FAQs About FEMA Jobs

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Using USAJOBS.gov to Locate and Apply for Jobs

Temporary Local Hires

Reservists' Jobs 

Veterans' Jobs

Title 5 Jobs

Using USAJOBS.gov to Locate and Apply for Jobs

What if I have questions while applying?

For general questions on applying to open jobs, please go to the USAJOBS.gov Resource Center.

Can I create a resume online?

Yes. Once you have created your USAJOBS.gov account, you can create your resume using the Resume Builder. Once your resume is in the system, you can update it at any time.

I already have a resume established. Can I load this onto the system?

Yes. USAJOBS.gov will let you to upload a pre-existing resume to be included in your profile. However, you should know that not all open jobs may accept uploaded resumes.

When I apply, will I receive a confirmation?

You will be sent a confirmation notice if you chose to receive this notification in your USAJOBS.gov profile. You may also check on the status of your application by selecting "Application Status" in your USAJOBS.gov account.

FEMA posts job openings on social media sites like LinkedIn. If I comment on job posts that I’m interested in, will FEMA review my social media profile to hire me?

FEMA cannot review individual profiles for recruiting or hiring decisions. All interested applicants must apply through USAJOBS.gov. Click on the social media link to navigate to the job post, read details, and apply. Read the How to Apply to a FEMA Vacancy guide for more information.

Temporary Local Hires

What is the role of a temporary local hire?

Temporary local hires:
• Help staff disaster operations,
• Allow disaster survivors to get back to work while adding to the long-term recovery of the local community,
• Are in direct contact with other affected residents and disaster survivors, and
• Bring a special understanding of the problems faced by their fellow disaster survivors.

Reservists' Jobs

What is the role of a Reservist?

As a part of FEMA's disaster workforce, Reservists serve the nation by helping citizens and first responders during disasters or emergencies. 

As a Reservist you will have the opportunity to:
• Train,
• Gain experience,
• Become qualified in a specific disaster role, and
• Assist in the coordinated response and recovery efforts of impacted citizens, communities, Local, Tribal, and State governments. 

• Staff Joint Field Offices (JFOs) and Disaster Recovery Center (DRCs),
• Interview disaster victims,
• Assess and confirm damage,
• Provide administrative, financial, and logistical support, and
• Do a wide variety of other tasks based on emergency needs.

What are the requirements to become a Reservist?

You must want to assist others in a disaster or emergency.  Also, you must commit to being professional, keeping the public trust, and following all FEMA/DHS rules and regulations and Conditions of Employment.

Reservists must:
• Be a U.S. citizen,
• Pass a background investigation,
• Be approved for a government-issued travel card, 
• Be able to leave home on short notice,
• Be able to be away from home for 30 days or more, and
• Be able to travel to any state or U.S. territory.

What is it like to be a Reservist?

Reservists play a very important role in meeting the needs of disaster survivors.  The work of a Reservist can be exhausting, frustrating, challenging and rewarding. The hours can be long and the conditions are sometimes difficult. 

However, it gives you the opportunity to:
• Gain professional knowledge and skills,
• Discover the role and responsibilities of Federal response and recovery related to Presidentially-declared disasters, and
• Get the satisfaction of knowing you have brought help, relief, and comfort to those individuals affected by a disaster or an emergency.

How will Reservists be chosen to deploy to disasters? 

Based on staffing needs, Reservists will be deployed for all assignments on a rotational basis by job title and qualification level.  The length of deployment will depend on operational needs and available funding.  When necessary and appropriate for effectively accomplishing the mission, FEMA may choose to change the rotation list by deploying those Reservists closest to a disaster.

What equipment will each Reservist be given?

You will be given a laptop, blackberry, and an RSA token to allow access to the FEMA network. The equipment is given after you are hired and sign the Conditions of Employment form.

Who Should Apply to be a Reservist?

Reservists are:
• Highly motivated, self-starters who can work with little supervision,
• Computer literate,
• Able to prioritize tasks,
• Customer service focused,
• Good at working under physical and mental stress, and
• Able to work on an as-needed basis with a flexible work schedule.

