Groundhog Day at World Campus

Hi Everyone,

Hope you all are doing well and enjoying the Spring Break! As the next winter storm rolls I thought back to this past Groundhog Day which predicted an early spring. OK. For some reason I thought of the movie Groundhog Day.

In the movie, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant and egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After indulging in hedonism and numerous suicide attempts, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.

In World Campus Groundhog Day, Tom Richardson attends World Campus, as a veteran and studious World Campus student who, during his (almost) final semester in the HRER program, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same job search again and again. After indulging in Career Builder and numerous other websites, he begins to re-examine his job search methods and resources.

Sound familiar? For some, maybe. For others, maybe soon enough.

The scenario illustrates the potentially frustrating process of finding a job. The information I’m providing is based on my experience as a Veterans’ Employment Counselor in Florida. Note: if you’re fully engaged in your career you can probably stop here.

I picked March to write this because for those graduating in May or August, now is the time to really get serious. The links I’ll provide apply to those of us in the 50 states, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These are primarily for careers in the private sector, but later I’ll highlight a few points on federal employment. Before I get too far, I must mention two exceptional services offered by Penn State. The first is Penn State’s Career Services. Located on the corner of Bigler and Eisenhower Road on the University Park Campus, Penn State Career Services assists students of all academic programs and class years with identifying and achieving their individual career goals.

Obviously, we can’t all meet at the corner of Bigler and Eisenhower. So what now? And, what about those overseas? Those away from State College can take advantage of the World Campus Career Services. Career Services is ideal for working with our busy schedules. Lynn Atanasoff, Ph.D., World Campus’s career counselor, has dedicated her career to helping others. Lynn is a Penn Stater (check out her bio!) and has worked in human services for more than 20 years. Contact Lynn for an appointment.

Outside of the University’s resources, there is America’s Service Locator, which connects individuals to employment and training opportunities available at local Career One Stop centers. The website provides contact information for a range of local work-related services, including unemployment benefits, career development, and educational opportunities. What’s more, America’s Service Locator is where you can find Career One Stop centers in your area. Career One Stop centers offer a variety of career services including resume assistance, job leads, access to state job banks, and potential networking opportunities.

Veterans receive priority of service in Career One Stops centers. Many of the centers partner with Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment Representatives, known as Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER) and Disabled Veterans Outreach program (DVOP) specialists. These individuals specialize in employment-related needs of veterans including job development, counseling, and skills assessment. At America’s Service Locator veterans can search Career One Stop centers for available LVERs and DVOPs, obtain their direct contact information, and initiate communication.

While the Career One Stop centers are excellent resources with the local labor market, I would also consider a career in federal employment. Contrary to sequestration, the federal government is hiring. Further, groups such as veterans and individuals with disabilities are provided additional opportunities under special hiring authority. The USAJOBS website is the place to start. While you’ll need an account to apply, searching can be performed without registering, and is relatively easy: a recent search found 4,239 job listings in the United Stated. I recommend clicking on the “Resource Center” tab at the top of the USAJOBS webpage and reading through the sections for veterans, students, and individuals with disabilities.

There is a saying that goes: “Make applying for a federal job one of your hobbies.” The reason being the time involved putting together your federal resume and application. For example, a normal resume for the private sector is one or two pages in length. In comparison, for every one page in your private sector resume, a federal resume should be seven pages. USAJOBS will ask you if you want to build or upload your resume. I recommend BUILD. Upon completion a federal resume will be between 7 and 15 (or more) pages in length. For more information review the tutorials. Finally, Career One Stop centers may have workshops or resources with regards to federal employment.

As you dig out from snow storm Saturn, or enjoy a week at the beach, take a moment to think about life after Penn State and World Campus. At the very least, know there are a few more resources out there. Hope your mid-terms went well!