Interested in pursuing a federal job? You should prepare yourself just like for any other job search. Familiarize yourself with the different resources to help you succeed.
The application process for the federal government consists of several steps. It is straightforward, but takes careful preparation. Be ready to spend time reading the vacancy announcement job description thoroughly, reviewing your qualifications, preparing a federal resume, and answering questions based on your experience and education. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and deadline dates. Your documents represent you and will help determine your chances of landing a position. No matter how good the quality of your documentation, if you miss the date and time for submission, your application will not be considered.
HOW TO APPLY:
The application process has 6 STEPS:
STEP 1: Create an account at: https://my.usajobs.gov.
STEP 2: Develop a resume using the USAjobs "Resume Builder" or "Upload" your resume into USAjobs. Some positions may require the USAjobs resume version (you can have more than one resume saved on USAjobs). Be sure that the information in your resume matches the qualifications being sought. This will greatly improve your chances of moving forward in the process.
STEP 3: Search for Vacancy Announcements on usajobs.com. Click "Search for Jobs." Click "Apply Online" on the announcement screen of a job you are interested in and follow all instructions provided, and click "Apply for this position now!"
STEP 4: Apply to the Vacancy. If required, complete the questionnaire that assesses your skills.
STEP 5: You may be asked to submit supporting documents such as transcripts, veterans’ preference form, copies of licenses, or samples of your work. Submit the supporting documents requested by clicking one of the available options for document submission
STEP 6: Review your application. Follow ALL instructions provided. Next, review the summary of the application you completed. Scroll down and click "Finish" at the bottom of the page. You will be automatically redirected to USAjobs where you can track the status of your application.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT
You can expect a communication concerning your application via email. If you provide an email address that is inaccurate or if your mailbox is full or blocked (e.g., spam-blocker), you may not receive important communications that could affect your consideration for this position. If your contact information changes after the closing date of the announcement, please notify the Employment Office (contact provided in the announcement) and update your USAjobs profile.
You can check the status of your application for this position at any time by logging onto your "My USAjobs" account and clicking on "My Application."
An interview for a federal position is very similar to one in the private sector. There are no special rules or formats to follow. Research is essential, just as it would be for a job with a corporation. Look over the agency’s web site and publications to learn more about what they do and their mission. Familiarize yourself with the job announcement, especially the job description. Review your application and be able to articulate how your skills and/or education are a match to the job requirements and an asset to the agency.
When arriving for the interview, be sure to leave enough time for security measures at the building’s entrance. Make sure you have a photo ID with you, such as a state-issued driver’s license or a passport. You should bring the usual items: copies of your resume, list of references with contact information, note pad, and pen. You may meet with the human resources manager, hiring manager, or a group of managers. When you arrange the interview date and time, try to determine how long you will be at the facility and with how many managers you will interview. Be sure to get a business card from each person involved in your interview. Thank-you notes sent within 24 hours are essential as a follow up technique in any job search situation. When sending a note to a federal employee, it is best to send it electronically. Because of concerns caused by an anthrax scare a few years ago, written mail directed to federal offices are irradiated and may be delayed in reaching its destination. The speed of electronic thank-you notes is a better way to go.
Some federal jobs require access to sensitive information that requires security clearance for employees. There are three levels of security clearance: Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential. Investigators consider your international experiences and contacts, any former drug use (not necessarily a disqualifier), financial history, and disciplinary record (college infractions are not an automatic disqualifier). In many instances, you can obtain a temporary clearance until the entire clearance process is completed. This varies from agency to agency. To learn more about the security clearance process, click here.