Career Corner: Three things you need to know if you want that next job

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By Scott Greene

This marks my fourth column on the civilian Centralized Selection List (CSL) process. Happily, we had our most successful results with the past FY19 board: 12 civilians selected as primaries for product manager positions and three selected for project manager roles. A huge congratulations to all those selected as well as the individuals who were activated off of the alternate list.

This upward trend in civilian selection rates has led me to focus on three things: mobility, new “regional preference” rules and a suggestion for those who want to apply for project manager before serving as product manager.

First, acquisition leadership wants civilians to be mobile. The intent is not to make civilians more like the military. It is rooted in ensuring that individuals have varying experiences in multiple organizations and locations as they develop. The broader and better rounded your resume looks, the more competitive it makes you (in addition to a strong Senior Rater Potential Evaluations). Don’t be afraid to take jobs outside your region. We recognize the need for alignment with your personal and family priorities. My point is to at least think about it and look for ways to work it into your professional and personal plans.

Second, the Acquisition Talent Management Board of Directors, chaired by Lt. Gen. Paul A. Ostrowski, recently voted to change how civilian regional preference will work for CSL moving forward:

NEW GUIDANCE: Civilians will no longer be allowed to provide a regional preference IF they have already served at that level previously while as a civilian. If selected, the slating process will still try to accommodate civilians regionally. Any declination by a civilian in this circumstance would be WITH PREJUDICE, and that individual would be ineligible to compete again at that level.

Third, competitiveness for being selected as a project manager is much greater if you have previously served as a product manager. While it is not a stated prerequisite, one should be prepared to do product first. I know many GS-15s might view the role as less desirable because it is classified as a GS-14 position; however, try not to look at it that way. Instead, look at it as a centrally selected product manager position. If you are technically a GS-15/NH-04, you won’t lose any pay if you get the product-level positions. Think about your aspirations: If you want to be a project manager, there are certain experiences that make you a more competitive candidate.

I look forward to your applications, and best of luck!

For more information, visit the CSL website.

Project manager announcement: April 16 – June 6

Board dates: Aug. 6-10

Tentative board results: November/December 2018


Product manager announcement: June 11 – July 26

Board dates: Oct. 30 – Nov. 2

Tentative board results: April/May 2019

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