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Home > Careers > How to Apply

How to Apply for a Federal Position

You may apply for Federal positions by using OF-612, Optional Application for Federal Employment; SF-171, Application for Federal Employment (no longer available but still accepted); or a resume. If you submit a resume, it must include the employment and personal history information outlined in the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) flyer titled "Applying for a Federal Job" (OF-510).

View current vacancies:
GPO vacancy announcements may be found at our "Job Search" site.

What vacancies to look for:
Review the list of openings, decide which jobs you are interested in, and follow the instructions given in the individual announcement. Applicants who have never worked in the Federal Government should look for vacancy announcements that are open for "all U.S. citizens".

What you'll need:
We need certain information to evaluate your qualifications and determine if you meet legal requirements for Federal employment. Help speed the selection process by keeping your resume or application brief and to the point and by sending only the requested material. Type or print clearly in dark ink. Be sure to include the announcement number, title and grade(s) of the job for which you are applying. You must apply for a specific announcement.

Resumes must include the following:

  • Full name, mailing address (with zip code) and day and evening phone numbers with area code.
  • Social security number
  • Country of citizenship (most Federal jobs require United States citizenship).
  • Veteran's preference and supporting documentation (if applicable).
  • Reinstatement eligibility documentation if applicable (attach SF 50 proof of your career or career-conditional status).
  • Highest Federal civilian grade held (give job series and dates held).
  • Name, city and state of high school and date of diploma or GED.
  • Name, city and state of colleges and universities attended and list types and year of any degree received. (If no degree, show total credits earned and indicate whether semester or quarter hours.) Send a copy of your college transcript(s) only if the job vacancy announcement requests it.

Other Qualifications
Give the following information for your paid and nonpaid work experience (do not send 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 per week, and Salary

  • Indicate if we may contact your current supervisor.
  • Job-related training courses (title and year)
  • Job-related skills, for example, other languages, computer software/hardware, tools, typing speed.

Work Experience

  • 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. (Give dates but do not send documents unless requested.)
  • Address the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed in the vacancy announcement. Submit a separate narrative addressing each knowledge, skill and ability statement (one per page) as part of your application package.

Additional information:

Veterans Preference

Individuals who have served in the military may be entitled to additional consideration. If you are a veteran, please attach a copy of your mot recent DD-214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty" or letter from the Veterans Administration documenting your military service.

To claim 5-point veterans' preference, attach a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other proof of eligibility.

To claim 10-point veterans' preference, attach an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, plus the proof required by that form.

For more specific information about your veteran's preference and eligibility, please visit


You must be a United States citizen to be considered for Federal employment.

Selective Service

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.

Suitability for employment

Before hiring, an agency will ask you to complete a "Declaration for Federal Employment" to determine your suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation. The agency will also ask you to sign and certify the accuracy of all the information in your application.

If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be fired after you begin work; or you may be fined or jailed.

For more information, check out OPM's set of Frequently Asked Questions

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