Submitting a paper supporting document
The best way for you to submit your supporting documents is online. When you upload documents to USAJOBS, you will have electronic versions of your documents ready to go for any online applications. Getting electronic versions of your documents is a ‘create once, use many’ approach! When you decide to apply, you can immediately verify the document is included correctly with your application package to ensure your application is complete. This guide will help you take a few easy steps to convert your paper supporting document to a reusable electronic file.
Get an image of the document into a file ready for upload
Where to find a scanner to scan your documents:
- Your smart phone or tablet. If you have a smart phone or tablet with a camera, you can snap a photo of your supporting document and save it as an image file. Then, email it to yourself so you can access it when you are applying online. There are also apps like Scanbot that are designed to turn images captured by phones and tablets, convert them to a range of image files and even pdf. These apps also allow the user to combine multiple documents into a single file. Scanbot is free while others may charge a nominal fee.
- Libraries. Most public libraries offer a scanning service. Typically, the scanner is connected to a computer so patrons can scan documents, photographs, book pages, etc. and save them to a file. There may be a small fee, depending on your library’s practices.
- In-Store Business Services. Office Supply stores with printing counters will scan your documents for around $.50 per page and either email them or put them on a thumb drive for you. Many shipping stores also offer in-store business services, including document scanning. Use their store locators online to find a location close to you and enquire if they offer scanning.
Note: If you are scanning documents into your computer, the scanning software will typically offer to save files in TIFF or BMP format, or perhaps PDF. These are likely to be too large. The software may also offer to save as JPG (or JPEG) which is far more compact. In addition, the software may allow you to select lower quality for an even smaller file size. We have found 50% quality still looks quite good and results in a file size often less than a tenth of the original.If your scanning software does not let you save the file in a compact format, there are free downloads out there that do. One such that we are aware of for Windows is called Irfanview. On recent Mac systems, Preview will perform this function.
When saving your document(s) to a file, keep the following in mind:
- Name the files created during scanning so you can easily choose the correct one when applying online and so they reference your name. For example, you may want to scan all your transcripts into one file called “Smith_Transcripts.jpg” or “Smith_DD214.jpg”
- Individual files must be less than 3 MB. It is a good idea to scan documents into files by type so that you can submit only what is required for a specific position.
- File types can either be .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .rtf, .txt, .doc, .docx or .pdf format.
- If you choose .pdf, ensure there is no password protection or encryption on the file.
Store the file so you can get to it when applying online
Once you have a file version of your documents, store them in a place where you can access them easily when creating or editing your USAJOBS profile. This might be as an email attachment that you keep handy in your email inbox, in a folder on your home computer or on a thumb drive. You can get the most value out of the time and effort you have put into getting your documents into files by adding them to your USAJOBS profile. Instructions for adding documents to your USAJOBS profile can be found here.