Government jobs has been a dream for millions and will continue to dominate the list of “Favorite places to Work” in years to come. It not only provides us job security and access to a plethora of benefits, but a job in a federal agency/department also extends an opportunity to serve the nation with a sense of pride.
Hundreds of State/Federal departments employ thousands of people on their rolls in all 50 states and a considerable number of them exist in representative offices of the US government in foreign countries.
You may be surprised to know that 84% of government jobs are located outside the national capital, Washington, D.C and about a quarter of 2.3 million-strong federal workforces are eligible for retirement(Source: Office of Personnel Management). This sort of figures is motivating enough for job aspirants to rev up their dream of landing an offer in a cherished agency/department.
However, unlike their private counterparts, government jobs are not easy to apply for, owing to a sophisticated framework, limited availability, and competition. If you’re passionate about serving the nation, the right strategies can help you navigate your dream. Here are some tips to help you boost your quest for jobs with federal and state agencies.
Learn More About This Gigantic Entity
There are hundreds of departments/agencies that work in tandem to fulfill various goals in running the country. As a first step towards realizing your dream, understand the structure and its components and choose a few sectors which interest you. For example, a certified lab technician can look up to the FDA(Federal Drug Administration) for suitable jobs.
Revisit Your Resume
You Resume is likely to be following the conventional format based on general principles. The look and feel of your bio will be bent towards meeting the norms of private sector/Non-profit organizations. There is a sea of difference in the ways government sectors operate. The terms, descriptions, job profiles speak the federal language.
Therefore, your first move should be to research on the format and redesigning the Resume to make it vetted for federal/state jobs. It would be much more easy for recruiters in the govt. the sector to understand your Bio if it communicates to them. Lookup for resources and guides on the internet in this regard.
Search For Government Jobs Openings on Appropriate Websites
Offline job searches and posting job applications are losing their sheen. This holds good for job openings with federal/state agencies as well. Lookup for jobs on official departmental sites under the “Careers” section or check for openings on neutral websites such as USAjobs.gov. You’ll be surprised to learn about the opportunities available for aspirants with various qualifications.
Note the job profile, understand the timelines, ascertain if you stand a chance and follow the channel to apply for the job opening. You must also follow up with the originators as per timelines for updates.
Replenish Your Network
One of the foremost catalysts that aid job search. Connect with your friends, family members, former colleagues who may have contacts in government sectors and who may be able to guide you in this regard. Folks will also help you in getting linked up with people working with the government.
Who knows? Your next job referral to an opening in a government agency may come through a member in the network.
If you’re aspiring to find government jobs and not employed at present, you can claim unemployment insurance in your state. This insurance program jointly administered by federal – state agencies, provides weekly monetary compensation for citizens who lost their job due to involuntary reasons.
Being unemployed is a phase of life where one can succumb to a lot of negativity and suffer from low morale. This fact is more evident during long-term unemployment, specially when you’re the breadwinner and there are no financial resources available as a backup. You’re doing all that you can to look up for jobs, but not finding any. During such a phase, you must pause from the routine, introspect, make changes in your job search strategy and realign.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 boosters that will help you in redefining your job search strategy. Here they are-
1) Apply for Unemployment Insurance
Provides you immediate financial relief in the form of weekly monetary payments from the government. All states provide up to 26 weeks of unemployment compensation for those who lost their jobs due involuntary reasons such as layoffs. The applicant should be actively looking for jobs and must be able and available to accept a suitable job offer.
The Dole as it is popularly known may not match the standards of the wages you drew, but should be sufficient to cover the basic day to day expenses. Do apply for it as soon as you’re unemployed to ensure continuity in income.
2) Take Up a Part Time/Freelance Job
Along with the unemployment compensation, your source of income can be a part time job. Assuming you will have plenty of time in a typical day, signing up for a part-time/freelance job not only helps you with monetary backing but will also keep you occupied.
