Career Development Introduction

Keys to Success

Federal Employee's Career Development Center

Starting Your Plan

This site will  help you Take Charge of Your Federal Career through a practical, action-oriented career management process that is designed especially for federal employees. Packed with proven tips and valuable assessment and evaluation tools, this unique service provides federal workers with the individualized know-how and guidance they need to identify, obtain, and successfully demonstrate the skills and experience required to qualify for new and better federal jobs.

You’ll learn how to prepare an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that includes self assessment, locating job opportunities and career enhancement details and assignments, setting realistic goals, networking techniques, how to complete a dynamite application, interviewing techniques, and how to stay on track.

Use the many resources provided to locate job vacancy announcements, agency web sites, employment applications, forms and procedures, how to enhance interviewing skills, and much more. This service provides abundant resources to develop your career goals and locate government jobs.

Introduction Menu

Upward Mobility

The potential for upward mobility in the federal sector is excellent for those who know how to aggressively pursue their career goals. Federal employees that take the personal initiative to plan their future have a better than average chance to succeed and be promoted. Uncle Sam is this countries largest employer and hires about 2 % of the total civilian workforce and the federal sector continues to grow with each new program they initiate. The diversity of work and the ability to transfer to other agencies and locations further improves your chances. There are so many options available that you can easily get off track if you don’t focus your efforts on realistic targets of opportunity.

Most federal agencies encourage employees to develop their careers through (IDPs) Individual Development Plans. However, it’s the employees responsibility to initiate the process and to develop personalized and realistic plans to achieve their short and long term career goals. All agencies provide training to improve your skills for the position you now occupy. However, they don’t automatically provide training that is outside the duties and responsibilities for your current Position Description unless you develop an IDP.

All agencies offer career development plans and all plans are fashioned after the process outlined in this workbook. For example, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, part of the Department of the Treasury, call their program a “Career Development Toolkit.” They may have a different name, however they all originate from the same federal regulations that require agencies to provide career development programs to interested employees.

Supervisory constructive feedback, often so feared, is an essential part of the process and is actually good for you. You just need to know how to handle it and not take it as a personal attack.  Success is built on many failures, and those who are not willing to try and possibly fail will never succeed.”
Quote by Dennis V. Damp

The opportunities are almost limitless by comparison when you consider the numbers. Approximately 50% of the workforce is eligible for either regular or early retirement and with the growth in government employment, many opportunities exist.

Keys to Success

There are a number of steps that you must take to develop a viable career development program. Without proper planning you may not succeed and a structured program will improve your chance of success considerably. These seven essential steps will get you where you want to go:

  1. Self Assessment – Find out where you are. Invest the time and energy necessary to complete a thorough assessment.
  2. Setting Goals – Develop a dynamite IDP, A realistic plan with achievable goals.
  3. Targeting Positions – Identify realistic job opportunities and options within and outside your agency. Use all available resources.
  4. Completing Your Application – Complete a professional application. First impressions count and your application is often the first thing that a selecting official reviews prior to an interview.
  5. Networking (Self Promotion and Discovery) – Expand your networking contacts. Call previous work associates and contacts that you developed over the years. Use the techniques presented here to identify others that can help.
  6. Interview Preparation – You may have the best qualifications, a great written application, and yet if you freeze up in the interview you may loose out on the an opportunity of a life time.
  7. Follow-up (Staying on Track) – The hardest part of most things in life is keeping the momentum going. It isn’t enough to have a great plan you have to follow through. If things are working just right make corrections and get back on track.

Each of these steps is important and one without the other often leads to failure and confusion. Each step builds on the other and is discussed in detail in a related chapter of this guide. If you take one step at a time and build on each step as you develop it, you will make a connection.

Federal Career Development (Training) Laws

Public Law 85-507, The Government Employees Training Act, is outlined in Title 5, Chapter 41, of the United States Code. It provides the authority to most federal agencies to train employees. In 1967 through executive Order 11348 this law was amended and states that it is the policy of the United States “to develop its employees through the establishment and operation of progressive and efficient training programs, thereby improving public service, increasing efficiency and economy, building and retaining a work force of skilled and efficient employees, and installing and using the best modern practices and techniques in the conduct of the government’s business.”

These laws require agencies and departments to periodically review their developmental and training needs required to meet their objectives and to improve agency performance. The most efficient means of training is desired and this can include interagency options, other government agencies, or private sector vendors.

New training and developmental initiatives are created and fielded each year. Most agencies have comprehensive internal career development initiatives that are in compliance with these laws. This has permitted agencies to develop programs that are tailored to their specific organizational and employee needs.

This non-standardization is why you see different terms and names for essentially the same career development program that we describe in this workbook. If your terms, forms, or process is a little different, that doesn’t change the intent, purpose and usefulness of the stated process. Tailor your plan to your agencies unique needs or requirements and start the process.


All supervisors want proficient and well trained employees. They have a vested interest in your career development and fortunately today there are programs available to cover just about any employee’s desired training path. Many agencies will pay for evening college tuition if funding is available, as long as you maintain a C or better grade point average and if the course is either work related or listed on your written IDP plan. There are hundreds of worthwhile government courses, OJT assignments, lateral details, temporary promotional opportunities, online degree and certificate programs, and upward mobility programs for all levels and pay grades.

The long and short of it is that if you want to grow in your career Uncle Sam is standing by with resources to help you succeed. To keep you on track use our Career Planning Checklist to guide you along the way.

Workable plans take quality time to develop. Don’t rush the process and take one step at a time. When you finish your plan you will have completed all of the necessary steps that you will personally need to complete a viable Individual Development Plan. Get started today with your personal Self Assessment.

Make this a work in progress and take notes on your planning forms, fill in the draft downloadable forms and use the designated “Notes,” areas to write down contact names, numbers, thoughts and ideas . Also visit  www.federaljobs.net to explore occupations, locate job announcements and much more.

Next Step – Self Assessment