Frequently Asked Questions - Human Resources
The Top Six Questions
These six questions are the ones most frequently asked. Click on the question to "jump" to the answer.
- I applied for several jobs but have not been contacted for an interview. Why?
- What does it mean when my status for a job says “Forwarded” or “Not Forwarded?”
- Can someone help me with my resume?
- I am having problems setting up and/or using AIMS on my computer (Firefox users).
- I’m not comfortable with computers. Can someone help me apply?
- Help! I forgot my password for AIMS.
Still looking for your question? View all frequently asked questions by category:
Q: How often are new jobs posted?
New jobs are posted every Saturday on our website. Also, you can subscribe to the weekly e-mail version of the Job News to receive a weekly e-mail with all the current jobs listed.
Q: I’m not comfortable with computers. Can someone help me apply?
You are welcome to visit our Application Center where staff will help you set up an AIMS account and get your resume into the system. The Application Center is located in the Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 270, Fairfax, Virginia. Call 703-222-5872 for more information. Directions to the Government Center.
First-time AIMS users may want to print the brochure Applying for a Job With Fairfax County [PDF format], which provides illustrated step-by-step instructions.
Q: I don't have a computer. Where can I use a computer to apply for jobs with Fairfax County?
Personal computers that can be used for accessing AIMS are available in several locations throughout the county:
- Fairfax County Application Center - Located in the Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 270 - Call 703-222-5872. Directions to the Government Center.
- Any Fairfax County Public Library - Also, most public library systems throughout the metro area provide access to the Internet via personal computers.
- Access Fairfax - South County Center, 8350 Richmond Highway, Suite 125, Alexandria - Phone 703-704-7080.
- SkillSource Centers - Multiple locations throughout the Northern Virginia area.
Q: How do I have proof that my application for a job has been received?
After you click the "Submit" button, this message displays:
Your application has been submitted. It takes several minutes for your information to be processed. Your application will be updated and should be reflected on your Status page in five (5) minutes or less.
You can check your "My Status" page in AIMS soon afterward, and the job number that you applied for will appear on the list with the status "Received."
Also, if you supplied an e-mail address with your account, you will receive an e-mail with the subject: CONFIRMATION OF RECEIPT OF RESUME.
Q: If I apply for the same job multiple times, will it increase my chances of getting an interview?
No, it will not. After the closing date for a position, the most recent resume submitted by each applicant is evaluated. Older, duplicate submissions are disregarded.
Q: What happens when my resume is reviewed?
Fairfax County operates under a merit system, which means that applicants are selected for employment on the basis of their education, experience and skills. Your resume will be reviewed against the job you applied for, so it is important to read the job announcement and provide detailed information about your experience and skills as they relate to the description of the job:
Minimum Qualifications: It is mandatory that you meet the Minimum Qualifications in order to be considered for the job. In many cases, a combination of education, experience and training may be substituted for a college degree. Learn more about how these substitutions are evaluated.
Special Requirements: Some jobs have requirements for licenses, bilingual ability, certificates, etc. It is mandatory that you meet these requirements in order to be considered for the job.
Preferred Qualifications: Applicants who meet most or all of the preferred qualifications are a closer match for a job opening, and will be considered stronger candidates.
The reviewer first determines which resumes meet all the Minimum Qualifications and Special Requirements, and most/all of the Preferred Qualifications. Then, from this group, the reviewer determines which 10-15 resumes are the closest match to the job announcement. These applicants will be considered for interviews. In AIMS, the Status indication for these applicants will change to “Forwarded.” At this point, it is up to the staff in the hiring department to decide which applicants will be interviewed. You can see a complete overview of Fairfax County’s hiring process here.
Q: How can I see a job announcement that I have applied for, now that the job has closed?
Log in to AIMS and visit "My Status" to see a list of the job numbers that you have applied for. Click on the job number to view the announcement for that job.
Q: I applied for several jobs but have not been contacted for an interview. Why?
