Breaking into government contracting world

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Comments (5)

Muggins88 in Littleton, Colorado

26 months ago

Hi All,

I have been working in the engineering/construction industry for about 6 years and am looking to move to an industry that doesn't require constant relocation and travel to job sites. In the past 6 months I have been heavily targeting the government contracting world (aerospace, defense, etc.) with little to no luck. My experience is in planning, scheduling and cost control which I believe would transfer well but I can't seem to get any phone calls. I have applied to just about every company I can think of including Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrop, Ball, Sierra Nevada Corp, General Dynamics, SAIC... you name it.

Any suggestions for someone trying to break into one of these companies from another industry? I have no security clearance but don't think getting one would be an issue. Am I pretty much kidding myself at this point? Because it feels like it...

Thanks for the help!

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seasonederprof in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

Hello, Muggins88.

I, too, began a diligent search for a career move into the defense contracting industry and, luckily, have gotten some great feedback from potential employers. I'm in a different field than you are, so I'll share with you what I finally did to strengthen my candidate profile:

1. Study the job posting and if there are similar postings, compare them to the one you're applying to.

2. Revise your resume so that it showcases your competence in the same areas listed in the job posting.

3. Compose a cover letter that compels the reader to look further into your background by providing concrete examples of how you add value to the organization. In your case, you might consider describing a couple of your accomplishments in cost control that demonstrate tangible results.

4. Create a text-only format of your resume and cover letter to upload or paste into the online application.

These are things I did differently than I had before in my job search. Before, I simply relied on my "as-is" resume as enough of a testament that I was qualified for the position.

Good luck to you.

Muggins88 in Littleton, Colorado said:

Any suggestions for someone trying to break into one of these companies from another industry? I have no security clearance but don't think getting one would be an issue. Am I pretty much kidding myself at this point? Because it feels like it...

Thanks for the help!

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muggins88 in Walnut Creek, California

26 months ago

seasonederprof in Des Moines, Iowa said: Hello, Muggins88.

I, too, began a diligent search for a career move into the defense contracting industry and, luckily, have gotten some great feedback from potential employers. I'm in a different field than you are, so I'll share with you what I finally did to strengthen my candidate profile:

Thanks for the post seasonederprof. I have started to really tailor my resume to have buzz words based on postings so ot sounds like I am headed in the right direction. My cover letter could probably use some work. It is just good to hear from someone that made the industry switch. Did you get hired on at lockheed? How long were you applying and what field are you in?

Thanks again!

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seasonederprof in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

No, I don't work for Lockheed but I'm looking forward an interview. So, hopefully, that will change. I only recently redirected my focus to the defense contracting industry -- about a month ago. I haven't really been looking for employment seriously until recently -- about six weeks ago. I'm in administration-type areas.

muggins88 in Walnut Creek, California said: Thanks for the post seasonederprof. I have started to really tailor my resume to have buzz words based on postings so ot sounds like I am headed in the right direction. My cover letter could probably use some work. It is just good to hear from someone that made the industry switch. Did you get hired on at lockheed? How long were you applying and what field are you in?

Thanks again!

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screenname1 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

The larger companies that you have listed don't typically do the construction/engineering work-- they just win, manage, and subcontract the work. Recommend you look at the smaller companies for potentially more opportunities. It's these smaller companies that do the actual work.

If you really want to get into that field in general, you should take the time to learn about government contracting-- you're always more valuable to these type of companies when you know/have experience with the governments solicilation process, the proposal process, etc.

Check out this site... fedbizopps. look for constuct/eng solicitations. for a lot of them you will see "interested vendors list"- this might help you ID some companies to apply to.

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