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  • (Semi)Professional Opinions? Entry level questions.

    For those that don't care for the fluff, or may be on a time crunch, here are my questions:
    1. What's the most efficient way to stay up to date on job openings with the various agencies?
    - Or, rather, is there a way of knowing beforehand when a job posting will open up?

    2. What are some of the most common entry level jobs that are easy/easier to obtain that others may use as stepping stones?

    3. Is USA Jobs truly the only method of getting picked up by a federal agency?

    4. What should I look to be doing in the meantime? (before getting picked up by a federal law enforcement agency)
    - Simply get in the federal system doing computer work? (ie. information systems specialist, computer scientist, etc.)
    - Look for work with a local police department?

    5. Can I see your resume?
    - I'm always looking to tweak mine in any way.

    6. ... anything else I should be asking? Any other information you'd be willing to throw my way? I promise to have your back if our paths should ever cross



    I'm not completely oblivious. I have some answers to some of these questions. But, knowledge is power, and the more people I ask, the more, and different, answers I should get.

    I'm genuinely looking for some honest input from those who have been around the block a few times. Whether or not you're employed with a federal agency, have been previously, or you simply know the ropes of the agencies and their application processes, I'd love to hear from you.

    While I'd like to think that I have something special to offer the feds, I'm probably not that different than a majority of others in my position. I've had the goal of working federal law enforcement for 6-8 years now. Being that I'll graduate in December with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems, I'm trying to get my head straight on where I need to go and what I need to be doing to reach that goal.

    I sit somewhere between a dreamer and a realist. While I certainly have my aspirations, I really think that I can get where I'd like to be, and do a damn good job when I get there. But, I also realize how difficult the path can be, and I know it can take years in many(most?) cases.

    My resume in a nutshell:
    Age: 26
    Martial Arts Instructor ~ 5 years
    Correctional Officer ~ 2 years
    Security/Detention Officer in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ~ 9 months
    B.S. Computer Information Systems 12/2015 (as previously stated)
    ...and a smattering of possibly useless facts (training/certificates/awards, CCW license, black belts, etc.)


    So, how about it?
    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by calebggodwin; 09-08-2015, 01:51 AM. Reason: Formatting
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  • #2
    So you spent 9 months in GITMO? When I was in, it was a year. What was/your MOS? If you're a service member it will help but getting into fed LE is as much luck as skill and you will need patience because it may take a while. And yes USAjobs is the source for Fed LE jobs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
      1. What's the most efficient way to stay up to date on job openings with the various agencies?
      - Or, rather, is there a way of knowing beforehand when a job posting will open up?
      Generally speaking there is not a good way to know beforehand when a job posting will open up, most agencies do not warn people and if they do it will be vague'ish. Best ways I've found to stay on top of it is to set up an automatic daily search on USAjobs and have the results emailed to you. Searching for "1811" or "Special Agent" seems to work well enough. Secondly checking this forum helps a lot. People tend to get inside information on job postings from somewhere and post on here "hey guys fyi HSI is supposed to be releasing an entry level posting this Friday!"

      Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
      2. What are some of the most common entry level jobs that are easy/easier to obtain that others may use as stepping stones?
      I would say that the CBP, USCP, USSS UD, Park Police, kinds of jobs are used a lot for this (no offense to anyone working for these guys.) I wouldn't always say they're EASIER to obtain necessarily though, if only because their processing can be just as convoluted as the 1811 processing (if not worse sometimes.) But they are entry level.

      Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
      3. Is USA Jobs truly the only method of getting picked up by a federal agency?
      Very few agencies DO use other methods, likely simply posting the opening on their personal website. Don't ask me which agencies do this though, I've only ever used USAjobs

      Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
      4. What should I look to be doing in the meantime? (before getting picked up by a federal law enforcement agency)
      - Simply get in the federal system doing computer work? (ie. information systems specialist, computer scientist, etc.)
      - Look for work with a local police department?
      Getting into the federal system is good 'n all, but at 26 it's not necessarily NEEDED for you. Most people want to get in early so they can "start their clock" to retirement.
      To answer this question I'd ask you: what do you want to do? Both now and potentially as a Fed LEO? Do you want to do more "police" type work or more computer type work? Judging by your degree and comments I'd guess you're more into the computer side of things. So in that case I'd get a job relevant to that. Something that will sell you better when you're applying to the cyber crimes division of DHS or whatever.
      Now, if you're more interested in being a cop and want to eventually work for DEA or ATF or HSI, etc, then yeah get on with a local PD and learn how to be a real Police before going federal. I often wish I'd done this.

      Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
      5. Can I see your resume?
      - I'm always looking to tweak mine in any way.
      Not sure you're gonna get a lot of people here willing to share their resumes but hey check your PM's, somebody might be generous

      Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
      While I'd like to think that I have something special to offer the feds, I'm probably not that different than a majority of others in my position. I've had the goal of working federal law enforcement for 6-8 years now. Being that I'll graduate in December with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems, I'm trying to get my head straight on where I need to go and what I need to be doing to reach that goal.

      I sit somewhere between a dreamer and a realist. While I certainly have my aspirations, I really think that I can get where I'd like to be, and do a damn good job when I get there. But, I also realize how difficult the path can be, and I know it can take years in many(most?) cases.

      My resume in a nutshell:
      Age: 26
      Martial Arts Instructor ~ 5 years
      Correctional Officer ~ 2 years
      Security/Detention Officer in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ~ 9 months
      B.S. Computer Information Systems 12/2015 (as previously stated)
      ...and a smattering of possibly useless facts (training/certificates/awards, CCW license, black belts, etc.)


      So, how about it?
      Thanks in advance!
      Honestly you sound like you meet the minimum for a lot of 1811 positions, if that's what you're after. You probably don't need to start at an "entry level" job, especially considering that many agencies offer GS-5/7/9 openings. As for what you can do to make yourself better, it's just common sense: Stay out of trouble, don't lie to boss or cheat on your spouse, get a good solid work history that you can sell, getting more education, etc etc. Though education is mainly just a tool to get you in the door more easily. If you qualify with the education you have then most agencies will care more about "the whole you": ie, what do you do, where have you worked, what did you accomplish at that work, do you volunteer, are you a skilled welder (example), can you lead and can you follow, can you give great examples of having amazing critical thinking abilities, etc. Think about it logically and make yourself a great candidate; you know what's needed.


      Hope this helps
      Cheers

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by scotty_appleton814 View Post
        So you spent 9 months in GITMO? When I was in, it was a year. What was/your MOS? If you're a service member it will help but getting into fed LE is as much luck as skill and you will need patience because it may take a while. And yes USAjobs is the source for Fed LE jobs.
        My 9 months was spent as a federal contractor (I think?) doing security and detention. While they wanted each of us to stay for a year,I was getting married, so I had done what I came there to do. Though, I was one of about five, out of the original 25ish, that made it that long. We had an average drop rate of about 1 officer every 10 days, for one reason or another.

        I have no prior military at this point. But, even at 26, I'm contemplating doing my time as an officer in the military to gain the preference. Opinions? Should I not even be considering this? The road I'm going down seems next to impossible without it, along with a perfect background/history.

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        • #5
          @ClassicRabbit, thank you for taking the time to write all that out. That's certainly an abundance of useful information.



          Getting into the federal system is good 'n all, but at 26 it's not necessarily NEEDED for you. Most people want to get in early so they can "start their clock" to retirement.
          To answer this question I'd ask you: what do you want to do? Both now and potentially as a Fed LEO? Do you want to do more "police" type work or more computer type work? Judging by your degree and comments I'd guess you're more into the computer side of things. So in that case I'd get a job relevant to that. Something that will sell you better when you're applying to the cyber crimes division of DHS or whatever.
          Now, if you're more interested in being a cop and want to eventually work for DEA or ATF or HSI, etc, then yeah get on with a local PD and learn how to be a real Police before going federal. I often wish I'd done this.
          I actually meant to clarify this. My goal is to go federal law enforcement as some form of police officer, special agent, field agent, etc. Hell, even the paperwork excites me... seriously, it does. My degree in Computer Information Systems just happens to be up my alley because I fancy computers and it was an "easy" one for me to get. Plus, with the way the world works nowadays, I figured a degree in computers certainly couldn't hurt. I've heard too many times (no offense to anyone), that degrees in Criminal Justice were one of the worst degrees one could obtain, were they hoping for a job in federal law enforcement, or law enforcement in general. So, naturally, I steered clear of that. While I thoroughly enjoy computers, I consider myself very versatile and don't care to actually use it as some form of specialty. It's a bachelors, which is all I cared about... because I've concluded that's all "they" care about.

          EDIT: Even when I was too young to apply, I thought I was behind schedule. So, naturally, even now at 26, I feel like I'm really late. But, what exactly do you mean by "but at 26, it's not necessarily NEEDED for you"?


