Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to work for the federal government? What if I have a green
Most positions require U.S. citizenship at the time an application is submitted. Positions that require U.S.
citizenship list this requirement in the job announcement.
I have responded to a Job Openings for Economists posting. Is that sufficient for applying for a federal
No. All candidates must submit an application through USAJOBS as well. This is the "official" application,
although agencies may request additional materials.
Is there one application for all federal government positions?
No, each agency posts its own positions. Often, different offices within an agency will also submit separate
Do I need to have my Ph.D. completed when I apply for a job or when I start a job?
If you are finishing your Ph.D., you do not need to have it completed when applying for a job. You will need to
complete the Ph.D. before starting your position if you are relying on the Ph.D. to qualify for the position.
When do agencies post positions on USAJOBS?
Agencies do not follow a fixed schedule when posting positions on USAJOBS, even when recruiting in the winter
cycle. Some post before the ASSA conference; others after the conference.
Is there anything special I should put on my CV when applying for a federal job?
The initial evaluation of applications submitted via USAJOBS is conducted by HR specialists, not fellow
economists. Thus, it is important that your CV clearly documents that you possess the skills required by the
position. For instance, if you are relying on a Ph.D. to qualify for a position, make sure you identify your
Ph.D., along with the (expected) date of completion, on the CV.
What are the evaluation questions on the applications, and how are they used?
Some applications ask that applicants assess their skills related to the position. These questions are designed
to weed out clearly unqualified people. Most agencies do not use these questions beyond this initial
self-certification purpose. It is important to be honest when answering these questions, but do not be modest.
In the past, strong candidates have been excessively modest when answering the questions, resulting in them
being deemed unqualified for the position, and thus unable to be considered for the position.
The USAJOBS announcement requests a lot of forms that I’ve never heard of. What am I supposed to do with
There are some forms that are relevant for current federal employees, veterans, or other categories of
applicants. These forms are not always necessary when applying for positions. If you have questions about
whether a form is necessary to complete an application, email or call the agency point of contact identified on
the job announcement page.
Is there anything else I should keep in mind when applying for a job on USAJOBS?
A USAJOBS application must be completed and submitted in its entirety by the deadline listed on the job
announcement for a candidate to be considered. Late submissions will not be considered. Incomplete applications
will not be considered. After submitting an application, it is a good idea to follow up with the point of
contact on the job announcement page to ensure that the agency has all the materials necessary to evaluate your
Do all agencies interview candidates at the ASSA meetings?
No. And some agencies recruit outside the winter cycle.
For federal agencies that recruit during the winter season, what is the typical time frame for
Most agencies that begin the process during the winter recruitment cycle try to follow the schedule of the rest
of the profession, meaning winter interviews, site visits, and decisions.
How is pay set for a new General Schedule (GS) research economist who has no previous civilian service
in the Federal Government?
Most research economists employed immediately after receiving a Ph.D. are entitled to a salary at the GS-12
level, as long as the position for which they applied is classified as GS-12. Research economists with
postdoctoral experience may, in certain situations, qualify at a higher level. A new GS employee is entitled to
have pay set at step 1 of the employee’s grade. An agency may use the superior
qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority. Under this authority, an agency may set pay up
to step 10. An agency may use this authority based on the candidate’s superior qualifications or a special need
of the agency for the candidate’s services. An agency must approve each determination to use the superior
qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority prior to the candidate entering on duty. Contact the
employing agency for information about its policy. Note that pay tables are adjusted in many localities; consult
the OPM salaries and wages
page for pay tables.
How is pay set for a research economist who isn’t under the General Schedule?
Contact the employing agency for information on how pay is set for an employee who isn’t under the General Schedule.
I have more questions. Where can I get them answered?
For questions about USAJOBS, check out the Resource Center for more FAQs and guidance. If you have a question about a particular application, follow up with the point of contact on the job announcement.
Beginning of a dialog window for your session has expired. Escape will cancel And close the window.
Your session is about to expire!
Your USAJOBS session will expire due to inactivity in eight minutes.
Any unsaved data will be lost if you allow the session to expire.
Click the button below to continue your session.