How To Know If You Are Qualified For A Job You Want To Apply For

Blog Post by Amber Kamps, Northern Region Outreach, Recruitment, and Retention

As the Outreach, Recruitment, and Retention Program Specialist for the Northern Region of the US Forest Service I field many questions from applicants.  One such question is, “How do I know if I’m qualified for this job?”  This is a great question and one you should be asking each and every time you consider applying for a job.  Here are three things you need to check to ensure you qualify for a job before putting in for it.

Make sure you qualify for the “Who May Apply”:  In the job announcement as the job is being advertised on there is a “Who May Apply” section.  Jobs are advertised many different ways.  Some jobs are open to all U.S. citizens to apply and some are more limited.  Because the Forest Service has 30,000 employees, some jobs are only advertised for current permanent employees where we expect to see a high level of applicants and competition without opening it up the all U.S. citizens.  It is quite common for positions to only be advertised for current permanent Forest Service employees with competitive status, Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act eligibles, VEOA eligibles, Reinstatement eligibles, persons with disabilities, VRA eligibles, certain military spouses, 30% or more disabled veterans, former Peace Corps or VISTA volunteers, CTAP/ICTAP eligibles, and those eligible for other Special Hiring Authorities or any combination of the above. See the links for these to determine if you qualify for or are eligible for these.  The bottom line it, only apply for positions where you meet eligibility.

Make sure you meet the key requirements & qualification needed:  Also in the job announcement as the job is being advertised, there is a complete listing of the key requirements and qualifications needed.  This usually includes whether or not a degree is required, whether a combination of education and specialized experience could meet the requirement, the amount of specialized experience needed to qualify, and any other requirements.  Please understand these are the minimum qualifications necessary to be considered for the job.  If you do not meet these minimum qualifications, don’t apply.  Many applicants think these qualifications are “guidelines” or are waived.  This is simply not the case, these qualifications are needed to even be considered for the job.

Make sure you meet the job series and grade level qualifications:  If a job hasn’t been advertised yet, but you still want to know what grade level or job series you might qualify for, click on this website to help you determine this. This website includes the job series and grades for all positions advertised in the U.S. Government, so it takes a little bit of clicking around the website to find the info you might need.  It may be good to start with looking up the job title.  Please note, fire fighting positions and many other field based and summer positions are listed as forestry technicians.  In general, professional positions require an education and/or degree of some kind.  Technical positions do not require a degree, however require specialized experience that can be in combination with a degree or college courses completed. For the Forestry Technician Job Series, here is a breakdown of what is required to qualify for these grade levels:

  • For GS-3: Successful completion of 1 year of study that included at least 6 semester hours in a combination of courses such as range management or conservation, agriculture, forestry, wildlife management, engineering, biology, mathematics, or other natural or physical sciences.
  • For GS-4: Successful completion of 2 years of study that included at least 12 semester hours in any combination of courses such as forestry, agriculture, crop or plant science, range management or conservation, wildlife management, watershed management, soil science, natural resources (except marine fisheries and oceanography), outdoor recreation management, civil or forest engineering, or wildland fire science. No more than 3 semester hours in mathematics is creditable.
  • For GS-5: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree (a) with major study in forestry, range management, agriculture, or a subject-matter field directly related to the position, or (b) that included at least 24 semester hours in any combination of courses such as those shown above for GS-4. No more than 6 semester hours in mathematics is creditable.

There you are, three things you need to check to ensure you qualify for a job before you apply to it.  For more information or if you have questions, see the contact info below.  To book some time with me to visit more about your resume, how to apply for jobs, or get career advice see: 


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