Applying for U.S. Government Jobs

Following these rules will help you get interviews

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Projecting to hire 193,000 new employees over the next two years, the U.S. government is a great place to look for a great career.

The federal government is the largest single employer in the united States, with almost 2 million civilian workers. About 1.6 million are full-time permanent employees. Contrary to popular belief, five of six federal employees work outside the Washington, D.C. area, in locations across the U.S. and even abroad.

Federal employees work in 15 cabinet-level agencies; 20 large, independent agencies and 80 smaller agencies.

When you apply for a job in federal government, there are some specific instructions you need to follow in order to give your application best chance of winning an interview:

Applying for a Government Job

Once you have found the jobs you want to apply for, using tools like our interest-based Government Job Finder, be sure to follow the hiring agency's application instructions. You can apply for most federal jobs with a resume, the Optional Application for Federal Employment (form OF-612), or any other written format you choose. In addition, many agencies now offer automated, online job application processes.

If You Have a Disability 

Persons with disabilities can learn about alternate methods of applying for federal jobs by calling the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at 703-724-1850.

If you have a hearing disability, call TDD 978-461-8404. Both lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Selective Service Requirement

If you are a male over age 18 who was born after December 31, 1959, you must have registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption) to be eligible for a federal job.

What to Include with Your Application

Although the federal government does not require a standard application form for most jobs, they do need certain information to evaluate your qualifications and determine if you meet legal requirements for federal employment. If your resume or application does not provide all the information requested in the job vacancy announcement, you may lose consideration for the job. Help speed the selection process by keeping your resume or application brief and by sending only the requested material. Type or print clearly in dark ink.

In addition to specific information requested in the job vacancy announcement, your resume or application must contain:

  • The job announcement number, and title and grade(s) of the job you are applying for. All of this information will be listed in the job announcement.
  • Personal information:
    - Full name, mailing address (with ZIP Code) and day and evening phone numbers (with area code)
    - Social Security Number
    - Country of Citizenship (Most jobs require US citizenship.)
    - Veterans' preference information
    - Reinstatement eligibility (If requested, attach form SF 50.)
    - Highest Federal civilian job grade held, if any. (Also state job series and dates held.)
  • Education:
    - High School (School's name and address, Date of diploma or GED)
    - Colleges or universities (School's name and address, Majors, Type and year of degrees, or credits and hours earned.)

    - Send a copy of your transcript only if the job announcement calls for it.

  • Work experience:
    - Supply the following information for your paid and non-paid work experience related to the job you are applying for: (Do not include job descriptions.)

    Job title (include series and grade if federal job)
    Duties and accomplishments
    Employer's name and address
    Supervisor's name and phone number
    Starting and ending dates (month and year)
    Hours worked per week
    Highest salary earned

    - Indicate if the hiring agency may contact your current supervisor

  • Other Job-Related Qualifications

    - Job-related training courses (title and year)

    - Job-related skills, for example, other languages, computer software/hardware, tools, machinery, typing speed

    - Job-related certificates and licenses (current only)

    - Job-related honors, awards and special accomplishments, for example, publications, memberships in professional or honor societies, leadership activities, public speaking, and performance awards (include dates, but do not send copies of documents unless requested.)