What is the limit of how many
applications for Federal Jobs I can send in?
What is the best use of my Federal job search time: quality or quantity? I see
the job listings on the site are long and complex. Most are multiple pages. What
is to be gained by wading through all that boiler plate. Maybe my application
could be a bit more on target, if I read all that stuff. On the other hand is
not my Federal job hunting time better spent filling out more application forms?
The more applications I file the better my chances of receiving a good offer. So
which is to be preferred more precise applications or more numerous
applications? And, finally is there a limit to how many applications I can make?
There is no limit to the number of applications for Federal employment you can
file. Now letís examine the more important question, what is the best use of
your time? You didnít say what level of job you are seeking. This can have an
important bearing on your question. Generally the higher the salary, the more
precise the application needs to be. Your chances of landing a high-level job
without a resume that is right on-target are slim.
Two reasons explain this. One has to do with the number of competitors for a
given opening and the other with the nature of higher versus lower level jobs
While there is no strict rule that says high salary jobs attract more
applications than lower paying jobs, that is usually the case. To beat the
competition for high level jobs your resume must address the exact requirements
of the job better than the next person does. On the other hand in the lower
grade levels, in certain occupations and locations, the supply of candidates is
low. These jobs sometimes face a shortage of applicants.
GS-7 and Below
When and where these candidate shortages develop is difficult to predict.
The candidate supply varies greatly by occupation, location and season. However,
as a rule shortages at GS-7 and below are more common than at GS-9 and above. At
GS-9 and above the pool of candidates includes both new comers to Federal
service and those seeking promotion.
At GS-7 and below you should put together a good, sound resume and then spend
your time using it to file for as many vacancies as you can. Try to file 4 or 5
applications a week until you get an offer. You will be trying to hit the right
set of circumstance: a job that fits your interests and skills, in a suitable
location that will come open when you need it, and for which there is an
immediate, not an ďanticipatedĒ opening.
Development vs Advanced Positions
Almost all jobs at GS-7 (or in the blue collar area at the apprentice level)
and below are developmental positions. You are hired for your potential as well
as your skills. Consequently you are expected to file a resume that presents
your skills and a good work or educational background.
As you gain work experience you are expected to move from a more generalize set
of skills to more specific, that is, to skills more targeted to a given job.
Thatís why for a high level position you need to study the vacancy announcement
carefully and show that you have the targeted skills required.
The higher the level of the job, the more likely the job will have unique
qualifications. Lower level jobs have more general qualifications. In either
case you need to study the vacancy announcement sufficiently to know what the
qualifications are for the kind of job you want. In the case of the lower level
job you can assume that many jobs will have similar qualifications. Do a good
job of responding to those qualifications and you will have a resume that can
serve for many openings.
In the case of a high level job you will need to study the announcement to
identify the unique qualifications for that particular job and respond to them.
The next vacancy announcement in the same occupation may have very different
unique qualifications. Thatís why each resume for upper level jobs has to be
tailored to the job. If you do not do that and your competitor does, who do you
think will get the offer?
Another way to look at the difference between upper and lower level jobs is to
consider the degree of specilization. For the most part, the higher the level,
the more specialized the job. You need to show on your resume for these higher
level jobs that you have identified and mastered the specializations in
question. These specializations vary from opening to opening. That's why you
need to focus accurately on each vacancy. Lower level jobs are more general. And
so vacancies tend to be more similar.
A section of all vacancy announcements, for higher or lower level jobs, that
you can not afford to overlook is the section that presents the filing
instructions. This section 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 (they can
In addition to including your qualifications, you need to make sure that
your resume contains the required information. This site contains a
You can use it to create a Federal Resume that will cover all of the bases.
A Job In Itself
No question looking for a job is a job. Given its importance, job-hunting is
a job that must be done and done well. When it is, you will be rewarded with a
good-paying, secure position. So for the lower paying positions, go with volume.
For the higher paying, go with in-depth quality and as much volume as you can
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. ē