For those of you who have not yet used the new USAJobs web site, you are missing out! Launched last week, the revamped web site plays host to a wealth of wonderful features including a more attractive, user friendly design and better features and content.
One of the biggest and best companies in the online job arena is monster.com. Its web site is easy to use and gives its users some of the best job related content and features available. It’s no surprise that many other job sites emulate the product monster.com has created. So, it’s a good thing that the same company that built monster.com was selected to redesign USAJobs.
The new USAJobs web site has a similar look and feel to monster.com and also has a lot of the same features. This is a good thing for the site’s users. The new site is vastly easier to use in comparison to the old one. All of the main sections of the web site are neatly placed at the top of each page. An attractive, easy to read font is used throughout the site. Because it’s a relatively small site, users don’t have to worry about getting lost as they delve deeper into the pages on the site. Even if users click through several pages, they can’t get lost because the main links are at the top of each page.
Images on the site are also done well. There aren’t many images – most of them are used for navigation and text, i.e. the “search jobs” and “create a resume” buttons on the home page. There are some images of employees on the home page which are well positioned and neatly flow with the rest of the content on the page. The USA Jobs logo is prominently displayed in the top left corner on every page, exactly where a logo should be so it is seen first as users read the screen from left to right, top to bottom. The OPM logo is also prominently placed in the top right of the screen so users know the site is affiliated with OPM.
Besides having a professional design, the new USAJobs site also boasts a wealth of useful features and content for both job seekers and the agencies posting the jobs. One of the main reasons people would visit this site is to search the job listings. The “search jobs” link can be found at the top of every page on the site. The search interface is top notch, offering users a variety of methods of searching. Users can search jobs by keyword, location, series number, and occupational series. Not enough for you? You can also go to the advanced search form which adds the ability to search by agency and salary range. There are also links on the right side of the page which give users the option of searching by location or series, or searching the senior executive jobs.
After executing a search, the result list is displayed with 25 jobs to a page. Users can choose to display a detailed or brief result list. The detailed listings give users a better idea of the attributes of the job showing features such as appointment term, job status, and salary range. The results can be sorted by opening date or relevance to the search criteria.
To view the full vacancy announcement, you simply click on the title of the job in the results list. A neatly displayed page with the full vacancy announcement comes up. At the bottom of this page, users will find links to view a printer friendly version of the vacancy announcement, email it to a friend, and apply for the job online if it is a position which can be applied to through the USAJobs site.
There is a specific section on the site for job seekers called “My USAJobs.” Here, users can create a free account to log in and post their resumes, write cover letters, save job searches, and review jobs to which they have applied.
Using each of these features is fairly straightforward. The resume building feature in particular is user friendly. The resume is broken down into sections so users can create it one part at a time, and a lot of instructions and examples are provided to users as they fill out the series of forms. This feature works exactly like the resume builder on monster.com does.
Users will also find the search agents feature handy. This program helps to automate the job search process for users by periodically emailing the results of a user defined job search to your email address. Results can be emailed daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or not at all. To set it up, you just enter your search criteria, specify how often you want the results emailed to you, give the search agent a title, and save it. The program will do the rest.
In addition to the My USAJobs section and the job search features, USAJobs also offers job seekers useful information about employment with the government. A link on the home page called “Career Interest Center” brings up a section with information about working for the government. While this section is not easy to find (the link on the home page does not stand out), it does offer some useful information for federal job seekers.
This section mostly provides users with descriptions of federal jobs which can be found in several ways. For instance, one of the features in this section is the Career Interest Guide. Users can specify the area in which they are interested and then view jobs and their descriptions which fall underneath that area. Users can also fill out a short interest questionnaire to find out what occupational areas in the government are most likely to suit them. If you already know which federal job you want to read about, you can pick a job title from a list of jobs and read its description.
Another interesting section of the Career Interest Center was the private sector comparison section. Here, users can select a federal job and see which private sector job titles are related to it.
Clearly, USAJobs has federal job seekers covered with its features and information. However, it also has a section dedicated to employers. This section is found by clicking on the “employer services” link at the top of any page. While you must register as a federal employer to use this section, you can get an idea of how it works by looking at the tutorials and user guides. Employers can post jobs on the site and also search the database of job seeker resumes.
The site does a good job of teaching employers how to post jobs and search the resume database through its interactive tutorials. The tutorials are essentially short slide show presentations which walk users through the features of the employers’ section. The guides, which are in PDF format, are neatly laid out and easy to read. They are “quick start” guides to teach employers how to use the site as they offer a short and concise summary of each section and its purpose. Agencies can apply for access to the employers’ section online and employers who used the old site are provided instructions on how to access the new web site.
The new USAJobs web site is a substantial improvement over the old one. Considering that the federal hiring process is often lengthy and complex, anything that can be done to make it easier for the federal job seeker is certainly a step in the right direction. With the new features and ease of use of the redesigned web site, both job seekers and employers will certainly find the first step of the federal hiring process much less cumbersome.