Master the New USAJOBS
Chris McConnell | GovCentral
Search for a job has never been easier now with USAJOBS. If you are unfamiliar with the job titles used in the federal government, it may be a little disconcerting to just put in a search for say an Inspector in Boise, ID and see no results. It might be easier to start browsing for jobs first to get a grasp of what federal agencies are hiring and in which states.
After searching around for a bit, I was surprised by how much easier it was to move around the website to find job vacancies. Opening up a vacancy announcement also showed that OPM took it seriously in trying to simplify the process as much as possible. There is a much more uniform layout for information about duties, qualifications, benefits, and how to apply. On the right side of every vacancy announcement is also information to where you can mail in your application (if you choose not to send it electronically) as well as point of contact to ask questions about a specific job. This was a huge gripe for many job seekers. Tip of the hat to OPM for making it easier to talk to a human being about a job.
USAJOBS has tried to make it easier to actually apply for a job, but there are still quirks depending on federal agency you are applying for. It is vital that you follow the instructions very closely once USAJOBS takes you to finish you application at a federal agency website.
Not much has changed in the steps necessary to apply for a federal job, but the process itself is a test to see how well a potential employee can follow directions. Is it easier than before? Yes. Is it still a pain? Yes. But there is a bright side.
Before, if you applied for a position through USAJOBS, an application was sent into the bureaucratic ether of Application-stan, hopefully arriving to its destination before the Resume Yak decided to die.
Thankfully, OPM addresses this frustration with their Application Status dashboard which lays out which jobs you have applied for through USAJOBS and where they are in the process.
Federal agencies are in much better communication with USAJOBS.gov in providing updates towards the application process. The steps necessary to fill a federal job are still methodically arduous, OPM has done a good job of updating people along the way.
Overall, USAJOBS.gov is a much improved experience for job seekers to learn, search, and apply for a federal job. While there are still some steps necessary to streamline the steps of the application process, we are confident that OPM will rise to the challenge and continue to improve the experience.