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USAJobs.gov updates continue in 2017 with latest round from OPM

Visitors to USAJobs.gov, the government’s federal job portal, may notice a few more changes to the site.

The Office of Personnel Management unveiled Monday another round of updates to the jobs site. Applicants may notice a few new features to the site’s search function and user profile and résumé functions.

Specifically, applicants can search for positions based on country, state and ZIP code. They can also filter search results based on a variety of criteria, such as pay, work schedule, security clearance level requirements, department and appointment type.

In addition, applicants have the ability to save searches and visit them at a later date.

Because of the changes OPM to the site, applicants that had searches saved before Apr. 8 will lose them, but they do have the ability to “un-archive” prior searches.

OPM detailed instructions for restoring old searches in this video.

The changes are part of OPM’s ongoing series of iterative updates designed to improve the user experience. The agency, in collaboration with the OPM’s Innovation Lab, worked in agile development “scrums” to deliver these updates last year and is continuing them in 2017.

Agency hiring managers and human resource specialists may also notice a few changes. For example, OPM is iteratively building a new service that’s designed to help agencies better recruit more strategically.

“The Agency Talent Portal [will help] agencies … develop strategic recruitment plans that will build a robust talent network of recruitment partners, understand the real-time health of an agency’s talent pipeline, and create targeted recruitment campaigns,” USAJobs Program Manager Michelle Earley said in an email to Federal News Radio. “By offering strategic tools that work in parallel with agencies and job seekers, we are increasing the ability to connect these groups, reducing wasted time and increasing the match quality.”

OPM spoke with groups of job applicants, human capital and HR specialists and design and usability experts to gather feedback about the problems they saw with USAJobs and what steps the agency could take to fix them.

The job opportunity announcements have long been a pain point with the hiring process for agencies and applicants. OPM has been working with agencies to help them better write and describe open opportunities that best attract the ideal candidates. In the future,  Earley said she and her team will focus more intently on redesigning these job opportunity announcements.

The job portal turned 20-years old in 2016, when the OPM team updated nearly 75 percent of the site. It overhauled the online application process, revamped the USAJobs help center and “contact us” page and added a new feature that lists agency recruiting events and job fairs. OPM also added a profile dashboard, which lets job candidates see the status of their applications and review saved job announcements and searches.

In addition, the USAJobs team spent the past year tweaking its collective mindset about the portal’s purpose. Originally, the USAJobs homepage directed users to a search bar, which prompted them to enter what kind of job they were interested in and a specific location.

“We recognized that job-seekers were not adequately served by a job board that provided no introduction to federal hiring or resources to make informed decisions,” Earley said. “Our work over the last year has centered on transforming USAJobs into a career portal where applying for a job and tracking the status of your applications is simpler and more intuitive.”