career tip of the month

Preparing to Apply for a Federal Position

In the past, many federal vacancy announcements often required applicants to write separate KSA narrative statements. A few years ago, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) leadership decided to “do away” with KSAs as part of hiring reform and streamlining the federal application process.

By following the 10 tips below, you can minimize stress during the process and maximize your chances of success:

1. Begin researching jobs at least several months in advance

2. Create a “saved search” in so that it emails you jobs that meet your criteria

3. Identify a specific position or sample position(s)

4. Read the job announcement from top to bottom, closely analyzing the duties and other requirements, such as KSAs or occupational questionnaires

5. Use these sections as a guide to develop a federal resume that shows your most relevant duties and accomplishments in the past 10-15 years

6. Read the “How to Apply” and “Required Documents” sections again, and assemble any needed documents

7. Consider getting help from a mentor or resume-writing professional to ensure your resume is well-written, properly formatted, and effective at showing your qualifications

8. Follow the steps to apply for the job, and try to do so before the actual closing date just in case there is a technical glitch

9. Consider calling the HR representative on the job to get confirmation that your application is received, and is complete

10. Expect the best, and prepare for the interview!


By Lee Kelley

Mr. Kelley is an Iraq war veteran, former Army Captain, and author who now serves as the senior writer on CareerPro Global’s writing team. Leveraging the company’s vast expertise in assisting thousands of SES and federal job seekers, Lee has personally developed hundreds of resumes and more than a thousand ECQs.

He is also the Director of Training and Veteran Transitions, and has provided USAJOBS resume-writing workshops to hundreds of federal employees and military personnel. In addition, Lee co-authored the book, "Roadmap to the Senior Executive Service: How to Find SES Jobs, Determine Your Qualifications, and Develop Your SES Application." His latest book is titled, "Inside Marine One: Four U.S. Presidents, One Proud Marine, and the World’s Most Amazing Helicopter."

Posted in Career Tip of the Month

Tags: Senior Executive Service, SES



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