11 Personal Brand Statement Examples You Need To See

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Your personal brand statement is like a personal slogan. It helps people understand who you are and what you deliver. In an economy where there is a lot of competition, a personal brand statement helps you stand out and be remembered. Personal brand statement examples. You may see a personal brand statement on a website, in a LinkedIn headline, or email signature block. It's a simple sentence or two that explains what you do. When someone reads or hears your personal brand statement, you want them to know exactly what you do, who you help and what problem you solve. What Is A Personal Brand Statement? Businesses have slogans and whenever you hear or see it, you instantly know the company. Just Do It — Nike. Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands — M&Ms...... Read more

VA to start processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matter

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

VA will begin processing disability claims Aug. 2 for asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis on a presumptive basis based on presumed particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia and certain other areas — if these conditions manifested within 10 years of a qualifying period of military service. VA conducted the first iteration of a newly formed internal VA process to review scientific evidence to support rulemaking, resulting in the recommendation to consider creation of new presumptions of service connection for respiratory conditions based on VA's evaluation of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report and other evidence. The process concluded that particulate matter pollution is associated with chronic asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis for Veterans who served in the... Read more

Using The Star Interview Method Effectively + Questions

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

If you've ever found yourself giving a long-winded, rambling interview answer, then you will absolutely benefit from learning the STAR interview method. It's been around for years and it's one of the best tricks to effectively deliver a concise and compelling interview answer. In this article, you'll learn how you can prepare in advance for almost any interview question and deliver STAR interview answers that truly showcase your skills and abilities. What Is The STAR Method? The STAR interview method is a fool-proof way to answer behavioral interview questions. Not only will it help you deliver a concise, memorable interview answer. It's also easy for any interviewer, new or experienced, to follow. Have you ever been asked: Tell me about a time you had to...... Read more

COVID-19 testing: VA studying 3D-printed nasal swabs to guard against future declines in traditional swabs

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

In August 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported shortages in the national supply of nasal swabs used to test for the virus, among other supplies such as personal protective equipment. While VA went on to secure an adequate supply of swabs, the FDA cited a larger national shortage as recently as March of this year. Although the pandemic has receded and many Americans have been vaccinated, VA isn't taking any chances. VA researchers are studying the safety and effectiveness of 3D-printed nasal swabs, in case of another urgent nationwide need to test patients for COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. The agency is hoping to offset further potential shortages of traditional swabs in the commercial supply chain and aims to provide scientific evidence of... Read more

Top Three Tasks When Applying for a Security Clearance

By Thomas Braden | U.S. Navy Vet and Author of A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

WHO NEEDS A SECURITY CLEARANCE? Any person who has worked or will work for an organization that requires access to restricted information more than likely has or will need a security clearance.... Read more

Independent Contractor - Real Value Enterprises - Sarasota - FL
Vibration Analyst - IVC Technologies - Lebanon - OH
C-13-21 Education Assistant - Georgia Public Broadcasting - Atlanta - GA
Government Account Representative - Carahsoft Technology Corporation - Reston - VA
Line Haul Driver CDL A - WSI Transport, Inc - Lebanon - TN
  • A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

Complete list of Partners

DC/MD/VA Cleared Virtual Hiring Event

December 9, 2021 - Online 2 PM - 5 PM EST

Join the Cleared Careers team as we host a Washington D.C., Maryland, & Virginia Virtual Cleared Hiring Event. Employers will be hiring for their DMV area security clearance opportunities!
Online interviews will be conducted by hiring managers and recruiters via text chat or optional video.
Early registration is recommended to provide the hiring managers and recruiters time to review your resume prior to the event. Employers have the option to review these resumes and send invites to chat with them on the day of the event.

CACI's Foundational Intelligence Rapid Response (FIRR) Virtual Hiring Event

December 9, 2021 - Online 10 AM - 2 PM EST

Propel your career with CACI! We invite you to participate in our CACI's Foundational Intelligence Rapid Response (FIRR) Virtual Hiring Event to speak with our recruiting team and learn about our current opportunities located in Charlottesville, Virginia. When you register, you're signing up to have real-time conversations via chat room settings. We are hiring qualified candidates with a TS/SCI and a background aligning with one of our exciting opportunities. If you're ready to take the leap, we invite you to INVENT YOUR FUTURE with us!

