One of the first steps to finding a government job is to log on to USA-JOBS, the automated Web-based recruitment system that allows government job seekers to apply for positions online ( You have to apply for a USAJOBS vacancy and wait to be contacted via e-mail, as there are so many applicants vying for a finite number of jobs.

Before you register, you should familiarize yourself with the USAJOBS service and review the FAQ and “How to Apply” sections. When you register, make sure you save your registration information in a safe location. You will be using this information to re-enter the system. If you cannot remember or have lost your registration (user ID, e-mail address or password), do not re-register. Just follow the instructions under the “forgotten password” section.

You will set up your e-mail notification preferences during the registration process, and USAJOBS will notify you of available vacancies based on your preferences.

You should prepare your resume in advance using word-processing software such as Microsoft Word, then copy and paste your resume in the appropriate space during the registration process. You can edit or update your resume at any time. To edit your resume, log in using your ID and password and select the “Edit My Registration Profile” option.

USAJOBS forwards your resume to the appropriate human resources office immediately upon the closing date of the vacancy announcement for which you applied.

You can use the resume check-length button to make sure that you do not exceed the maximum space requirement of 16,000 characters, including spaces. This corresponds to about eight single-spaced pages of text.

During the application process, make sure that you prepare your responses to questions that require long answers using word-processing software in advance. Then copy and paste responses in the appropriate place in the job application. Use the “check length” button to avoid error messages.


All government jobs open to the public are announced on the Office of Personnel Management's USAJOBS Web site. You can register for e-mail notifications at

It is advisable that you set aside a minimum of forty-five minutes to an hour of uninterrupted time to apply for jobs. Do not wait until the last minute to begin the process. All vacancies close at 11:59 P.M. EST on the closing date of the announcement. If you cannot finish the session, get interrupted, or want to save work you have completed, go to the end of the job application questions and click on “Finish” to save the information you have provided so far. Any questions marked with a red asterisk are required in order to finish. You can return any time and edit your responses as long as the vacancy announcement has not closed. Always select the option to have your application e-mailed back to you when you have finished. Save this copy for confirmation purposes.

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