New Jobs and A New Tool Now Available!
MyCareer@VA is pleased to announce that our program has expanded to include jobs in four more occupational families. For more information on these new jobs, be sure to check out the VA Career Guides.
We are also excited to announce the launch of InterviewStream, a new, innovative way to practice your interview skills and receive immediate feedback. With this online interview practice tool, you can:
- Record your answers to practice interview questions using a webcam, then play back your answers to assess your performance.
- Send links for viewing your recorded interviews to your mentors or friends to receive additional feedback.
To get started with InterviewStream, visit the Interview Prep section of CareerPrep and start practicing today!
In June 2013 MyCareer@VA launched three exciting new programs, including a total of 15 new resources, which offer cutting-edge career development resources to help you achieve your career goals:
- Be empowered to take advantage of career opportunities with CareerPrep. Use this resource to hone your interview skills, perfect your elevator pitch and overcome obstacles to position you for professional success.
- Be inspired by career stories and advice from VA leadership with CareerTalk, a unique interview series that gives you a front row seat to candid conversations. As you learn how they achieved career goals, overcame obstacles and made the most of their opportunities, you will be empowered to take charge of your professional future.
- Six new web-based trainings teach you strategies for developing your own career and helping others advance. These interactive trainings complement existing courses and offer guidance for current VA employees, Veterans transitioning to a career at VA, newly hired VA employees, and VA Supervisors.
- Additionally, there are new step-by-step tutorials of the MyCareer@VA tools to help you navigate a particular part of the career development process. Just click on the Demo for the tool you wish to learn more about!
Is your internship wrapping up? Be sure to take advantage of these helpful resources on MyCareer@VA before your internship ends:
- Use MyCareer@VA’s My Federal Resume Builder to create a resume that has all the information required to apply for a job with the federal government. You can even include VA job competencies for the specific job you want with just the click of a button. Create an account on the My Federal Resume Builder today!
- Learn more about jobs you’re interested in so you can start preparing for your upcoming interviews.
- Hone your interview skills, practice your elevator pitch and learn how to overcome common obstacles with CareerPrep.
Also, if you missed the MyCareer@VA intern webinar, you can reach out to the MyCareer@VA team at VAMyCareer@VA.gov if you are interested in more information.
Lastly, don’t forget that MyCareer@VA resources remain available to support you after your internship ends and you take your next step in your career. Best of luck!
Join us for our “Introduction to MyCareer@VA” webinar to learn how to get the most out of MyCareer@VA. The webinar, available twice per month, will introduce you to the career planning process and provide a virtual demonstration of how MyCareer@VA’s innovative tools can help you take charge of your professional future. Give us an hour and we’ll show you a lifetime of opportunities!
Upcoming date and time:
Change happens all the time – regularly and at a very fast pace. This is especially true in today’s world. To stay ahead of change, it is important to manage it. Taking an active role in leading change is the key to successfully managing it.
Often, when supervisors and employees are faced with this reality they often believe that only senior leaders can play an active role in leading change. Secretary Shinseki noted the need for change in VA’s Strategic Plan by challenging all VA employees to “do things differently” as a means to meet and exceed VA’s performance standards. This means ALL VA employees are in a position to lead impactful change to help VA reach its ultimate goal—improving the service it provides Veterans and their families.
VA knows its employees are at the forefront of making impactful change. Committed and engaged employees are vital to providing excellent service to our nation’s Veterans. Investing in career development is a key way to positively impact engagement and job performance and increase VA’s ability to fulfill its mission. VA leadership is doing its part to lead change by making career development easier and more accessible to all employees. But VA, as an organization, isn’t the only one who can contribute to change. You can play a critical role in these efforts and now is the perfect time for all VA employees to engage in career development.
For supervisors, this means helping employees seek opportunities for growth. It means being aware that such efforts can pay dividends for VA. Research shows one of the main reasons people leave their job is a lack of training and development efforts. Other research shows that employees stay in jobs that give them opportunities. There is a direct link between VA’s investment in its employees and its ability to retain good employees and achieve its mission.
For employees, this means owning your own career development efforts. It also means knowing your career options and actively seeking opportunities for growth. Intentionally seeking opportunities means being proactive in your search by utilizing key resources. Examples include MyCareer@VA, TMS website, and the Leadership Portal. Change requires a strong desire to be more productive and effective in your job. The effort required to improve current skills, develop new ones, and have a clear vision about available career paths is also needed.
How? VA supervisors and employees can lead change by working together to create action plans for engaging in career development.
As a supervisor, you can:
- Talk to your employees about the link between career development and VA’s goals.
- Provide your employees with opportunities for growth.
- Align your employees’ career goals with VA’s mission and vision.
- Stress to your employees that they are in charge of their career paths.
- Use the MyCareer@VA Develop Others resources to help employees achieve their career goals.
As an employee, you can:
- Write your Individual Development Plan.
- Set up a meeting with your supervisor to talk about your goals.
- Engage in career development activities that will increase your job satisfaction and productivity.
