USAJobs a good Web source for job hunters, but not all openings are listed

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Derrick T. Dortch, president of the Diversa Group, is a career counselor who specializes in government job searches and military transition. This is adapted from a recent chat at washingtonpost.com.

USAJobs: Maybe someday USAJobs will be the one-stop government job site, but for now it sure isn't. My son is job hunting and has found that USAJobs may have the basics, but seekers still have to go to each department or agency's Web site to do the actual application. Plus, the qualifications and other specifics are often different on USAJobs compared with the individual sites, plus applicants have to re-enter basic info each time. This is hardly helpful, and when he calls the agency or department with questions, he gets different answers again! I am a 30-year fed, so am more used to the craziness, but for a new person, it is terribly frustrating.

Derrick Dortch: Your comment is an accurate one. USAJobs is a good site and has many government jobs, but everyone has to remember that it does not have all the government jobs. Agencies deemed "competitive service" agencies are usually required to post openings on USAJobs. Agencies classified as "excepted service" do not follow the same rules, and they can make exceptions regarding where they post jobs and how they hire. These agencies will often put their postings on their own Web sites or elsewhere. A prime example is the CIA. The CIA has a number of positions, but if you look on USAJobs you will never see a CIA position listed.

I always advise my clients to do a targeted search of agencies that they are interested in working for. Then monitor those agencies' job sections.

Let me suggest a few Web sites, in addition to USAJobs:

-- AvueCentral Federal agencies contract with Avue to post jobs and utilize their application technology.

-- Indeed This and other meta-search job engines will search the Web and grab federal positions (competitive or excepted service) as well as positions with government contractors and other sectors.

-- USA.gov There are good listings of competitive and excepted service agencies.

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