Federal Application Tips|
For more than fifty years, the U.S. Government required applicants to submit a Standard Form 171, Application for Federal Employment. In 1995, however, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) adopted new guidelines and issued the new Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF-612). As a result, vacancy announcements issued today by the DOS carry this statement:
"You may apply for advertised vacancies with a resume, the Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF-612), or any other written format you choose."
In practical terms this means that you may continue to submit a SF-171, an OF-612 or a Federal resume.
The purpose of all three options is the same:
In its publication, Applying for a Federal Job (OF-510), the United States Office of Personnel Management States that You may apply for advertised vacancies with a resume, the Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF-612), or any other written format you choose. If you choose to prepare and submit a resume, you should be aware that while you may design your own format, you must include certain information so that your qualifications may be evaluated to determine if you meet legal requirements for Federal employment. If your resume does not provide all the information requested, you may lose consideration for the job.
The need to provide all of the detailed information that OPM requires means that your Federal Resume may be longer than a typical private-sector resume. If you wish to apply for non-government jobs, youll need to develop a different resume to meet that need.
Use the freedom you have been given to create a format that allows the reader easy access to all your strengths. Add as many experience blocks as you need to describe the work experience you have that is pertinent to the job your are applying for.
A resume is not a biography. Be selective, not exhaustive. Focus on experience that is related to the job you are applying for.
Arrange the descriptions of your accomplishments in a way that will focus the reader on how well you match the vacancy requirements.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, here is what your Federal resume MUST contain (in addition to specific information requested in the job vacancy announcement):
Name, city and State (ZIP code if known)
Date of Diploma or GED
Name, city and State (ZIP if known)
Types and year of any degrees received
(If no degree, show total credits earned and indicate whether semester or quarter hours.)
Job title (include series and grade if Federal job.)
Optional Application Form for Federal Employment, OF-612
When the Office of Personnel Management announced in January, 1995 that the Standard Form 171- Application for Employment was no longer the sole federal application form, federal job seekers gained an opportunity to present information about their experience in new formats. One of these is OF- 1612, Optional Application for Federal Employment.
The General Information provided by OPM concerning OF-612 states in part:
You may apply for most Federal Jobs with a resume, the ... Optional Application for Federal Employment or other written format . If your resume or application does not provide all the information requested on this form and in the job vacancy announcement, you may lose consideration for a job. Type or print clearly in dark ink. Help speed the selection process by keeping your application brief and sending only the requested information. If essential to attach additional pages, include your name and Social Security Number on each page.
Strategies for Writing a Qualifying Federal Application Package
You may apply for federal jobs with a SF-171, an OF-612, or a Federal Resume.
First, READ the entire vacancy announcement carefully to make sure your experience and/or education meets the basic qualification requirements and selection factors. This will be spelled out in terms of quantity (number of years) as well as quality (type) of experience.
Next, WRITE a response that addresses both these requirements explaining how you meet the criteria. Qualifying experience can either be paid or unpaid (i.e., volunteer).
Then, WRITE a response to all ranking factors ensuring that each is addressed completely, worded properly and easily understood. Include training that relates to each ranking factor.
DO NOT use abbreviations or acronyms. Spell the name in its entirety and then use abbreviation in parentheses. Example: Department of State (DOS).
Use the 3 Cs of good writing when writing your experience blocks.
CLEAR - is easily understood and free from confusion.
DO NOT ADD attachments to your application unless they are specifically requested. You may refer to letters of commendation and quote from them where appropriate.
DESCRIBE general experiences gained more than 10 years ago if pertinent. Do not include any experience older than 10 years that does not pertain to the position for which you are applying.
Experience Block Format
Start with a brief narrative that explains the scope of your responsibilities. Next, cite your award(s) earned during this time period and explain what you accomplished to earn the award(s).
The body of your experience blocks should be a series of bullet entries which are concrete examples of your duties and accomplishments. Start with one or more action verbs and describe your most important accomplishments. It is important to give evidence of your skill and knowledge.
Near the end of each experience block provide a skill summary, that highlights your special skills, a list of your awards, and training you completed during this time period.
Six Steps to Strong Accomplishment Statements
The following steps will help you to develop your action statements that give evidence of your accomplishments. Select skills necessary for the position you are applying.
Provide secretarial support, write letters, memos, reports as needed.
Chaotic and inadequate log book; documents that are needed are difficult to identify and retrieve.
Write letter and memoranda
Organize and create files
For three years wrote letters and memoranda for office directors signature.
Set up new files for Eastern European reports.
Independently researched and drafted letters daily in response to Congressional inquires, requests for information from companies and the public, and Red Borders for the Seventh Floor principals.
From log books, created a new filing system and data base of documents that staff members could use to file and retrieve timely documents.
Wrote 20-25 responses to Congressional inquires per week during a 6-month period; wrote 25-30 responses to public inquires per month; wrote 3-6 Red Borders per week during crises, ensuring that all were grammatically correct and in compliance with correspondence regulations. Created a 450-item data base with summaries.
Productivity, morale, customer service, problem solving, money saved, etc.
Handled the correspondence previously done by two secretaries, and reduced turnaround time significantly. Received cash award for outstanding performance.
Ten-member staff and five Foreign Service Officers commented that the new system is much more efficient and user-friendly. Received Cash Award for Creating a new Standard Operating Procedure.
Describing Your Accomplishments
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