Are Retired Federal Civil Servants that are Reservists eligible for an annuity waiver?

If you are a retired Federal civil servant, your pay from FEMA is subject to an offset. You may be eligible for an annuity waiver. However, waivers only apply during the first 120 days of a Presidential Disaster Declaration. The annuity waiver does not apply when deployed to conduct Preliminary Damage Assessments or for an Emergency Presidential Declaration. 

How are Reservists structured?

A national cadre structure chooses employees by the specific operational program or job they do in support of Agency-wide disaster operations. Within each cadre are specific FEMA Qualification System Incident Management or Incident Support job titles.

How are Reservists managed?

FEMA Headquarters manages the Reservist Program.  A Reservist Program Manager manages each cadre and is responsible for:
• Creating policies and procedures specific to their cadre that support the Agency and program plans and goals,
• Setting up and using strategies for finding, hiring, training, and developing cadre members ,
• Making recommendations about potential deployments of cadre members to find the best use of available resources,
• Ensuring the maintenance of accurate records for individual cadre members, and
• Communicating policies and procedures, as well as listening to issues and concerns raised by cadre members and working to address those issues.

What are the cadre functionalities?

Cadres focus on the following functionalities:

Reservist Cadre Functionalities
AcquisitionsEqual RightsMitigation
AdministrationExternal AffairsNational Disaster Recovery Support  
Alternate Dispute ResolutionFederal Coordinating OfficerOperations
Disability IntegrationFinancial ManagementPlanning
Disaster Emergency Communications (DEC/MERS)Human ResourcesPublic Affairs
Disaster Field TrainingIndividual AssistancePublic Assistance Federal Coordinating Officer
Disaster Survivor AssistanceInformation TechnologySafety Attorney
Environmental/Historic PreservationLogisticsSecurity


More About Reservists on FEMA Careers
Additional Reservists' Program FAQs
Reservist Application Process FAQs
Reservist Program page - tools and resources for Reservists
Reservists Policy Directive

Veterans' Jobs

How do I claim veterans' preference?

You must identify your status as a veteran on your application and provide proof of your entitlement to a veterans' preference by submitting appropriate documentation, such as a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (Member 4 copy).

If you are a disabled veteran, you must submit an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and the appropriate documentation from the military service or a current letter of disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Can I apply for a job opening when I am on active duty?

FEMA will consider applications from individuals who are about to be released from active duty military. If you are not separated or released from active duty before the effective date for filling the position, your application will not be considered.

A member of the uniformed service may accept a civilian position if he/she has done active duty service and is on terminal leave pending separation or release from active duty under honorable conditions.

In addition, current FEMA employees who are gone because of military duty may apply for any open job announced in while they're gone and will be considered as if they were there working their civilian jobs.

Does all active duty service qualify for veterans’ preference?

No, not all active duty service may qualify for veterans' preference. In accordance with title 5, United States Code, Section 2108 (5 USC 2108), Veterans' preference eligibility is based on:

  • dates of active duty service,
  • receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or
  • a service-connected disability.

You must have been discharged under an honorable or general discharge from active duty to be eligible for veterans’ preference. If you are a "retired member of the armed forces" you are not included in the definition of preference eligible unless you are a disabled veteran OR you retired below the rank of major or its equivalent. For more detailed information on veterans' preference, read the Vet Guide on the Office of Personnel Management website.

What is the difference between 5 point preference eligible and 10 point preference eligible?

There are basically two types of preference eligibles, disabled (10 point preference eligible) and non-disabled (5 point preference eligibles). Read details about these preference types in the Vet Guide on the Office of Personnel Management website.  If you are not sure of your preference eligibility, visit the Department of Labor's Veterans' Preference Advisor.

Title 5 Jobs

What is competitive status?

A PFT employee gains competitive status after one year of continuous service in eligible jobs. This means that an employee is eligible for placement into certain Federal government positions without having to compete with the public.

What is career tenure?

A PFT employee obtains full career tenure after three years of continuous service in eligible jobs.  Employees with full career status may leave Federal service and, if desired, reapply for Federal employment as if the Federal government still employed them.

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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