If working for the Federal Government is your dream job, it will be helpful for you to understand the federal hiring process and be prepared for the interview. Preparation is one of the most important parts of the job search. Below is all the information that you will need to land your first federal job.

USA Jobs Profile

Government job applications are submitted almost exclusively through USAJobs.gov, the portal for competitive service jobs. Although a profile is not required to search for opportunities on USA Jobs, you need a profile to apply for jobs and store your resume and documents for future applications. It’s important to know that keywords listed on your profile and resume can help you get in the first round of interviews as some positions actively rely on keywords to search for applicants. After creating your profile, you must add a phone number, email or federal government I.D. card to provide an additional layer of security. You will also need to keep your resume up to date. 

USA Jobs Resume

Since some of the jobs at USA Jobs require different resume formats, you should upload a resume from your computer and use the USAJobs resume builder to create one on the website. Your USA Jobs profile can hold up to five different resumes, which allows you to present your experience and skills in a targeted manner for a specific job position. You should never include prohibited information, such as a photo or social security number.

You might save other documents along with your resume, such as a cover letter or letter of reference in the “Documents” section of your profile.

Searching for Jobs on USA Jobs

To apply for any position on the USAJOBS site, you can type in keywords or job titles in the search bar to retrieve results. You can also use the filter option to narrow your results. The filter option narrows your search results by using a variety of filters displayed on the right side of the screen, and the more filters you use, the narrower your results will become.

The saving job position on the USA Jobs site is uncomplicated. You need to select the star symbol on the right side of the job assignment then the position will be bookmarked to your profile.

Tips (Before Applying)

Consider these tips before applying to a particular position:

1.) Apply Only for Federal Jobs that Match your Qualifications: During the screening process, a human resources representative will likely remove from consideration any candidates for a federal job who do not explicitly match the criteria.

2.) Save Searches: You can save up to ten searches for one-click access later. You will also be notified whenever new jobs that meet your saved search criteria are posted.

3.) Use the Advanced Search Feature: You can refine your search by clicking the “Advance Search” button. By using this feature, you can filter opportunities based on location, salary, department and more, making it easier to find the perfect match.

4.) Know the Opening and Closing Date of the Job Position you Want to Apply For: You should give yourself plenty of time to fill out applications and gather the required documents.

Stages to the Federal Job Application Process

After applying for a federal job, you must remember that the application/hiring process is neither easy nor quick. The several stages to the federal job application process including screening candidates, selecting finalists, scheduling and conducting interviews and conducting background checks. Thus, completing all these steps takes several weeks, so do not be discouraged if you do not hear something right away.

It is important to note that some federal job applications and opportunities, such as those with the CIA, the FBI and security contractors, follow a slightly different hiring process.

Government Job Interview Tips

You prepare for your job interview by making sure you do your homework of researching the agency in the days leading up to the interview so you can let your expertise shine. To prepare yourself to lead up to the date, you must:

1.) Make sure you understand how to get to the interview location and how long it will take you to get there.

2.) Be on time.

3.) Do your research.

4.) Bring extra copies of your resume, any relevant work samples and any application materials that you have been asked to complete.

5.) Use confident body language, including eye contact, warm smiles and firm handshakes.

6.) Ask smart questions about the position and agency.

7.) Send a thank-you note to all who interviewed you.

Writer: Caroline Pimentel
Editor: Katie Shin-Yi Wang
Graphic Designer: Grace Yang 

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