USAJOBS.gov is the website where you search and apply for jobs in the US Federal Government. If you’re unfamiliar with USAJOBS or the application process… well, it’s not always user friendly. USAJOBS is notorious for being frustrating and complicated. This article will explore several common myths about USAJOBS and help you get started on the right foot on your application.
The government is the number one employer in the United States employing around 2 Million people. For context, the 2nd largest employer in the US is Walmart employing around 1.4 Million people. If you applied for a federal job and were disqualified, don’t lose faith, 2 Million people have been hired and you can too. USAJOBS.gov is not evil, it’s simply misunderstood.
It’s probably your resume.
If you’ve been beating your head up against the wall while trying to get into the federal workforce, you’re not alone. Many clients at Begin Within have us professionally write their federal resume so they can “get through the system” when applying on USAJOBS. Nine times out of 10, they come to us frustrated, “I’ve done this job for the past 3 years, and they’re telling me I’m not qualified… I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”
Apply for jobs you’re qualified for.
If you look at a job and think, “Oh, I could do that job!” You are likely not qualified. The announcement will say something like, “You need 1 year, or 52-weeks of specialized experience doing X, Y and Z in order to be qualified for this position.” You confidently need to be able to say, “Yeah, I’ve done that.” and then be able to write an accomplishment about the skill in your resume. If you have to stretch your experience to barely meet the criteria, you are wasting your time and should focus your energy on other positions.
Read the instructions.
I’m telling you 90% of the frustrated federal jobseekers I serve get rejected for forgetting something important on their resume. It seems obvious to read the instructions, but a lot of people don’t do it. One small example, most federal resumes require dates to be listed in Month/Year format and several agencies even require Month/Day/Year format. How do many people write their private sector resumes? In Year – Year format. This technicality has disqualified COUNTLESS federal job applicants because they didn’t follow the basic instructions outlined in the job description.
Every job announcement it different and asks for different competencies and specialized experience. The government can’t “assume” based on your job title the tasks you completed at your job. If you are a Public Relations Specialist at your current job, the government cannot assume that you write press releases based on the job title alone, you need to spell it out for them to get credit for your experience.
Try it out.
If you’re interested in working for the government, I encourage you to create a USAJOBS login and build your account. Contrary to popular belief, most federal jobs are NOT located in Washington, D.C. so search for jobs in the region where you want to work and explore the options available to you. Prepare your resume and send a few test job applications out expecting to be rejected for some of the applications.
USAJOBS is NOT Evil – it’s simply misunderstood.