As a Certified Federal Resume Writer (CFRW) (see http://www.robinresumes.com), I have helped hundreds through the process of applying for Federal jobs (including writing KSAs and Resumes). Over the last 8 years, I have found, as the Federal government has tried to automate processes the system has gotten even more difficult than in the past.
PAST SITUATION: When I first started writing packages for Federal folks 8 years, I could write a nicely formatted Word document (an OF-612 equivalent) and answer some basic KSAs (generally a maximum of 5 per announcement) which would, for many cases, be reusable for many announcements for similar jobs in several different agencies. For Senior Executive Service (SES) applicants, I could prepare Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) statements in advance, secure in the fact they would be useable when the announcement they wanted to apply for would be posted.
CURRENT SITUATION: Now, it is much more difficult. With the advent of online systems, the once fairly simple process of applying for jobs (with only the military with Army / Navy and sometimes Air Force Resumix) online systems, and most applications paper-based (allowing for applicants to use formats including all the information in an OF-612 form), has exploded into an extremely complex array of many different online systems, each with their own requirements for information and character counts. Resumes cannot be easily reused and must be reformatted for differences among systems. In addition, for paper-based resumes, agencies are now writing their own specifications, including different length and informational requirements.
With the advent of the online systems, the process has turned even more unwieldy for KSAs and applying. Whereas once all questions an applicant needed to answer were in the announcement itself, they now may only become evident to an applicant if they click on a link in the announcement, or even worse, once they begin the application. In addition, where at one time an applicant only needed to answer 5 KSAs, many applications have more than 10 KSAs to respond to. Instead of streamlining the process to apply for jobs, I believe the online systems have further added to an applicant’s burden to obtain a Federal job.
ECQs are even worse. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) last year decided to “test” using different procedures to apply for SES positions. This led to agencies using ECQ “elements” which include different competencies than ECQs. Some agencies also adopted adding the ECQs to the resume itself. In addition, other agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) adopted Dimension statements, rather than ECQs to evaluate personnel for SES positions. SES candidates can no longer prepare their ECQ statements in advance.
CORPORATE VERSUS FEDERAL RESUMES: To complicate matters more, applicants who apply to both Federal and non-Federal positions need to prepare separate resume packages for their Federal and non-Federal applications. Some of the differences in the application process are outlined below:
Formats: Federal resumes have specific formats which differ depending on the announcement. These include specific information, order, character counts, page length requirements and fields. Many of these are online formats, which can be confusing, complicated, time consuming and difficult to comply with, due to space limitations and the number of fields which must be filled in.
Required information: Federal resumes require specific information such as social security numbers; job start and end month and sometimes day; employer addresses; salary information; supervisor names and phone numbers; college GPA and graduation dates; high school education; all training, including course name, date and number of hours; and other information typically not included in corporate resumes. If this information is not included, an application may be rejected.
Length: Federal resumes (3-15 pages) are typically much longer than corporate resumes (1-2 pages in general). They require detailed descriptions of duties: repeated for each job you did them in. They also must specifically spell out how the client meets all requirements and has done most of the duties for the job they are applying for or the application will be rejected. Like corporate resumes, Federal resumes must detail accomplishments.
Additional documentation: Many Federal announcements require additional essay questions. These questions are 1-2 page statements specifying specific examples from an applicant’s experience related to the job announcement. There may be several of these statements per application. Federal resume applications will often ask applicants to send, fax or upload additional information, including transcripts, evaluations, personnel information forms, demographic information forms and military service forms.
Additional questions: Many Federal announcements have additional multiple choice questions for applicants to apply for jobs. If an applicant cannot answer in the affirmative to most of the questions with experience, it is not likely for an applicant to be selected for the job.
Who can apply: Many Federal announcements can only be applied for if a person has the right status: such as a current Federal employee or a Veteran. Most Federal announcements require an applicant to be a United States citizen
How to apply: Federal resumes specify in their announcements how to apply for each job: and an applicant must follow the directions exactly. If an applicant does not apply by the required closing date, the application will generally be rejected.
Must meet all requirements: If an applicant does not meet all requirements the announcement states is required for a job, by LAW the applicant will not get the position.
Veterans Preference: If an applicant is a Veteran, an applicant may get preference (5 or 10 points) depending on an applicant’s service and disability status. In additional disabled Veterans may get additional consideration based on their status.
Selection: Typically applications are scored based on the submission, if you meet the requirements. After adding Veteran’s points, applicants are deemed Best Qualified, Highly Qualified, Qualified or Not Qualified. Typically, the top 3 applicants are forwarded to the hiring manager – who can choose one of the 3 by interviewing or not interviewing the candidates.
Robin Schlinger, CARW, CFRW, CPRW
“Adding Value to Your Resume Presentation”
Phone number: 1-404-875-2688