FREE U.S. Veterans Magazine Subscription for TAOnline Members!

U.S. Veterans Magazine (USVM) Is the premiere resource magazine for transitioning service members, service-disabled veterans, veteran business owners and their spouses and families. USVM is the link between the qualified students, career and business candidates from the ranks of our nation's veteran organizations, educational institutions, corporate America, and the federal government.
Subscribe for FREE today!

11 Personal Brand Statement Examples You Need To See

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Your personal brand statement is like a personal slogan. It helps people understand who you are and what you deliver.

In an economy where there is a lot of competition, a personal brand statement helps you stand out and be remembered.

Personal brand statement examples

You may see a personal brand statement on a website, in a LinkedIn headline, or email signature block. It's a simple sentence or two that explains what you do.

When someone reads or hears your personal brand statement, you want them to know exactly what you do, who you help and what problem you solve.

What Is A Personal Brand Statement?

Businesses have slogans and whenever you hear or see it, you instantly know the company.

  • Just Do It — Nike
  • Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands — M&Ms
  • America Runs on Dunkin — Dunkin Donuts

Personal branding statements should work the same way. As people, we also have things we are known for, or a reputation.

Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room

— Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon

Personal brand statements can also be referred to as a unique selling point (USP), value proposition or unique value proposition (UVP). No matter what you call them, these two-three sentences pack a powerful punch and clearly communicate what you are known for (or the value you deliver).

The best personal brand statement examples tend to contain three important pieces of information:

  • What you do or what problem you solve
  • Who benefits from this
  • How you do it uniquely

As simple as these statements are, they can be incredibly challenging to pinpoint for yourself. Those catchy slogans above were written by masterful marketers. Consider your personal brand statement a work in progress.

So rather than let someone else decide what you want to be known for, take the bull by the horns and create the personal brand that fits who you are today.

Who Should Have One?

Entrepreneurs, freelancers, authors and speakers invest great time and effort developing personal brand statements that set them apart from the competition or position them in front of the right audience.

But even if you aren't one of these folks, you still need a strong message when you introduce yourself. Your personal brand statement is more than your job title and company. It's a powerful way to become a sought after resource internally or externally.

In job search, having a clear and easy to understand personal brand statement is incredibly important. You want people to easily remember what you do in case they hear of any openings or know anyone they should introduce you to.

Keep in mind that saying something, doesn't necessarily make it true. Your personal brand has to align with how you actually perform.

Where To Use It

Business owners and even job seekers, realize how critically important it is to have a personal brand statement that explains exactly what they deliver.

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

— Will Rogers

Your personal brand statement is that first impression. You can use a version of it on your website, in your LinkedIn headline, at the top of your resume, in your social media profile and even in your email signature. You may even have a spoken version of your personal brand statement that is a bit more conversational.

As you can see from the samples below, personal brand statements are used in all those places. In fact, a version of the personal branding statement follows them around everywhere they appear, online and in-person.

Personal Brand Statement Examples

As you will see, personal branding statements are an important tool to humanise your business and help customers choose your service over competitors. A personal brand statement adds a recognisable face behind the product or service and provides a level of trust people want to invest in. Your business transforms from a cold, money-making operation to a warm, friendly entity.

The personal brand statement examples below come from recognized leaders and influencers (and some lesser-known personalities) who talk about leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship and the human condition. They are authors, speakers, trainers and business owners — each with a unique, money-making idea worth sharing.

Let's take a look at real personal brand samples and see how you can adapt them to create your own unique personal brand. And if you're thinking," I'm not a celebrity. How can I have a personal brand?" stick with me and give these a look first. It's actually quite easy to replicate or adapt your message based on these examples.

Simon Sinek

We imagine a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every day inspired, feel safe wherever they are and end the day fulfilled by the work they do.

Though this is written as "we imagine" it is based on Sinek's personal beliefs too. This may sound a bit like a mission statement than a personal brand statement but it's still a powerful example of how you can combine your personal mission or values with the work that you enjoy doing to create your own personal branding statement.

It addresses the problem Sinek solves: to help people wake up every day feeling inspired, safe and fulfilled. (Who doesn't want that?) Yet it is rare or uncommon for businesses to say that's what they deliver. And that is what makes this unique. It is genuine and not-so-common.

LeVar Burton

I've dedicated my life to the power of storytelling. Whether I'm acting, directing, writing or podcasting, I believe sharing stories is what I was born to do because storytelling is what brings us all together.

You may not remember Burton from Reading Rainbow, but you may have seen him in a role on Star Trek.

What Burton has done is simply put into words what he loves doing. He has found multiple outlets to focus on sharing stories. Perhaps you have found multiple ways to carry out your special talents.

Mark Manson

I am the #1 NYTimes Bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope. I write life advice that is science-based, pragmatic, and non-bullshitty — a.k.a., life advice that doesn't suck.

Do you have a straight-forward way of addressing problems? Manson provides life advice that doesn't suck.

Without needing to say who his audience is, his message resonates with those who don't mind profanity and are looking for science-based, pragmatic advice.

Sometimes the way in which you deliver a message or solve a problem is part of your personal brand.

PS: I'm not suggesting that you use profanity, remember, you're not a NYTimes bestselling author and probably can't get away with it.

Claude Silver

I'm Claude Silver and my life's purpose is to be of joyful service and unlock emotional optimism in all.

Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia (HR/People)

Silver has an unusual job title, Chief Heart Officer (CHO). And for those who may not know what that means, she spells it out in her personal branding statement. Her value is in unlocking emotional optimism in everyone.

While you may not think there's money in that or it's too general, she has found a way to make it work. It's almost like a teaser personal branding statement and it certainly speaks to her priorities and values in life.

Kim Garst

Make more money online with marketing strategies that work. Education & training that take the mystery out of building a profitable business.

What business owner do you know that doesn't want to make more money online? And for many, online selling is a bit mysterious. If you don't have a team of people designated to do this for you (if you're an entrepreneur or freelancer) then Garst's education and training may be appealing.

What Garst hasn't included is her personality/style or mission. It makes this a little less personal than the other personal brand statement examples on this list, but as you can see, it still is clear and easy to understand.

Amy Porterfield

Hi, I'm Amy.

I teach business owners, educators and entrepreneurs the profitable action steps for building a highly engaged email list, creating online training courses, and using online marketing strategies to sell with ease.

Porter clearly spells out who she serves with her services. And she addresses one of the major pain-points for business owners, educators and entrepreneurs... that her actions and ideas are easy!

As you see, Porter lists several areas of expertise — email lists, online courses and marketing.

You may also have several areas of expertise or specialty. Just make sure they are crystal clear and specific enough so people understand what you're talking about.

William Arruda

William Arruda's personal branding and social media keynotes, innovative training and influential Forbes columns have inspired millions of professionals to bolster their brand, up their social media savvy, deliver greater value to their company and have more fun at work!

Arruda provides personal branding advice in many different forms. And what makes this personal brand statement example different is that he talks about the outcome or results of his services — "bolster brand, increase social media savvy, value to company and more fun at work."

Who knew personal branding could be so valuable!

And while this isn't written in the first person, you can see how it could easily be converted to say "My personal branding... "

Donald Miller

Most companies struggle to talk about what they offer but if you confuse, you'll lose. My framework helps you clarify your message so customers place orders.

Miller's message is clear and concise. It should be, messaging is what he specializes in. His personal branding statement (in his Twitter bio) addresses the problem, his solution and the outcome.

Here's how you might use a formula based on Miller's personal branding statement:

This is the problem, and why it's not good. Here's my solution/fix and what the outcome will be.

Arielelle Hale

Helping service providers hit consistent $10k+ months w/o working 10k hours/month. 5 Systems Service Providers Need to Grow

I'll be honest, it was the name of Hale's company, Allergic To Hourly, that piqued my interest. Her personal branding statement is very specific and she knows exactly who her ideal client is, as she has clearly spelled out.

She is targeting service providers who need a system to help them maintain a consistent revenue without working tons of hours.

Niching, or specializing is a powerful way to serve your customers by giving them exactly what they need.

Andréa Jones

Helping socially inclusive brands impact & empower more people using social media.

