NSEP provides several services that may be helpful to awardees who are seeking jobs in fulfillment of their service requirement. These services include:

  • Job search consultations with NSEP research specialists at our office in Washington, DC. We can also answer specific questions about your job search or your service requirement via email.
  • Letters of Certification when a hiring official requests proof of your special hiring privileges. (Please see below for more information.)
  • Job search advice posted on NSEPnet.
  • Job announcements on NSEPnet. We send out emails to all Scholars and Fellows announcing job opportunities that are available on NSEPnet. These jobs remain advertised under Job Opportunities on the Scholars and Fellows Home Page through their closing dates.
  • The NSEPnet resume database that allows federal hiring officials to search for potential job candidates.
  • An invitation to one of our annual job fairs.

We also do outreach to federal agencies to make them aware of our program, of your special hiring benefits, and of the opportunity to post jobs on NSEPnet. When possible, we work with these agencies to learn about their hiring needs so that we can better tailor advice to our awardees.

We welcome you to take advantage of our office’s services, and we hope that we can help you secure that perfect federal position. However, please be aware that NSEP cannot and will not find a job for you. Finding appropriate work in the federal government in order to fulfill your service requirement is ultimately and completely your responsibility.

In addition, the Boren Forum, the official alumni association for NSEP awardees, can offer assistance in networking with other awardees now working with the federal government. Boren Forum is an independent organization that operates separately from the NSEP Office and may be able to provide services that complement those of NSEP. Visit http://www.borenforum.org for more information.


There are three situations in the job application process when you might consider requesting a letter of certification. (Note that you will not need a special hiring authority to qualify for many jobs, and a letter of certification is irrelevant in those cases.) The situations in which you should request a letter of certification and the steps you should take before requesting one are described below:

  1. When applying to jobs on www.usajobs.gov that are limited to applicants with non-competitive status, you should request a letter of certification.  In this case, unless otherwise instructed, request that the NSEP Office send you the letter as an email attachment so that you can upload it as a supplementary document in your online application.
  2. If a job on www.usajobs.gov requires 'status', you cannot apply through the public announcement on the website.  Instead, you should contact the hiring official as soon as possible to explain your eligibility for non-competitive hiring. ‘Status’ means government tenure, so unless you are already a permanent federal employee, you are not eligible to apply for this job through normal procedures.  However, you can contact the hiring official - who is different from the HR person - to explain your qualifications and special hiring authority. (How it works in this case is that if they do choose to hire you, they can opt not to fill the public announcement and instead create a new announcement to be filled under Schedule A.) If they are willing to consider you under this eligibility, they may request proof of your non-competitive eligibility.  If so, you should contact us to request a letter of certification.
  3. If you have been in touch with an agency or office in the hopes that you can create a new, unadvertised position based on your specific set of skills and that office’s specific needs, then it is likely that the office will require proof that you can be hired under Schedule A. In such a case, you should contact us to request a letter of certification.

We will send letters of certification by email. If you would like to request a letter of certification, please visit the letter of certification page on NSEPnet.

If you are going to request a letter of certification, please do so in advance of the application deadlines for each specific position for which you are applying. Please keep in mind that it may take up to 3 business days to produce a letter of certification. If you need an expedited letter of certification, please email the service team directly at nsep@nsep.gov after you complete a request on NSEPnet.