Three steps to maximize your use of USAJobs

When it comes to USAJobs, there’s more than meets the eye. Whether you’re casually considering federal employment as a career option or are committed to finding work in a particular federal agency, USAJobs has something for you. Unfortunately, many users are simply unaware of all the functionality of the website and don’t maximize the resources it has to offer.

To address this gap, consider the following three-step approach to effectively use USAJobs to find and apply for federal positions.

Step 1: Create an account.

The key to making the most of your USAJobs experience is to create a free account. By creating an account you can:

  • Build up to five federal resumes. This allows you to tailor your resume for the specific position you’re applying to.
  • Save documents, jobs and searches. By uploading documents in advance and saving your popular searches and jobs, you’ll undoubtedly save yourself time in the application process.
  • Check on the status of your applications. Use this feature to learn where you are in the process.

Your account will become your home on USAJobs. Use all the features that your account offers to maximize your USAJobs experience.

Step 2: Start your information gathering.

You might know that working for the federal government interests you, but perhaps you’re not quite sure where to start in the process of looking for opportunities. The USAJobs Info Center will be your next stop in your job search journey.

The Info Center offers you:

  • General information on USAJobs, working for the federal government and applying for a federal job
  • Additional information for applicants with disabilities, students and veterans.

These resources will provide the baseline knowledge you need to enter the job search. By simply scanning the pages in the Info Center, you’ll likely get answers to many of the basic questions you have about federal employment.

Step 3: Search for positions.

To start looking for specific opportunities, I recommend using the “Advanced/International Search” link under “Search Jobs.” Some of the most useful search options on this page are:

  • Series: If you’re an experienced federal job searcher and know the series number (or the number associated with a specific job title) of the job you want, you can look for those positions by using this feature.
  • Location: Choose one or more of your desired work locations (and remember to search only in places that you’d actually want to live!).
  • Agency: Exactly what it sounds like. Select one or more agencies that align with your interests.
  • Compensation: We’ll talk more about federal pay in an upcoming post, but in general, a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree will search for a GS-5 position. If you earned a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher, you’ll search for a GS-7 job. Master’s and PhD holders will look for GS-9 and GS-11, respectively.

You’ll likely receive a series of results to read through. Remember that you can save jobs and searches using your USAJobs account — this can save quite a bit of time.

When you’ve found a job to apply for, the next step is to craft a federal resume that will get you in the door. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post that will break down the process of writing a successful federal resume.

By following these three steps, you’ll be on the right path to finding federal employment. Be sure to visit USAJobs early and often — new positions and features are always being posted.

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