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Government Seeks E-Job Hunters

Federal office makes it easier to apply for IT positions.

Despite the large number of IT workers without jobs, the United States is looking for people to fill government IT positions. And it's turning to the Internet to find the best candidates.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is revamping its IT job portal, USAJobs at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov, and recently held an online job fair to recruit IT candidates. The virtual job fair, which was live on the Web site for a week, sought candidates for fewer than 300 available IT positions. It received more than 17,000 job applications.

The government decided to hold an online job fair rather than an in-person event because it needed to better compete with private companies for IT candidates, an OPM spokesman says. One of the department's goals this year is to strengthen its online recruiting technology and make the application process simpler. The personnel agency is partnering with other federal agencies and wants to adopt the best practices of the recruiting industry, says Karen Leydon, OPM's acting assistant director for service delivery operations and systems. Upgrading the scalability of the Web site, which gets about 1 million unique visitors a month, is a top priority, she says.

The USAJobs site will undergo a series of upgrades, which should be unveiled in June as part of an E-government initiative called Recruitment One-Stop. Job seekers can apply online to multiple agencies and government hiring personnel can screen and track candidates throughout the hiring process, says Claire Gibbons, One-Stop project manager.

Today, online job seekers can apply for only about 10% of 17,000 open government positions directly through USAJobs. They have to print and mail in applications and resumés or go to specific agency Web sites in most cases to apply for other federal jobs that are listed online. "We're trying to avoid the need for job seekers to fill out multiple applications for multiple jobs," Gibbons says. "Our hope is that we'll have captured the majority of the information on the front end."

Help Wanted
A sampling of the government IT jobs listed on the USAJobs Web site.
Job Salary Range
Security IT specialist $66,229-$86,095
Policy and planning IT specialist $57,453-$86,095
Application software IT specialist $38,021-$86,095

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