Identify positions for which you are interested
All jobs that are available are advertised and posted on www.usajobs.gov
All vacancies include a full-text announcement and tons of legal and procedural information
Review the Federal vacancy announcements and study the position requirements
Identify the types of positions that interest you most and for which you are most qualified
Read all directions for the vacancy announcement
Pay close attention to the section that addresses qualification requirements
The reviewer will be looking for your qualifications inside your application package
Address the qualifications (KSAs or Selective Factors) on a separate sheet of paper
Make it easy for the reviewer to find the necessary qualifications for the position
Address the qualifications separately by highlighting them in your application
Address all requested information needed on the application
Include all supplemental forms and documents including: country of citizenship, Veterans' preference entitlement, reinstatement eligibility, etc.
Forms and documents may include: college transcripts, verification of Veterans' preference, and SF-50 - Notification of Personnel Action. Other documents may include certifications depending on the position.
Most agencies will accept applications in the form of a resume or curriculum vitae
If you choose to use a resume or curriculum vitae, make sure you provide all requested information in your application
For the Federal application process, a typical resume or curriculum vitae will not be sufficient. You will need to supplement the resume or curriculum vitae with additional information as outlined in the vacancy announcement.
Some agencies use an online application process
Once you have determined the qualifications for the position, it is your responsibility to ensure your application includes the information that addresses the qualifications
Read the entire vacancy announcement because it will tell you exactly what needs to be covered in your application
Review the vacancy announcement and your application to ensure that you have completed it fully and have complied
For more information, you can print a copy of the OPM publication, applying for a Federal Job at www.opm.gov. This publication outlines the basic information that is needed when applying for Federal positions.
Your application should be thorough, provide enough detail and should clearly depict your experience, education, and other qualifications
Avoid using flowery language and verbose descriptions, as well as agency or company specific terminology
Give enough information for the reviewer to understand what your experience is
Use action verbs to describe your experience and briefly explain what you really did
Don't over-inflate your experience, education, or qualifications. You will be certifying the accuracy of information provided. Providing false or fraudulent information may be grounds for not hiring you or for firing you after you begin working. It may also be punishable by fine or imprisonment.
Keep in mind that you are making a first impression with the application. Submit your application in typewritten form, not in handwriting.
Don't attach lengthy documents (for example, your previous job descriptions) to document your experience. Describe what you did—not what was expected in your previous job. If you need extra space, include the response on plain paper.
You should keep in mind that at least two individuals will be reviewing your application—the Human Resources Specialist when determining whether you meet the qualifications and the Selecting Official when determining who to interview and select for the position
Keep your application easy to read will help the reviewers to do their job better. If your application is wordy, messy, and too thick, it will be a detriment to you in the process.
You should describe your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments by being brief and to the point; leave white space in your application; and highlight key points using bold or by underlining
Remember, this application will be your first impression—if it is messy or unprofessional you may send a message that your work habits are messy or unprofessional
After you prepare your application, you should review it closely against the specific vacancy announcement for which you are applying to be sure that you have covered everything that has been requested
Proofread your application, check for typographical and grammatical errors, and correct before sending
Make sure that you have attached all forms being requested, i.e. college transcripts, documents to verify Veterans' preference, etc. Your failure to submit these documents could mean being excluded from consideration.
Modify the basic application for different types of Federal positions. Each vacancy announcement covers a different type of work. Make sure that your application showcases the ways you fit the requirements of the job you want.
Using the same application over and over for differing positions can hurt you in the review process. You may forget to address an important job requirement if you neglect to compare your application package with the requirements in each vacancy announcement.
If you choose to use a basic application, make your responses to specific qualification requirements equally specific by linking them to the relevant periods of your past employment and education.