- Use MyCareer@VA resources to learn how you can get from where you are to where you want to go:
Regardless of your position, you can lead change. You can be part of VA’s effort. Use VA’s career development opportunities to take control of your future at VA.
Experience tells us that when we know how our day-to-day work supports our organization’s mission and goals, we increase the probability of achieving those goals. At the same time, research shows that when we have a clear understanding of our career paths, and can see how they align with the organization’s strategy, we are motivated to make the most of our skills and capabilities.
As a supervisor, when you help employees make the connection between their work, their career path, and VA’s mission, you’ve taken a big step toward creating an organization where everyone knows their role, understands and integrates stakeholder perspectives and takes action to improve benefits delivery and service to Veterans. That’s what we mean we talk about a Global VA.
To help your employees achieve this, here is a quick activity you can work on:
- Read the Department’s draft Strategic Plan for 2012-2020.
- Consider our mission: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.
- List the ways you contribute.
- Connect those contributions to your roles in your career path to see how you can and will help achieve the goals outlined in the Plan.
- Ask your employees to do the same thing.
- Talk together about VA’s mission and strategic priorities. Discuss career development plans. Share thoughts about our role in the Federal Government. Consider our stakeholders. Identify actions you can take from where you sit to improve benefits and services to Veterans.
No matter what you discovered, there is a final step to this exercise – Act.
- Give your employees meaningful work. Connect the dots between where they sit and VA’s mission. Make sure they have the skills to excel and then use their talents. Employees who believe their employers make effective use of their talents and abilities are overwhelmingly committed to staying on the job.1
- Support career development. Career development can improve morale, career satisfaction, motivation, productivity and responsiveness in meeting organizational objectives. Employees feel more engaged when they know that their employer is concerned about both the organization’s bottom line and about their well-being.2
- Guide your employees. Be sure your organization’s career development activities are meeting employee needs and achieving results. Help them think about their careers and how to get from where they are to where they want to be by directing them to MyCareer@VA resources like the My Career Fit Tool, My Career Mapping Tool and VA Career Guides.
These actions work! Ask Providence Care, a health care facility that found that by aligning career development and other initiatives with strategic planning, they created a career-resilient workforce committed to lifelong learning, taking responsibility for their own career management, keeping pace with organizational change and contributing to the facility’s success.3
1. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “As Economy Recovers, Career Paths Aid Retention.” May 2, 2013.
2. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). ”How to Incorporate Career Development and Training with Work Requirements and the Goals of the Organization.” May 23, 2013.
3. Saxe-Braithwaite, M., Carlton, S., & Bass, B. (2009). Aligning career development with organizational goals: Working towards the development of a strong and sustainable workforce. Nursing Leadership (22), 56-69.
There’s an old saying that goes something like “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” The opposite is also true. If you have a destination and map your route, you increase the chance of arriving on time at the correct place. Of course, you have to follow the map while still accounting for detours, road construction, zany drivers and the search for cheap gas. The same is true for your career.
You may know personally and professionally where you want to be next year or ten years from now. Maybe you’ve even developed an individual development plan (IDP) that lays out your short- and long-term goals. Perhaps you’ve used the IDP to identify developmental opportunities as well as knowledge and performance goals. And maybe you’ve had meaningful conversations with your supervisor about your career development goals. If so, you’re off to a great start!
But is that enough? How can you turn your plan into reality? Consider these three steps.
Step 1. Take time to think about what it will take to achieve your goals. Just like following the map to your destination, be prepared for detours and road construction. Our work world is evolving, and the speed and quantity of communication increases almost daily. Technological innovation is driving new ways to work, and work is becoming more and more complex. Consider the impact of all of this on your professional goals. Use the VA Career Guides on MyCareer@VA to look for new or different training and developmental activities that might prepare you better for our chaotic future. The Career Guides and other MyCareer@VA resources link you directly to training within the TMS, which helps you focus in on courses that are tailored to your needs. On your journey, you can’t forget about the cheap gas. Today’s budget realities mean that when you think about classes and courses you have to consider effective but affordable options. Look for local training. Think about distance learning, online courses and free seminars. Then review and draft an update to your IDP.
Step 2. Schedule a career development conversation with your supervisor. To help you prepare, read tips on what you can do before and during the meeting, and give your supervisor a leg up by pointing him or her to MyCareer@VA’s tips for career development conversations. When you talk, ask your supervisor to suggest developmental activities you might not have considered. Talk about on-the-job training opportunities, and explore mentoring programs. Think together about side trips and places to visit along the way to achieving your goals. Lateral moves used to be considered parking spots or dead ends. Today they often mean increased responsibility and can provide valuable insights into influencing people and business. Lateral moves can hone your leadership skills and enhance your strategic thinking.
Step 3. Once you’ve made a plan and talked with your supervisor, make the time to finalize and submit your IDP. Then start your engine, roll down the windows and enjoy the ride to success!
If you don’t have an IDP yet, check out our Tips for Creating Your Individual Development Plan. If you’re a new employee and you’re not sure where to start, visit Tips for Career Development for New Employees to learn the basics of career planning at VA.