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Vacancy Announcements for Federal Jobs Contain Clues for Success

Dear Advisor,

How should I invest my Federal job hunting time? Isn’t quantity is the key to success. The more jobs I apply for the better. The Vacancy Announcements I see on line are long and complex. Do you think I really should wade through them and address every subtle requirement? Isn’t my time better spent sending out a high number of applications?

Hartford CT

Dear Amanda,

Vacancy Announcements help solve the mystery of applying successfully for the job. They contain the clues you need to make a qualified application. That's why you must study the VA carefully. That’s why Federal Jobs Digest posts on-line the full Vacancy Announcement for every job published in the newspaper. You can access it on this site.

When the screen displays, you will see a box at the top of the index to the left where you can enter the Control Number of the job in question. This is the number that appears toward the bottom of the job listing which is published in the newspaper. Here is an example,

GS-1550-05 Computer Scientist
-L: Multiple Location AQ
-Term: Perm
-Sal: $31,315 - $147,857
-Agency: Dept of Air Force
-Contact: 800-525-0102
-Apply: online
-Ctl: 349937900

The control number “-Ctl:” number is in bold above for illustrative purposes, (but not in the published listings). In the window on the website enter 349937900. Be careful to distinguish between the number 0 and the letter o. Hit enter and the full Vacancy Announcement for the job will display in a separate tab and can be printed. To print the Vacancy Announcement, pull down the menu under “File” from the top taskbar on your computer and select “Print”.

In most cases the Federal employer will request online application.

There are a couple of reasons the vacancy announcement may not come up when you type the announcement number into the window. One is that vacancy is closed. Many jobs are listed as “Open” meaning open until an appropriate candidate is found. At that point the announcement is closed and will no longer appear. Another reason is that you are not entering the correct announcement number. Remember that spaces count as characters. If you miss a space, the Vacancy will not appear. To double check you can search for the listing under “Occupation” on the website. In the example above search under Computer Scientist, GS-1550. If the announcement is still open the vacancy should be in the occupation list.

Why It Is Important
“Is it really so important?” The answer is yes, especially if you are looking for a higher level job, say a job above GS-5. It is less important under GS-5. A good rule is that the higher your salary expectations, the more important having the full Vacancy Announcement becomes. Above GS-9 it really is critical.

The Announcement is important for two main reasons: One it contains the detailed instructions for filing your application. Two, it lists the qualifications for the job. regard the latter as clues to a successful resume.

With regard to the detailed instructions for filing your application: The Announcement includes a list of the documents the examiner may wish to see included with your Federal resume. For example, sometimes a transcript of your school record is requested. If you do not include your transcript, your application will receive a lower rating. Other times a special application form may be requested. You will need to obtain this form (from the phone number or web address given) and complete it. Again, not including this form may result in your application receiving a lower rating. These are the kinds of details on filing your application that are listed in the Vacancy Announcement. Having these filing instructions is important.

The Vacancy also lists the duties &qualifications for the job. You should make sure that your resume presents evidence that you have these qualifications and can perform these duties. The best way to do this is to respond point-by-point to the listed qualifications. If you do not know what these qualifications and duties are, you cannot be sure that your resume addresses them. Having the Vacancy Announcement in front of you is the only way to know for sure what these qualifications and duties may be. This may mean changing your resume more than once. That’s work. But by now you are surely aware that looking for a job is work.

The Announcement also gives you definitive instructions on how to apply. The physical address, fax number, email address or on-line form will be provided

Federal Resume
This website contains a Federal Resume builder . You can use it to create a Federal Resume which will be in the proper format.

To submit questions to the Federal Jobs Advisor, write to: Federal Jobs Advisor, Federal Jobs Digest, 1503 Radcliff Court, Newtown Square PA 19073. We regret that not all questions may be answered. •