I don't know exactly what a socially inclusive brand is, but if I was one, I would be interested. That's Jones' target audience. She helps them use social media to increase impact.

Here's an example of how concise may not always provide enough information. It's still good, but more detail might make it better.

Kassy LaBorie

Virtual Training is Here to Stay. Partnering With You to Lead the Way

You may not have heard of LaBorie before. But you know what she does. She's helping virtual trainers lead the way.

This personal branding statement sample is kind of catchy and it even rhymes. So if you are looking for another way to help people remember what you do, you may want to use clever word pairing or rhyming.

Final Thoughts

Businesses and entrepreneurs often hire consultants to help write and refine their personal brand statements, but you can borrow ideas from examples to help you spin your own.

Landing on the right personal brand statement is sort of like trying on shoes. You'll know it fits once it's on or done. In fact, your statement may shift, morph or change as you and your business grow.

Back

VA to start processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matter

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

VA will begin processing disability claims Aug. 2 for asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis on a presumptive basis based on presumed particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia and certain other areas — if these conditions manifested within 10 years of a qualifying period of military service.

VA conducted the first iteration of a newly formed internal VA process to review scientific evidence to support rulemaking, resulting in the recommendation to consider creation of new presumptions of service connection for respiratory conditions based on VA's evaluation of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report and other evidence.

The process concluded that particulate matter pollution is associated with chronic asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis for Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning Aug. 2, 1990 to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning Sept. 19, 2001 to the present. VA's review also concluded that there was sufficient evidence to presume that these Veterans have been exposed to particulate matter.

"I announced my intent to initiate rulemaking on May 27 to consider adding respiratory conditions to the list of chronic disabilities," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. "Through this process I determined that the evidence provided was sufficient to establish presumptions of service connection for these three respiratory conditions. This is the right decision, and VA will continue to use a holistic approach in determining toxic exposure presumptives moving forward."

The Southwest Asia theater of operations refers to Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the airspace above these locations.

VA will conduct outreach to impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and will provide information on how to apply. Veterans and survivors who believe they may be eligible for the newly established presumptive conditions are encouraged to apply. They should file a VA Form 21-526EZ if applying for the first time or a VA Form 20-0995 if they are reapplying for these conditions. For more information on the new presumptive conditions, visit our website at Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures — Public Health (va.gov).

To apply for benefits, Veterans and survivors may visit VA.gov or call toll-free at 800-827-1000. Within the next week, you can view the interim final rule at www.regulations.gov.

Back

Using The Star Interview Method Effectively + Questions

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

If you've ever found yourself giving a long-winded, rambling interview answer, then you will absolutely benefit from learning the STAR interview method.

It's been around for years and it's one of the best tricks to effectively deliver a concise and compelling interview answer.

In this article, you'll learn how you can prepare in advance for almost any interview question and deliver STAR interview answers that truly showcase your skills and abilities.

What Is The STAR Method?

The STAR interview method is a fool-proof way to answer behavioral interview questions. Not only will it help you deliver a concise, memorable interview answer. It's also easy for any interviewer, new or experienced, to follow.

Have you ever been asked:

  • Tell me about a time you had to...
  • Give me an example of how you...
  • Describe how you have...
  • What have you done when...

If you dread being asked one of these types of questions, you aren't alone. Some of these questions may have forced you to recall situations on the spot and then you ramble through your answer. The answer you gave may have been a top-of-mind response and probably not your best example. This happens to all of us. But it doesn't have to. You can prepare answers for these questions in advance.

Why do recruiters and hiring managers ask STAR interview questions?

Because they want to hear how you've solved problems or fixed things in the past. There's a saying that your past performance is an indicator of future behavior. While this may not be 100% true, it is one of the best resources an interviewer has. During your answer, the interviewer is listening for the steps you took and whether you were successful or what you learned from that experience.

STAR is an acronym that describes how to structure interview answers.

S stands for the situation. This is where you provide a very high-level overview of your role and what was going on.

T stands for the task you were assigned or took the initiative to solve. In other words, describe in one sentence what made the situation a challenge.

A stands for the actions you took. Step by step, walk through what you did.

And finally, R stands for results. These are the outcomes of the actions you took to resolve the situation and challenge.