          Not sure you're gonna get a lot of people here willing to share their resumes but hey check your PM's, somebody might be generous
          Here's to hoping!



          Honestly you sound like you meet the minimum for a lot of 1811 positions, if that's what you're after. You probably don't need to start at an "entry level" job, especially considering that many agencies offer GS-5/7/9 openings. As for what you can do to make yourself better, it's just common sense: Stay out of trouble, don't lie to boss or cheat on your spouse, get a good solid work history that you can sell, getting more education, etc etc. Though education is mainly just a tool to get you in the door more easily. If you qualify with the education you have then most agencies will care more about "the whole you": ie, what do you do, where have you worked, what did you accomplish at that work, do you volunteer, are you a skilled welder (example), can you lead and can you follow, can you give great examples of having amazing critical thinking abilities, etc. Think about it logically and make yourself a great candidate; you know what's needed.
          Well, thanks for the small boost of confidence. I'm not entirely sure what makes you say that I seem to meet the minimum. Reason? And when I say "entry level", to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I mean. But, I hear the term, and I'm fine starting at the bottom. It would seem next to impossible to jump in at some awesome federal job without some form of federal or law enforcement experience. In reality, I have no idea what they're actually looking for in the perfect candidate.

          I do have some skeletons in my closet. Some that I've only ever had to reveal about two years ago when applying for a local police department. Nowhere near my degree, that, along with no prior military experience, were their expressed reasons for not pushing me further along the application process. Though, I feel the skeletons were to blame. How does one get through the application process with the feds, or even local police department, with various types of histories? Or do those individuals just never make it through? To be slightly clearer than mud, I've never been in trouble with the law (though I probably should have a few times), and I've never even been around drugs. I know the few things of my past are something I'll have to deal with in my future to come.
          Last edited by calebggodwin; 09-08-2015, 09:45 AM.
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          • #6
            By "at 26, it's not necessarily NEEDED for you" I simply mean that with the mandatory retirement age, the oldest someone can join FLEO is age 37. So you've still got 10 years before that deadline. There are guys on here busting their butts to get in before their birthday. That said, the earlier you start your fed time the earlier you can retire/or the money retirement money you can get.

            ---

            I'm sorry I presumed you were military since you mentioned your tour in GITMO. Without military it will be tougher for you to get into FLEO, to be honest. The only way to really combat that is to make the rest of you really shine: more education, more work experience, awesome stories. The best way, however, is of course to join the military. I do NOT advise you join JUST to get into FLEO, wrooong reason. But if it's something you want to do naturally and think you'd enjoy, then go for it. It will definitely get you into this field more easily.

            meeting the minimum is generally considered:
            bachelors
            military
            solid work experience

            It doesn't hurt to start applying to FLEO gigs now though; you never know.

            ---

            As long as your skeletons aren't bad, the only thing you can do to separate yourself from them is give it time. In some cases, lots of time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you for the prompt reply. I really value all input. I've always contemplated military. Took the ASVAB around 18, scored something like a 94, but opted out. By choice, though partially because it seemed like my asthma might get in the way, officially. It's something I've dealt with since elementary school, but it's been way under control for a long time. I actually just finished a 2.5 mile run at a 10 minute pace with my dog, and I don't feel the slightest bit of asthma being set off. That said, I've really been thinking lately about joining the military as an officer, after getting my degree. I just don't know how that will affect my efforts to join the feds.

              Do I spend my 4-5 years in the military for the preference and more experience? Or am I better off spending those 4-5 years in the civilian world applying for the feds?

              I don't mean to come across as though I'm running out of time. I certainly didn't realize that there are so many guys busing their butts to get in before their 37th birthday. I admire that, but I definitely plan to do all I can at this point to get in asap.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
                Thank you for the prompt reply. I really value all input. I've always contemplated military. Took the ASVAB around 18, scored something like a 94, but opted out.
                You are in AFQT Category I. If I were a recruiter, I would be throwing hookers through your bedroom window to entice you to sign up. Do you have your line scores; in particular you GT? That is outstanding. Again, I would never suggest that anyone join the military to get preference points for a job. IMHO that 4 - 5 years would be better spent working steady jobs where you have responsibilities such as supervision of staff.

                I came off active duty (Army) two months before my 36th birthday and started the process with USMS at 35. I was eliminated from the process when I hit 37 and may have been within a couple of months or a couple of years from an offer.

