USAJobs Tips

August 10, 2007 – 11:28 am

You are probably familiar with some of the common job search sites, such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Idealist.org. As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government maintains it’s own job search site, USAJobs.gov, which is a great place to begin learning more about the tens of thousands of jobs that are available at any given time, and is naturally an important site to be familiar with if you are serious about applying for a federal job. USAJobs has many of the common features of a job search site — scroll down for tips on how to maximize your time on the site.

 

  • Click on the “Search Jobs” button on the USAJobs homepage, you’ll be taken to the central job search screen. Here, you can sort and search through federal jobs by geographic location, by job category, by pay grade or salary, or by entering a key word that you think might be found in a job you’re interested in. You’ll see each of these categories appear as you scroll down the page.
  • The Key Word Search can help you narrow your search to only those positions that fit your expertise and experience. If you’re looking for a job with a specific title (e.g., “electrical engineer”), you can type that title into this box and the search will only show you jobs that match your description.
  • Using the Location Search is fairly simple—if you’d only like to see jobs that are open in a specific place, scroll down through the list of locations and highlight the one that you’re most interested in.
  • The Job Category Search is also a useful way to tailor the listings you see to your personal skills and interests. To use this tool, scroll through the list and select the description that best matches the position you’re seeking.
  • The Salary Range and Pay Grade Range (GS) search can help make sure that you don’t browse through jobs that are either above or below your level of expertise and education. If you have a Bachelors Degree, you should use the Pay Grade Range boxes and select GS-5 through GS-7. If you have a master’s degree, you should begin your search at the GS-9 level. If you’ve had an extensive work record, these guidelines may not be quite right—keep searching with the Pay Grade Range until you find a level that you think best fits your education and experience.
  • You’ll see a section towards the bottom of the search page labeled Applicant Eligibility. Read the question it asks carefully—if you can truthfully answer “yes,” you should be sure to do so, as that can broaden the range of federal jobs available to you. If you’re not sure whether or not you can answer “yes,” or are not sure what some of the terms mean, leave the “no” option selected.
  • Once you’ve set up the search just the way you want it, click “Search for Jobs” at the bottom of the page (you are able to sort the results by keyword or date as well as have the option between a brief of detailed description).
  • If you’ve set up your search broadly enough, you should now see a number of federal job descriptions displayed on your screen. You can click on any of them that you think might be interesting to read more about them. If you find a job that you’re really interested in, be sure to read the job description carefully to make sure that you’re eligible to apply and to learn how to begin the application process.
  • Once you’re happy with the way your search is set up, you should consider clicking on the “Save this search and email me jobs” link at the bottom of the page. This will allow you to receive daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly emails that will contain all the new jobs that meet your criteria. To use this feature, you’ll have to create an account on the USAJobs Web site—simply click on the box that says “Create your account now” and fill in the necessary information.
  • Becoming a member also allows you the opportunity to post your resume so that employers can search for you. If you have graduated or in your final semester and have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 (out of 4.0) or higher, you can apply to be a part of the Outstanding Scholars Program. You would then have the option of signing up for additional searches through their Web site.

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