Ten Steps Certified Federal Resume Writer Instructors

Ten Steps Certified Federal Resume Writer Instructors

The Resume Place, Inc. trains and develops highly successful Certified Federal Resume Writers. One of the RP CFRWs will be working with you through the webinars and the casework. Each case that you write will be carefully analyzed, developed and written for USAJOBS for a specific job announcement or occupational series.

Kathryn K. Troutman President of The Resume Place, Author, Trainer

Kathryn TroutmanKathryn Troutman is a leading expert in federal jobs, a hot topic with the change of administration. She brings over 30 years of experience in this unique marketplace and has the ability to take the complex subject of federal job searching and break it down into understandable steps.

She is the author of the Ten Steps to a Federal Job, now in the third edition. The first Ten Steps book was honored as the Best Career Guide of 2002 by the Publishers Marketing Association.

Troutman wrote the first book on the federal resume format in 1995 in response to the government’s move to replace the cumbersome SF-171 form with the resume. These days, she is known as the “Federal Resume Guru,” and her book, the Federal Resume Guidebook, is a best-seller and in its fifth edition. Over 100 US government agencies hire Troutman to speak as a master trainer each year, and her presentations on writing federal resumes are popular.

Troutman has been interviewed by both national print and electronic media outlets on how to get a job in the federal government. Troutman is also a columnist for eight online federal and military employment websites.

In addition, Troutman is a trainer’s trainer. She has established two certification programs for career counselors on federal job searching. A licensed curriculum, based on her Ten Steps to a Federal Job® curriculum, is taught around the world.

Troutman’s message is that there are many desirable federal jobs, but you must know the right way to apply. Besides federal employment, Troutman also with speaks passionately on “Staying Successful with a Small Business and Women Entrepreneurs.” Troutman’s firm, the Resume Place, has been in business for over 25 years, and she and the company continue to grow and evolve.

John Gagnon

John GagnonJohn Gagnon is an experienced writer, trainer, and consultant with a multidisciplinary background. His federal experience encompassed content management, antitrust issues, immigration, and victim protection. While a federal employee, John received a "Plain Language Award" for his focus on clear, concise writing and delivered expertise in program management, quality assurance, and professional training for federal employees throughout the United States.

Since joining The Resume Place, John has worked with a wide range of clients including candidates for Senior Executive Service, military veterans, federal employees across all occupational series, private sector job applicants, and students. John has also served as an instructor for the Federal Career Training Institute, delivering expert federal career and professional development guidance to academic counselors, wounded warrior programs, and private sector clients. John emphasizes a three-pronged approach – planning, preparation, and plain language – that consistently delivers quality results for clients.

In addition to his professional background, John is an accomplished academic. His research has been published in peer-reviewed academic publications. He is a former member of the Eberhard P. Deutsch International Law Society, the Tulane Human Rights Law Society, and the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs. He is a current member of the National Council of Teachers of English, the Rhetoric Society of America, College Composition and Communication, and the Modern Language Association. John is a current Ph.D. student and Writing Instructor at Michigan State University, holds J.D. and M.S. degrees from Tulane University, and received his B.A. in English from Andrews University with honors. He has also studied international legal and cultural issues at the University of Amsterdam and the International Center for Ethnic Studies in Sri Lanka.

Debbie Hahn

Debbie HahnDebbie Hahn has an extensive background in acquisition, human resources, and organizational performance that is derived from her 37+ years of public service at the Social Security Administration (SSA). She is now a Resume Place career coach and writer who uses her knowledge of the Federal classification, recruitment, and selection process to prepare applications for entry-to senior-level candidates, especially those targeting jobs in the field of Federal Acquisition. Her keen ability to analyze vacancy announcements for specialized experience and KSA requirements make her an excellent coach and writer.

Debbie’s primary focus during her tenure at SSA was acquisition and acquisition workforce initiatives where she performed as a contract specialist, contracting officer, procurement analyst, Executive Officer, and prior to her retirement, Senior Technical Advisor (Contract Specialist) to the Associate Commissioner for Acquisition and Grants. She has served in various leadership capacities throughout her Federal career and received numerous awards for her outstanding accomplishments.

