Federal Job Search

The application process formally begins with a specific job vacancy announcement on the USAJOBS.gov website.

Once you find a job vacancy announcement that interests you, you'll want to act quickly to create or adapt your resume for the specific position. After you submit it, your application will be evaluated to see if you meet the basic qualifications for the position. It will also be ranked; those that are Best Qualified will be sent on to the hiring manager, who will then make a decision about who to interview. You may be called in quickly for an interview, so you need to be prepared by reading this step-by-step guide, and working with a Career Coach as soon as you find a job vacancy announcement.

This dictionary of terms is available for clarifying information on the Federal Job Search pages. Contact a Career Coach for additional information. (Note, the dictionary is not an official government document.)

Automatic Resume Scanners —
Computers programmed to read nouns that identify key skills; the TSA does not use this technology when reviewing resumes
Behavioral Interview —
Interview style in which candidates are asked about past experiences. Questions may start with something like, "Tell me about a time when?"
Best Qualified Candidate —
A candidate who ranks among the top when compared with other eligible candidates; earning "best qualified" does not guarantee an interview
Competencies —
The personal and professional attributes that are critical to successful performance
KSAs —
knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Keywords —
words, or short phrases, that describe skills and knowledge needed for a specific position; often found in a position announcement, particularly in the job description, duties, and self-assessment questionnaire.
Module —
Questions about a candidate's qualifications are divided up into Modules in the Vacancy Questionnaire; these can indicate key skills required for a position
Self-Assessment Questionnaire —
A part of the federal application process in which you rate your skill level on a number of job-related functions and then indicate where on your resume the reviewer can find supporting evidence. You can preview questions in the "How You Will Be Evaluated" section of the job announcement. The Modules and questions can provide insight into some of the skills that are important to include on your resume.
A technique that can help structure answers in a behavioral interview by reminding candidates to answer with a description of the Situation, Task, Action, and Result
Structured Interview —
Interview format where all candidates are asked the same questions to make the process fair for all