Positions to match your Qualifications and Interests
Determine the names of positions, agencies and departments of interest. Decide which agency is right for you by considering the location, the mission, the industry and the services provided. The following resources will help:
Federal jobs by college major
Federal career information by major groupings (scroll down to "Academic Quick Guides")
These documents list the agencies that hire the most students from each major, provide sample positions, and other key information to help you find federal jobs and internships.
Student or Entry-Level programs
Overview of student programs
Agencies with student employment opportunities
Agencies that offer internships
Federal Internships directory
StudentJobs and EScholar FAQ's
Student Career Experience Program and Co-op (SCEP)
Student Temp Educational Program (STEP)
Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) for grad students
Job and Internship Openings
Alphabetical listing of U.S. departments and agencies
GovernmentExecutive.com's Career Center
OhMyGov.com Jop Postings
More job and internship search links
How to Apply for a Federal Position
- understand job titles, occupational series and pay grades used in government
- identify agencies of interest
- find specific opportunities of interest
you are ready to begin the application process.
While online applications including extensive questionnaires are common, there are a variety of application formats and processes in use. You must apply according to the instructions provided by the agency.
The different application formats and processes include:
- Federal-style resume and KSA's in paper form
- Resume software and supplemental data sheet used by defense agencies
- OPM electronic resume and answers to rating questions
- Federal-style resume with online applications/questionnaires
- Optional Form for Federal Employment (OF-612)
Often, the same Federal-style resume could be used for jobs with similar requirements and responsibilities.
It helps to focus on two or three particular agencies to become familiar with their hiring process and the agency mission. Begin by carefully analyzing the elements of the vacancy announcements for the agencies you've selected.
Especially note who can apply, i.e., whether "status" is required. You could have status if you are an Outstanding Scholar (3.5 overall GPA), Veteran, disabled, married to someone in the military, or a former government employee. Then examine: job title; series number; agency and geographic location; closing date; knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA); duties; qualifications (e.g., one year = 52 weeks, 40 hours per week); and how to apply.
Remember not to make your job search too narrow. Prepare as many applications as you can and keep applying. For instance, if you want a job as a writer, don't apply only for positions named "Writer." Also look under the "liberal arts" occupational interest area to uncover additional position titles (such as Program Analyst) since writing is the major skill used in many of these positions.
The cardinal rule for applying effectively is to accurately follow the application instructions in the job vacancy announcement! It is also essential that you meet the eligibility requirements, have the basic qualifications (education and years of experience), and provide truthful and descriptive responses to the questionnaires, KSA's, etc. Also, remember that your application and resume should contain buzz words related to the position you're seeking so that the automated search process can identify you as a possible candidate. To make sure that you're using the right language, read the section on federal lingo (page 32).
Inquiries about the status of your application to a position posted on USAJOBS should be sent to the agency contact provided in the vacancy announcement about 4 weeks after you apply. Some automated application systems have a tracking system for applicants to check their own application status. Even if you are rated as "qualified" you may not move to the interview phase unless you are rated as "best qualified." Solicit feedback to improve you chances in your next application.
How to Write a Federal Resume
The federal resume must include information that is not always included in other types of resumes. A federal resume can be up to three or four pages in length and should include the following:
- Job announcement number, job title, job grade of the position
- Your full name
- Your full mailing address, a phone number, and an email address
- (You may want to list your "status" in all caps under your name on the resume)
- Social Security Number
- Country of citizenship
- Highest federal civilian grade held- including job series and dates held
- College name, city, state, your majors, degree, and month/year of graduation
- High school name, city, state, month/year of graduation or GED
- Work experience:
- Include both paid and unpaid: job title, duties and accomplishments, employer's name and address, including zip code; supervisor's name and phone number, starting and ending dates (month and year), hours per week, and salary.
- List each experience as a separate entry on the resume.
Indicate if your current supervisor can be contacted.
- Job-related training courses (title and year)
- Job-related knowledge or skills
- Current job-related certificates and licenses
- Job-related honors, awards, special accomplishments, leadership activities, memberships, or publications.
Additional Resume Tips:
- Analyze the announcements carefully for keywords and government lingo.
- Include your accomplishments, don't be shy, be truthful.
- Focus on the mission of the agency and translate your experience into terms that would make sense for that agency.
- Use more nouns and titles (e.g., writer, team leader, database administrator) to allow for identification in a keyword search.
- After creating a draft of your Federal-style resume, schedule a resume review with a career counselor in our office.
- Federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the Air Force, and the Army, are requiring particular application formats. In the announcements, these agencies will state: Resumix-Only Resumes will be accepted. To produce such a resume, you will need to carefully follow the specific format in the instructions. Other agencies are using electronic resume and occupational or task questionnaires with labels such as Quickhire, Avue, and USA Staffing.
Again, make sure to follow their directions as stated.
Back to the Federal Job Search index page