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Take steps to prepare yourself for success.

There are a few things you should know before you begin the IRS application process. The first step is to find positions that align with your education and/or skills, as well as your interests. Once you find the job you think will be the perfect fit, it is important you read and understand the complete job announcement, before updating your resume to be sure you are highlighting your skills in a way that shows us you are the perfect fit. Preparation is essential, and we believe these tips will give you the tools you need to begin the application process with confidence.

1. Find the job that’s right for you

To start your job search, go to or click on the link below. We’ve pre-filter all open to the public IRS career opportunities at: Open to the public IRS career opportunities.  

Remember to filter for your desired work location. From there, you can use other filters to narrow your search to positions. The “Series” filter is one of our favorites, because it allows you to identify core occupational areas, such as Accounting, Budget & Finance, Human Resources Management, Information Technology, and so much more! From there, you can select the job series that interest you, and begin reviewing the associated Job Opportunity Announcements. 

2. Review the Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA)

If you find a job you're interested in, it is important that you read the entire announcement to make sure you're eligible and you meet the qualifications. Read the entire job announcement and pay special attention to the following sections:

  • This job is open to

This section tells you who is eligible to apply. Some jobs are only open to current IRS employees or current or past federal employees. You will want to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements of who can apply to that position. If you do not, change your search parameters under “hiring path” to select the path you are eligible to apply under. This may be the “open to the public” hiring path. 

  • Duties

The Duties section of the JOA lists the day-to-day activities you will be performing once you have been fully trained at the full working level of the position. This is a great way to determine if this job interests you. 

  • Requirements

The Requirements section of the JOA lists the conditions of employment as well as the qualifications for the position. The duties preview the type of work you can expect to do once you get the job, where the qualifications include work experience (years, type of work), skills, and/or education levels considered for the job. We will compare the qualifications in the JOA to your resume and will rank you based on how well you meet the qualifications of the job. In this section, you can also find the announcement closing date, as well as the cut-off dates for announcements that are open for a longer timeframe, so you’ll know when your application is likely to begin being reviewed.

  • How You Will be Evaluated

This section will provide details for how you will be rated once you have applied for the position, including any competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities), and other characteristics we are looking for. This information can be especially helpful when writing your resume. 

  • How to Apply 

This section may include a preview of the assessment questionnaire, which forecasts questions we will ask about your qualifications as part of the application process. 

3. Update your resume

Once you have determined that you are eligible and qualified for a position, it is time to submit your resume and application! Applying for Federal positions is significantly different from the process that is commonly used in the private sector. Additionally, resumes for Federal positions need to include detailed information about your skills, education, and experience and should be tailored to address the specific qualifications outlined in the announcement. Below we have outlined some of the most important steps for developing an effective resume. For complete details and example, visit USAJOBS Resume Help Center.

  • Include important contact information.

    Don't forget to add current contact information. Most job applications require this information, including your address, email, and phone number.
  • Include dates, hours, level of experience and examples for each work experience.

    • Start and end dates (including the month and year).

    • The number of hours you worked per week.

    • The level and amount of experience—for instance, whether you served as a project manager or a team member helps to illustrate your level of experience.

    • Examples of relevant experiences and accomplishments that prove you can perform the tasks at the level required for the job as stated in the job announcement. The experience you list on your resume needs to address every required qualification.

  • Customize your resume

You should tailor your resume to the job announcement rather than sending out the same resume for every job. Customizing your resume helps you match your competencies, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to the requirements for each job. Emphasize your strengths and include everything you've done that relates to the job you're seeking. Leave out experience that isn't relevant.

  • Use similar terms and address every required qualification

Your experience needs to address every required qualification in the job announcement. We will look for specific terms in your resume to make sure you have the experience we’re seeking.

  • Organize your resume to make it easy to understand

    • Use reverse chronological order to list your experience—start with your most recent experience first and work your way back.

    • Provide greater detail for experience that is relevant to the job for which you are applying.

    • Show all experiences and accomplishments under the job in which you earned it. This helps us determine the amount of experience you have with that particular skill.

    • Use plain language—avoid using acronyms and terms that are not easily understood.

  • Be concise

    • The IRS often receives dozens or even hundreds of resumes for certain positions. Our hiring managers quickly skim through submissions and eliminate candidates who clearly are not qualified. Look at your resume and ask yourself:

    • Can a hiring manager see my main credentials within 10 to 15 seconds?

    • Does critical information jump off the page?

    • Does my experience address each qualification listed on the JOA? 

  • Review your resume before you apply

Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors and have someone else, with a good eye for detail, review your resume.

Now that you have found the job you are interested in, reviewed the job opportunity announcement, and updated your resume, the next step is to submit your application. Click here to learn how to apply.