Fort Belvoir, VA –
You can be smart about researching an organization and do a great job of matching your qualifications to the Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA)—but still make fundamental mistakes in “soft skills” somewhere else along the process that don’t put you in the best light. Below are five examples of mistakes to avoid when applying to DCAA.
- Exaggerating (or worse, outright lying) on your resume or application to make your credentials sound more impressive. The truth will come out in your interview, during your background investigation—or on the job, if you get hired. In any of those cases, you don’t want to damage your credibility or trustworthiness. Read more about ensuring you correctly craft your federal resume here.
- Being late for an interview. You might be forgiven for wildly awful traffic, but it’s better to leave early to give yourself a buffer. Being on time shows you have respect for others’ time, and respect is one of DCAA’s core values. Promptness is equally important for a virtual interview. If there is a true emergency, call as soon as possible to inform your interviewers.
- Not dressing appropriately. Business professional rather than business casual is still the standard for a DCAA interview. DCAA employees may need to meet with contractors or officials, and need to represent the Agency well in all cases. Not dressing for success in the interview may demonstrate to the interview panel that you don’t respect the position or take the work seriously.
- Asking no questions – or the wrong questions. In any communication with your recruiter, not posing any questions <link to Smart Questions article> may signal that you’re uninterested in the job, or that you lack the curiosity and proactiveness that is very important for a DCAA career. As you prepare for an interview, make note of a few areas where you’d like more information or clarification. During the interview, jot down topics or comments that caught your interest, and follow up on them. Are there wrong questions? Most questions are good, but avoid focusing on information that you could readily find online. Also, don’t only ask questions about benefits or salary—ask those that reflect your interest in the organization and how you can bring value to it.
- Not showing confidence. In your resume, emails, interviews, or informational calls, confidence is key. DCAA wants to see that you have confidence in yourself and in the position you may have, even though there is a lot to learn to master the unique work! For any interview, have good posture (or stay on camera, if virtual), make eye contact, and share your thoughts and experiences. Relate your qualifications to the JOA, touch upon any activities or experiences that may benefit the position (even if not from a related field), and show us what you’re capable of. Showing your confidence and passion is a great way to stand out.