3 Fatal Errors To Avoid In Your Search For Federal Jobs

Dear Advisor

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,
Portland ME

Dear Frustrated,

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 arrival.

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. 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. You can see the full vacancy Announcement on this website. If you do not have access to the internet go to your local library and use their computer. .) 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 be considered.

Applications that do not respond to the KSA’s or the Questionnaire may not be considered.

Avoid these 3 fatal errors and your chances of getting a job offer will be very much alive.

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. •