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How does the application process work?

This is a quick summary of how the federal application process works when you use USAJOBS to apply for positions.

1. Create a USAJOBS account

First, you need to create an account and complete your profile to apply to any job on USAJOBS. With a USAJOBS account and profile you can:

  • Save jobs you’re interested in.
  • Save and automate job searches.
  • Upload resumes or create one using our resume builder.
  • Upload and save required documents.
  • Apply to any job announcement on USAJOBS.
  • Have a more personalized experience.

2. Search for jobs

Once you create your account, you can search for jobs.

It’s best to sign into your account before doing a search. Why? Because, we can use your profile information to improve your job search results.

Start your job search by typing in a keyword or location. You can narrow your results by salary, work schedule, agency and more. Learn how to search for jobs.

After you’ve entered your search criteria, let us do the searching for you. When you save a search, we’ll automatically look for jobs that match what you’re looking for and can email you, daily, weekly or monthly with those jobs. Learn how to save a search.

3. Review job announcement

Once you find a job you’re interested in, review the announcement to find out if you’re eligible and meet the qualifications. Read the entire job announcement before starting your application—for each job there are specific qualifications you must meet and include in your application.

  • Read the Who May Apply section to see if you’re eligible to apply for the position.
  • Read the Qualifications section to see if you meet the qualifications of the position. Understand the job announcement.

If you have questions about the job, contact the agency representative listed at the bottom of the announcement.

4. Prepare your application in USAJOBS

Read the How to Apply section of the job announcement before starting your application. When you’re ready to apply, we’ll walk you through a five-step process to prepare your application, including attaching a resume and required documents. During the process you can review, edit, delete and update your information. We’ll automatically save your progress as you go, so you won’t lose any changes. Learn how to create an application.

5. Submit application to agency

Once your application is ready, you’ll be sent from USAJOBS to the agency application system. You may need to complete other agency-required steps such as:

  • Providing more personal information.
  • Providing more documentation.
  • Answering eligibility questions.
  • Completing an occupational questionnaire – look for a preview of the questions under the Required documents section.

The time it takes to submit an application depends on the job you’re applying for and the agency’s requirements.

After you submit your application, go back to the Application section of your USAJOBS account and make sure the hiring agency received your application. Your application status will say Received if the application went through.

How long will it take to receive an updated status?

It may take a few hours after you complete your application for the agency to update your application status. You may also receive an email confirmation from the agency application system, but not all agencies send email confirmations.

6. Agency reviews application

Once the job announcement is closed, the hiring agency will review your application to make sure you’re eligible and meet the job qualifications. The hiring agency will place applicants into quality categories:

  • Minimum qualified
  • Highest qualified

The hiring agency may update your application status to Reviewed, but not all agencies provide this status.

After all applications are reviewed, the hiring agency will send the highest qualified applicants to the hiring official—these applicants will see a Referred status in their application status. All other applicants (not being considered) will see a Not Referred status.

7. Interview

The hiring official will review applications and decide who to interview based on agency policy. Hiring officials can interview applicants using:

  • A panel
  • In-person
  • Video
  • Phone

The agency will contact applicants directly to schedule interviews.

How long will it take to schedule an interview?

It may take some time to schedule interviews, depending on the number of applicants being interviewed.

8. Selection

After interviewing applicants, the hiring agency will select a candidate(s) and contact him or her to start the job offer process. The hiring agency will notify applicants who were not selected by updating their application status to Not Selected.

9. Job offer

The hiring agency will extend a tentative job offer contingent upon passing a background investigation. The background investigation will begin when the tentative offer is accepted. Additional security checks may be needed for a higher-level clearance.

When is the job offer final?

The job offer is final when the background investigation and any additional security checks are successfully completed. The hiring agency will contact the candidate(s) directly to set up a start date.

  • Contact us

    Please use the form below to contact us. We will get back to you within one business day. Your interest and patience are appreciated.

    The USAJOBS Support Desk is available Monday through Friday, 7am – 8pm EST; Saturday and Sunday, 8am – 4pm EST (excluding federal holidays). USAJOBS does not provide direct phone support. The form below will allow you to send an email to the Help Desk where you can request assistance by phone or email.

    All fields are required unless otherwise noted

    Please provide your phone number in case your issue cannot be resolved via email.

    Please do not include your Social Security Number.

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