Finding and applying for federal government jobs is easy once you learn the process. Outlined below are the 3 steps which applicants must follow when locating and applying for positions in the Federal Government.
Step 1 – Locating Job Announcements
While many private sector companies routinely collect resumes without a specific position in mind, the process works quite differently in the federal government. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which oversees the vast majority of the government’s hiring will not consider a resume it receives even if it is a perfect match for a job unless the applicant submits the resume in response to an Announcement. In order to assist job seekers in finding announcements the OPM has established USAJobs.gov a central database of announcements from Federal Agencies which potential employees can search through by many factors including location, agency or skill. In fact, each of the individual categories also lists the number of announcements, making it easy to see which areas and agencies are expanding.
When talking about your prior experience and accomplishments, it is important to be as specific as possible. Mention dates whenever possible so that the hiring manager gets a clear picture of how your job responsibilities have grown and changed over time.
Instead of saying “I worked as an administrative assistant for the agency, then as a front line manager” say “From 1/1999 to 6/2000 I worked as an administrative assistant and in 6/2000 I was promoted to assistant manager.” Showing direction and advancement in your career is a great way to communicate your capable and qualified to move up.
It’s important to strike a delicate balance when using industry specific terms and acronyms. The initial review of your resume will likely be performed by someone in human resources who might not be an expert in your field. You should ensure that they are able to determine you have the necessary skills for a position when comparing your resume with the vacancy announcement. For example, if the vacancy announcement specified the need for database knowledge and your resume included experience with Microsoft SQL, the reviewer might be unaware Microsoft SQL is a database and discards your application. At the same time it’s extremely important that you still include the details necessary to convey the extent of your knowledge to technical reviewers.
Resist the urge to send a thick packet filled with commendations, awards, training certificates and the like. Sending too much information simply makes the hiring manager’s job harder, and will not work to your advantage. What’s worse, the addition of documents not requested might give the impression you cannot follow directions.