What to expect when applying for a job at HHS

Working for the federal government has its perks: excellent benefits, flexible work schedules, opportunities for professional growth, stability, and lateral movement across agencies. Applying for a federal job takes preparation and practice, and what you need to do will depend on who you are and what type of position you are applying for. 

There are specific resources available on this site for the following groups:

Here’s information on what everyone can expect when applying for a job at HHS or its agencies.

  • This is a short summary of how the federal application process works when you use USAJOBS to apply for positions.

    1. Create an account with USAJobs.gov 
    2. Complete your profile to apply to jobs, save searches and save jobs
    3. Search for jobs at HHS and select a job announcement you're interested in applying to 
    4. Review the job announcement and prepare your resume for a government position
      1. If it’s a CV, strip out academic language
      2. If you are coming from the military, replace any jargon with the federal equivalent.
      3. Prepare to spend significant time (a couple of hours or more) on the application. 
    5. Submit your application in USAJobs.gov to the HHS position. The application process can take a few months while HHS reviews the applications and selects candidates for referrals. 
    6. Interview with the supervisor for the position
    7. Receive and accept your official offer from the HHS hiring official
    8. Complete your onboarding paperwork including background investigation which may take several weeks or more. 
    9. Receive your final job offer and a start date 
    10. Attend new employee orientation on your first day and report to your new office  
    11. Make a difference in the world!
  • Federal jobs often require that you have experience in a particular type of work for a certain period of time. You must show how your skills and experiences meet the qualifications and requirements listed in the job announcement to be considered for the job. Make sure your resume includes:

    • Dates, hours, level of experience and examples for each work experience
    • Volunteer work and roles in community organizations
    • Numbers to highlight your accomplishments

    Your experience needs to address every required qualification in the job announcement. Hiring agencies will look for specific terms in your resume to make sure you have the experience they’re seeking.

    Keep your resume updated regularly in case you want to apply to another agency while you are employed at HHS.

  • The federal government offers unique hiring paths to help hire individuals that represent our diverse society. Look for the different hiring path symbols in the job postings if you qualify for those areas.

    Part of the application process requires you to create an account with USAJobs.gov. You will be able to visit this account regularly to check the status of your applications.

    You can search for jobs anytime, but it’s best to create and sign into your profile before doing a search. USAJobs.gov can use your profile information to improve your job search results.

    If you find a job you’re interested in, read the entire announcement to make sure you’re eligible and you meet the qualifications. For each job there are specific qualifications – your application must show how you meet the required qualifications.

    It may take a few hours, after you submit your application, for the agency to update your application status. You may also receive an email confirmation from the agency application system, but not all agencies send email confirmations.

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This is archived HHS content.