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There are two types of searches conducted by USAJOBS, so that you have maximum flexibility for identifying jobs you might be interested in and filtering out those you aren't. The two search types work differently depending on whether you are coming in for a Basic Search or an Advanced Search and the results may appear to be inaccurate if you aren't aware of these differences.
Basic Search (“What” / “Where”)
From the first screen you see when you bring up USAJOBS, you are offered two options -- "What" or "Where". If you are not logged in, it is important that you remember that USAJOBS initially treats you as a US citizen looking for your first Federal job and does not include jobs that are limited to current or former Federal employees. If you do log into your account, the site will default to the eligibility status (US Citizen or Federal Employee) that is recorded in your profile.
"What" is a keyword search. You can enter any word(s) that might be in the text of a job announcement, such as a position title, and the system will scan the body of all open job announcements for the word(s) you entered. Some caution here -- Do not use this to find jobs by location. They would only appear if the location was actually embedded in the job announcement, which it often isn't. If you want a job in a particular location, use "Where".
"Where" is a more complex geographic search that finds a location (city, state, military base, etc.) on the map, references the geographic coordinates for that location (longitude/latitude) at the center of the specified location, then draws a circle to identify jobs in a specific radius of the location you're looking for. The default, which you can change once the results are produced, is a 20 mile radius.
For either of these searches, once you see the initial results of the search you can change your status (from US Citizen to Federal Employee) on the upper left side of the screen in order to expand your search results so that they also include those jobs that are open only to current or former Federal employees. To expand or contract your search area, you can change the default radius on the upper right hand of the screen.
There are information buttons (marked with “?”) above each of the possible filters you can apply in the Advance Search feature to help guide you on what to enter. Using the Advanced Search feature, you must be specific when identifying your locations of interest, but you can expand your searches to state-wide locations which is the first option on the "Locale(s)" drop down box. These are not "proximity" searches such as the Basic Search performs. Advanced Search will only only identify and return results to you when the coded duty station on the Job Announcement matches your search criteria.
Also, be sure you change the "Applicant Eligibility" response to "Yes" if you want to include jobs that are only open to current or former Federal employees. If you leave it "No", those jobs will not be presented in your search results.
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