3 Fatal Errors To Avoid In
Your Search For Federal Jobs
I have been at bat 8 times in my Federal job search. So far I have yet to reach
first base. The applications I submitted included a professionally written
resume. But so far I have received no job offers. My correspondence has been
acknowledged. But I have been told that my application was incomplete.
I don’t know how it could be judged incomplete, because I am using a
professional written resume for which I paid a lot of money and which works
quite well with corporate HR departments.
What’s going on?
Frustrated and confused,
Salt Lake City, UT
Let’s see if we can figure out what the issue may be. It does sound like the
resume you are submitting does not contain some of the elements that are
required on virtually all Federal applications. In all probability you are also
not submitting supplementary material asked for in the Vacancy Announcement.
Here are three do’s you should follow for every Federal job application
you submit. Failing to follow them can be considered a fatal error, because you
will probably not get the job. On the contrary your resume will be dead on
1 Identify the job for which you are applying. This means you must include at
the top of your resume the Vacancy Announcement number, Job Title and Grade
Level for which you are applying. If you omit this information, the Agency
receiving your application will not know which job, of the many jobs it has
open, you are applying for. Do not assume that the human resource person who
sees your application will try to figure that out. Do not assume that the HR
person will attempt to match your qualifications to the available jobs. Be
specific. Identify the job you are seeking.
2 Confirm that you are eligible to apply for the job you are seeking. To do this
include your Social Security number on your resume and identify yourself as a
citizen of the U.S. Most Federal jobs are open only to U.S. citizens. Many
Federal jobs are restricted to a certain class of applicant. The most common is
U.S. citizens. Others include veterans of the Armed Forces, current Federal
employees, displaced Federal employees, employees of the Agency with the job,
applicants who live within commuting distance of the job.
In order to determine your eligibility for the job look for the Area of
Consideration code given in the listing for the position in the FJD. If you are
not a Federal employee now, look for jobs that include the initials AQ, for All
Qualified, in the listing. Your application will probably not be considered, if
you apply for a job you are not eligible for.
3 Respond to all the required application elements listed in the Vacancy
Announcement. A detailed job Vacancy Announcement is issued for every job
opening that appears in the FJD. Most of these are about 1 page in length and so
are too long to publish in the paper. However, you can see the full vacancy
Announcement on the Internet by going to http://www.federaljobsdigest.com. If
you do not have access to the internet go to your local library and use their
computer. (See top of page 3 for access information to the website.) The vacancy
listing always has a section called “How to Apply” and another called
“Qualifications.” You must follow explicitly all the directions in the former
and show that you have the qualification listed in the latter.
Although now less emphasized than in the past many Vacancy Announcements,
especially those for positions at GS-9 and above, includes a questionnaire
section that measures the applicants, knowledge, skills, abilities. Sometimes
this section is called, “Ranking Factors” or “Selective Placement Factors”. In
most cases the sections includes a list of 3 to 10 specific KSA’s (Knowledge,
skills, abilities). For example, “Applicant should have excellent keyboard
skills including the ability to type 30 wpm”. On a separate sheet of paper you
should address each KSA by number. Depending on the level of the job you should
write from 20 to 300 words in support of your command of that KSA.
Some Vacancy Announcements also reference a “Questionnaire” which is another
screening document. You must obtain and complete the Questionnaire in order to
Applications that do not respond to the KSA’s or the Questionnaire may not be
Avoid these 3 fatal errors and your chances of getting a job offer will be very
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. •