Are Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) Really Gone?

A few years ago, OPM leadership then decided to “do away” with KSAs as part of hiring reform and streamlining the federal application process. The idea was that some qualified applicants would not even apply because they did not want to bother with writing KSAs.

It’s Lonely at the Top

C-Suite aspirations are not for the faint-hearted. The journey to the top is intensely competitive, the prerequisites for success are difficult to define, and job security can be tenuous. Why would anyone want to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company? The difficulty and precarious nature of the job leads Auren Hoffman, CEO of LiveRamp, to this answer in the Quora forum, “Being a Fortune 500 CEO is, on the whole, not worth doing.”

You’ll take the challenge, though. Perhaps it’s like climbing K2. The air is rarified at 28,000 feet and there’s adventure involved on the way to the summit. Success means real achievement. Tenacity is required, clear thinking, and an innovative spirit. Regardless of the risk, the journey is worth taking for those who are compelled to lead.

What does it really take to become CEO?

Robert McMullen started as a stock boy in a Lexington, KY Kroger to help pay for his college education. He learned finance, and worked in a regional office in Charlotte, NC for a few years before moving to the company’s Cincinnati headquarters as a financial analyst.… Read more »

Pre-employment Testing: What You Need to Know


The “assessments” industry is growing by 10 – 15% per year. The word is a euphemism for testing and increasing numbers of US employers are including pre-employment assessments in their decision-making processes. 30% of US companies now use some form or pre-employment testing, and the number may exceed 70% among Fortune 500 companies. If you’re making a career move, taking a test is likely to be part of your experience. Here’s some information that Careerproplus thinks job seekers should know . . .

The tests typically fall into two categories. The first area is skills assessments. These are tests that measure cognitive capabilities. They determine if candidates possess the basic aptitudes required to accomplish the job – mechanical ability, mathematical skill, or specific operational requirements like typing or the ability to construct a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

The second area of testing is potentially more problematic. Psychometric assessments, commonly called personality tests by nervous applicants, are indicators of behavioral tendencies in an employment context. Many of these tests use a personality model (called the five factor model) that analyzes major personality traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.… Read more »

2015 Jobs: What’s Hot and What’s Not

It was the best of times, It was the worst of times

–Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Or Somewhere In Between

While the Dickens quote is a favorite, reality usually lies somewhere in between “the spring of hope and the winter of despair.” 2015 is halfway done, and the outlook for job seekers is somewhat better than in recent years. It’s certainly not the worst of times to be considering a career move or a military transition, and there are some indicators that the latter half of the year may show continued improvement.  Let’s take a quick look at the year so far and some of the trends that may be developing.

The Big Picture

Employment is up, unemployment is down. It makes sense. Employment has increased steadily since the beginning of 2010 and the US added 2 million jobs in the first four months of 2015, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures.  Unemployment numbers have decreased over the same period, and the unemployment rate at the end of April was 5.1%, a figure that is considered reasonably healthy by economists.… Read more »

How Do You Define Professionalism?

What exactly does the word “professional” mean? Regardless of the career, everyone aspires to be a professional. We are to look professional, act professional, have a professional resume, demonstrate a professional image. If you’ve had a military career, professionalism has been drilled into your psyche. Fans of the Bond series know that it is Sean Connery who portrays the professional image of an international spy. Professionals are polished and smooth, right?

If you’re considering a career transition, it is certainly worthwhile to consider whether your convey a professional image, but somehow that’s a difficult characteristic to define. Has the word been tossed about to such an extent that it has lost it’s meaning? No, because while it may be difficult to nail down what professional is, we all recognize unprofessional behavior.

Looking the Part

Let’s dig into that a bit with a story:

My friend Sharon is a fixer. She is kind of like MacGyver for business. With keen wits and the uncanny ability to craft solutions with duct tape, a Swiss Army knife and coat hangers, Sharon is who businesses call when they have difficulties that they can’t unscramble.… Read more »

Are You Ready to Go Solo?

The Changing Workplace


Let’s face it. Things just ain’t the same at work. This week’s article takes a look at some technological, economic, and social factors that are changing the way we work and opening new possibilities for those who would rather opt out of the conventional workforce.