A good answer using the STAR method is concise, with just enough detail and has a quantifiable result.

What Each Section Means

So let's break down each section of STAR.

The situation helps the listener understand the context, or why the story is relevant. It explains what was going on so they can follow along with the rest of your story. It is just 1 — 2 sentences long.

The task explains what you were asked to do or the obstacle or the challenge you were faced with. Again, this is short. Probably just one sentence.

The actions you took should make up the bulk of your story. Explain, step by step, what YOU did. And keep in mind that even though you may have been part of a team, you had a specific role. Highlight what YOU did as part of the team.

Finally, the results are the outcomes of your actions. You want to include what happened, or in some cases, what didn't happen, as a result of the actions you took. No story is complete without including the results. In fact, that's what the interviewer is waiting for.

There are other acronyms used instead of STAR. You may hear PAR (problem, action, result), SCAR (situation, challenge, action result) or SAR (situation, action, result). No matter what interview technique you use, the end results keep you on track.

The stories don't have to be extraordinary. Here's a simple achievement broken down into the STAR format:

Situation/Task: While working on a time-sensitive client project, I found the printer was jammed.

Actions: I first reloaded the paper bins and followed the printer's error instructions

Results: and within minutes the printer was back online. Not only was my report in the queue but so were several other jobs. The final client report was proofed and delivered ahead of schedule and I was able to deliver the other print jobs to their owners to keep their workflow on track as well.

This is how the story maps with the STAR format:

This STAR could be used to answer a variety of questions such as:

"Tell me about a time you solved a problem?"
Or
"Can you give me an example of a time you worked well under pressure?"
Or
"Tell me about a time you went above and beyond?"

Not only is the STAR method helpful in conveying your hard skills, it also helps the interviewer understand your soft skills and values.

In other words, what do they now know about you based on your story? That you are the kind of person who pitches in and helps others.

You see, the brain is hardwired to listen to stories. An interviewer is much more likely to remember a specific story than a hypothetical situation or a list of skills. That's why you want to always use a story to back up your answer.

How To Use This Technique

These STAR interview questions are less likely to be asked during a phone screening interview. Early in the interview process, recruiters want to verify information on your resume and evaluate basic qualifications. You're more likely to experience behavioral interviews during an in-person or video interview.

The technical term for this type of questioning is behavioral interview. The questions are designed to evaluate your behaviors and skills. You can tell you are being asked a behavioral question because it starts with

"Tell me about a time when..." or
"Give me an example of ..."

In fact, interviewers who have received interview training, know how to listen for different elements of the STAR answer. However, since everyone has not received interview training, it's good to know that even to the untrained ear, STAR interview answers are easy to follow.

Build Your STAR Interview Answers

You can begin building your STAR interview answers right now. It's as simple as recalling some of your past successes. In fact, some of these successes may already be on your resume.

Keep in mind: You want to use specific examples, not general examples, to help the interviewer appreciate what you did, and how you did it.

Every single day you've had some sort of success or accomplishment. Sometimes they were major, other times they seem like just part of your job.

Use these questions to help you brainstorm your achievements.

  • Did you identify and solve a problem?
  • Did you save time and/or money?
  • Have you improved productivity?
  • Have you ever streamlined operations?
  • Did you devise new strategies?
  • Did you minimize customer complaints?
  • Did you provide a service that did not exist before?
  • Did you develop an idea that was used or presented?
  • Did you help others achieve their goals?
  • What were you proud of doing at work?
  • What did you do better than others around you?
  • Were you ever recognized (formally or informally) for work that you did?
  • Did you ever go above and beyond what was required of you?
  • Were you ever selected to be a part of a team or train others?

Your goal is to have 25 STAR interview answers ready to go.

25? Yes! How many questions do you think you'll be asked in a one-hour interview? 10-15? You want to make sure you use the best STAR.

Your next step is to make sure you have STAR interview answers that address the specific requirements for the job you are interviewing for.

Interview Preparation

If you already have 25 stories identified, great! Next, make sure you select the very best examples for the job you are interviewing for.

Review the job posting to ensure you have a STAR that addresses each of the job requirements.

