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  • Chris Hughes 2:55 pm on July 20, 2010 Permalink
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    Leveraging Internships 

    One of the great benefits of an American University education actually takes place outside of the classroom. AU’s location in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC provides students with a multitude of internship opportunities. Through internships in the government, nonprofit and private sectors, students have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience that supplements what they are learning in the classroom and provides them with some of skills needed to begin a career in their field of interest.

    Often students are able to effectively leverage their internship in order to gain their next internship, or perhaps a job. Here are some tips on how to make your internship move you towards your next step in the career development process:

    When finished with a project, ask for more: This is an excellent way to prove your worth. Employers like interns who go the extra mile in helping to get the work of the office done. By working hard and contributing one’s skills to that office, an intern will become more likely to receive a strong recommendation for his or her next position. In some select instances, if a full-time position with the organization is open upon an intern’s graduation, this could lead to the intern being hired for that position.

    Keep in touch with past internship employers: There is often a tendency for one to move on after an internship is completed and not look back. Big mistake. It is always good to maintain contact periodically with past internship supervisors, especially if you have left that position on very good terms. Former supervisors and co-workers can serve as a very valuable resource in helping you network for future job and internship searches

    Conduct informational interviews: Informational interviewing is one of the most important forms of networking. It entails talking to people employed in jobs or fields that interest you. Identify people who work at your internship site who would fit these criteria. These individuals would be able to provide you with valuable advice about their career path, skills needed, and the employment outlook for the field. They may also be able to provide you with the names and contact information of other individuals who could provide you with information about potential careers.

    Utilizing these strategies, in addition to meeting periodically with your Career Center advisor, will start you on your path to a successful and very satisfying career.

  • Chris Hughes 7:55 pm on May 17, 2010 Permalink
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    What Students and Alumni Need to Know About the New Federal Hiring Reforms 

    Last Tuesday, President Obama put forth a memorandum of reforms  designed to greatly simplify the federal hiring process.  These reforms will have a great impact on AU students, recent graduates and alumni seeking positions in the federal government.  Among the reforms are:

    • Cutting the hiring times for federal positions down to an average of 80 days.
    • Total elimination of essay-style questions, better known as KSA’s, from federal applications.   Resumes and cover letters or “simple, plain language applications” would be submitted.
    • Simplifying the federal hiring process  across the board to encourage more qualified candidates to enter public service

    These changes are expected to be in place by November 1. 

    Also, the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP), not to be confused with the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) or Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP), will undergo a 90-day review and may be on the chopping block.

    By significantly cutting down the hiring time for federal jobs and eliminating the often-confusing KSA process, these reforms should benefit new federal job seekers by making such a job search less mysterious and more in line with what we see in the private and nonprofit sectors.

  • Chris Hughes 8:19 pm on January 26, 2010 Permalink  

    Careers in Political Strategy Panel This Wednesday Evening, January 27th 

    Are you interested in working on a political campaign or want to advocate for an issue you really care about?  Then come and hear from our panelists who have all held prominent positions as political strategists.

    Karen DeFilippi, SIS/BA ’05- Karen has worked on various campaigns, on the congressional, gubernational, and presidential level.  Of note, Karen served on various positions for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign in 2008.  Ms. DeFilippi was also the Deputy Campaign Manager for Mike Signer’s Lt. Governor Democratic Primary in Virginia and Finance Director for Speaker Gaye Symington’s gubernational campaign in Vermont.  She currently works for Representative Harry Teague as a Scheduler and Legislative Assistant.

    Mike Pepe, SPA/BA ’98- Mike Pepe began at Direct Impact, where he helped to develop campaign strategies for law makers of various levels.  In 2007, he effectively managed Pat Herrity’s bid to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  Mike has also been involved with the Republican National Committee as the Statewide Absentee Ballot Director in Virginia and was deployed to assist in Senator Saxby Chambliss’s run-off election.  Mike Pepe is currently a Field Manager at DDC Advocacy, which identifies and mobilizes high-level community support for national issue advocacy campaigns for the firm’s clients.

    Jamal Simmons– Jamal started on  Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential Campaign managing logistics for reporters.  In 2000, he managed media relations in 40 states for former Vice President Al Gore’s Presidential run.  Jamal was also the traveling press secretary for 2004 Presidential candidates Senator Bob Graham and General Wesley Clark.  During the 2008 election, Jamal could be seen on TV providing political analysis on CNN. He currently serves as a Principal with the Raben Group

    The event is being held on Wednesday, January 27th, at 7PM in the SIS Lounge.  Please RSVP for this event at https://eagleeye.american.edu/careercenter/torsvp.cfm?event_ID=4951.

  • Chris Hughes 10:18 pm on December 17, 2009 Permalink  

    SCEP and STEP: Excellent Opportunities for Students in the Federal Government 

    Current students interested in gaining valuable paid, work experience  in the Federal Government need not look any further than two excellent programs: the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

    Key elements of SCEP:

    • Provides experience in the federal government that is directly related to a student’s educational and career goals.
    • Successful completion of the position may lead to non-competitive conversion to a term, career or career-conditional appointment after completing  640 hours.
    • Students participating must be academically enrolled on at least a half-time basis
    • Positions are paid and generally have designated benefits

    STEP has many of the same characteristics as SCEP, but differs in that this program does not automatically convert to appointments.  In addition, STEP positions generally anywhere from three months to a year.

    To find out about STEP and SCEP opportunities, two great resource are Congressman Mel Watt’s federal internship page, found at http://watt.house.gov/SupportingFiles/documents/Internship_Opportunities_09.pdf.  Another excellent resource is the Federal Internship Directory at makingthedifference.org.  USAJOBS.gov is another good starting point.

    Also to find out more about applying for STEP and SCEP positions, please contact your respective school advisors at the Career Center.

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