                “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

                George V. Higgins--The Friends of Eddie Coyle

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by calebggodwin View Post
                  Thank you for the prompt reply. I really value all input. I've always contemplated military. Took the ASVAB around 18, scored something like a 94, but opted out. By choice, though partially because it seemed like my asthma might get in the way, officially. It's something I've dealt with since elementary school, but it's been way under control for a long time. I actually just finished a 2.5 mile run at a 10 minute pace with my dog, and I don't feel the slightest bit of asthma being set off. That said, I've really been thinking lately about joining the military as an officer, after getting my degree. I just don't know how that will affect my efforts to join the feds.

                  Do I spend my 4-5 years in the military for the preference and more experience? Or am I better off spending those 4-5 years in the civilian world applying for the feds?

                  I don't mean to come across as though I'm running out of time. I certainly didn't realize that there are so many guys busing their butts to get in before their 37th birthday. I admire that, but I definitely plan to do all I can at this point to get in asap.
                  As stated, don't join just because you want preference. Also, disclaimer, I'm not fond of people who say things along the line of, "I'll just join and do a few years as a officer"-----Just my old NCO self talking. But if you do join and serve honorably the benefits are there. And as previously stated, if your ASVAB was that good, if you have those scores you will be able to do any MOS you want. Also, I do believe that most FLEO waive the 37th birthday requirement for a certain amount of years for veterans, depending on years of service. If paperwork really drives you, then you are looking into the right profession. And a degree in anything but criminal just is great ( I am finishing up mine in the CJ, big mistake). Good luck. Also, are they still hiring those contractors to go down there? When were you there? that would be a nice paycheck to hop down there for a bit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    @scotty_appleton814,
                    I understand that, and I would agree. I also wouldn't advise it were I not in my shoes. But, that said, if I did go that route, I don't mean that I would "just serve". I would certainly do my best those 4-5 years and make something of it. I've had my fair share of paperwork working corrections and in GTMO. It doesn't necessarily "drive" me, but I'm definitely not afraid of it. I did enjoy it, and being at that level (feds), I would enjoy it more. I realize it's a large part of the job in most cases.

                    Unless they canceled the operation as a whole, I'm certain they're still (and always will be) hiring. As I said, within the 9 months I was there, we had a turnover rate of about 1 officer every 10 days, which I think is outrageous. I was very proud of the fact that I was able to have that opportunity, so I can't see why so many would volunteer to just give it up. Though, that wasn't the case for all. In the middle of my application, the contract for the operation switched companies. It GEO Group for about 10 years, and then MVM recently (2012) took it over. I doubt it's changed since then. I just did a few quick searches, and I couldn't find much (of anything) about it's current operation. As always, it's pretty hush hush. To answer your question, I was there March '12 - November '12.

                    Regarding the ASVAB, I'm quite certain that was my score. When I took the practice test in the recruiter's office, I believe I scored a 90, and then on the real thing I did a bit better, something like a 94 as I said. I know a bare minimum about the military in general. None of my close family is current/prior military, so I haven't really been exposed to it. I really don't know what the best options would be, IF I were to entertain that idea. Military Police seems too generic, even if I were to do an exceptional job in that area. If I did go that route, I would want to pick a rate that's geared toward my future. Ideas? From what I hear, and from personal experience, I shouldn't really take the recruiters for their word. So any information I get, I like to get it from outside sources, though obviously from those with experience in the area.


                    @slamdunc,
                    I'm sure that's a good thing, it's always nice to be wanted and sought after. Though, I really don't know how awesome that really is. I don't know what line scores are or the GT. You honestly think I would benefit more from a civilian job, and a few years of supervisory experience over going into the military? I just really have a hard time believing that. Sorry to hear you weren't able to jump in on the feds. I didn't know so many people pushed the age limit so often in the hiring process. I do feel slightly better, but I still don't want to wait if I don't have to. That's why the military option looks enticing, and also, it doesn't.
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                    • #11
                      Did you work in the terror camps down there. Thats some good experience to sell right there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No, I worked at the Migrant Operations Center. It's not well known, I guess, unless it's something that's right up your area. Primarily ICE. Here's a bit of info on it. http://gsnmagazine.com/article/24091...rant_operation
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                        • #13
                          You passed my BS test, I am familiar with the MOC. A lot of people here make grand claims and sometimes we are able to pick them apart just by using our knowledge and influence. I just remembered the contract for the MOC changing hands sometime in '12 and you hit it on the head.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Nice. Well, I'd have given more than a generic link, but I've never really been comfortable sharing much more than the most basic information. Going into the job, it was quite clear that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"... Glad I passed your test.
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