Season 2 Episode 97: Landing a Federal Job with Jason Heering
After a career in the US Coast Guard, Jason Heering retired from an overseas location which added an extra layer of complexity to his transition. Throughout his military career, he served in several positions related to facility and construction project management. As he weighed his options closer to retirement, Jason made the decision to accept a role with the federal government. Hired as the Deputy Director of Facility Maintenance for the US Space Force at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Jason reflects on navigating the federal job application process.
Jason’s last duty station was in El Salvador, and it was there that he and his family lived during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jason began teleworking during the pandemic and took advantage of virtual networking and informational interviews while working from home. Learning about Vets2Industry during the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), Jason connected with various mentors who gave him career advice. While Jason categorizes himself as an introvert, he successfully built new relationships through networking and always followed up with a personalized thank-you note as a token of his appreciation.
Two questions that often get mentioned on this podcast are “What do I want to do after the military?” and “What is my why?” While the two are related, they are separate questions. Reflecting on his transition, Jason admits he wasn’t ready to answer, “What is my why?” After taking a few personality tests and reflecting on the results, Jason decided it wasn’t the right time to change career paths and fell back on the skills he had developed during his service.
Transitioning is a process that should start months, if not years, in advance and needs to include asking and answering those two questions. With enough time, it’s possible to take advantage of education benefits while serving to reskill or upskill. Additionally, it’s important to look at all the factors when considering your next career. For many service members, family plays an important role in determining salary needs and job location.
Jason applied to 20 jobs both in the private sector and in the federal government. He successfully navigated the federal job process and landed several interviews. With each federal resume he created, he pulled bullets that matched the job description from a master list that included all his positions and accomplishments. Jason was ultimately hired for a role under a Direct Hire Authority (DHA). In this scenario, Jason was selected through a resume review without an interview. As a first-time federal government employee, Jason took the opportunity to negotiate his salary and annual leave hours.
Jason encourages people interested in a federal job to take advantage of the HR representative information located at the bottom of each job announcement. Search for people on LinkedIn with federal jobs and start networking.
Recently, Jason joined the Air Force’s Civilian Leadership Development School’s book club. The program is still relatively new but has already inspired Jason with its first three books. He encourages everyone to continue learning and gaining new perspectives through reading. His recommendation list includes:
What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Crucial Conversations by multiple authors
Make Your Bed by Admiral William McRaven
Head over to the Lessons Learned for Vets YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/llforvets22 to hear a bonus clip from Jason.
You can connect with Jason at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-m-heering/
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