People with disabilities can be appointed to Federal jobs non-competitively through a process called Schedule A
The ABCs of Schedule A explains the process of applying for jobs with any Federal agency through this hiring program
A. Identify an open position
If you are interested in working for the federal government, your first task is to identify an open position for which you want to apply, if you do not already have one in mind.
Most federal vacancies are advertised on the USAJOBS web site, found at www.usajobs.gov. This is the federal government’s official site for job information and includes thousands of job postings.
Not all agencies use USAJOBS to announce job vacancies, so it is important to check specific agency web sites for additional information about employment opportunities. A list of all agency websites can be found here.
Below are some helpful hints to navigating resources on USAJOBS.
QUICK TIPS & HELPFUL HINTS
- USAJOBS allows you to search for openings in a particular agency, career field, city or all three using the advanced search function. Even better, USAJOBS has a mobile app that will notify you whenever a new vacancy announcement is posted that matches your search criteria. To learn more about USAJOBS Mobile Apps, click here.
- USAJOBS allows you to save your job searches in the system once you create an account. You can also receive e-mail updates when new job announcements are posted which meet specific criteria saved on a USAJOBS account. To learn more about saved searches and e-mail notifications, click here.
- If you cannot access the internet, or need additional assistance, you can call 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636).
- Connect with USAJOBS on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information on vacancy announcements and tips on the application process.
B. Prepare your application
Once you have identified a job(s) you would like to apply to, create a USAJOBS account and start preparing your application materials.
Step 1: Prepare your resume
To apply for a federal job, you need a resume that accurately describes your abilities and qualifications.
You can create a resume directly on the USAJOBS website using the “resume builder” feature. This may be useful if you are seeking your first job or are re-entering the workforce. Alternatively, you can upload an existing resume directly onto USAJOBS. If you need assistance with creating a resume, please see the Resources page at the end of this guide.
Your resume is a chance to show why you would be a great fit for the particular job that interests you. You can tailor your resume to demonstrate how your skills match the job qualifications listed in the vacancy announcement.
QUICK TIPS & HELPFUL HINTS:
- USAJOBS allows you to create a profile and to store different versions of your resume on the site. This can come in handy if you are applying for several positions requiring different skill sets.
- Name each resume using your first name, last name, and job category (ex: Robert Smith_Program Analyst)
Step 2: Prepare documents for the job vacancy
Beyond creating a resume, you may need to prepare other documents as required by the job vacancy. The job announcement will tell you what materials to include in your application package (such as a writing sample, cover letter, transcripts from high school or college, or a professional certification/license).
For some positions you may need to complete an occupational questionnaire–a series of yes/no and/or multiple choice questions. This helps the agency determine whether an applicant has the requisite skills and experience for the position.
Read the job announcement carefully. Your application will be considered “incomplete” if you fail to provide all required documentation or fail to complete any required questionnaires. An agency will not give you an opportunity to provide the missing information once you’ve submitted your application; instead, your “incomplete” application will be rejected.
Step 3: Obtain your Schedule A documentation
To apply using Schedule A, you may also be required to submit documentation that proves you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability. This is often referred to as “Proof of Disability Documentation“. This documentation simply lets the agency know that you are eligible to apply using Schedule A because you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability. It is advisable to have this letter ready before you apply under Schedule A.
You can request this documentation from:
- Your doctor;
- A licensed medical professional;
- A licensed rehabilitation professional; or
- Any federal, state, District of Columbia, or US territory agency that issues or provides disability benefits.
Most of the time, agencies will accept a letter from one of the above as proof of disability. The proof of disability documentation needs to specify that you are eligible to apply using Schedule A. It does NOT need to detail your specific disability, medical history or need for accommodation. To view sample Schedule A proof of disability letters click here.
Please be aware that some agencies may request additional documentation as proof of disability.
C. Apply for the job
Once you have your resume and supporting documents in order – including your Schedule A proof of disability documentation – you are ready to apply for the job. You should use two approaches when applying for federal jobs as a Schedule A applicant.
Approach 1: Apply through USAJOBS
You should start by applying for the position online through the USAJOBS web site or the specific federal agency’s web site. You should do this as soon as you find a position for which you are interested in applying. Sometimes agencies will only accept a limited number of applications. Also, every job posting will only accept applications for a specific amount of time. Thus, it is important that you apply as quickly as possible.
When you apply online, make sure you follow the application instructions in the job posting. There may also be a place for you to upload your Schedule A proof of disability documentation.
Approach 2: Apply directly with the agency using the Schedule A process
Most agencies have a Disability Program Manager (DPM) or Selective Placement Program Coordinator (SPPC) whose role is to help the agency recruit, hire, and accommodate people with disabilities. Contact the DPM or SPPC at the agency where you wish to work and ask for guidance on the best way to apply for the identified vacancy using the Schedule A hiring process for persons with disabilities. He or she can work with you to make sure your resume/application is considered through Schedule A. Click here for a directory of Selective Placement Program Coordinators in each agency.
It is advisable to apply for a position through the regular vacancy announcement (on USAJOBS or the agency’s web site) AND THEN follow-up with the SPPC/DPM or appropriate office. Contacting the appropriate agency person responsible for overseeing Schedule A applications can take time. It is important to factor this in as part of your application deadline.