The most reliable medium to look up for small time jobs will be on the internet. Register and update your Resume on various job portals and make periodic contacts. You can also scout for opportunities in local communities or by registering for relevant services provided by the labor department in your state.
3) Don’t Heed to Negative Emotions
Being jobless is a phase of life that can give rise to a lot of gloomy emotions which in turn can hurt your mental well being. It’s paramount to stay strong and not give up to negative emotions. Treat it like a passing phase of your life and understand the fact that there are thousands of unemployed people just like you, working hard to make it happen.
Control your personal expenses and don’t succumb to addictions such as drinking and drugs. Jobless days are one of the most susceptible phases to give in to addictions. As much as it important to control yourself, its equally vital to take care of your family.
4) Refocus & Relay Job Search Strategy
Draw a list of activities you’re currently following to look up for jobs, write them down and analyze. Some of your mediums may not be productive. Eliminate such instances. Being self-motivated and strategic thinking can do the job.
Chalk out a brand new strategy and start fresh. Sources such as job portals are more yielding that applying manually with companies. Watch out for job fairs in your area where employers come together under one umbrella. Participation in these events can be highly fruitful.
5) Network & Explore Other Mediums
Build new networks and re-establish old ones. Your next job contract may come by means of an old colleague or a friend referring your profile. Participate in forums and discussions, both online and offline.
This is also the right time to explore other avenues. If a certain skill outside your background interests you, try exploring it. If this dream requires additional training/course, sign up for it. It is never late to make a career change, you must be open and willing to explore latest trends.
Unemployment is not a pleasant phase of life. For the ones who depend on monthly salary credits into the bank account, jobless days tend to slow down life. Most of us would have passed through this phase at least once, if not more. Leading life without a job can hurt financially as well as emotionally. We stumbled upon an interesting study titled “Unemployment and Personality” which throws light on change in personality traits of people who experienced some sort of jobless over a period of time.
Personality Change Following Unemployment
The study correlates how unemployment affects key personality traits in a long run. Led by Chris Boyce of the University of Warwick, the team used a big preexisting data set of German nationals. A large audience of 6,769 people were given a standard personality inventory and asked to provide ratings on Big Five personality characteristics – agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness. Four years after this exercise, the same set or workers were given the personality inventory tracking their employment status during this period.
This helped the research team in linking alterations in personality traits to phases of unemployment. Among the audience, 451 experienced some joblessness between 2006 and 2009. The motive of this study was met when these candidates showed change in the five personality characteristics. There was little change recorded in those who had no or little break in employment during the 4 year phase. The results of this study also show variation in opinion based on gender.
Before this study, one could not think of unemployment as one of the prime factors that leads to change in personality. The study though, does not consider into account the reason for changes in personality traits.
We must conclude by saying that unemployment is a phase of life that can lead to a lot of changes, personality wise. It can redefine who you’re, your commitments and have a say in relationships. The only hope is that these changes are progressive in nature and not create any drifts. For financial assistance during jobless phase, make use of government funded benefits such as unemployment insurance which gives you up to 26 weeks of monetary compensation which will be sufficient to meet the basic needs.
If you landed here, you might be someone who is considering about quitting your job because the environment at work no longer feels secure or peaceful or you could be someone who already quit the job voluntarily because you could not take it anymore. Since UI benefits are usually offered to people who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own, it is only natural that you might be wondering if you are eligible or not. Here’s some happy news, unemployment benefits, in most cases, are offered to people who quit because of hostile work atmosphere!
Your eligibility will depend upon the nature and extent of hostility of your work environment. In general, following cases are said to accepted as circumstances for constructively discharging you.
