Vacancy Announcements for Federal
Jobs Contain Clues for Success
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?
San Diego CA
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. The printed listing in the FJD is intended only
to identify the Vacancy in terms of the basics: occupation, salary, location,
hiring Agency. The missing information, job description and qualifications is
contained in the full Vacancy Announcement for the job. It is very important to
have the Announcement before applying. That’s why Federal Jobs Digest posts
on-line the full Vacancy Announcement for every job published in the newspaper.
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
-Sal: $31,315 - $147,857
-Agency: Dept of Air Force
-ANNC # AFPCACQEH-941669
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
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
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
This site contains a
Federal Resume builder
. You can use it to create a Federal Resume which will
be in the proper format.
If You Have No Access to the Internet
Not everyone has access to the internet at home or at work. However, just
about everyone has access to a public library. Every public library these days
offers its patrons access to a computer and the internet. A trip to the local
library for this purpose may be inconvenient, but it is important. Having the
full Vacancy Announcement in front of you can make all the difference in quality
of your application.
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. •