By Kimi Reynolds and Mike Voliva, Talent Acquisition Managers
Many Americans want to serve their country but aren’t sure how to do it. Perhaps they are unable to serve in the military or have a family dependency that prevents them from being moved around the globe every few years. For these people and many others, serving their country through government contractors such as Octo is a highly attractive proposition. However, if it’s your first time applying for a position in the GovCon industry, the process can seem a little daunting. Potential candidates are asked to follow hiring conventions they may not be accustomed to. Combine GovCon-specific requirements with general rules for resumes and applications, and candidates have been known to throw in the towel. At Octo, we hate to see that happen, especially given the industry demand for highly skilled IT field experts and practitioners. Here are some tips for GovCon job seekers we’ve put together to help potential employees succeed during interview phases.
Resume tips for GovCon candidates
Octo recruiting specialists agree that before emailing a GovCon resume it’s important for job seekers to do some research. Bring your credentials and skillsets into focus. Demonstrate to the employer how your skills, experience, and training match their needs:
• Before you apply, prepare! Learn as much as you can about the company, its history and culture, and the opportunity you are about to pursue.
• Make sure you meet the minimum requirements for the position and ensure your resume communicates that you do. This will require you read and consider the job listing, description, and requirements thoroughly.
• If you have a current clearance, put that clearly at the top of your resume. Depending on the job, this could put you at the top of our “call” list.• Proofread your resume to ensure all formatting, grammar, punctuation, etc. is clean. Your professionalism and attention to detail are noted throughout the hiring process, but it starts the first time we read your resume.
• List your employment in reverse chronological order (starting with the most recent). This is not only standard practice, but it also helps us follow your career path more easily.
• Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, accurate, and descriptive to the extent possible and that the information matches your resume. While we understand a profile is not written and formatted in the same way as a resume, information should not be contradictory. (For example, key successes specified on your resume should mirror those on your LinkedIn profile.)
While you wait to hear back
It’s normal for the hiring process to take some time after you send your GovCon resume to a company for consideration. But this is not a time to relax. Rather, prepare to answer phone calls and emails. We suggest the following:
- Set yourself and your technology up to receive phone calls, emails, or texts from unknown contacts and respond to them. We know candidates often screen calls and quickly delete messages, but be careful. You do not want to miss a legitimate invitation to interview.
- Prepare questions about the company, the program the role supports, and the role itself. To do this, you will need to re-examine the job description and company information thoroughly.
- If you take another job, respond to communications regardless of where you are in the hiring process with us. This is not just a courtesy – it is a statement of your professionalism. We maintain databases of candidates, and the most sought-after are contacted proactively when we have positions that match their skills.
During the interview
Other essential tips for preparing a GovCon resume include practicing for the interview process. Here are just a few things you will need to do to succeed:
- Share what you will bring to the position. We need to know what kind of problem solutions, expertise, and insights you can carry into your potential new role at Octo.
- Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. We will provide as much information as we can and get answers if we don’t know. This is your career we’re talking about, and we respect that.
- Be transparent and honest with your schedule and other opportunities. If you are actively interviewing or receive other offers, keep us in the loop. We will do the same, as we value your time and consideration.
Finally, remember that the world of GovCon is smaller than those of many other industries, and the reputation you build follows you. How you apply for a position is every bit as important as how you perform in it. Guard your reputation as the talented professional we know you are!
Offering excellent benefits, education, and growth potential, Octo is proud of opportunities the company offers. Explore our open positions. Visit our careers page to learn more about Octo.