Once an interview is scheduled, make sure you have STAR format answers for each job requirement. The easiest way to do this is to analyze the job posting and review the list of job requirements one by one. Do you have a story that backs up your experience for each requirement?

For example, if one of the job posting requirements is:

  • Develops, implements, and manages day-to-day operations of the project from initiation through implementation and deployment.

Your first step is to ask yourself, have I ever developed and managed the day-to-day operations of a project? If the answer is yes, then create your STAR that explains a specific example of a time you were successful managing a project.

If you have never done this before, think about a time you oversaw an initiative or campaign. It may have been a volunteer project or even a school project. While it isn't exactly the same, your STAR will at least demonstrate some similar skills.

If you are a project manager, you may think, "I do this every day." But the key to answering this question is to pick a specific time when you overcame a challenge or were exceptionally successful in managing a project.

Continue through each requirement in the job description and be sure to use different stories or situations.

You may reuse a story once if absolutely necessary. However, it's best to use a different example for each question.

You want to use the best story to answer the question, not the first story that pops into your head. This is one more reason to plan your stories in advance.

Select stories from your recent work history.

While you can reference older successes, you want to emphasize your current problem-solving abilities and skills.

What If I'm Not Asked STAR Interview Questions?

Even if you aren't asked one of those behavioral interview questions, you can still use the STAR method to formulate your answer and enrich it.

Let's say you're asked a question like "why do you think you would be good at this job?" In this example, you would list 2-3 of your top qualifications for a job and then use a STAR interview answer to back up those qualifications you mentioned.

Tips for Using The STAR Method
  • Invest time preparing STAR for each interview you are invited to
  • Practice your answers out loud (and keep practicing until you nail each one)
  • Use the most accurate and descriptive words to describe the actions you took
  • Time your answer and try to keep it within 60-90 seconds
  • Try writing your STAR interview answers in bullet points so it will be easier to remember and practice
  • Select stories from your most current work experience first.
  • Avoid using filler words like kind of, um, or basically.

Example Interview Questions & Answers Using STAR

It helps to see examples. That's why I'm including samples of questions and answers for you to reference.

Question 1: What's an example of a time when you had to work across the enterprise to manage a project?

Answer:

Given my work as a project manager, I work collaboratively quite often. The best example is when the software department was getting ready to launch a new application for its banking customers. As head of development, my role was to make sure we had all the necessary requirements and deliverables identified.

Over the course of three months, I met weekly with our Voice of the Customer team, finance, IT and operations to make sure they all had submitted the most important requirements.

Once the app was close to being ready, I coordinated testing time frames for each department.

The development team worked closely with all parties to ensure the reports they wanted could be delivered.

The end result was that the software app launched on time and has made it much easier for every part of the enterprise to have immediate access to the information they need. It has also eliminated thousands of hours in ad hoc reporting within its first year.

Question 2: Tell me about a time you were forced to make an unpopular decision.

Answer:

I realized that the corporate decision to restructure commissions was not going to be received well. Luckily I had time to notify the 10 sales representatives I managed of the change. Since this decision was being made at the highest levels, I had no choice but to support it and convince my team it would be ok.

First, I gathered the full sales for a meeting where we celebrated their wins and successes.

At the conclusion of the meeting, I broke the news about the new commission policy and invited each team member to meet with me individually to discuss how this would impact them.

During these one on one meetings I listened and validated how the employee felt. And since training would be an easy way to add value, I incorporated specific skill building training based on the career goals of each member.

After I had met with everyone, each person had an individualized professional development plan and knew what they needed to do to reach their new targets and financial goals.

Question 3: Tell me about a time you disagreed with a supervisor or co-worker.

Answer:

My previous manager had specific ideas about what she wanted in our social media marketing campaigns. She wanted to use text dense graphics. As the lead designer, I believed that a simple call to action was more convincing.

After much discussion, we compromised, and ran each campaign for one week.

The customer engagement data were evaluated for each of the campaigns.

It turned out that my campaigns performed better so from that point forward, she allowed me to manage our social media independently.

How Prepared Are You To Use The STAR Method?

As you can tell, it takes some preparation to master the STAR interview technique. To ace your interview, you'll want to prepare stories in advance and practice.

