If your career planning involves exploring civil service jobs, you will need to understand and interpret job announcements in order to find opportunities for the career path you're seeking.
What are job announcements?
When government agencies need to fill positions, they publish job announcements or examination announcements. Such an announcement lists nearly all you need to know about the job, including work requirements, salary, duties, and location. It also tells you when and where to file for the exam, which application forms you must complete, and where you can find the forms.
Most job announcements also provide a deadline for filing your application. No application mailed past the deadline date is considered. If the top of the first page of the announcement says "No Closing Date," this means that no deadline has been set and that applications are accepted until all open positions are filled.
Finding career information in the job announcement
Study the job announcement carefully. It will answer many of your questions and help you decide whether you want the position and are qualified for it. The precise duties of the position are outlined in detail, usually under the heading "Description of Work." Before you apply, make sure that your experience, ability, and job training match the range of duties listed, and that you meet all the educational, experience, and special requirements.
Career planning may include preparing for a test
The job announcement also describes the type of test, if any, you will need to take to be considered for the position — so pay close attention to this section of the announcement. It tells you what areas are covered in the written test and lists the specific subjects on which questions will be asked. Sometimes an announcement will also provide sample questions or describe the method of rating the exam. This is invaluable information when you're preparing to take the exam. In some cases, you will not be required to take an exam; instead, you'll be considered based on your education, experience, and achievements.
How to find civil service jobs
The easiest way by far to find information about government job openings and career options throughout the United States is to go online at www.usajobs.gov. This official job Web site of the U.S. federal government lists thousands of job vacancies for federal civil service jobs in all areas of the country. As many as 20,000 openings may be posted on USAJOBS at any one time.