How to Apply for a DC Government Job

By Bock Szymkowicz, Career Development Specialist

NOTE: These tips are for applying for positions in the DC government, not the federal government.

DC Govt

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the District of Columbia Government workshop – “How to Apply for a DC Government Job” – at the Office of Latino Affairs, and I’m ready to share some great tips with you.

First, go to to browse open positions. Once you’re ready to apply for a position, follow these tips we’ve gathered from a DC government recruiter:

Area of Consideration

If you do not work for the government, the only position you should apply for are those that are specified as “Open to the Public,” as the other categories are only recruiting for candidates currently employed within the DC Government. Here is an overview:

  • Open to the Public: Anyone may apply to this position.
  • District-Government Wide: Only current DC Government employees may apply.
  • Department-Wide: Only current employees within that department may apply.
  • Special Area: Only a specific group within a department may apply.


The Grade of a position refers to the pay scale. Lower grades indicate lower salaries, while higher grades mean higher salaries. Generally, the higher the grade, the more experience is needed. Some tips:

  • The relationship between grade levels and overall experience varies between agencies. If a GS-10 position is out of your league at one department, you may be qualified for a GS-10 position in another department. Rather than deciding to apply based on the grade alone, decide based on the requirements for each position.
  • The DC Government does not have to post job positions Grade 12 and below. Therefore, if a Grade 12 position or below is posted, it is less likely you have inside competition.

How Applications Are Scored

Applications are reviewed and scored based on how you filled out the application. There is a total of 130 points available.

  • 90-130 – highly qualified applicant
  • 74-89 – qualified applicant
  • 50-74 – qualified applicant
  • Below 50 – not reviewed

Recruiters look at the highly qualified applicants first, and if no one is selected from that category, they move onto other applicants. Well qualified applicants are sometimes chosen over highly qualified applicants, so don’t worry if you’re not perfect. The points are calculated as followed:

  • Application Questions: 40 Points
  • Education: 20 Points
  • Experience: 20 Points
  • Licensure: 10 Points
  • If you are DC Resident: 10 Points
  • If you come from the foster care system: 10 points
  • If you are a veteran: 10 Points
  • If you are a veteran with a disability: 5 Points (on top of the initial 10 for being a veteran)
  • Holistic application review (complexity of past job, communication in application, etc.): 5 points

The main idea here is to provide your best to answer the application questions as effectively as possible, as that is where you have the most control in a DC Government application.

Additional Resources from Byte Back

Ready to find a job? Browse open positions on DC Career Services site.

Before you hit the “Submit” button, check out our resume and cover letter tips or attend a Job Lab for certification students. Happy job hunting!

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