Navigating USAJobs

USAJob is the US government’s official site for posting employment opportunities. If you’re searching for a job or internship, you may have come across this site a couple of times. This past summer, I worked in Boston for the US Department of Transportation. Leading up to that offer, I spent a good deal of time navigating the USAJobs site. In this post, I’d like to introduce the site in a little more detail and provide some tips for using it.

Every civil service position within the federal government goes through USAJobs. You can find every position from an internship with the National Parks or Forest Service to a career with the Army Corps of Engineers or even becoming an FBI agent! So if you’re looking for a position in public service at the federal level, you’ll need to become familiar with this site.

When you get to the site, the first thing you’ll want to do is create a personal account. When you fill out an application, a lot of the personal information you provide will automatically be entered from your profile, so save time in the future by being as detailed as possible. Additionally, the contact information you give will be what hiring managers will use to contact you for an interview, so make sure everything is correct.

Once you’ve made a profile, you can start searching for jobs. For a simple search, use the search bar on the home page to look for what you want. At any time, there are thousands of open positions available on the site, so use the search filters to your advantage. For example, specify whether you want an internship (typically called “student trainee” positions by most agencies) or a full time job. You can narrow your search down by how much you want to travel, where you want to be located, and whether you want full or part time hours.

From there, you can browse through the results of your search and apply to the positions that interest you. Each application starts with the basics on the USAJobs site and then directs you to a more complete application on the agency’s website. When you’re finished, you can go through your account’s dashboard and view the status of each of your applications. If you’re referred for the position, your status will change and you may be contacted for an interview

Here are a few additional tips for using USAJobs:

·       Get emailed about new openings. Under the search options, you have the option of saving a search and receiving email notifications for new openings that meet your criteria. Most openings have a very short application window, so use this feature to keep from missing out.

·       Double check required documents. Each position has a set of required documents to upload to your application such as a resume, transcripts, or proof of college enrollment. Hiring managers have to be very strict about these requirements so double check your attachments. Even if you’re the most qualified applicant, you may be denied an offer because you forgot your transcripts!

·       Be honest but confident in your abilities. Many applications have a series of questions that ask you to rank yourself on various skillsets and experiences. If a posting receives a lot of applicants, the applications may be automatically filtered based on the results of these questions without your resume even being looked at. Never lie about having a skill that you don’t have but be sure to give yourself appropriate credit for the skills you do have.

USAJobs can be a complicated site but it has a lot of features that you can use to your advantage to make the application process as efficient as you can. Take your time to learn the site, and you can always reach out to me if you want some help from someone who’s been through the process before. I’ll leave you with a cheesy stock picture of me working for USDOT this summer.



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