Ms. Hahn developed and effectively led the effort to implement the Agency’s first Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan mandated by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). The plan provided a structured approach to improve both the capacity and capability of the acquisition workforce. For example, as the agency’s Acquisition Career Manager (ACM), she successfully spearheaded a pilot for streamlining vacancy announcements in order accelerate the hiring process to fill mission critical acquisition vacancies in less than 30 days. Additionally, as the ACM, she managed and directed three mandated Federal Acquisition Certification programs for the agency. She was an active member of the Interagency Acquisition Career Management Committee responsible for the development and implementation of interagency plans and programs for advancing the management of the acquisition workforce. Her in depth knowledge of these programs allowed her to successfully facilitate and promote career development and strategic human capital management for the agency’s acquisition workforce.


  • M.S., Organizational Performance, Bellevue University
  • B.S. Management of HR, Bellevue University
  • Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting Level III–Senior Acquisition Expert
  • Resume Place’s Certified Federal Job Search Trainer/Certified Federal Career Coach (CFJST/CFCC)

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Member, National Association of Retired Federal Employees
  • Adjunct Professor at Bellevue University, College of Business
  • Consistory President, St. Mary’s United Church of Christ, Westminster, MD

Fun Facts

  • Debbie organizes an annual Charity Golf Tournament to support several charities including The American Cancer Society, The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Maryland, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The 2015 tournament marks 13 years for this event.
  • Avid gardener, cook, and beach lover.

Recognitions and Awards

  • Top Fundraiser for over 10 years for the North Baltimore County Relay For Life
  • Received numerous Honor Awards from the Social Security Administration throughout her career including the Commissioner’s Citation, Deputy Commissioner Citations and Associate Commission Citations for her work in both the public and private sector.

Rita Chambers

Rita ChambersRita Chambers uses her 20+ years of technical writing expertise from the Information Technology field to coach and write resumes for clients targeting Federal and private sector jobs. With significant hands-on management experience in both the public and private sectors, she can relate personally to many of the writing scenarios presented in vacancy announcements. As a hiring manager in commercial industry and federally-related institutions, Rita has often been on the other side of the hiring process and has a good feel for what managers are looking for in a resume.

She has a wide range of technical expertise from a career that has included programming for NASA, providing systems administration for a wide range of Unix, VMS, and NT/Windows systems, plus significant experience with implementing high end data storage equipment and enterprise software applications. Rita managed a leading edge Computing Center for one of the Department of Energy national physics labs, the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA, directed a Network Operations Center (NOC) for a leading national/international Internet Service Provider, plus provided IT, Information Assurance, Business Process Reengineering (BPR), and program management support for a broad range of Federal clients. Rita also has extensive experience developing acquisition and procurement documentation for major Federal programs. In each of her positions, she produced significant technical documents and proposals, from short and long range plans, to technical and administrative Requests for Proposals, commercially oriented Business Cases with demonstrated Return on Investment (ROI), and scholarly scientific papers written and presented at Computing in Physics conferences.

Specialty Areas:

  • High-level IT
  • Scientific and technical positions
  • Current military and veteran resumes


  • S. Computer Science, Iona College, New Rochelle, NY
  • A. Philosophy and Education, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA

Fun Facts:

  • Before moving into the technical career field, Rita taught public school as well as adult education classes, and has served as an adjunct instructor on a college level for Christopher Newport University, a 4 year college in Newport News, VA. She has had the responsibility for institution-wide training programs and curriculum development in several positions, and has personally delivered courses on both technical and soft skills topics, including resume and interviewing skills.

Carla Waskiewicz

Carla WaskiewiczAn experienced Resume Place writer, Carla Waskiewicz has created Federal application packages for Federal and private sector employees with a wide variety of occupational backgrounds and career interests. She specializes, however, in writing and designing standout resumes, KSAs, and cover letters for entry- to mid-level, administrative, financial, and technical positions. She also writes private sector resumes.

