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Federal vacancy announcements

Federal vacancy announcements

A successful federal job search requires a thorough understanding of the vacancy announcement.

A vacancy announcement is the federal government's term for a job description. There is a difference between being eligible and qualified for federal positions; to be selected, a candidate must meet both criteria.


Being eligible for a position means meeting basic criteria such as being a U. S. federal employee. Make sure to review the criteria listed in the “who may apply” section of the announcement. While veterans have access to many of the positions posted on, some jobs may limit the candidate pool. For example, when the agency is recruiting from within its own workforce, only current employees may apply. (For example: "Agency," in this context, means the Internal Revenue Service not the parent agency, Treasury.)


To be qualified for a position, you must meet the specialized skills, specific experience, and any other criteria outlined in the vacancy announcement.

Overview of vacancy announcements

  • Announcement Number: Used to identify the position listed on the vacancy announcement.
  • Series and Grade: Reflects the entry grade level (corresponds to the salary) for this position. It also identifies the position within its occupational category.
  • Promotion Potential: The highest possible grade level that a person can achieve within this position.
  • Opening/Closing Dates: Applications must be submitted to the appropriate location by 11:59 pm on the closing date.
  • Areas of Consideration/Who May Apply: Some positions are not opened to everyone. Sometimes they are limited to current federal employees, employees of a specific agency, displaced employees or VEOA eligibles.
  • Job Responsibilities/Duties: Information under experience should highlight successes in addition to the description of position duties. Use key words from this portion of the vacancy announcement to create responses for the KSA section.
  • Qualifications and Evaluations: Outlines all of the required experience, specialized skills, and education for candidacy. Make sure you have all of these requirements before submitting or you are wasting your time. This is the most important section in determining whether you qualify for the position, so analyze this section to find the key words and specific skills to include in your resume. Be sure to follow the directions in the evaluation criteria.

  • Benefits and Other Information: As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal employment benefits.