Criminal activity that you tried to bring to the attention of your employer
Health or safety issues that you tried to bring to the notice of your employer
Hostile environment due to illegal harassment or discrimination, such as due to your race, religion, age (40+) or a disability
Hostility in the form of retaliation for bringing criminal behavior, health/ safety issues or discrimination to the attention of your employer or relevant government organizations
That said, there are some other things that we need to understand. An unpleasant place of work or a difficult boss who treats you and your colleagues badly or some similar issue may not be considered as hostile environment. What we have to understand is that there is no legal rule which says that the employer must keep the employee happy. So the employer has no obligation to ensure that employees get along. Likewise, the employee can neither have the legal expectation nor right of a pleasant workplace.
Minor disagreements with superiors or co-workers, differences in opinion hardly count as hostile work environment. We are not say that you should not leave the job, you may if the atmosphere is difficult for you, but, you may not receive any benefits in a situation like this. Approach an unemployment attorney to know for sure whether you are eligible or not.
Determining the Eligibility
Once you file for UI benefits, the unemployment department will conduct a probe into the circumstances that lead to your job separation. The officials then compare your statement regarding the work environment and what they found out during the probe to determine the genuineness of the case.
What can I do to prove my side and fight hostile environment at work?
Proving that your work atmosphere was indeed hostile is not a very easy task. Especially if you are the only one who was picked on. But there are certain things that you can do to aid your claim.
1. Document everything: Keep a journal, carry an audio recorder, create backups of online content or hate mails. In short, whatever you can document and save, do it. While documenting, make sure that you record the date and time as well.
2. Talk to someone: If there is anyone you can trust at work, tell them about the problem. It could be your boss, your co-worker, someone at human resources or even the janitor. Tell someone about it. During the probe by the UI dept., if they learn that nobody knows about the fact that you were harassed, it may render you ineligible for UI benefits.
3. Keep track of your complaints: Use e-mails or any other form of recordable method while submitting your complaints. This can later prove to be useful.
4. Don’t quit your job right away: Unless you are in imminent danger, don’t quit immediately. If you really need UI benefits, try to avoid quitting immediately after the hostility begins. Stay back until you have sufficient evidence to prove to the UI authorities.
The final word
The most important thing is to ensure your safety, especially if the hostility is physical in nature. Keep your friends and family informed, have someone ready to raise an alarm if needed. If you cannot continue anymore, take some time off from work and collect your thoughts.
We understand that a hostile work environment is one of the most difficult situations a person can face. Try to remain calm and composed. Apply for another job, spend quality time with your friends and family and follow the steps we discussed here. We sincerely hope that everything will get better for you and we shall always be here to help you. Use our discussion forums to clear your doubts and concerns.
If you found this useful, share it with others who might be facing difficulties at work too. Together, let’s help the victims of workplace bullying and harassment. Good Luck!!
Lisa Parker, a budding dot com entrepreneur in her late thirties runs a small company that deals with web development and maintenance for local enterprises in Detroit, MI. Her husband works as a marine engineer employed with a shipping conglomerate. Lisa has two kids who are in high school.
Lisa’s firm, Web Success is registered as sole proprietorship with the local authorities and she pays mandatory taxes into the Michigan Department of Treasury. She has carefully nurtured her business meeting timely expectations of various needs of her clients winning laurels and referrals. In her path to success, Lisa has provided employment to five individuals who assist her with their expertise in content development, web designing etc.
Due to the slow onslaught of economic crisis since 2010 that engulfed the city of Detroit, Lisa gradually lost business from local clients who were themselves victim of this crunch. Many of her clients filed for bankruptcy which resulted in deferred revenue for Lisa as they could not afford to pay her. Web Success was able to sustain for close to two years, thanks to the cash balance and other investments Lisa made which aided continuity of her enterprise and timely payment of salaries.
Web Success had meticulously planned their fall in the second calendar quarter of 2013 as they were no longer getting any deals from existing clients nor were able to sign up any new ones. Lisa decided to call it a day and laid off all her 5 staff members with a severance pay for 6 months. She was left with nothing in her bank after she shut down her business and started looking for employment opportunities outside Michigan.
