Letter to the editor

I would like to respond to a Sept. 18 letter to the editor, "Improve USA Jobs." The writer suggests that adding a "keyword search" to USA Jobs -- the government's one-stop shop for federal employment -- would make it easier to attract young people into public service and match them (especially information technology specialists) to appropriate jobs.

Many government IT positions require more than just IT skills. For example, a computer scientist may coordinate numerous projects, provide technical guidance and negotiate work agreements in addition to using technical skills needed as a software engineer. The government's Web designers, applications systems developers, data security specialists and local-area network administrators also must have skills in communications, contracting and software analysis. Limiting a job search to specific software applications could cause an IT specialist to miss out on professional growth opportunities. In short, we want to give job seekers maximum flexibility and choice.

During the past year, the USA Jobs Web site (www.usajobs.opm.gov) has undergone significant change. The site's look and feel have been modernized; vacancy announcements are just now beginning to use more clear and concise language; and information about government employment is easier to locate. Features requested by job seekers have been added; answers to additional employment questions are available; and job-search results are being expanded.

But this is just a start. Each aspect of the site continues to be reviewed for further improvement. For instance, the applications process has been automated, often letting applicants submit their resumes or other forms online at USA Jobs or by linking to an agency site.

We have seen tremendous growth in our Web site these past few years. We advertise more than 17,000 jobs per month; we have exceeded 20 million unique visitors in fiscal 2001; our new USA Jobs by E-mail service has almost 130,000 users; and more than 155,000 resumes are in our database. Recent data indicates that 92 percent of users are highly satisfied with their USA Jobs experience.

We are proud of our Web site and the services it offers. Not only do we strive to improve services for job seekers, we also are working diligently to make USA Jobs a stellar recruiting tool for federal agencies.

Richard Whitford

Acting associate director for employment

Office of Personnel Management

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