USAJOBS Keyword Search Tips

Kyle Stone | GovCentral Editor (Source:

As mentioned in other articles, GovCentral’s Job Search technology now shows you job postings from the official government job database, USAJOBS.

If you’re not familiar with searching for jobs on USAJOBS, this document will give you some essential strategies for searching for the jobs you truly have interest in.

Basic Keyword Search

If you know a the title or description of a job you’re looking for, keyword searching is a good place to start. Keywords are words, phrases, and terms that you can enter to describe educational and professional experiences, skills, and company names.

Searching for different keywords will change the jobs presented to you in our job search database.

Here are some examples: programmer, truck driver, SAP, telecommunications, human resources, marketing, sales, cashier, manager, etc.

Searching by Government Series Number

Government jobs are indexed by an alphabetical list of series numbers used by the US government to organize the different types of jobs applicants are searching for.

If you know the series number of the job you are looking for, enter it into the keyword field on our Job Search:
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Multiple Keywords (AND)

When used between Keywords, AND connects multiple Keywords. Use AND when you are looking specifically for results that have both terms.

Using AND narrows your search results.

If you don’t separate your search words, AND is implied by default.

Either / Or Searches (OR)

When used between Keywords, OR retrieves results that contain either word surrounding it. Use OR when there is more than one word that describes the same term.

Using OR widens your search results.

Excluding a Keyword (AND NOT)

When used between keywords, AND NOT excludes the keyword or keyword phrase following it.

Use AND NOT to eliminate certain jobs from your search results.

Search by Exact Phrase (" ")

When used around keywords, quotes define an exact phrase. Use quotes around a phrase when you want to search for a specific phrase.

Using quotes narrows your search results.

Multiple Phrases ()

When used around keywords, parenthesis separate keyword phrases. Use parenthesis when searching for multiple phrases at the same time.

Using parenthesis typically narrows your Search Results.

Variations of a Keyword

Using * (Shift + 8) after a root word will bring back any results that contain a variation of that root word in the title or description.

Using *, known as the wildcard, widens your search results. Use wildcards when there are similar keywords that use the root word that would be an appropriate match.

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