How Federal Jobs are Filled
Many Federal agencies fill their jobs like private industry by
allowing applicants to contact the agency directly for job
information and application processing.
Most Federal agencies are responsible
for their own hiring actions. Resumes
are preferred when applying; however,
the Optional Application
for Federal Employment, OF 612,
is also accepted. Also, most
positions do not require a written
test. While the process is similar to
that in private industry, there are
differences due to the laws,
executive orders, and regulations
that govern Federal employment.
There are two classes of jobs in the
Competitive service jobs are subject to
the civil service laws passed by
Congress to ensure that applicants and
employees receive fair and equal
treatment in the hiring process. A
basic principle of Federal employment
is that all candidates must meet the
qualification requirements before they
hired into the position.
those in the competitive civil
those in the excepted service.
Excepted service agencies set their own
qualification requirements and are not
subject to the same Congressional laws;
however, they are subject to Veterans'
preference. Some Federal agencies such
as the Federal Bureau of Investigations
(FBI) and the Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) have only excepted service
positions. Other agencies may have both
types of positions.
Agencies are required to post their
competitive service positions on OPM's
USAJOBS system whenever they are
seeking applicants from the general
public and outside of their own agency.
Although agencies are not required to
post their excepted service positions
on USAJOBS, many do so they can get
additional applicants. Remember, an
agency is under no obligation to make a
selection. In some instances, an agency
may cancel the posting and choose to
re-announce the vacancy at a later
USAJOBS is the Federal Government's
official Employment Information System.
On USAJOBS, you can explore over 15,000
jobs on any given day; build and store
up to five resumes for applying to
Federal jobs; and access a wide-range
of information about Federal agencies
and different Federal employment
issues. USAJOBS is also accessible by
telephone at (703) 724-1850 or TDD
(978) 461-8404. The USAJOBS phone
system affords job seekers the same
access to job and employment
information as the website.
Most Federal agencies do their own
recruiting and hiring. Agencies post
their announcements on USAJOBS with all
of the instructions and procedures for
applying to that particular position.
Because agencies do their own hiring
and have different requirements,
procedures and information required are
often varied between agencies. All
agencies require the basic resume
information but it varies on how much
additional information is needed in
order for the agency to process your
application. Examples include
transcripts, forms, narrative
descriptions of competencies,
questionnaires, etc. It's recommended
that you follow the instructions very
carefully. Information not submitted
can result in your application not
Many announcements allow applicants to
apply online directly to the agency.
Using the online method, you decide
which resume to submit for that
particular job. Contact information at
the agency is also given in the
announcement. If you have questions,
call or email the contact person.
For additional information or if you
have questions about Federal employment
issues, please visit our FAQ section.
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