Keywords you must include in your federal job application
FireRecruit.com has many civilian federal firefighting jobs posted on their site. FireRecruit.com filters through the federal jobs and only posts those that are available to the general public, as opposed to those that are only available to current or former federal employees.
There are many firefighting job opportunities within the various federal systems. They include Wildland Firefighting, Industrial Firefighting, Airport Firefighting and Structural Firefighting. These opportunities exist in many regions of the United States, from remote locations to major metropolitan areas.
The federal application can be a rather confusing one and a bit of a mystery for those who are not familiar with the process. It is unique from most municipal application processes and is a bit more extensive, requiring more time and energy. Unlike most municipal agencies, the federal agencies select only a small number of applicants to interview. The criteria for which candidates get selected for interviews is based entirely on their application. This application will include an essay or questionnaire referred to as a KSA (Knowledge Skills and Abilities) essay.
In the past KSA’s were reviewed by personnel staff that scanned each resume and looked for keywords. The personnel worked for Human Resource offices and often had no idea what the fire service certifications or licenses really meant; they were simply looking for certain keywords.
Today the applications are scanned by computers that search for these same keywords in an even less analytical way. For example, Rescue Systems I and Rescue Systems II may be keywords that get you points. Even if you do not possess certain certifications, it may benefit you to include these keywords in your resume, by working it into the verbiage.
Writing, "have been trained in Rescue Systems I and hope to take Rescue Systems II in the near future" may help you accrue points that may get you to the interview. Also including keywords that are a part of the rescue Systems curriculum can also be very advantageous. Words such as shoring, repelling, breaching, low angle rescue, high angle rescue, etc will also help your resume accrue points.
The computer will only recognize the keywords and does not have the cognitive ability to interpret the context. This should not be done in a way that is at all misleading to a human reader, but the idea is to trick the computer and get an interview. Filling your application with as many keywords as possible may make the difference between getting selected for an interview and getting passed over.
To know what keywords should be used you should look closely at the job duties and job description for the position you are applying. This will clue you in to what keywords they will be searching for. Filling your KSA with as many of those keywords is the key to getting selected for an interview, which is obviously necessary in order to get the job.
The website below provides a more detailed explanation and many more helpful tips for completing the Federal KSA form, here.
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