Fairfax County’s applicant pools are very large and highly competitive. Most often the reason an applicant is not selected for an interview is because of the high number of qualified applicants for that job opening. For example, it’s common for a single job announcement to receive hundreds—even up to a thousand—resumes. From the pool of the most highly-qualified applicants, only the top 10-15 will be considered for an interview. Unfortunately, that means many applicants will not be interviewed.
If you have questions about the review process, such as why you were not interviewed for a job that you are highly qualified for, you can call the Application Center and ask to speak with the HR Analyst assigned to review that job. The Application Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 703-222-5872.
Q: I applied for a Probation Counselor position. Will I automatically be considered for other similar jobs?
No. Applicants must apply in response to a specific job announcement in order to be considered.
Q: Is there any assistance available for applicants with disabilities?
Applicants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation during the interview/selection process. Please call 703-222-5872 (voice) or 703-222-7314 (TDD). Learn more about reasonable accommodations.
Q: Can someone help me with my resume?
Fairfax County’s Department of Human Resources receives well over 140,000 resumes a year. Because of this huge volume of interest, it is not possible for our staff to provide one-on-one resume assistance. Please visit our Resume Guidelines page for some advice on creating a resume that will accurately reflect your skills, experience and education.
If you still feel you need assistance, there are many companies that provide one-on-one resume guidance or that can create a resume for you. The county’s SkillSource offices can assist you with these resources, and they have multiple locations throughout the county for your convenience.
Q: How do I change fonts and formatting in my resume to make it look better?
Our AIMS program makes all resumes look the same when they are printed. This allows the people who review your resume to concentrate on your qualifications, instead of the formatting of your resume.
Q: How can I send a cover letter letter with my resume?
AIMS does not accept cover letters. They are not needed as part of our hiring process. If there is information you want to convey in a cover letter, you should include that information in your resume.
Q: What is the best way to create my resume in AIMS--using the ‘Resume Builder’ or cutting and pasting?
If you do not already have an electronic resume, we recommend you use the step-by-step Resume Builder in AIMS. The end result is a chronologically formatted resume with your education appearing near the top of the resume and the work history, starting with the most recent job, next.
If you choose to paste an existing resume, we encourage you to use the chronological format rather than a functional format. You might want to take a look at a sample resume, along with other resume guidelines.
For formatting, we recommend the following:
- Remove italics, bolding, tabs and other formatting commands before you
paste your resume
- Use hyphens (-) instead of bullets (•)
- Left-align your text
Check your resume carefully before you submit it. You may have line breaks or indents in unexpected places. From the "My Resume" section of AIMS click on the "Edit" button under "Pasted Text Resume." Make any changes needed on this screen. Click the "Save" button when you are finished.
Q: I have transcripts, work samples and letters of recommendation that I want to submit with my resume. How can I get these materials to you?
Please keep these materials and make them available to the interview panel if you are contacted to come for an interview. Evaluation of your qualifications is based solely on the information contained in your resume. For that reason, we strongly encourage applicants to provide a detailed, comprehensive resume.
Q: Why can't I submit a paper copy of my resume and have you scan it into your system?
When paper resumes are scanned into a computer system, the optical character recognition (OCR) software records an image of the resume and extracts the text it recognizes. The accuracy of this process is less than satisfactory, with many errors.
Q: How many work hours equal 'one year experience'? Does one year of working part-time count the same as one year working full-time?
The county standard is that 2,080 hours equals one work year. Therefore, if you worked 40-hours per week for one year, you have one year of experience. If you worked part-time at a rate of 20 hours per week, it would take two years to reach 2,080 hours, or the equivalent of one year of experience. When your resume is reviewed, this is the standard by which your years of experience are evaluated.
Q: I am having problems setting up and/or using AIMS on my computer (Windows XP users).
