On Monday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — Uncle Sam’s human resources department — unveiled a new Web site and slicker search engine for jobs in the federal government. The site, called USAJOBS, gives visitors a simple search window to start but more powerful tools just beneath the surface.
The USAJOBS home page looks something like the classic Google search page, asking for keywords and location to start a job search. Those with better idea of what kind of work they want to do, or where, can browse for jobs in specific agencies or locations, or by type of job. And for those who really want to drill down, the site’s advanced search page lets job-hunters search by keyword within job titles or descriptions, as well as by government occupational category, location domestic and foreign, agencies, compensation ranges, and eligibility requirements.
The site has pages to aid searches on special criteria such as top management jobs in the Senior Executive Service, jobs for veterans, student opportunities, and employment for people with disabilities. Job hunters can create accounts to store resumes and to save search factors and specific jobs returned by previous searches.
Searches on science-related keywords offered a glimpse of the site’s workings. A simple search on the keyword ‘physics’ returned 1400 open jobs. A review of the first few pages of results showed that the current openings include research scientists, engineers, technicians, and project managers, among others. A simple search on a narrower discipline — neuroscience — returned 13 jobs including jobs for researchers, medical officers, nurses, physician’s assistant, and social workers.
Job hunters can refine their searches by grade level, salary, location, occupation series, agency, student jobs, posting date, and work schedule (full-time or part-time). Of the 1400 jobs returned for a search on physics, for example, 11 are for students, with openings at NASA, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Interior.
A geographic search of these 1400 jobs with the keyword Physics returned 176 entries for California and 55 for Louisiana. However, these geographic returns are misleading; of the 55 entries for Louisiana, 50 of the jobs give their location as “nationwide,” which may or may not include openings in Louisiana.
Each listed job has a detailed job description with instructions on how to apply. Many but not all of the jobs allow online applications, but online applicants must first have a USAJOBS account.