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Did You Click It, or Forget It? What is Your Résumé Status on USAJOBS 3.0?

One of the new and improved features of USAJOBS 3.0 is the ability to make your UPLOADED résumé searchable! This means your résumé saved as a Word document, or PDF, uploaded from your computer under the “Résumé” tab, is now searchable. However, just because you upload your résumé in Word, or a PDF, does not mean you can apply to the job announcement with it, unless the announcement specifically states that Word or PDF documents are accepted. Read the announcement very carefully. Upload the résumé in a .doc or .pdf file to the Résumé area on your USAJOBS account, and click “Make Searchable.” It can be one of five résumés stored under the Résumé tab. I recommend you upload the PDF so it will display and print accurately. If you are creating the initial résumé in Word, I advise using Microsoft’s PDF add-on. It is free download from their Website.

Making your Word or PDF résumé searchable is a really great improvement and an advantage for the job seeker. Recruiters performing searches can find you—IF you click the right linkMake Searchable. When I troubleshoot why someone is not getting referred to the hiring official, I start by reviewing and analyzing what the job seeker is submitting. Six out of ten profiles I review do not have their most current résumé status searchable, even if it was built using the Résumé Builder! Why not “click” to increase your chances?

What IS the difference between an uploaded résumé and a résumé created with the Résumé Builder? An uploaded résumé could be your résumé created in Word or PDF. (I do not recommend using the templates in Word!) The résumé created with the online Résumé Builder is a step-by-step, page-by-page process of creating your résumé online using the fields (text boxes) in the Résumé Builder. You can create a page at a time, save it, and come back to it later. The advantage to the “Not Searchable” status is it allows you to build your résumé at your leisure. Then, when it is complete, you can make it searchable to increase your chances of being discovered by recruiters.

Notice the Status: Not searchable in the screen shot above. Be sure to change your best and most recent résumé to searchable so you can increase your chances of being found by recruiters. Uploaded résumés must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (.doc or .docx). Only text-based RTF, PDF, and Word documents will be searchable by recruiters. Image files (GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG) are not searchable.

Be sure to check your most current résumé in the USAJOBS.gov Résumé Builder, and make sure you CLICK IT! Don’t forget it! It will increase your chances of being found by recruiters. Stay tuned for more tips on creating an effective résumé and applying to jobs using USAJOBS 3.0, or feel free to comment, or send me a message here on GovLoop if you have questions.

**I modified this post from its original after verifying with USAJOBS that résumés do NOT need to be made searchable to APPLY to a position. Please read my comment below and if you have any questions, let me know.**


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Profile Photo Steve Cottle

Camille, when uploading resumes, do you prefer or tend to recommend any of the (non-image) file formats over the others? I tend to upload PDFs as opposed to word docs whenever possible, but was wondering if you’ve ever encountered an issue with any format or have any preferences.

Profile Photo Camille Roberts

Hi Steve,

Thank you for asking and I should have mentioned that in the post. I DO recommend uploading the Word file saved as a PDF. Microsoft has an add-on feature to save the files as a PDF. Here is a link to download the add-on for 2007 and there are others at Microsoft.com:


Most all of the announcements I have reviewed that accept the Word fiile, also accept the PDF. I have not seen a case where the uploaded Word file or PDF was an issue, but when I see a .doc file, that IS one recommendation I give the job seeker–change it to a PDF.

Thank you SO much for your question, Steve!

Profile Photo Melissa O'Neal

A resume does not have to be searchable to apply to jobs in Application Manager, a system used by many federal agencies in conjunction with USAJOBS. In fact, you don’t actually have to upload your resume in USAJOBS if you don’t chose to use the resume builder feature. You can upload a copy directly into Application Manager if you choose. The searchable feature is to allow recruiters to proactively search out applicants who meet particular criteria (like eligibility for certain non-competitive hiring authorities, for instance). If you upload a document with your application and it appears as a successfully uploaded document in Application Manager on the details tab, recruiters can absolutely see it whether it is searchable or not.

I recommend using the USAJOBS resume builder. It guides applicants towards building a resume that meets the regulatory requirements for crediting general and specialized experience. Current federal employees especially should avoid using Word templates for functional resumes since they may not receive full credit for their specialized experience. This alone can mean the difference in getting referred or not.

Profile Photo Helen Talley-McRae

Thanks so much for pointing out that you can upload a pdf of your resume IN ADDITION to the one made in resume builder. The sample resume is only one page long. I have made Word and PDF versions of my six-page resume created with the resume builder. Is it OK to upload this long version, or should I create a more standard one page version to upload?

Profile Photo Paul Binkley

Awesome post Camille. I hope all of my students and alumni are paying attention to this information.

Just out of curiosity, how many federal hiring managers and HR professionals are searching through resumes at this point? My sense is that the number is small and growing.

Profile Photo Camille Roberts

@Helen Great question! My initial comment, without knowing more information and seeing your résumé, would be it is okay to upload a PDF of your six-page résumé. However, why upload the résumé created with the builder when the recruiter will already be able to “see” that version. I would be more inclined to create a traditional federal résumé in a visually compelling format as an OPTION to what they already have with the résumé builder. Create a high-impact résumé that you can also take with you to the interview that leaves a lasting impression. Can I recommend that you attend the webinar on Thursday, and you will be able to see a sample résumé toolkit that I advise all job seekers to have for each “audience?” I believe that will help answer your questions. If not, post another comment, or message me.

@David Thank you! Let me know if you have any questions!

@Paul Thank you! I believe you are right…small but growing.

Thank you to everyone else for commenting. I look forward to more engagement.

Profile Photo Camille Roberts

**I modified the original post. Please read my comments. **

Because the federal hiring process is extremely detailed, I edited the original post to reflect accuracy and for any future readers. I do not want to misinform anyone. I received verification from USAJOBS that résumés do NOT need to be made searchable to APPLY to a position.

Last year, I had two clients who were told by two different contacts on job announcements that their résumés needed to be made searchable. At the time, I thought that was a little strange because I did not think they needed to be “actively searchable.” Ever since then, I passed on that information to my clients. I am not sure why they were told that, but admittedly should have verified it as well back then.

After reading Melissa’s comments, I DID verify with a representative from USAJOBS that the résumé does NOT need to be made searchable to apply to a position. It does, however, increase your chances of being discovered by a recruiter.

Thank you @Melissa for bringing that to my attention. #ILoveGovLoop <smile>

I also want to mention that I DO NOT recommend using a Word template to develop a federal résumé (or private sector résumé). If you do not feel comfortable creating your own in Word (not a template), hiring a professional, or even hiring a Certified Federal Résumé Writer, I recommend using the online Résumé Builder. Personally, I provide my clients with all the “resume formats” and career communications needed for a successful job search—a .doc, .pdf, .txt, and a networking résumé.

Let me mention, my GovLoop colleague, Paul Binkley and I will be presenting federal résumé tips in a GovLoop webinar on Thursday, February 2 at 2 p.m. EST. You will be able to learn tips on creating a cutting-edge résumé to help you stand out from your competition.