I taught 9 classes in Bahrain to US Navy Sailors a few weeks ago. We discovered these 9 major problems with applying for a federal job online over and over again! If you have other problems with the automated application systems, please write comments here. I will forward your suggestions to our USAJOBS point of contact. I gave this problem list to my OPM Automated Recruitment contact. Maybe there will be a change !!!


USAJOBS.GOV and Applicationmanager.gov – Both require user name, password and duplicate profile.

Profile Questions are complex, and difficult to understand for job seekers. It was surprising to our first-time applicants that both systems required complex user name and password (shockingly not the same) and repetitive profile questions.


In the USAJOBS Profile Section – Hiring Eligibility – SURPRISE !!! Veterans need to check this!

4. Please select the statement below which best reflects your Federal employment status (if applicable).


I am not and have never been a Federal employee.
I am currently a Federal employee.
I am a former Federal employee with reinstatement eligibility.
I am a former Federal employee but do not have reinstatement eligibility.

FAQ: As veteran of the U.S. military, should I click “yes” in the “Applicant Eligibility” box even though I am not a current or former Federal employee?

Yes. In general, if you are preference eligible or have served at least 3 years of continuous active duty in the Armed Forces, you should click “yes” in the “Applicant Eligibility” box. You may apply for jobs that are open to U.S. citizens as well as jobs that are open to current and former Federal employees.


2. What type of work are you willing to accept?

Tip: Be sure to check off at least – Permanent, Temporary and Term in your Profile!

Presidential Management Fellows
Recent Graduates


Notification Settings

Notification Alerts enable you to stay informed of changes to your application status. Be sure to check these off, if you want to get emails from OPM on the status of your applications!

Select the items that you would like to be notified of via email. You may edit your preferences and unsubscribe at any time.

When jobs I have applied to have closed.

When jobs I have saved are scheduled to close in three days.

When the status of an application I’ve submitted changes.

5. The Upload Problem! Beware, it doesn’t always forward to the questionnaire system. Recommendation: Use the Resume Builder !


You have created 4 of 5 possible resumes. You are able to upload and store 5 resumes to your My USAJOBS account.

Note: Uploaded resumes may not be accepted by some agencies’ online application processes.


Why can’t all resumes be searchable?

I wish that all of the 5 resumes would be searchable. That is if a federal manager or HR specialist really did search USAJOBS. We don’t know this, but if they did, I would like all 5 of the resumes to be searchable.

Status: Not searchable
Make Searchable

7. &&& Problem

This is a very stupid and annoying problem. It takes a lot of time to find and delete the &&& from Work Experience and Additional Information. I mean, what about Profit & Loss?

8. Double Work, Burdensome with applicationmanager.gov !!


Repeat of User Name and Password setup

Repeat of Bibliographic Info and more typing

Repeat of Profile Questions

Repeat of Eligibility Questions

Social Security Number Required – a surprise!

9. Personnel, Profile and Job-Related Assessment Questions are Burdensome

Practice your application! I recommend that you actually apply for a position ahead of time, so you can get familiar with the questionnaire, profile and document uploads.

Write here with your worst USAJOBS application problems. Share the pain. Maybe change can occur, if OPM can listen to our problems!

Kathryn Troutman, Federal Career Coach(r), Author, Federal Resume Guidebook and President, www.resume-place.com.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Carol Davison

Kathryn, if you tell the USAJOBS contact that we will get back with us regarding how these issues were resolved it may influence them to do so.

Terry Gonda

We’re seeing exactly what I suspected we’re seeing. In the self assessment, if you don’t answer that you’re an expert in all the categories, you don’t get through the to the interview process. It was wishful thinking and not an understanding of human nature that allowed that to go through. In the period of one month, the assessment questionairre is now simply a formality. We’re watching good people who answered honestly and got a 98% on the assessment and did not get through to interviews. A quick sanity check revealed that they would have scored high in the large pool of candidates that did get through. There will be no accountability for overinflating the scores.

