While you are browsing for positions, focus first on whether you meet basic qualifications. Applications are readily dismissed by the agencies if the candidate is not eligible for the position, is not qualified, or does not complete the application properly. When reviewing job announcements, pay attention to the following sections:
After you find a few positions that fit what you are looking for, it is critical that you read the position description closely. Even if the description seems unusually long, a careful reading will save you time and energy in the long run.
The overview gives a quick summary of the position and is the first place to start when reviewing a job announcement. In addition to your specific work priorities, pay particular attention to the Who May Be Considered section.
Basic responsibilities of the position are highlighted in the duties section. There is generally much more detail here than in the overview. Read the duties carefully because the title of the position may not accurately reflect the duties of the job.
The qualifications will give you important insight into what background, training, and/or experience the agency is looking for in the person they hope to hire. This information will also serve as a useful guide for you in preparing your federal resume and application materials. Be sure to keep the qualifications in mind when creating these documents.
Some applications will list critical Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA’s) in this section. These statements are simply another way of listing core competencies for this position. Throughout your application, make sure that you reference the qualifications—including specific knowledge, skills and abilities—and how you possess the skills needed in the position.
Additionally, the qualifications will provide important clues as to how your experience will be evaluated and how you will be reviewed if you choose to apply. Your application will only be considered if your application meets the minimum qualification requirements. Be sure you are only considering positions that you are qualified for.
This section describes elements of the compensation package or perks associated with the job. Basic information about federal benefits can be found on USA.gov.
This final section includes step-by-step instructions on how to apply, what documents are required, contact information, as well as information about when and how you can expect to hear from the agency.
Many agencies will use their own application system. When you are ready to apply or submit your application, you may be redirected from USAJOBS.gov to an external hiring system and will need to create a login on this website to actually submit your application. It is critical that you complete all necessary steps to submit your application.
Required documents may include questionnaires, transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing samples, official documentation or other standardized forms. Double- and triple-check this list to make sure you are clear about what is required in your application.
If you have specific questions about the job, follow up directly with the human resources contact that is listed at the bottom of this section.
Most importantly, be sure to submit your application on time. Agencies almost never make exceptions for late applications—do not miss the due date.