While she was working hard to find a suitable job, she decided to apply for unemployment insurance benefits provided by the labor department in MI for those who are looking for a job but are currently out of one. Unfortunately, her application was rejected as she was self-employed and did not pay unemployment taxes into the system.
Unemployment Insurance for Self Employed
If you were self employed and are currently out of work because of no fault of your own, your chances of receiving unemployment benefits are not that high. However, you should check with your state unemployment office to check your eligibility, as there are some situations in which you would be able to get jobless benefits even if you were self-employed. The labor department in your state will be the best authority to clear the air for you.
In a few cases that can be considered an exception,there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Please read below to find out more.
When can self-employed workers receive unemployment benefits?
Talk to your state unemployment office to find out if you were wrongly classified as self-employed. Long term contractors are classified as employees in some states that make you eligible for UI benefits.
Apply for benefits if your business is incorporated and you can’t find work. You should be eligible as long as the corporation paid unemployment insurance.
Apply to your state unemployment office if you are not working and you live in a region affected by a disaster. If you lost your employment because of a disaster, you should be eligible to receive disaster unemployment assistance even if you are self-employed.
If you are an ex-military service member who was self-employed before entering the service, apply at the state office of the state you reside in after leaving the service, regardless of where you lived before.
Talk to your state labor office if you have started your own company since being laid off. Under a special program, you may be eligible for a self-employment allowance while you are establishing your business.
If you’re unemployed and are looking forward to applying for benefits, always consider applying for it before concluding if you will/not qualify.
Note: The character of Lisa Parker is a fictional creation by the author out of his experience working on various fora on this website interacting with people. Any resemblance to a living/dead person is purely coincidental.
If you knowingly receive benefits based on ungenuine information that you purposely provided when you registered your claim, you are committing fraud. Anyone who commits unemployment insurance fraud is liable to be punished by law and could even face a variety of serious penalties and consequences.
For most jobless workers and their families, UI benefits are continued survival. Unfortunately, a few can ruin a good thing. If you file for benefits and try to receive income that in any way misguides the government, you could be guilty of fraud. Unemployment fraud is a crime in every state and the violators could be charged with fines and even imprisonment.
A nationwide suppression is coming for people unfairly drawing unemployment payments- those who were never eligible and people who have begun working in new jobs but keep getting their unemployment checks. With the poor economy remaining and the jobless rate remaining high, many states are stepping up efforts to stop the improper payments.
You’d think the debt crisis would result in crackdowns on government, but as the claims increase in this jobless recovery, blames in unemployment insurance have hit record levels. Last year, ineligible individuals were paid out a huge $16.5 billion. In the recent months, over-payments have jumped again to 11.6 percent. According to Labor Department’s estimation made in 2010, 30 percent were individuals who continued to cash their UI checks when on work and another 30 percent were people not properly or actively searching for work.
What is considered unemployment fraud?
Unemployment fraud can be someone telling a white lie to extend their benefit or it can also include the fake policies being sold.
Here are a few of the most common examples in which you are held legally liable responsible for your insurance benefits:
Looking for Work
You are required to actively look for a work as a condition of unemployment collection and be mentally and physically able to work unless you’re on a temporary dismiss or a union worker. It is mandatory to attest to that fact each time you file a weekly payment claim. If you do not seek work and lie about looking for work or about being able to work…guess what? You’re committing a crime.
When you apply for an UI benefits claim, your application is a legal document. You are expected by law to provide your personal details like name, social security number, current phone number, current address and current employment information. Any misrepresentation of your identity and employment situation is considered fraudulent. Using anyone else’s personal information to collect benefits is identity theft.
Besides being eligible and seeking work, you must also reveal any extra income you earned. For instance, if you earn from some freelance consulting or do part time job, you are required to disclose these wages. Any extra income you earn from part time or freelance work is figured out into your benefits claim. If you fail to report additional income while you are receiving state unemployment pay is an offence. It is advisable to give the most correct information you can when filing for your unemployment benefits.
