Aaanndd we’re back. Previously, we looked at the administrative details of the USAJOBS announcement, including the salary and location. This time, we will get to the meat-and-potatoes (you have my word that I will never use terms that my grandparents did again) of the announcement and – next to the salary – the part that most jump right to anyway, the Job Summary, Duties, and the Specialized Experience. I will stress here again that it is very important to read the entire announcement, then decide whether or you want to apply. And again – and yes, this will sound insane after what I  just said – if you see a job that interests you, APPLY. Notice I didn’t say fully qualified for, I said one that interests you. As long as you are not putting all of your eggs in one basket (dammit, I did it again) and banking on that one job, give it a shot. You will see why later in the article.

Anyone who has been in the military or intelligence communities, worked in journalism, or just hates when people drone on is a fan of the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) or BLOT (Bottom Line On Top). USA JOBS is no different. Just under the details we discussed in the last article is a brief summary of the position being announced, and usually starts with the words “Serves as a blah, blah, blah” and goes on to give a broad description of the position, grade level and duties. Rounding out the description is a one line sentence outlining the location of the position. Directly below position description is a list, usually in bullet post form, of more specific duties that the selectee may be required to perform in the execution of the position. What’s important to note here is that these duties may vary despite the position title. For instance, while a GG-2210 Information Technology Specialist (Systems Administration) title gives the applicant a pretty good idea (if broad) of what their duties might entail, a GG-0132 Intelligence Specialist is not as easy to guess. Depending on what command/unit you end up working for and the grade you are hired for, you could be doing anything from analyzing open source reporting on emerging technologies to running and supervising SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) collection at a grade 15 level.

But as important as the salary, location, job summary and duties are, no one section is more important (for the hiring process) than the specialized experience. Specialized experience. Say it with me…SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE. Yeah, I sound like a Suze Orman pep talk, but the point is that this one paragraph can and will be the difference between you getting your resume in front of the hiring manager and getting that dreaded “thanks, but no thanks” email. So if you pay attention to nothing else, please pay attention to this. I am going to jump ahead a bit in the process here and drop a little secret. When a recruitment specialist (i.e. me) gets a resume (and all of the transcripts, DD214, and everything else) in front of them there are two things that they are going to look at are the Area of Consideration (the geographic location or other prerequisite such as unit within the hiring area) and the work history. For the AOC, this can be as broad as the announcement being open to all US citizens, to veterans only, to as restricted as only those employees of a certain unit or office. Other than all US citizens, if an applicant does not meet the criteria of the AOC, they are automatically rated as ineligible.

If you make it past the AOC, your last important hurdle is the specialized experience (do I need to make the class repeat after me again?) Before you even get to the details (I did NOT say nitty-gritty, so hush) of what’s required, there is a statement that reads:

“In order to qualify for this position, your resume must provide sufficient experience and/or education, knowledge, skills, and abilities, to perform the duties of the specific position for which you are being considered. Your resume is the key means we have for evaluating your skills, knowledge, and abilities, as they relate to this position. Therefore, we encourage you to be clear and specific when describing your experience.

Your resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GG-13 grade level or pay band in the Federal service or equivalent experience in the private or public sector performing the following duties:”