If you want to apply for a job in the federal government, you probably will need to go through USAJobs. Navigating this website may seem daunting to the uninitiated, but with a little bit of guidance, you can find and apply for your dream job in no time!
What You Will Need
When you are searching and applying for positions on USAJobs, there are a few things that you will want to have ready.
A profile is not required to search for opportunities on USAJobs. You need a profile if you want to apply to jobs and store your resume and documents for future applications. You can set your profile to “searchable,” but you still have to apply to all positions you are interested in. Note that only some positions actively search for applications. If they do, they rely on key words listed on your profile and resume. This is an added benefit of maintaining an active profile at USAJobs. Once you’ve created your profile, you must add a phone number, email, or federal government I.D. card to provide an additional security layer.
Your USAJobs profile can hold up to five different resumes. You can upload a resume from your computer or you can use the USAJobs resume builder to create one on the website. It is a good idea to have at least two resumes on your profile: one that was uploaded and one that was created using the resume builder tool. Some of the jobs at USAJobs require different resume formats. Pay attention to the “Do Not Include” section to make sure your resume does not include prohibited information, such as a photo or social security number.
You can save any other type of commonly requested document under the “Documents” section of your profile. After uploading your document, you can name it. Your documents are easier to manage and utilize if you name each document the “type” of document it is.
Searching for Jobs on USAJobs
When searching for jobs at USAJobs, you can simply type in keywords or job titles in the search bar to retrieve results. You can also use the filter option to narrow your results, or you can navigate jobs by utilizing the “hiring paths” and/or “recent graduation” filters.
There are a number of hiring paths for federal jobs. If you qualify for employment through a hiring path, you can select the hiring path to view available jobs that are relevant to that particular hiring path. The best way to utilize a Schedule A Hiring Authority is to search in the selective placement program coordinator directory.
You can also search for jobs applicable to students and/or recent graduates. When searching for jobs, you simply type in your college major and a list of jobs related to that degree will appear.
After you have typed in a keyword and received a list of open positions, you can then narrow your search results by using a variety of filters displayed on the right side of the screen. The more filters you use, the narrower your results will become. Filters can include location, salary or pay grade, military department, and other options.
Saving Positions on USAJobs
If you are interested in a job posting but do not have time to fill out the application, you can save the listed position you’re interested in to your profile. You will find a star symbol on the right side of the job assignment. By selecting the star, the position will be bookmarked to your profile for quick retrieval.
Tips (Before Applying)
Consider these tips before applying to a particular position:
- Review the “This Job is Open To” section of the job assignment. This section lists who is eligible for the job. Make sure to review all eligibilities because you may apply if you qualify for at least one of them. If you do not qualify for any of the eligibilities, then you should not apply.
- Pay attention to the “Requirements” section of the job assignment. Some jobs require visas or other specific documents to be considered. If you do not meet the designated requirements, you should not apply.
- “Grade Level” vs. “Experience”- applicants focused primarily on the grade level of a posted position may miss out on future opportunities. It is advised to assess your qualifications based on the requirements and specialized experience potion of the job announcement as opposed to the grade level of the job announcement.
- Each position has an opening and closing date, which are displayed in Eastern Standard time. We recommend giving yourself plenty of time to fill out applications.
Applying for Jobs on USAJobs
Applying for a job is a multi-step process. While completing your application, pay close attention to your application status to see if you have finished the application or if additional information is needed.
Print/Save Job Assignment
For applied positions, we recommend that you either print or save your job assignment. There are multiple reasons for this:
- “How to Apply” – Each job assignment contains information on how to apply. As you work through the application, you can ensure nothing is neglected by following the designated steps.
- Resume and Interview – Information provided in the application must match the information found in your resume. Tailoring your resume to key words and/or activities listed in the job assignment will show that you are qualified for the position. Most interview questions are related to information found within the job assignment. The job assignment is not permanently posted so relying on it later in the process will not be an option.
- Contact Information – Each job assignment contains the hiring agency’s contact information. This information too is not permanently posted. You may need this contact information if you have a question about qualifications or if you are following up with your application.
Once you have started the application process, you will be able to select one of your resumes saved in your profile. Make sure you submit the requested version of the resume listed in the job assignment (uploaded resume vs. built resume). Select Save and Continue on the webpage.
On the documents page, select the documents that are required for this application. Refer to the printed/saved job assignment to ensure you selected all requested documents. We suggest opening each document to make sure each is correctly filled out. Select Save and Continue on the webpage.
At this step of the process, you can view all the selected information. It is very important that you actually view all the items to make sure nothing is missing. Once you have verified that the information you’ve included is correct, you must declare at this step that all the information is true. You will not be able to claim that you made a mistake later in the process. Select Acknowledge and Continue on the webpage.
The next step in the application is answering the list of questions attached to the job application. Select Save and Continue.
The questions asked in the assessment portion of the application reflect your experience and qualification for the position. All of the answers to the assessment questions should be clearly reflected on your resume! This should be the last step of the application. However, you will know when you are finished by viewing the application status bar at the top of the page.
- If you are answering a question where you are asked to select an answer that “best describes you,” and you believe that two answers apply to you, it is in your best interest to give yourself the benefit of the doubt and choose the higher-ranking answer.
- Jobs listed as “open to the public” should never ask questions about experience inside of a particular department. If it does, it is an error. You should contact the agency using the agency’s contact information listed on the job assignment to clarify the question.
USAJobs Application Process
- After applications are reviewed by the agency’s human resources or hiring department, candidates are categorized as either “referred” or “not referred.” Only the most qualified candidates are designated as “referred.”
- If your application does not show “referred” or “not referred” for 2 weeks after the closing date of the position, it is appropriate to follow up with the agency listed in the job assignment regarding your application.
- A background check is conducted if you are selected for a federal job. Most background checks occur much later in the application and/or selection processes.
All the information required for utilizing USAJobs to locate a federal job is found within the “Help” section of the website. The following resources are found in the “Help” section:
- Video about writing a federal resume
- Information about how to search jobs by college major
- Glossary that provides definitions of military/federal technical terms
This information was obtained by navigating USAJobs.gov Webinar. USAJobs regularly hosts a variety of free webinars. Information about future webinars is located in the “Events” section of the USAJobs.gov homepage.
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