Laid-off workers, Be Alert!
Some of the insurance companies and those who sell fake policies know it will probably be some time before you actually collect on your policy. This makes it very simple for them to take your money and run as by the time you actually claim on your policy they are gone. Do not give any personal details over the Internet. Once they have your account numbers they can do far more damage than a fraudulent policy. If the company is registered in your state, then go ahead and purchase. Finally, it is good to purchase policies from large and reputed companies and avoid becoming victim of unemployment benefits fraud.
Online unemployment fraud
Any organization with a website is not a business. You are likely to deal with a scam company if the legal framework is not there. All authorized US companies have a federal tax ID number that are confidential and not to be shared with customers without reasonable purposes. The products offered by the illegitimate companies do not have any guarantee and the services are not insured. They are not paying taxes and therefore not contributing to the economy and encouraging illegal employment in the US or offshore.
Unemployment Insurance is a social welfare program organized by the State Unemployment Agencies. In New York State you are eligible to get Unemployment Compensation if you are unemployed through no faults of yours and are actively looking for a job. The benefits you receive provide you temporary financial assistance until you get another job. Many unemployed people apply for the benefit to compensate their income while they are searching for new job.
As a localite of New York you are expected to follow some steps to become eligible for unemployment benefits. Let us look into them:
Prior to submitting an appeal
It is very important to collect details of all the documents you need to submit while applying for unemployment benefit claim.
Addresses and names of your employers for the last 18 months you worked for
New York State’s drivers license card or motor vehicle ID Card number
Your mailing address
Your Social Security Number
If you are citizen of any other Country then alien registration card number
Identification number of Federal Employer (FEIN) which is found on your W2
If you want direct deposit then your bank account numbers are also required.
You are entitled to collect the benefit even if you don’t produce all the above stated documents but the process may get delayed.
In order to maintain your eligibility for obtaining the compensation you need to be available for work and actively seek jobs by applying for job opportunities. You may also be requested to present the documents of your job search efforts. You must be ready to accept the suitable job as per your qualification, training and experience.
Filing for unemployment compensation in New York
Filing the Claim
You can file the claim either through the Internet or by telephone.
You may file via telephone by calling 1-888-209-8124 which is a toll-free number between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. If you need to file your claim by phone, an automated voice will offer you the choice of filing in English, Spanish, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Creole, or “all other languages” (translation services will be provided).
If you are sure that you qualify for unemployment, then you can surely claim for the compensation from the Department of Labor. Once you are eligible for the benefits then you can receive the temporary compensation. In the state of New York, you will be eligible to collect benefits up to a maximum of $ 405, which is actually half of the state’s average weekly wage. The average weekly unemployment benefit for all states is $293. If you are eligible for extended benefits then the weekly benefit amount paid for additional weeks will also be the same as your as your regular compensation.
Arizona Unemployment Compensation is the benefit provided to the workers who have lost their jobs. People who are capable of fulfilling the eligibility of Arizona’s Unemployment requirements are eligible to claim the unemployment compensation.
Arizona Unemployment Claimants Eligibility
The Arizona claimant eligibility is stated such as when the claimants would have lost their jobs with no faults of their own. He/ she should be efficient enough and readily available to work. In addition the claimants should continuously look and try for full time work unless defined by Unemployment Insurance as a part time worker and they should be willing to accept a job for which they are qualified.
For calculating your unemployment benefit you need to know the base period first. Usually base period will be the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date you first applied for unemployment benefit.
The 1st quarter is January, February and March
The 2nd quarter is April, May and June
The 3rd quarter is July, August and September
The 4th quarter is October, November and December
To calculate your base period first determine the quarter in which you filed your initial claim.
If you filed your initial claim in the 1st quarter of 2012 your Base Period is the 4th quarter of 2010 through the 3rd quarter of 2011.