If your computer has Microsoft Windows XP operating system with Service Pack 2, you may need to change some settings to enable it to create your AIMS account. Check your system settings to determine if this may be causing your problem:
1. Click on "START"
2. Click on "Settings"
3. Select "Control Panel"
4. Double-click the "System" icon
5. Look at the information on the screen
If your operating system is Microsoft Windows XP and the Service Pack is the number 2, firewall protection is automatically installed when your system is loaded. You should contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and find out how you should proceed without making your system vulnerable to Internet attacks. Tell them that your Windows XP firewall is preventing you from creating an online account and they should be able to help you.
Q: I am having problems setting up and/or using AIMS on my computer (Firefox users).
With the increasing popularity of the Firefox browser, lots of bugs are being reported to the vendor. If you are receiving a 'page not found' error message please read the message below.
AIMS is best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher. If you are using Firefox or other browsers you may experience intermittent problems when used on our site. Mac users should try other browsers like Internet Explorer 5.1 for the Mac or Safari.
If you still need assistance after trying Internet Explorer, please call the Application Center at 703-222-5872 or send an e-mail to the Jobs Mailbox.
Q: Can I use AIMS to find out what is happening with my job applications?
Yes. Log in to your AIMS account and click on "My Status." You will see a list of the jobs that you applied for along with the current status.
Status information is also available from the 24-hour Job Line at 703-324-JOBS(5627). To obtain status or to apply for jobs using the Job Line you must have a User ID and PIN; these numbers are available from your AIMS account.
Q: What does it mean when my AIMS Status for a job says ‘Forwarded’ or ‘Not Forwarded?’
Forwarded means your resume has been reviewed and was selected to “go forward” in the process, for interview consideration. You will be contacted by the hiring department if they decide to interview you for the position. (Please note that this does not guarantee you will receive an interview.)
Not Forwarded means your resume was reviewed by human resources and/or the hiring department, but was not selected for further consideration at this time. Although you may be very qualified, there were other applicants who appeared to be more qualified and a better match for the job.
Q: If I apply for more than one job, can I use a different resume in AIMS for each job?
AIMS only stores one resume for you; however, AIMS allows you to change that resume any time you want. Therefore, before you apply for a job, you can tailor your resume to focus on education, skills and work experience that might be the most appropriate for the job you are applying for.
Q: Can I save different versions of my resume in my AIMS account?
No, your AIMS account stores one version of your resume at a time. So, the last version of your resume that you saved is what you will see the next time you access your account. If you feel the need to have more than one version of your resume, we suggest that you save a text version on a disk or your local computer.
Q: My contact (or other) information has changed. Can I update my resume in AIMS?
You can log in and update your resume or personal information at any time. Once you update your resume in AIMS, the updated resume and contact information will be used for all jobs that you apply for from that point forward. However, it is not possible to update a resume that you submitted in the past.
If you have submitted a resume for a job in the past and need to change your contact information to be reached for an interview, please call the Application Center at 703-222-5872.
Q: I don't have an e-mail account. Does this mean that I cannot use AIMS?
No, you do not need an e-mail account to use AIMS. However, we recommend that people provide their e-mail address in AIMS as a convenient way to help them remember their User ID.
Q: I forgot my password for AIMS.
On the main login screen for AIMS there is a prompt: "If you have lost or forgotten your password, click here." Click on that link. You will be asked to choose the reminder question and answer that you chose when you created your account. You will then be able to log in, and you will be asked to create a new password.
If you still need assistance after trying this, please call the Application Center at 703-222-5872 or send an e-mail to the Jobs Mailbox. To assist you with a forgotten User ID or password, be prepared to provide your name as it appears in the AIMS account plus some identifying information from your resume, such as the name of your most recent employer.
Q: How many paid holidays and vacation days do Fairfax County employees receive per year?
Employees receive 11-½ paid holidays per year. Employees with less than three years of service earn 13 days of annual leave per year; between 3 and 15 years of service, 19-½ days per year, over 15 years of service, 26 days per year. Employees may accumulate 30 days of annual leave (40 days after 10 years of service).
Q: How can I learn more about the employee benefits offered by Fairfax County?