The time you invest in selecting the very best examples not only helps you prove your qualifications, it also helps you sound confident. It might seem like a lot of work, but it's worth it!

Back

COVID-19 testing: VA studying 3D-printed nasal swabs to guard against future declines in traditional swabs

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

In August 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported shortages in the national supply of nasal swabs used to test for the virus, among other supplies such as personal protective equipment.

While VA went on to secure an adequate supply of swabs, the FDA cited a larger national shortage as recently as March of this year.

Although the pandemic has receded and many Americans have been vaccinated, VA isn't taking any chances. VA researchers are studying the safety and effectiveness of 3D-printed nasal swabs, in case of another urgent nationwide need to test patients for COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. The agency is hoping to offset further potential shortages of traditional swabs in the commercial supply chain and aims to provide scientific evidence of the value of 3D swabs to the non-VA health care system, as part of VA's mission to support national health care during the pandemic.

Researchers may also be able to detect common viruses

Dr. Joseph Iaquinto, a biomedical engineer in the VA Center for Limb Loss and Mobility at VA Puget Sound in Washington state, is leading the study. His team is aiming to examine the viability of five types of 3D swabs, two of which have been produced by VA and the rest by commercial 3D printing companies. Iaquinto believes 3D swabs were not on the commercial market before the pandemic.

Part of the "elegance" of the study, Iaquinto says, is that the researchers are using a swab cartridge that can simultaneously test for a battery of viruses. There are six viral targets, including the novel coronavirus, Flu A, Flu B, and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most important cause of lower respiratory tract infection in young children.

"Our focus for the study is COVID-19," Iaquinto says. "But if these 3D-printed swabs show the ability to collect and release viral matter for clinical testing, then they may be suitable for many use cases, including the detection of common viruses."

'Quickly print it into the real world'

Since the start of the pandemic, VA innovators, researchers and clinicians have helped build a more resilient supply chain of personal protective equipment and other supplies to support VA's response to the health crisis. These items have included face masks, face shields, hoods, desk shields and nasal testing swabs. In many cases, 3D printing has been involved due to its flexibility in producing new products.

The benefit of 3D printing is the ability to "radically change your digital design or to design something entirely different, then quickly print it into the real world," Iaquinto explains. "That allows you to prototype or flex production with higher speed than other pathways."

In the nasal swab study, researchers intend to provide statistical evidence on the safety and effectiveness of 3D swabs in use and nearing readiness for use. The goal is to identify which 3D swab designs, if any, provide the same clinical result as traditional swabs.

'Collaboration at its best'

The study calls for swabbing Veterans and VA employees for COVID-19 testing who show up as a matter of routine care. But the researchers are amending the study to recruit patients who are in the hospital, have contracted COVID-19, or are symptomatic but are not scheduled for swabbing.

The VA Innovation Ecosystem and the VA Office of Research and Development are collaborating to support the study. VA Ventures, which was formed last year in partnership with the Innovation Ecosystem, is one of the VA programs that has designed, fabricated and evaluated equipment for VA's COVID-19 response. Iaquinto is also affiliated with VA Ventures, which is managing the swab production facility at VA Puget Sound.

"This study is a great example of how multiple services at VA — the Innovation Ecocystem, the Office of Research and Development, the National Program Office for Sterile Processing, Procurement and Logistics, and the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service — are working together to support VA's continuity of care for its Veterans and employees," Iaquinto says. "It's collaboration at its best."

More Information

Click here to read the full story.

Click here to learn more about VA research.

Back

Top Three Tasks When Applying for a Security Clearance

By Thomas Braden | U.S. Navy Vet and Author of A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

As the result of Congressional legislation and Presidential Executive Orders, all federal positions which require a security clearance, have their background investigations completed by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) in Quantico, VA. Their website is a wealth of information and is available, here: dcsa.mil

By all pre-COVID accounts, the federal government's reorganization of a variety of agencies and entities under DCSA's leadership has been a success. By streamlining and expediting the process, DCSA has reduced a huge backlog of almost 200,000 pending cases. Despite the many successes in this reorganization, the average processing time still exceeds 3-4 months.

