If you’ve ever wondered what life would be like as a civilian employee of the world’s most powerful air force, you’re in luck, because during December’s Aim Hire, Living the Life, host Ryan Schneider introduces you to two fascinating civilian employees playing pivotal roles in their career fields.
You’ll meet U.S. Army and Air Force veteran-turned Air Force Civilian Service (AFCS) Talent and Acquisition Consultant Barry Kowald. He’ll share what he looks for in the perfect AFCS employee and will offer candid advice on what you can do to improve your chances of landing one of these coveted positions as well as what you should include in and how you should format your resume to be certain you catch his discerning eye.
We also introduce you to Audrey Lee, making her second Aim Hire appearance, who’s living the life as an AFCS contract specialist with Hill Air Force Base. You’ll be surprised to learn about some of the cool things Audrey has helped the Air Force acquire in her role. Spoiler alert: from thumbtacks and doorstops to radar-absorbing coatings and heat-seeking missiles, there’s not a single object in the Air Force’s vast inventory that doesn’t have a contract specialist behind it.
The entire hour is packed with valuable information covering everything from the many professional growth opportunities the Air Force provides every AFCS employee to valuable resume tips and a discussion on security clearances and the GS pay scale.
You won’t want to miss a single second, but if you’re pressed for time, we highly recommend these highlights:
3:14 – Audrey explains how a Contract Specialist is very different from a Contractor, clearing up a common misconception many people make.
4:52 – Barry explains the role of a Talent Acquisition Consultant and how he went from active duty to his current position as a civilian, marking 35+ years in the field.
11:17 – Barry explains that, unlike the other armed services, the Air Force is the only one that considers active duty and its civilian workforce alike, “Airmen.” Army employees aren’t “Soldiers,” Navy employees aren’t “Sailors,” and Coast Guard employees are not “Coast Guardsmen,” But everyone associated with the Air Force are Airmen.
12:05 – Host Ryan Schneider points out that although AFCS hire a large number of military veterans, no prior military service is required to work for AFCS.
12:31 – Audrey explains how she was first drawn to an AFCS career following college.
AFCS places a large emphasis on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. At 14:18, Audrey explains what that has meant for her.
15:08 – Like many recent graduates, student debt was a major concern for Audrey, but knowing after ten years of service as a public servant that it’d all be forgiven was another factor tipping the scales in AFCS’ favor.
17:25 – Barry shares what he looks for in the perfect AFCS new hire.
18:10 – Barry emphasizes the importance of making sure your skill sets and experience match the position you are applying for.
19:58 – Barry suggests cybersecurity is a career field that is in ever higher demand and is a career where you can have a direct impact on the nation’s security.
22:55 – The two guests share that “eureka!” moment of their careers, where they just knew they made the right career choices.
26:24 – Audrey fields a question from the audience as to whether all positions require a security clearance.
30:44 – Barry describes some of the career fields in highest demand within AFCS.
32:14 – Barry explains the difference between Direct Hiring Authority (DHA) “Hot jobs” and traditional openings.
33:29– Audrey describes the mindset and skill sets of someone seeking to follow in her footsteps as a Contract Specialist.
36:04 – Ryan asks Audrey, who is a very accomplished amateur photographer, where her love of aviation comes from.
38:15 – Audrey shares the social media sites where you can see some of her photos.
39:21 – Barry details everything you need to know about the AFCS hiring process and offers additional resume tips.
42:56 – Barry describes what happens to your resume if you’re not selected on the first go-around for a position and what you should do when future jobs open.
45:59 – Audrey emphasizes the numerous growth opportunities the Air Force provides its civilian employees.
49:23 – Ryan asks the guests if they could go back in time and give their younger self advice, what would it be?
56:09 – Audrey explains the GS pay scale following a question from the audience.