Navigating USAJobs

USAJobs is the central posting location for most federal government jobs and provides applicants with a streamlined application experience. However, there are some features and requirements for finding and applying to government positions that are unique from non-government jobs. Below are some tips to help you navigate the USAJobs website.

*Note: In general, federal employment is limited to US citizens. However, there are some exceptions, so make sure to reach out to specific departments before applying if you are not a permanent US resident.

Creating a Profile

Creating a USAJobs account and profile gives you access to their extensive portfolio of employment opportunities. This profile allows you to customize your federal job search and will send you updates when employment opportunities become available for jobs you may be interested in and qualified for.

To create a profile, go to the USAJobs Home Page. Please note that access to a smart-phone or email will most likely be needed as USAJobs utilizes a Two Factor Authentication login. For more specific tips on creating a USAJobs profile, see the PDF.

Performing a Job Search

While you may want to look for specific jobs on the site, it is crucial to perform a “basic search” so you can receive results for a broad range of positions to get a better idea of the careers available to you. To do this think of particular keywords that highlight your professional interests. Your search criteria will be displayed on the left-hand side of the page. If you like any of the suggested positions, you can save them for future reference. USAJobs will automatically notify you in the future if any other jobs open that match that description. For more USAJobs search tips, see the PDF.

Tip: Another way you can search is by job series; find applicable job series information here.

Uploading a Resume

USAJobs allows you to upload up to five different resumes and ten supporting documents, such as covers letters, student transcripts, and writing samples. Consider using the site’s portal resume builder to create one of your resumes as it will guide you through all the required categories for a federal resume. You can make one of your resumes open to the site at all times and searchable to agencies, which will allow them to notify you about potential job opportunities.

Tip: Federal resumes are longer and more detailed than private sector resumes. Applicants who use a private sector-style resume will not always be successful in obtaining a job on USAJobs. Use resources such as the USAJobs Help Center, to help prepare your federal resume.

Applying for a Job

Another benefit of utilizing the USAJobs site is that the application feature guides you through a five-step process:

  • Step One: Select Resume
  • Step Two: Select Supporting Documents
    • Make sure you read the “Required Documents” section on the job announcement as it will detail specific documents you must include to ensure a completed application.
  • Step Three: Review Package
  • Step Four: Update Personal Info
  • Step Five: Complete Application with Agency

From here, USAJobs will redirect you to the hiring agency’s application system to complete the rest of the application process. Note that some agencies may require you to create a separate account on their site and possibly complete an Assessment Questionnaire that collects information about your experience, education, knowledge, and skills to determine your qualification for the position. Make sure to follow the instructions to complete the application and submit it for consideration. After you have submitted your application, you will receive a notification by e-mail that your application has been received by the agency.

For more information on what happens after you apply for a government job, check out our detailed PDF!

Additional Resources

Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes
Ten Tips to help you land a federal job
How does the USAjobs application process work?
PDCO How to Series: Getting a Job in the US Federal Government (July 2020)
PDCO Career Clinic: How to get a Job in the US Federal Government (March 2021)