Are you considering applying for a federal job but not totally confident about using the USAJOBS automated application system? Kathy Troutman, a leading federal jobs expert, spoke to AOL Jobs to debunk the myths about the process so you can get started applying for federal jobs right away.
1. USAJOBS resumes are scanned for keywords by an automated system.
USAJOBS federal resumes are scanned by real people, Human Resources specialists, who actually read the resumes. These HR specialists do read for keywords -- they either read the resumes on a screen or print them to review the hard copies. Based on their review, they determine who goes on the Best Qualified list and prepare the List of Certified Eligible Candidates for the supervisor in charge of hiring.
2. On USAJOBS announcements, the KSAs were eliminated as of Nov. 1, 2010 according to President Obama.
Most federal agency human capital officers are attempting to comply with the 11/1/10 executive initiative by President Obama, to eliminate the separate written narratives -- KSAs -- from initial applications. This is a recommendation, not a law.
So, you will still find the KSAs written in the vacancy announcement. There could be instructions to include examples or language in your resume, or it's possible that you may have to write them later if you are referred to a supervisor. Additionally, the KSA accomplishments will be critical for your structured interview with a federal agency. Good news: The long written KSA narratives will mostly be eliminated, but the short four- to six-line mini-KSAs are going to thrive with these accomplishments inside the federal resume.
3. Your Social Security number is not required to apply for jobs with USAJOBS.
It is required. The USAJOBS site is secure, so your personal information is protected. Only federal human resources specialists can access the resume database. You must submit your SSN in order to apply for a federal job at this time.
4. USAJOBS federal resumes and should be one or two pages maximum.
The average length of the USAJOBS federal resume is three to five pages. Federal resumes for experienced professionals will be five pages on average; student or recent graduate federal resumes average about three pages. Keep in mind that federal resumes must contain additional information in the Work Experience section to demonstrate that you have the specialized experience required for the job.
5. With USAJOBS, if you lose your password, you can set up a new account and start over.
You have to reset your password or user name. You can't set up a new account, because the system uses your SSN and you can only use your SSN once. So, you will have to reset the password if you forget it.
The Application Tracking page is very good. Not perfect, but good. And with President Obama's executive order, the HR specialists will be trying harder to give results of the application review process in a more timely way. Many job seekers don't realize that USAJOBS provides a tracking system to track the status of their applications.
7. If you set up your resume as searchable, someone from government will contact you about a federal job.
Unless you actually apply for a job, no one will search for your resume in the entire USAJOBS resume database. While there is a choice to make your resume searchable or unsearchable, the hiring managers and supervisors in government do not search for resumes in USAJOBS with keywords.
8. If the closing date on a USAJOBS announcement is less than one week, that means the job is wired for someone particular.
Since OPM and human resources specialists working for federal agencies are now receiving hundreds of applications, they are cutting back the closing dates, so that they do not receive too many applications. In fact, some closing dates can be as short as three days.