Working for the federal government can offer a range of benefits, including job security, a guaranteed pension and health insurance..
If you're looking for civil service work with federal agencies, a great way to jump-start your job search may be USAJobs, a job search site where federal agencies list hundreds of open governmental roles.
In this review, we’ll discuss the benefits and potential downsides of using USAJobs, as well as evaluate the site’s accessibility and overall user satisfaction.
Best for government positions
USAJobs is the official job site of the U.S. government, and the main tool federal agencies use to find employees. It’s managed by the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is in charge of overseeing the hiring and management of the federal workforce.
The site shows vacant positions within the Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education and more. There are plenty of job descriptions that may match your profile, and you can narrow down your search by keyword, locations, job category, agency and salary range.
Keep in mind that all federal job postings must be listed on USAJobs. If you do come across a federal job listing in a different site, make sure you’re redirected to the correct site (USAJobs.gov) to complete the application.
USAJobs pros and cons
- Lists a wide variety of federal jobs across several agencies
- Lets you set up customized job alerts
- Job postings include salary ranges
- Provides access to a resume builder
- Only offers access to federal positions
Best place for federal government jobs
Because USAJobs is the hub for federal jobs, it’s an essential stop if you’re searching for civil service. It has, on average, around 1,130 new postings every day, and usually around 23,000 open jobs at any time.
While many online reviewers say that the application process is time-consuming, you can fill out your forms over time since the site saves unfinished job applications as drafts. You can also create a profile using your personal information, work history, education and more to speed up the application process and review ones you’ve already submitted.
Multiple hiring paths
The site offers positions in several hiring paths, which include jobs that are open to the general public and others that are reserved for current or former civil servants. You can narrow down your search by choosing between these hiring paths:
- Public applicants: U.S. citizens, nationals or eligible non-citizens for certain roles
- Federal employees: Current or former federal employees
- Veterans: Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Military spouses: Military spouses relocating under PCS orders, or those whose spouse died or became disabled while on active duty
- National Guard and reserves: Current or prospective members or transitioning military members
- Students and recent graduates: Those enrolled in an accredited educational program or graduates of these programs
- Senior executives: Those looking for an executive-level job and who meet the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs)
- Individuals with disabilities: These individuals may be eligible for an expedited hiring process called Schedule A if they provide a proof of a disability.
- Family of overseas employees: Family members of a federal employee or uniformed service member who is, or was, working overseas
- Native Americans: Native Americans or Alaskan Natives with a tribal affiliation
- Peace Corps & AmeriCorps VISTA: Individuals who have served at least 2 years with the Peace Corps or 1 year with AmeriCorps VISTA
- Special authorities: Individuals who are former employees of the Canal Zone Merit System, White House and more.
Set up alerts for specific job searches
Besides searching for job announcements manually, you can get email notifications for new listings based on saved search criteria. This ensures that you are aware of new USAJobs opportunities and get alerted for any new job listings you might be right for.
Public salary ranges
Listings on other job sites might not disclose a salary target or range, and you may have to wait until an interview takes place to inquire about the expected pay. However, because federal positions are associated with a specific federal pay grade, listings through USAJobs state exactly the range of salary you can expect for any job that catches your eye.
Rigid resume format requirements
In general, you can expect the federal hiring process to be lengthier than for a non-governmental job.
Some online reviewers have described the USAJobs application format as needlessly rigid, as you need to adhere to strict application requirements regarding formatting and content. For instance, to include information about your relevant experience that pertains to the job, you may need to write a resume that's around five pages long.
In addition to your education and previous experience, you should also include personal information such as your citizenship status, military experience and any relevant courses or training programs.
Only for federal jobs
While USAjobs is the hub for all federal job vacancies, most people looking for work aren’t restricting their searches to just federal positions. That means that if you're applying to jobs in multiple sectors, you'll have to use USAJobs as well as other job search sites.
Additionally, if you're interested in public sector roles at the local or state level, you will also have to search on the corresponding government's site. For example, if you are looking for governmental positions in California, you'll have to search separately on the state’s career page.
USAJobs plans and offerings
USAJobs doesn't have different plan tiers since the service is completely free. Simply create a profile, to start applying or saving jobs you're interested in. You can also automate your search criteria to filter out positions that are relevant to your interests and experience and manage your applications, resumes and required documents within your profile.
USAJobs is accessible online from anywhere in the world. However, only U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and some eligible non-citizens (depending on the position) can apply for jobs through the site.
USAJobs doesn’t offer phone support or a live chat option. For follow-up purposes, candidates should try contacting the bureau or agency to which they have applied. Each agency or bureau has its own hiring department, requirements and practices, so your experiences may vary with each application.
If you're experiencing technical difficulties, , you can browse the site’s Help Center for FAQs and other support documentation. If you still need additional help, each FAQ page has a form you can fill out to request assistance.. Most users can expect an email response within one business day or request to be contacted by phone.
In terms of usability, USAJobs follows federal accessibility guidelines and ensures its website design is compliant with regulations to accommodate users with disabilities.
However, USAJobs’s user experience is somewhat negative, but this is due to its time-consuming and bureaucratic application process. Many people report putting a lot of effort into their applications and profiles without ever receiving any response from the agencies they've applied to.
USAJobs Job Search Sites Customer Satisfaction
The majority of reviews for USAJobs are negative, as many users complain about the demanding application process and unrealistic job requirements. Many reviewers also mention that hiring departments may ask candidates to repeat information that's already been mentioned in their application or profile.
However, positive reviews mention that the site is easy to use and that recent updates make the application process more streamlined. Some reviewers mention that the site's resources for navigating the site and applying for jobs are helpful.
Does USAJobs really work?
How long does it take to review applications on USAJobs?
How we evaluated USAJobs
To assess USAJobs, we considered the range of positions available and applicant eligibility requirements. We also looked into features such as job alerts and email updates, site accessibility and contact information. Additionally, we went over online user reviews and considered their overall experience with the application process.
Summary of Money's USAJobs job search site review
USAJobs is a useful resource for those who want to find federal government work. The site offers detailed and transparent job listing and has features that are designed to streamline your job search.However, with a time-consuming application process that's limited only to federal jobs, some may find relying on USAJobs tedious.
If you want to know about other great options to use as you look for a position that suits your interests and experience, check out our review of the best job search sites.