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Careers and Internships

How to Apply: What to Expect After You Submit Your Application

How Federal Hiring Reform
Will Affect the Application Process

President Obama signed a memorandum in May 2010 directing the Office of Personnel Management and other federal agencies to take measures to reform federal hiring procedures. Specifically, federal hiring reform will:

  • eliminate the requirement to complete short written essays about your knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs);
  • allow you to apply with a résumé and cover letter;
  • improve the quality and speed of hiring; and
  • notify you about your status after submitting your application.

See the latest information about federal hiring reform.

Want USAJobs.gov to send you an email whenever a job vacancy is posted?

Here's how:

  1. Sign in to USAJobs.gov or create an account. Once you have done that...
  2. Go to USAJobs's Create a New Saved Search page.
  3. Scroll down to "Agency Search"
  4. Select "Other Agencies and Independent Organizations" at the very bottom of the list of agencies.
  5. Under "Then sub agency" select "Environmental Protection Agency" then click on "Add >>"
  6. If you want to narrow your search at this point, select location, salary range, occupational series, etc.
  7. Be sure to give your search a name (bottom of the page).
  8. Under "How often do you want to Receive E-mail Notifications?", consider checking "Daily" since many positions may only be open for two weeks.
  9. Then click on "Save Search" at the bottom of the page.

You can also view the "Saved searches tutorial'' (PDF) on USAJobs.gov.

Virtually all EPA jobs, including paid internships, are posted online through USAJobs.gov. You can use USAJobs to upload your resume, browse open EPA positions, and apply for jobs across the United States.

How to Apply

On this page: What to Expect After You Submit Your Application
On other pages:


  • Read the "What to Expect Next" section of the job announcement you applied for.

  • Why does it take so long to hear back after I apply?

    1. You might have submitted your application at the beginning of the period during which the announcement is listed on USAJobs (the "Open Period"). Open periods typically last from two weeks to a month. Your application will not start being reviewed before the end of the open period.

    2. Once the Open Period is over, a Human Resources Officer will begin reviewing your application to determine if you meet the qualification requirements outlined.

    3. Assuming your application shows that you meet the minimum qualifications, that specialist will then review your application to determine if you are among the “qualified” or “best qualified” candidates. Sometimes this can take a few days, or a few weeks, depending on the number of applications received.

    4. Once the “best qualified” candidates are identified, the Human Resources Officer prepares a list of eligible candidates called a "Certificate of Eligibility" and sends it to the manager who is looking to hire. This is often referred to as "creating a cert."

    5. The manager will then review the applications and determine who among the “best qualified” will be interviewed.

    6. The manager then schedules and conducts interviews, completes reference checks, and makes a final selection.

    7. Steps 1-6 take time -- it may be weeks or months from the time a position is advertised to when a selection is made. Don’t be deterred by this. Ask questions and keep in touch with the Human Resources Officer named in the job listing during the application process.

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