Federal Careers

By: Nancy Segal, Solutions for the Workplace

Before you get too excited, take a careful look at the announcement:

• Are you eligible to apply? Review the “who can apply” section of the announcement to make sure you’re eligible. If you do not meet the criteria outlined and apply anyway, you will be eliminated.

• When does it close? Do you have time to tweak your resume (you have a resume, right??) to include the key words?

• Do you meet the specialized experience requirement? Check under the How You Will be Evaluated section and review the specialized experience; this is a must have, not a nice to have.

• Are there any Selective Placement Factors (SPF) listed? If so, do you have them? Are they clearly articulated in your resume? If you do not have the SPF, you should pick a different announcement; if you do, be sure to tweak your resume to clearly show your possession of the SPF.

• Have you checked the occupational questionnaire? Before deciding that it really is your perfect job, look at the occupational questionnaire and review the questions. Can you provide the highest and best answer to every question? Or at least 90%? And are the answers backed up in your resume? Every job announcement includes a link to the occupational questionnaire (sometimes they’re hard to find, so look carefully); review the questionnaire before you decide to apply. Make sure your resume reflects your answers. And, if you cannot provide the highest and best answers to at least 90%+ of the questions, the job may not be as perfect as you had hoped.

• Do you have the required documentation? Are you a vet? If so, do you have a readable copy of your DD214 and SF15 (if applicable) ready to go? If you are using education to qualify OR if the job requires certain education to be eligible (like accountants, contract specialists, and engineers, to name a few), do you have your transcript? Without the required documentation, your application will be eliminated.

• Is your resume already in USAJOBS? If you have already copy and pasted it into the USAJOBS resume builder, you’ll be able to edit the version that’s already in the system.

If the answer to all of the above is yes, and if have been preparing for the perfect job all along, just a few tweaks of your resume to incorporate the key words from this announcement and questionnaire should do it. Just be sure to make the 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) deadline and good luck!

Nancy Segal is a federal career and job search expert. She is also the author of The Complete Guide to Writing a Federal Resume which is available at www.fedweek.com. Following her own senior-level federal HR career, she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC to provide HR management perspective to astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy is also one of our premier management and career development trainers for our online webinars.

If you have any questions for Nancy concerning your federal career or the federal job search process you can email her at fedcareer@fedweek.com.