Learn about labor law and mediation. Many future federal mediators pursue a juris doctor degree at a law school. If you follow this path, take as many elective courses as possible in labor law, mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. Not only will these courses look good when you enter the marketplace, they will give you the foundational knowledge you need to be a mediator.
If you do not go to law school, enroll in a mediation degree program. These programs are offered by universities and business schools. No matter where you enroll, read publications on mediation as a supplement to your formal education.
Complete an externship in mediation. Work in a position in which you learn directly about resolving conflicts. While an externship with an actual federal labor mediator would be ideal, working with and observing any mediator who resolves conflicts can teach you a great deal about the trade.
Watch how the mediator applies law and policy to the facts. Also pay close attention to how he treats the people with whom he is speaking. While knowledge is essential in mediation, the parties involved are humans with emotions. If you can make them feel comfortable, you have a good chance of bringing them to an agreement.
Prepare a resume that highlights the education and work background that have prepared you to be a federal mediator. Highlight any relevant honors you have received along the way, such as an alternative dispute resolution award in law school.
The best way to find a job is through someone you know at the FMCS. If you had an excellent externship experience with a federal mediator, see whether there is an opening there. If you did not have an externship there, contact the FMCS to see whether any positions are open. Send or email your resume. You may have to send an academic transcript.
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