Karen Miles

I know exactly what you mean! To me, it is important to be honest on the questionnaire. But I know if there are a couple of questions for which I wouldn’t rate myself as an expert in the field, there is an excellent chance I won’t even be considered. That is upsetting since I’ve always been able to excel in whatever challenges I face. For example when I first began working as a CDC fellow at NIOSH, I found that one of the projects I was in charge of was going to require OMB approval. Needless to say, I had never been through that process before and there wasn’t anybody in my office who had done it before. But I was able to get that approval before my study began. But, hypothetically, if there was a question for which one needed to rate one’s self as to one’s ability to getting OMB approval, I couldn’t rate myself as an expert even though I was successful.

Perhaps there needs to be examples about what they are looking for in these levels of experience.

I’m also Schedule A eligible but have found it difficult to reach some of the agency representatives listed.

M Abbott

Same issue with Schedule A . But its a moot point really. Schedule A does you no good whatsoever anyway-a hiring manager “can” not “shall” hire from schedule A..and I can tell you many hiring managers in the Fed Govt see schedule A applicants as potential problems-most people, to have the best chance of being hired, dont advertise a schedule A status or disability-all your doing is identifying yourself as a potential accommodation issue for them…Your basically self identifying as disabled but nothing in schedule A gives you any advantage over other applicants.. The only time self identifying a disability works in your favor is a service connected disabled veteran..Not to mention the schedule A rules are looking for “targeted disabilities” IE: severe mobility impaired(think wheelchair bound) amputees, blind, deaf, …its this way to cull the thousands of apps of folks who while they may have a disability dont have a “targeted” think very severe, disability..one hiring manager told me that a full 1/3 of the apps they receive claim a schedule A disability , but very few meet the “targeted ” threshold. If you do, just keep in mind there are advantages and disadvantages..the only time I have experienced a advantage was in a job that actively REQUIRED a schedule A appointment and they are few and far between. Even then a Disabled Vet is likely to trump any schedule A applicant. The schedule A reps as you mention are useless. Im retired now but if I ever went to work for the feds again Id never disclose a Schedule A situation, it hurts more than harms you in reality and practice no matter the theory.

Sherry Murphy

Regarding “Please select the statement below which best reflects your federal employment status
(if applicable).” you state “BE SURE TO CHECK OFF – I AM A CURRENT FEDERAL EMPLOYEE IF YOU ARE IN THE US MILITARY! “. I am retired from the military. Wouldn’t that change my response?


The application process is suspect at best. The qualification questionnaire is bogus – it almost asks you re type your resume in the open blocks. Why submit a resume if they ask you provide supporting evidence from the very resume that is attached. And key words – terminology varies from one agency to another. An Army guy may not use the wording desired by for an application to a US Customs job. The agencies are to blame – it appears these announcements are bogus – most of them already have someone lined for the job- but make the announcement just to make it appear it’s fair. It’s like spitting in the wind.

Joe Tory

usajobs is horrible – it strongly appears that they scrern applicants before the hiring authority does. I am positive they have made errors in numerous apps I gave sent in. I am a current Fed Employee Gs9 – applying for jobs in my city and I get that “outside the hiring area” or the common – not in the most qualified blah blah. I am an Instructor in my field- wtf!!!?? How is that possible???!! Why is it that these hiring agencies are not aware of the problems?? We are all aware of the problems? One could easily assume that not the best candidate was ever hired.

Kathryn Troutman

Joe, if you apply for a position that requires that you live in the Commuting area. And you checked off YES, I do live in the commuting area in the questionnaire, then this should not be a problem with the application. If it is, call the HR specialist who is managing the job announcement, or email them. And ask about this particular question and problem with your results.


I’ve been applying on-line all day for Vairous positions at companies that require an “Assessment” at the end…. I am blown away that for each and every single application that I spent hours filling out this very same thing happened – WHEN YOU CLICK ON START ASSESSMENT THE PAGE FREEZES AND YOU CANNOT CONTINUE. I’ve tried 3 different computers and 4 different web browsers all new and up to date .. is someone playing a horrible joke on me does anyone understand or have helpful suggestions ..how can all these different companies ASSEMENTS NOT WORK ?… I am mind boggled.