Vague federal government job announcements

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Erin Manor 7 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #115386

    Ryan Greenfield
    Participant
    As someone who is completing his final year of graduate school and is beginning to apply to a lot of both internships and full-time jobs in federal government, I’m coming across a lot of announcements that have very little information about the position and say something like “To apply: send resume to [email protected].” Sometimes xyz is an actual person person, sometimes just job-announcement# or [email protected].”
    Of course, this begs the question, does this direction imply that you should also send a cover letter? On one hand, sending a cover letter probably can’t hurt you. On the other, you want to follow the directions on the announcement. And finally, if you don’t really know what you’re applying for because they don’t provide that information (except boilerplate about the particular agency), it may be that there are multiple positions available and they just want resumes to see where you’d be a good fit, if anywhere. This doesn’t preclude writing a cover letter emphasizing my skills and experience, but it’s difficult to tailor my cover letter to highlight how I’m an ideal candidate for something when I don’t really know anything about the job. Another option I’ve heard from some people is to just write an abbreviated paragraph or 2 cover letter in the email with your resume attached.
    If anyone has insight on the hiring or applying side of this question, it would be greatly appreciated!
  • #115394

    Erin Manor
    Participant

    In my opinion, those types of jobs are very vague and you are applying for multiple positions. Those are hard to get since they are very vague and may not be a real vacancy. They may be just stockpiling resumes for an opening that they will have in the future. My suggestion is to apply to vacancies that are open for more than one week and are for a specific position. At least take the most time with those types of positions. The others can be applied for but don’t put too much of your energy in those vacancies. You want the biggest bang for your buck so to speak. Best of luck in your job search!

  • #115392

    Glenn R Moore
    Participant

    Cover letters, unless specifically requested by the job announcement are most often discarded by an HR Specialist as superfluous documents. It’s important to follow the document (and other stated) requirements found in the actual job announcement, for *-each-* position for which you are applying.

    It’s also equally important to make note of the key words and ensure that your experience matches these key words. It’s also best not to use synonyms for these key words. The selecting official (hiring manager, not in the HR office) often will not provide alternate words and the automated reviewed of your resume will not identify you as being qualified. An example: a position states “SQL Server DBA experience” – if you have Oracle DBA experience, the automated review will likely not identify you as being qualified for this specific job and you probably would not be referred for further consideration. This is in spite of the similarities between Oracle and SQL Server database administration.

    Good luck on your government job search and stay vigilant! Many are now applying for government positions so the competition is much steeper than in past years.

  • #115390

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    Badly or vaguely (which is the same as badly, I guess) written job ads likely account for a large share of all time wasted needlessly by managers and HR. When vague enough, job posters can be like newspaper astrology predictions in which everyone can see themselves in just about any prediction. And it still takes time to read through an application and see that the applicant is miles away from being appropriately qualified, or even aware of what the job actually is. Save yourself some time, and save the folks in HR some time while you’re at it.

    It doesn’t hurt to pop a preliminary note to the e-mail address and request a little more clarity. If, upon thorough rereading, the ad does not make clear whether it is for one or multiple positions, it is an entirely reasonable thing to request such clarification. Same goes for things like the location or contract type. So asking whether the ad is for a position only within such-and-such a locale, or for positions in that agency more broadly, a fixed-term contract or a permanent position. Etc., etc. Know what you’re applying to and if the situation calls for a covering letter, you can write a better one if it is tuned to the actual position/s they are trying to fill.

  • #115388

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    I’d also generally try to harass the people on the opening if you can – if can find their email/phone number

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