Carla has been a Contributing Writer for a number of Resume Place publications. She wrote the chapter on administrative positions for the Federal Resume Guidebook. Her administrative resumes are among the examples on the CD-ROM for that book. Her presentation format for administrative resumes is very popular, and it is used all over the country. Her resumes appear in two of Ms. Troutman’s latest books, Ten Steps to a Federal Job, 2nd Edition, and Creating Your High School Resume, 2nd Edition. A number of her private sector resumes were selected for inclusion in the 2006 edition of Resumes for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy.

Carla has over 20 years’ professional writing experience in corporate communications, employee recruitment communications, public relations, and advertising. Before joining the Resume Place she served as Director of Corporate Communications for a recruitment advertising agency where she researched, wrote, and supervised production of a human resources newsletter with a circulation of over 6,000.

Carla is recognized by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches as a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and has also earned the professional designation as a Certified Federal Resume Writer and Coach (CFRWC). She earned her B.A. degree in Communications from Penn State University, and she has completed post-graduate work in business management at the University of Baltimore. Active in the community, she assists non-profit organizations with fundraising, public relations, and promotional campaigns.

Dottie Hendricks

Dottie HendricksDottie Hendricks, trained and certified in Federal Human Resources recruitment and selection, has written professionally for more than 30 years. She joined the Resume Place as a full time writer and career consultant in early 2008 and has trained numerous job seekers in writing strategies. She also serves as a professional mentor and has written hundreds of federal and private resumes.

She has a unique ability to translate military skills and knowledge to civilian positions – both government and private industry. She is skilled in working with Veterans and military now transitioning out of the service. A proactive Army client recently engaged us to write his resumes. He received 4 Federal job offers using the resume Dottie wrote. He selected one (at a higher grade than he expected) and was ready to start work in his new job as soon as he separated.

Because of her years in Private Industry, Dottie's resume writing expertise lies in analyzing the top skills of target positions and matching the applicant's accomplishments to demonstrate the qualifications. Information is presented in an easy-to-read outline style, weaving key words and phrases with the client's experience, providing a polished final document that can easily be inserted into numerous Federal online resume format.

Dottie's clients have a high rate of success; applicants who have been referred for interviews and offers include those making the very difficult transition from private industry to federal sector jobs. Her clients consistently praise her writing, her dedication and accommodating style. Her ability to ask relevant questions assists candidates in developing examples for writing KSA narratives in the OPM-recommended Context-Challenge-Actions-Results (CCAR) format.

Her real-world executive experience as a Director of Special Events in large hotels included a wide array of industries, associations, and government agencies and has given Dottie a broad base of knowledge across many fields. Applying her 30 years' experience in high level customer service, training, sales, and marketing in private industry allows her to utilize her keen skill in providing persuasive, and easy to understand writing. Her private industry experience included business plans, budget and forecast justifications, operational and training manuals, customer and industry communications and more.

Dottie is a contributor to Kathryn Troutman's Ten Steps to a Federal Job, 2nd edition, providing case studies of successful applicants.

Pam Sikora

Certified Federal Job Search Trainer & Counselor
Certified Professional Resume Writer & Coach

Pam SikoraPam Sikora is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience and proficiency in technical and non-technical fields, including government, finance, education, and online information systems. She has written corporate capabilities statements, web content, marketing materials, instruction manuals, reports, and proposals. Her work has been published in the Delaware Business Journal, Delaware Messenger, and Overture magazine, among others, and she has copy-edited Kathryn Troutman's books, The New SES Application and Ten Steps to a Federal Job, 3rd edition.

Pam's greatest asset is her ability to grasp the big picture without compromising attention to detail. She views resume writing as solving a puzzle: gathering "pieces” from the client and from additional research, then assembling them meticulously into a persuasive document that presents a clear picture and delivers results. In prior positions, she combed clients' web articles for keywords to optimize search results; ensured that sensitive financial documents were absolutely correct; and tested websites for accuracy in both content and functionality. For all of these tasks, the goal was to promote the client to the target audience – the same goal as that of resume writing.

Pam received a B.A. in English, with a concentration in Business and Technical Writing, from the University of Delaware. In addition to her work with The Resume Place, Pam provides consulting and training as a Community Coach for MOPS International.

Ten Steps Federal Job

Certified Federal Resume Writer