How to Apply

How to Apply

The Department of Homeland Security is committed to hiring a highly talented, dedicated and diverse workforce to include individuals with disabilities.

Following are the basic steps to finding Homeland Security jobs:

Step 1: Find the Job Right for You

Whether you’re a veteran, a student or recent grad, retiree or experienced professional, the Department offers many different opportunities in a variety of fields. To learn more about the hiring process, see Understanding the Federal Hiring Process.

The Department posts all open job opportunity announcements to USAJOBS, a central database managed by the Office of Personnel Management that lists nearly every federal job opening. From USAJOBS, you can create an account and set up searches to email you automatically about jobs that match your criteria.

Step 2: Read the Job Opportunity Announcement

The announcement will provide you with information about job qualifications, eligibility, duties, salary, duty location, benefits and security requirements. Here you will be able to determine if your interests, education and professional background make you a good candidate for the job. A list of common terms is available to assist you in understanding Department job announcements. Most Homeland Security jobs require U.S. citizenship and successful completion of a full background investigation and drug screening.

Step 3: Apply for the Job

ICE officer at a computerFollow the instructions in the “How to Apply” section of each announcement (upper right tab). Instructions will guide you through the application process, providing you detailed information on the questions, forms and format that must be addressed and used to capture your qualifications for the job. You may also be asked to answer a series of questions to determine whether you are qualified for the position and assess your skill level and abilities. During the application process, veterans may be asked to identify Veterans Preference status (see Tips for Veterans).

  • Applications should accurately represent the skills and competencies applicable to the position announced.
  • Submit all required documents and pay close attention to the application due date (closing date) and application procedures, which will vary by job and the Department component. Sometimes, applications only need to be postmarked by the due date. Applications, usually, must arrive at their specified destination by either 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) or by the close of business.
  • Submit any additional documentation outlined in the job opportunity announcement that verifies all qualifications such as transcripts, SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, performance appraisals and/or Veterans’ Form DD-214. If you fail to submit a required document, you may be found ineligible for consideration.

To post your resume online, apply to certain federal jobs, check on the status of your application, you must create a USAJOBS account.

When writing your federal resume, be sure to include all relevant experience. It is common for federal resumes to be two pages in length or more so don’t cut out important details to try to fit your resume to one page. A good federal resume should clearly outline your key work and volunteer experiences and academic accomplishments. It should also highlight the unique skills that set you apart and make you uniquely qualified for the position. Relevant extra-curricular activities should also be included. Refer to Tips for Writing a Federal Resume and How to Turn your Education and Experience into a Career with DHS for more detailed information.

NOTE: The federal hiring process can be quite lengthy. View What to Expect after You Apply for information on the process.

    Step 4: Interview for the Job

    The names of best-qualified candidates will be forwarded to the supervisor or hiring official. If you are one of the best-qualified candidates, the supervisor or hiring official may interview you in person or by telephone, or in rare cases may hire you based solely on your application materials. Selection procedures are subject to Federal Civil Service laws, which ensure that all applicants receive fair and equal treatment in the hiring process.

    Interviews are tests designed to measure a variety of competencies important to performance on the job. Interviews may include scenario-based questions that measure selected competencies, e.g., Leading Others, Team Building, Performance and Results Management, Decision-Making and Problem Solving, Oral Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Technical Questions, etc. For more information on interviewing, view the Interview Tips.

    What to Expect Next

    The application that you submit will go through many levels of review. First, human resources specialists will screen it to see if you meet the basic eligibility requirements for the position. Then, the human resources specialists or a panel of experts will rate your application according to the additional qualifications listed on the job opportunity announcement. If your application rates among the best qualified, it will be forwarded to the hiring manager, who will make the final selection. For more information, see What to Expect after you Apply.


    If you have questions regarding a position to which you are applying or to find out the status of your application, please speak to the point of contact listed for each job opportunity announcement. For more information about the hiring and selection process, please contact your servicing human resources office.

    The Department of Homeland Security is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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