“The federal resume you submitted to USAJOBS will be electronically scanned for keywords to determine if you are qualified for the position.” You’ve heard that before, right? It is a common myth about the federal job application process – maybe the biggest one.
It is, simply, NOT TRUE. The resume you submit through the USAJOBS system is not electronically scanned for keywords. In reality, a trained professional – also known as a Federal Human Resources Specialist – reviews your resume and application materials to evaluate your qualifications.
The federal job application process is a mystery to many, but not to Human Resources Specialists. These professionals may review your resume and supporting materials as many as four (4) times during the progression from evaluation to selection. The following provides an overview as to when and why your resume may be reviewed.
First, when applying for a federal job you add your resume to USAJOBS either using the resume builder or uploading the associated file. You also upload other documents that are required by the announcement. Then you complete the applicationmanager.gov or other application system self-assessment questionnaire. When completed with the self-assessment, you submit the application package.
The following morning, the Human Resources Specialist receives a system-generated report providing the score for your questionnaire responses. This is an automated scoring system and the results are provided overnight. Your questionnaire answers, and resulting score, will determine where you fit into the Category Rating System. Once all the questionnaire scores are processed, the Human Resources Specialist reviews the resumes of qualified applicants with a score falling in the “Best Qualified” range, e.g. 90 – 100 (this range varies, depending on the Agency). Applicants whose score falls outside the range do not have their resumes reviewed further. NOTE: Human Resources Specialists possess and exercise the authority to adjust your score or remove your application from consideration if there is evidence that you inflated your questionnaire responses!
The Human Resources Specialist will review the resume to verify your eligibility to apply for the position and if you meet the minimum qualification requirements. If you meet the qualifying requirements, the Human Resources Specialist then determines if you possess Veterans’ Preference and/or if you may be considered non-competitively.
If your application package is deemed “Best Qualified” or “Qualified w/ Veterans’ Preference” your resume is again reviewed by a Human Resources Specialist to determine who will be referred to the selecting supervisor. If you are referred and are on the List of Certified Eligibles, then your resume will be on the desk of the supervisor. The supervisor will review your resume to determine if he/she wants to meet you for an interview.
If you have questions about your resume, questionnaire, your eligibility, or results, you can always write or call the Human Resources Specialist listed on the USAJOBS announcement.