If any of you are interested in working for the federal government once you graduate or even during school, you will [unfortunately] have to navigate the treacherous journey through USAJobs. Luckily for you, I happen to be master sensei at USAJobs. Shameless plug: I have worked in the federal government for almost seven years in several different positions and I have turned the USAJobs application process into a science. I’m here to give you some general tips and tricks to getting through it while avoiding dumb administrative mistakes that can jeopardize your application. ***Keep in mind this is a very brief overview. For seriously detailed information, get in touch with me. I am more than happy to help.***
- Create an account. That’s simple. I don’t think I should have to tell you how to make a password etc, etc. We are all geniuses.
- Make PDFs of everything (I mean EVERYTHING) and upload them into saved documents. When you have all of these uploaded to your profile, it makes the application process much more efficient because the agency’s application can access them directly via the USAJobs server.
- Your resume, which should be only one page. Okay, so you were the best at handball in middle school, no one cares anymore! Leave it out!
- A cover letter. You should probably get administrative guidance on this because I have never once submitted a cover letter in a job application. Sorry I’m not sorry.
- Your transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are totally fine. If you get an offer, the agency might request official ones- no need to go all out just for an application. In my case, I have just used my school’s web portal showing I finished my bachelors, a pdf of the webpage showing I was at an NYU grad program (that I never finished), and my law school grades and schedule of what classes are in progress.
- A writing sample. Find your best piece of legal writing and upload it.
- **For the Veterans** Upload a PDF of your DD-214 and a VA disability letter (I can show you how to get those things instantly on the internet.)
- Now you are ready to start hunting for jobs…
Interpreting the job posting:
Alright! If everything checks out, scroll back up and click APPLY ONLINE!
You will be directed to a new page. The next process is the last process and, arguably, the worst process. It varies from agency to agency. Generally, you will begin by verifying your demographic information: social security number, name, address, preferences. Then you get to the good stuff; a slew of tedious and redundant questions that evaluate if you’re qualified for the position. Answer honestly! They are somewhat multiple choice. Example: What is your experience giving oral presentations? A) I have studied this but never actually done it. B) I have done this on some occasions under supervision. C) I have given presentations frequently without supervision. D) I am an expert at giving presentations and have given presentations to upper-level management. Select one and continue. This will go on for a while, sometimes. The questions quantitatively evaluate your experience and qualifications.
You will get to a final page that asks what supporting documents you would like to upload in order to substantiate your application. Just check the boxes and continue! See why uploading everything first is key?! ;)
You get to review all of your answers and then submit your application.
Eventually you will get an email with a score that shows how you’ve been rated, if you’ve been referred to a selecting official, if you have been found unqualified/not selected/ineligible, or if your application was incomplete and you missed the boat.
Any questions?! Shoot me an email J