Government Employment Process

Federal Job Application Process

Once upon a time, applying for a government job seemed mysterious and difficult, like learning to play a game you’ve never tried before when you don’t have the instruction book and half the pieces are missing.

That’s not the case now. Applying for federal jobs is no more difficult than applying for any other kind of job, except, instead of posting your resume on a wide range of different websites, just go to the main hub: USA Government Jobs. It functions like any other career website – you can use their simple wizards to create and post your resume online. You can also create a search that will notify you whenever new jobs that match your interests are posted. Then hiring managers and government recruiters from a wide range of agencies will have access to your information. Some agencies still maintain their own hiring feature on their websites, but almost all federal jobs must be posted on the USA Government Jobs website. If the agency you are interested in doesn’t have any listings in USAjobs, it may be because they aren’t hiring at the moment, but you can always check their individual website or call them directly to investigate further.

Job Search Graphic

If you’re in search of federal government internships then check this job board too (linked).

Optimizing Your Resume

USAjobs, or an agency’s independent website with a job application feature, are just computer programs. It is essential to remember that a computer is scanning your resume, looking for specific keywords. So how do make sure that your resume gets past the computer program and in front of the eyes of the recruiter or hiring manager? It’s simple: use the right keywords. Before you create your online resume, spend some time reading postings for jobs you’re interested in.

Notice the language employers are using in the postings. Then, use that same language in your resume to make sure you are tailoring your relevant experience to exactly the kind of job for which you are applying.

Waiting to Hear

Long ago, applicants for federal jobs often languished, waiting to hear from their selected agencies for several months. The application process has become much more streamlined today. Although every situation is different, many applicants today hear back from recruiters or hiring managers within a month. However, the security clearance process can delay a job change, sometimes for an excruciatingly long time (more on this later). If you are desperate to leave your job this week, a job with the federal government that requires a high-level security clearance will not get you out of your present situation by Friday.

You would be better off to do a little prior planning, find interim employment, or stick it out with your current job until the clearance comes through. But at least today, you can expect to know whether or not you have a brand-new government job in a manner as timely as what you would expect from a private-sector employer.

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