- Most applicants skim through these – or ignore them altogether – because they are crunched for time, or simply don’t have the desire to read the entirety of a federal job announcement.
But ignoring the instructions and notices on a federal job announcement is the most sure-fire way to guarantee that your application will not be considered. The job seeker who takes the time to read the helpful instructions and notices enjoys a “leg up” in ensuring that their application packages meet the specific requirements set by Human Resources.
Human Resources Specialists are very particular about the applications they oversee.
- With an average of 1,000 applicants for every generalist position, Human Resources Specialists need to weed out the competition; they do this by providing a number of very specific instructions. If the instructions are not followed, the application is either “scored-down” or simply rated ineligible. If the instructions are followed, the application is reviewed, scored, and–barring any disqualifiers–rated eligible.
One of the most important lessons you can apply when considering a federal job is: read the entire announcement and follow the directions.
This sounds like common sense advice, yet everyday otherwise qualified federal job seekers see their applications excluded from consideration, because they did not take the time to read the announcement and follow its specific instructions.Here are some of my favorite notices, with comments:
The Questionnaire Crosscheck
“NOTE: Your resume and supporting documentation will be verified. Your ratings in this Occupational Questionnaire are subject to evaluation and verification based on the documents and references you submit. Later steps in the selection process are specifically designed to verify your ratings. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you or for dismissing you from the position/agency.”
Kathryn’s comment: The HR person here is saying that your resume will be compared to your answers in the questionnaire. And if you inflated your questionnaire answers and your resume does not verify your level of skills, they have the authority to throw out your application.
KSAs in the Resume
“NOTE: Your application and resume should demonstrate that you possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). Do not provide a separate narrative written statement. Rather, you must describe in your application how your past work experience demonstrates that you possess the KSAs identified below. Cite specific examples of employment or experience contained in your resume and describe how this experience has prepared you to successfully perform the duties of this position. DO NOT write “see resume” in your application!”
Kathryn’s comment: Your resume should include the KSAs. You should not write KSA narratives separately. And the examples demonstrating the KSAs should be within the resume.
“Within their resume applicants must explain how they have gained the Specialized Experience required for this position. Applicants applying at the GS-09 level must have 24 months experience, education, or training in budget methods and operating procedures”
Kathryn’s comment: Your resume must explain how you gained the specialized experience. You must show that you have 24 months of budget experience and the details written in this paragraph. This MUST be in your resume!
Word to the Wise
- There are, of course, a range of notices including everything from application instructions to warnings about false statements. Notices in an announcement are helpful to you, the applicant, because they serve as a roadmap for a successfully submitted application. Most important notices are in bold type, ALL CAPS, red type, or italics. Anytime you see words or phrases in one of these different font settings, take heed! It is imperative that you review these to determine if your application is falling short.
These are just a few examples of the many specific instructions and notices that you will find in federal job announcements. Read them carefully! And then follow them exactly. Doing so can make all the difference in your federal job search.