The traditional world of work is becoming less conventional. Workforce changes started with rapid advances in technology during the 1990s. The internet age and improvements in automation increased efficiency and changed the requirements for human labor. Secretaries, travel agents, even machinists lost jobs to new technology. During the Great Recession, the process accelerated. Economic pressures focused businesses on  the need for cost controls, The result was downsizing on a level not seen since the 1920s and a complete rethink of workforce strategies.

Businesses streamlined and phased out positions, then trimmed more employees to cut costs. At the end of it, they were left with problems that needed solving, but no resources to solve them. With hiring restrictions on and strained budgets, they couldn’t develop the talent they needed for key projects in-house.… Read more »

Bail Out! Knowing when it’s time to quit your job.

It had only been four months, but Jim knew his new job wasn’t a fit. He’d been a recruiter in the military, but he thought he wanted to go into sales management.  It took almost no time to find a position with a parts distributor that wanted to build a sales team at their regional office. They needed a sales manager and Jim was just the man!. He was excited to start the job.

The excitement faded fast. The first thing Jim noticed was the revolving door. Two salespeople quit the team while he was at headquarters for training. The company owner, Carl, was friendly, but Jim observed that there wasn’t much dialogue with his people. Another regional sales manager clued him in, “Carl calls all the shots. You can get things done, but you need to know when to ask.”

After four months, Jim dreaded getting out of bed in the morning. The regional office was dysfunctional – there was no team, just tension. He was covering two sales territories and wearing out shoe leather and car tires with cold calls.… Read more »

2015 Predictions: What’s in the Sights for Job Searchers?

‘Tis the season for predictions. There’s never a shortage of prognostication as each New Year rolls around, so CareerProPlus figured it would be a good notion to package up some of the best information we could find to help our clients target their job search activity in the coming year.

It’s neither the best of times nor the worst of times. The job market isn’t great, but prospects are improving. The economy continues to recover. The private sector is growing slowly but steadily. There are some areas of opportunity in the defense industry, and only slight declines are expected in government employment. If you’re planning a career move in 2015, knowing where to set your sights is a good idea.

Let’s take a closer look at what the experts think:

Defense Industry Employment

Part of the good news is that Congress actually passed a spending bill for FY2015 in December. The omnibus package included $585 billion in defense allocations, a figure that exceeded Defense Department requests by $3 billion or so.… Read more »

O Tannenbaum! 3 Reasons You Need an Evergreen Resume

Yeah, O Tannenbaum is a cornball title for a blog article about resumes, but play along just a little. The Holiday Season is upon us with all of its lights and music and family traditions. O Tannenbaum is a favorite carol, and there is actually a connection between the tree’s “lovely branches” and today’s topic.

Evergreens are a ubiquitous symbol for the holiday season. Childhood memories conjure up the smell of Christmas trees and festive wreaths on the doors of houses. Long a symbol of life in the midst of winter, evergreens branches and trees have been used as seasonal decoration from the Roman times.  Even the word has come to take on a meaning of freshness. To say that a subject or idea is evergreen signifies that it is always current, relevant and worth examining.

But should we apply the word evergreen to resumes? Absolutely. In the current employment season, keeping your private-sector resume evergreen is a smart decision and it may also make good sense for some federal resumes.… Read more »

What Did You Really Accomplish?

There’s no shortage of advice for job seekers who want to create a resume that will assure them the perfect position. In this two part series, CareerProPlus looks at resumes from a different angle. The key question is how your resume will be read. How do today’s HR professionals screen and read resumes? What are the challenges that the process presents for even the best candidates?

Photo Attribution:

Human beings have accomplished some truly amazing feats. For example, Ashrita Fruman of Jamaica, LI, NY holds the world record for the greatest distance travelled with a pool cue balanced on a chin. The record currently stands at 1,668 meters, just in case you’re up for a challenge.

Kim Jong-Il, the megalomaniacal “Dear Leader” of North Korea, claimed to have achieved some very significant accomplishments early in life. According to his biography, he found time to write 1,500 books during his time in college and also composed six full operas in a mere two years – “all of which are better than any in the history of music.”

How do your achievements stack up?Read more »
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