If you filed your initial claim in the 2nd quarter of 2012 your Base Period is the 1st quarter of 2011 through the 4th quarter of 2011.
If you filed your initial claim in the 3rd quarter of 2012 your Base Period is the 2nd quarter of 2011 through the 1st quarter of 2012.
If you filed your initial claim in the 4th quarter of 2012 your Base Period is the 3rd quarter of 2011 through the 2nd quarter of 2012.
Your new claims benefit amount will be based on where you worked during this 12-month period.
Source of Unemployment Insurance Fund
The revenue is funded by the employers as their quarterly unemployment insurance tax and note that nothing is contributed from the employee’s wages. This Unemployment insurance tax amount will be used to pay the compensation to the qualified employees of Arizona.
Arizona’s Unemployment rate and the Job Added
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 8.7 percent as of February 2012 as most of the sectors are added for the additional jobs in order to improve the State’s economy.
State Government has organized some additional jobs over half of the additional jobs, mostly from the sector of good educational background. The State Arizona has offered more than 42,600 jobs in the earlier year of February 2012.
The unemployment rate of Arizona has fell down to 8.7 percent with 260,443 Arizona unemployed rate since February 2012. The State Unemployment rate was 0.4 percent higher than that of nation’s rate for the month.
Any individual who is considered as unemployed and has been declared as the eligible candidate to claim the unemployment compensation by the state of Washington can receive the unemployment benefit.
As per the report of BLS Current Population Survey (CPS) the rate of unemployment in Washington fell down for 0.2 percentages as of February 2012 to 8.2%. The unemployment rate in Washington is lowered by 2.0 %.
The State Unemployment rate is 0.1 percentage less than that of national rate for the month.
Source of the unemployment Benefit in Washington
By calculating the total wages paid to the employees in the determined base period an employer needs to pay tax as per the laws of unemployment payment.
How Your Tax Rate is Determined?
In general, the employer’s payable tax depends on how much their former workers were paid as salary. To sum up unemployment compensation is based on employee payrolls.
So, how it works?
There are two major components of state of Washington unemployment taxes: 1)How does your benefit ratio compares with other employers’ benefit ratios? 2)Which rate schedule is in effect at present time?
As of this year 2012, the standard Unemployment Tax in Washington is rated as 2.12% and the qualified tax rates is calculated from 0.14% as basic to 5.82%. As per the updated legislation or law of unemployment insurance Washington, the lowest tax rate for an experienced employer as per 2012 is 0.92% and the highest is up to 7.85%.
Calculation procedure of Washington employer’s unemployment insurance tax rate
Generally unemployment taxes are calculated using a formula that would be stated in UI’s State Law. In Washington, the Employment Security Department does not have an independent authority to adjust the rate.
As mentioned above there are two components to determine state unemployment tax. Basic components of the tax rate are the experience of based tax that is based on the amount of unemployment benefits paid to ex-employees. Generally there are about 40 experience rate standards and businesses fluctuate with ups and down these standards are based on their past experiences.
The second component is the tax rate that is also known as social cost tax. This social cost tax covers the unemployment costs that cannot be recovered under specific business. Hence, the social cost tax is shared by all the employers. The social cost tax is said to be the brake to slow the decline of the trust fund. By implementing this, employers are not directly hit by sharper tension of more sudden tax to be increased in the future.
Based on this calculation, in 2012 employers will pay taxes on the first $38,200 of each employee’s wages.
Highest, lowest and average tax rates in Washington
As of 2012, the least rate to pay the tax for the employers in the Washington would be 0.14 percent. Taxable employers in the highest rate of class pay would be of 5.82 percent.
To sum up, the average tax rate payable in the year 2012 would be estimated to be about 2.12 percent. Note there is decline of 13 percent compared to previous year.
Finally, the delinquent employer needs to pay the additional tax of about 2 percent extra.