How To Apply For A Federal Job

The Department of Energy utilizes an on-line application process. DOE Jobs ONLINE is the Department of Energy’s automated recruitment system that allows applicants to apply for DOE jobs online. By using DOE Jobs ONLINE, applicants can choose to receive email notifications of job openings as well as get notification of the status of each job for which you have applied. For more information on this system, go to the Frequently Asked Questions

You must be a United States Citizen to apply for DOE vacancy announcements.

It is important to remember when applying for a federal job that YOU MUST SUBMIT ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION. You now have the option to use a resume format, other standard forms, or the original SF-171. If you do not include all required information as stated on the job announcement, your application may not be considered.

The federal government rates applicants on their work experience and education. The HR specialist rating your application will rate you either eligible or ineligible by referring to the Federal Qualification Standards published by the Office of Personnel Management. These standards break most job series down to specialized qualifying work experience and any required education. Past work experience and related education should be described on your application. The OPM website where you can review the qualification standards for General Schedules positions is at:

KSAs are also referred to as Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. They are used throughout the qualifications rating process to determine the levels of qualifications of the competing applicants. Most applicants look at writing KSAs as drudgery, however it is a necessary part of your employment application, if requested on the job announcement. KSAs are attributes needed to perform a specific job function that are demonstrate through qualifying training, education and experience. The following definitions will help you understand what the official is looking for when reviewing your submissions:

Knowledge - An organized body of information, usually of a factual or procedural nature, which if applied, makes adequate performance on the job possible.

Examples include knowledge of:

Federal Regulations and Directives
Operational systems and procedures
Budget and accounting principals
Engineering practices
Environmental Compliance Law
Administrative practices

Skill - The manipulation of date, things, or people through manual, mental or verbal means. Skills are measurable through testing, can be observed, and quantifiable. Often referred to expertness that comes from training, practice, etc.

Examples include skill in:

Keyboard data entry
Motor vehicle operation
Computer software proficiency
Electronic or computer repair
Carpentry, plumbing and/or HVAC repair
Second language proficiency

Ability - The capacity to perform a physical or mental activity at the present time. Typically abilities are apparent through functions completed on the job. Abilities and skills are often interchange in KSAOs. The main difference is that ability is the capacity to perform where a skill is the actual manipulation of data, things or people. You may have the ability but unless observed through actions that ability may not transfer to a skill set.

Examples include the ability to:

Organize and plan work (observed at work)
Analyze situations, programs and problems
Communicate orally and in writing
Coach and mentor others

Other Characteristics - Mental or physical attributes or characteristics that don’t fall under the other areas.

Examples are:

Proactive - takes initiative to get things done without prompting
Copes well in stressful environments - handles complex tasks
Reliability - assigned work is completed ahead of schedule and the quality of work is exceptional
Multiple work assignments - capable of successfully handling various and sundry tasks

If your application is rated eligible, you will be ranked against all applicants and the best qualified candidates will be referred to the selecting official. The selecting official must pick from the top rated applicants. Interviews are optional; however, typically the top rated applicants are interviewed.

Veterans’ Preference

If you served on active duty in the United States military and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veterans’ preference. To receive preference if your service began after October 15, 1976, you must have a Campaign Badge, Expeditionary Medal, or a service-connected disability. For further details, call the OPM Service Centers listed in Appendix B or visit OPM’s USAJOBS internet web site at

Veterans’ preference is not a factor for Senior Executive Service Jobs or when competition is limited to status candidates (such as current or former federal career or career-conditional employees).

To claim 5-point veterans’ preference, attach a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty or other proof of eligibility.

To claim 10-point veterans’ preference, attach an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans’ Preference, plus the proof required by that form.

Reinstatement Eligibility

The vacancy announcement will specify that former federal employees must attach a SF-50 proof of your career or career-conditional status. Be sure that you also provide proof of the highest federal civilian grade held (Also give job series and dates held.)

If you left federal employment and received a Voluntary Separation Incentive, you must pay back that incentive prior to returning to work for the federal government if you return within 5 years of receiving the buy-out.


High School

Name, city, and State (Zip Code if known)
Date of diploma or GED

Colleges and universities

Name, city, and state (Zip Code if known)
Type and year of any degrees received (If no degree, show total credits earned and indicate whether semester or quarter hours.)

Fax or e-mail a copy of your college transcript when the job vacancy announcement requires it.

Work Experience

Give the following information for your paid and non-paid work experience related to the job for which you are applying. (Do not send job descriptions.)

Job title (include series and grade if federal job)
Duties and accomplishments
Employer’s name and address
Supervisor’s name and phone number
Starting and ending dates (month and year)
Hours per week
Fully explain your duties and responsibilities
Indicate if we may contact your current supervisor.

Other Qualifications

Job-related training courses (title and year)

Job-related skills; for example, other languages, computer software/hardware, tools, machinery, typing speed.

Job-related certificates and licenses (current only)

Job-related honors, awards, and special accomplishments; for example, publications; memberships in professional or honor societies; leadership activities; public speaking; and performance awards. (Give dates but do not send documents).

Application Forms

You are not required to complete any particular resume or application form to be considered for a federal job. You are welcome to use the "Optional Application for Federal Employment Form OF-612" or any other written format. When applying on-line, you simply copy and paste your resume details into the appropriate areas during the application process.

If you are applying manually, you may use the Optional Form 612 available at: