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Finding right opportunities on USAJobs can be challenging

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By KATIE LANGE

Many people want to apply for a job at the Defense Department or other government agencies, but finding the right job opportunities on USAJobs.gov can be challenging.

The federal jobs site made some updates this past spring, revamping the page a bit. Here are some of those changes, as well as a few good things to know about the site and how it works.

First Thing’s First: What Is USAJobs?

If you’ve never used USA Jobs before, it’s the federal government’s job application website. It’s been around since 1996 and has come a long way in 20 years. It’s run by the Office of Personnel Management, and if you’re job searching, it’s definitely worth a look for any career. OPM said more than 14,000 federal job opportunities are available every day, 1 billion searches are conducted a year and about 22 million applications are started in that time frame.

What’s New?

Users can be notified about new opportunities that match what they’re looking for. After putting in a search, just click the button that said “save this search” above the options that pop up. You can choose whether you want to be notified about new positions in that field daily, weekly or even monthly.

For those of you who have been on the site and have already saved searches, if you saved it before April 8, it’s since been moved to the archives. But you can unarchive them. In your profile, click “saved searches,” and you’ll see two tabs: active and archived. Click archived. When you see the job you want to unarchive, simply click “unarchive.” It’ll move that job back to active.

If you still want to get notifications about those saved searches, you have to keep them unarchived.

USAJobs added more features over the past year that can help make your search more strategic. One of those features is a new search engine that’s more reliable. That’s in part due to the new filtering options that you’ll see on the right side of the search page. You can filter by the distance of jobs to your location, by pay or department, whether you want full- or part-time work, what your general schedule level is, etc.

The site did remove a few old filters and added some new ones, so if you’re moving an archived search back to saved, check the filters again to make sure you’re getting the results you want.

Subscribe to ‘USAJOBS’ YouTube page.

Did you know there’s a USAJobs YouTube page with videos on tips and tricks to applying for jobs? Well, there is, and it
offers lots
of informational videos,
like this one
about what
happens to
your resume after it’s been sent to a hiring
official:

Know what the site’s terms mean.

OK, so you’ve applied for a job, and now you’re waiting to hear back from the agency. While you’re waiting, the agency may update your application status to “reviewed.” But that doesn’t always happen – they’re not required to do that.

After all of the applications are reviewed, the hiring folks will send the most qualified applications on to hiring officials. If yours gets picked to go forward, your status will update to “referred.”

For everyone else who’s not being considered, your status will change to “not referred.”

If you did get referred and made it to an interview, one of two things will happen. You’ll be contacted by the hiring agency to start the job offer process, or your USAJobs application page will be updated to “not selected.”

What is veterans’ preference, and how does it work?

If you’re new to applying for federal jobs and have never been in the military, veterans’ preference is a thing with which you will contend. Veterans’ preference is pretty much what it sounds like—it gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over many other job applicants. However, it does not guarantee veterans a job.

Notice I said “eligible
veterans” above? That’s where it gets confusing.
But for more on that, I’ll just refer you to the website FedsHireVets.gov. It’s got
all you need to know about that.

Read The Site’s Frequently Asked Questions

If you have more questions about USAJOBS.gov or its terms, you can always check out their FAQ page.