Deputy Inspector General for Investigations at the U.S. Department of EnergyJohn Hartmangave the keynote address for the Kutztown University Criminal Justice Department’s Career Development Day.
The 1987 KU alum returned to campus on March 27. Hartman has been working as a special federal agent since 1989.
In his current position, Hartman directs a federal workforce of special agents who conduct investigations of contract and grant fraud, environmental violations, computer crimes and issues that reflect on the integrity and credibility of Department officials.
Although Hartman was speaking to an audience of Criminal Justice majors, the advice he gave them is exigent for all college graduates entering the workforce and students on the verge of graduation.
“In 1987, the starting salary for a federal agent was $16,000,” Hartman said. “Today, the salary for the same position is $38,000. However, some things never change. College students have the same qualities today that they did 30 years ago – a sense of curiosity, wonderment and a strong work ethic. These attributes are integral to your future career and can shape the path you take in life.”
Hartman also shared with students a list of 10 principles he developed to help them obtain employment and succeed in their chosen careers:
1. Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills.
2. Identify your passion and determine what’s important to you in life.
3. Prepare for the interview and research your future place of employment.
4. Understand the transition from student life to work life, including the adjustment in hours and the loss of flexibility and freedom. Remember, you’re accountable to yourself and, now, to others.
5. Work hard at being a good worker. Demonstrate enthusiasm and energy. Be a team player.
6. Find a mentor – someone who will give you critical feedback.
7. Understand generational differences.
8. Respect and understand the authority that you possess. Remember that you have the ability to affect people’s lives on a daily basis.
9. Save your money and start saving early.
10. Remember that you control your own destiny.
The event exposed students to professionals employed in diverse branches of criminal justice, including federal law enforcement, corrections, private and nonprofit agencies and security and asset protection. Most importantly, Hartman and other panelists instilled a sense of optimism and confidence in the audience.
“You should leave this room today with hope,” Hartman said. “Your degree from Kutztown will give you everything you need to succeed, as long as you put in the necessary hard work.”