, participate in extra curriculars, and learn as many languages as possible.

3. Do internships in the field you will work in the rest of your life (which yes you should have known and been working towards even in high school).

4. Get jobs at impressive places in that field in increasingly challenging and progressive roles and titles.

5. Then apply to their jobs at http://google.com/jobs (or wherever you want to work…like http://tinyurl.com/NYCDOEJOBS).

6. Pray a recruiter is impressed with your resume or credentials (or at least went to the same school) to put you through to a hiring manager or interview process. Or the robo-recruiter is impressed because you have a lot of the words from the job description in your resume (AKA job score) thereby automatically ranking you as a candidate worth human review in the applicant tracking system (ATS).

7. Ignore http://glassdoor.com & other similar sites. Take their comments with as much worth as amazon ratings…people will give a book one star because they don’t like the color color. If you really want to know what people who work at a place think about it, network with them and ask them politely.

Maybe google’s dropped in their ratings from the best place to work to top 3 best places to work, but hey, it gets lonely at the top. No place is perfect, but most people will only go on those websites to bash their employer anonymously. If they were happier they’d be out at happy hour with their office mates after work, not going home to rant about them online. Just Sayin’.

8. Don’t call them, they’ll call you. I’m always super impressed & revolted at the same time when candidates find my personal contact number (especially my personal cell phone). I think it shows they desperately want the job, but never have these people actually been a good fit for a role. I’m not saying not to follow up, but do it through advertised venues. Don’t go linkedin stalking. Instead find HR info from the company website, follow them on twitter, chat with them through facebook. Do not do an intellius search on them and show up at their house. They will not appreciate it.

9. No response? Better luck next time kids. Repeat process for every place you want to work at. If you only want to work at that one place and you’re waiting for the call back then stay on top of the company’s job boards to see if a role that better suits your experience is posted, or a more junior one in your field. Sometimes you need to take a step back or laterally to take a step forward later at a place you want to work.

10. Got a response? Make sure you have a dark suit you look good in, a put-together, yet naturally comfortable style, printed copies of your resume that aren’t stained, folded or wrinkled (yes I actually get those all the time…but save your money on the fancy paper and folders, those make you look more desperate nowadays, they’re just not necessary. A slightly heavier stock is nice, but I hate the resume-in-a-folder-in-a-binder-in-an-envelope old school thing). Go on the interview, be your charming, brilliant self, sell said fabulous self as rockstar without using those words, and mazal tov. It’s a job. And if you’re really lucky, maybe even a career.

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