So, what can you do to avoid delays in your processing? You can ensure the following:

Be organized

When you begin your background investigation and have to complete the perquisite SF-86 via the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system, you need to be well-organized. If you've done this before, the system may have retained your information. If not, you will be starting from scratch and need to have your facts in order. You will need to outline your entire family history including dates of birth and current addresses. That may sound easy, of course you know Mom's birthday... but what year? And you will even need to provide this information for your outlaws... I meant, in-laws and extended family (again, including place and date of birth and yes, dates of death, too.)

You will need to provide data reaching back as far as ten years, including addresses, foreign travel/contacts, etc. I recommend that you have a copy of your credit report on hand, as it will likely contain useful information. For each period of employment and/or residence, you will also need to provide a current U.S. based point of contact who can vouch for you during that time; such as a neighbor, co-worker or boss. You will need full names, as well as valid phone numbers and email addresses. This is time consuming and may involve some sleuthing on your part to track them down today. (You may want to find them on Facebook of Linked In and give them a head's up, as well.)

Also, men will be required to provide verification of their registration for the Selective Service (aka, "the draft.") Fortunately, you can look up your registration number: sss.gov/verify

Get finger-printed, properly

According to DCSA, the next biggest reason which causes delays in the completion of your background investigation is finger-printing. Yeah, this one surprised me as well, but it can be major hiccup in your processing. I had previously had a security clearance (with finger-prints on the record) for more than 25 years, but none of that mattered... I needed to get a new set of finger-prints and they needed to be collected electronically. Luckily, I was located near Washington, D.C. and was able to get this task completed on one of the military bases. If I wasn't retired (and therefore had access to the base), I'm not exactly sure how I would have completed this task. So, think that part through, you may need to be escorted onto a DoD installation, or you may need to find a civilian police station that is willing to do it. You'll also need to verify if your organization and level of clearance requires submission via the same DoD electronic system, or will they accept the tradition rolled/hard copy prints. I would certainly run these requirements to ground, early-on in the process with your Human Resources Office (HRO) and/or Security Office.

Be honest

Another reason which causes delays when completing your background investigation is extensive foreign travel and/or undisclosed foreign contacts, and foreign investments which the DCSA investigators will need to exert time and resources chasing down. If you've lived or served overseas, this can be an issue. You will need to provide all dates of foreign travel. I recommend checking your passport and Facebook, Instagram or other social media for pictures you or your family may have posted. (If you haven't lived overseas, this may sound ridiculous, but it's easy to forget that day trip across the border....) You will also need to identify if that travel was for work or pleasure. (At some point it gets compared to the actual travel they find with your passport; so, it's best if you include everything.) Lastly, you will need to disclose any foreign contacts that you had or maintained during those times. This could be your landlord, a co-worker, or your maid/gardener. My advice is to provide as much information as you possibly can; again, including any known contact information that you may have for these foreign contacts. If they're just that, casual acquaintances, you should be fine; however, if they're considered "close and/or continuous" you have to provide additional information. This is particularly true if your spouse is/was a foreign national and perhaps maintains a house or other foreign investment. So, be honest, be prepared and come to this process ready to disclose everything.

If you follow these rules

So, if I follow these three rules will I be guaranteed to obtain my security clearance?

No, there never any guarantees, but you should help in speeding up the timeline for DCSA to make an adjudication/determination.

The Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information are used by DoD Central Adjudication Facilities (DoDCAF) to determine both initial and continued eligibility for access to classified information. The adjudication process is an examination of a sufficient period of a person's life to make an affirmative determination that the person is an acceptable security risk. Eligibility for access to classified information is predicated upon the individual meeting these personnel security guidelines. The adjudication process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the whole-person concept. All available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, is considered in reaching a clearance determination. When an individual's life history shows evidence of unreliability or untrustworthiness, questions arise whether the individual can be relied on and trusted to exercise the responsibility necessary for working in a secure environment where protection of classified information is paramount.

But if you follow the guidelines above: Be Organized; Get the finger-prints correct; and, Be Honest. You should be well on your way to a streamlined adjudication process.

I cover this - and so much more - in greater depth and detail throughout my book, A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service, now available on Amazon for less than the cost of a cup of coffee, I might add! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Z83W9BK/

Back

Advertisement advertisement advertisement advertisement advertisement advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement