How to Apply for a Federal Civil Service Job


The federal government employed 2,859,274 civil service employees in May of 2009, excluding personnel at some national security and intelligence agencies, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Federal civil service jobs include positions in the three branches of United States government with the exception of the military services. Civil service positions include the Competitive Service, the Excepted Service and the Senior Executive Service. USA Jobs is the federal government portal for searching and applying for federal jobs.

  • Learn the USA Jobs system. USA Jobs provides tutorials on its website to help job applicants learn how to create accounts, upload and save documents, read job announcements and create saved job searches.

  • Create a USA Jobs Account. Users are asked to provide contact and other information. The system allows users to create and save up to five resumes and to upload and save documents such as cover letters. The account allows users to save job announcements and manage applications.

  • Create and save an automatic search which will notify you of jobs that match your criteria. Perform a job search, identify jobs that are good matches and read the job announcements. Review thoroughly the "Qualifications and Evaluations" and the “How To Apply” sections of each announcement.

  • Apply for jobs by submitting a resume, completing required assessments, providing additional information such as transcripts and submitting additional forms provided during the process. Ensure that all information has been provided and each step in the process completed. Continue to apply for jobs that become available. Use your USA Jobs account to track your applications before and after the closing dates.

Tips & Warnings

  • USA Jobs recommends that applicants print out job opportunity announcements for which they have applied. Some agencies use an internal application system and will provide instructions to applicants who access their job announcements via USA Jobs.
  • Many agencies require completion of several steps, and positions may require the submission of several documents. Incomplete applications are rejected.

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