US Forest Service

Central California Consortium


Central California Consortium
1600 Tollhouse Road
Clovis, CA 93611

(559) 297-0706
ext. 4962

FS Internships on USAJobs Help Center

Increase your chances of finding an internship with the Forest Service by learning to navigate through USAJOBS.

USAjobs also provides FAQ's. You can view responses to these questions:

Return to Internship Program webpage

  1. What you can do in advance to prepare
  2. Build or upload your resume
  3. Upload valid transcripts
  4. Include general cover letter
  5. Include all required documents
  6. Include additional documents in your application
  7. Helpful search terms
  8. Determine what you qualify for (GS Levels)
  9. Submit application on Forest Service application webpage
  10. Complete assessment questions with optimum results
  11. Checking you employment application status
  12. What occurs during the screening and selection process

1. What you can do in advance to prepare

Back To Top

2. Build or upload resume


Back To Top

3. Uploading valid transcripts

  • Save your transcipts as a .PDF file and attach your transcripts onto “Saved Documents” in your profile on USAJobs.

    Your transcripts do not need to be official. Retrieve transcripts from your college website, download them, save them as .PDF, and upload them to your Some transcripts show the words “Unofficial Transcripts” washed out across the entire page. Your transcripts must include the following:

      • Proof of enrollment (showing that you are taking a half time course load)
      • Must clearly show the name of the institution and student name
      • Current and cumulative GPA
      • Major
      • Enrollment dates
      • Term/quarter or semester with corresponding year
      • Expected graduation date
      • The student must be accepted or enrolled in a degree-seeking program, which is defined as a curriculum in which the student works toward a specific degree or certificate.

    View the link for an example of Valid Transcripts from a community college – Sample Transcripts

    We encourage students to submit transcripts from all colleges and universities they have attended. Submitting ALL college transcripts will assist in the evaluation of your qualifications and can be the difference between qualifying or not for a position.

Back To Top

4. Include general cover letter

We strongly encourage students, especially if applying to a new position, to upload a cover letter to be included with their job application. Cover letters are an extra tool that allows employers to notice your strengths such as writings skills, and obstacles you overcame. A letter gives you the opportunity to persuade the employer that you have passion and interest in the position.

If you are submitting your application to multiple locations, be sure to attach a general cover letter, which includes a general overview of yourself and your skills.

A sample cover letter will be enclosed in the near future

Back To Top

5. Helpful search terms for Job Search

The following documents must be submitted (if they apply to you) to constitute a complete application package or receive additional hiring eligibilities. It is your responsibility to ensure that all required documents are received within the required timeframes. Failure to submit required, legible documents will result in elimination from consideration.

    1. Government standard resume that includes the following information: 1) personal information; 2) education; 3) work experience including hours and pay; 4) volunteer experience including hours volunteered and, 5) other qualifications. Government Resume Guide link: Sample Resume link:
    2. College or high school transcripts if education is required for meeting basic qualifications and/or you are substituting education for specialized experience.
    3. SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action if you are a current or former federal employee that will verify your federal status, position title, series and grade.
      1. To obtain the SF-50 Form please call our Human Resources Department at: (877) 372-7248 (Select Option 2 and follow prompts)
    4. DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) and/or SF-15 application for 10-point Veteran Preference if claiming Veterans’ Preference or eligibility for appointment under the VRA, VEOA, or 30% Disabled Veterans hiring authority.
    5. Certification of Disability if you are eligible for appointment based on a disability under the Schedule A hiring authority. The certification must verify the applicant has a severe disability, is eligible under a Schedule A appointment authority, and he or she is able to perform the essential duties of the position. The certification must also describe any needed reasonable accommodation.

Back To Top

6. Include additional documents in your application

USAJOBS gives you the option to upload documents such as transcripts, resumes, cover letters, SF-50 forms etc. The choice “other” will allow you to upload documents that are not listed, so i.e. certificates, awards, recommendation letters.

If you upload documents one by one under “other” and you apply for a job, only one document saved under “other” will be transferred to the Forest Service application webpage. In order to avoid this issue, you must create one single PDF with ALL the extra documents you want to include and then upload and save them under the category “other.” When your application is transferred to the Forest Service webpage, you will have another opportunity to upload any additional attachments as well.

Documents like resumes and transcripts should easily transfer over because you should have uploaded and saved them under their specified category. However, it is still recommended you double check all the documents transferred over onto the Forest Service application webpage and are attached when you submit your final application.

Back To Top

7. Helpful search terms for Job Search

You do not need to have an announcement number to find available jobs; jobs can be found by typing in job related terms. Here is a list of terms we recommend students to use:

  • Student Trainee
  • Student internships with the U.S. Forest Service
  • Pathways internship
  • Recent graduates
  • Hotshot crew
  • Handcrew
  • Recent graduate and your area of interest (i.e. recent graduate civil engineering)

Each job announcement will provide information such as agency, who may apply, salary, series and grade (GS level) etc. Be sure that you qualify for the GS level listed in order to be considered for the job (See Question 8).

Back To Top

8. Determine what GS Level you qualify for (pay and skill levels)

The Federal Government hires people from various educational levels from high school with no experience to Ph.D.’s with established careers. Some occupations require a bachelor’s or graduate degree and specific college courses. Some occupations require experience, education, or a combination of both. For example, office clerk positions require no education or experience to qualify.

GS level qualifications depend on the education and experience of the student or a combination of both. Below are examples of some of the qualifications for a GS-2 up to a GS-5 level. Volunteer and unpaid work experience may count towards general hours, so make sure to include total hours completed in your resume.


To qualify for a Pathways internship position, you must meet at least one of the following:

GS Level

For a GS-02

Received a high school diploma or equivalent

For a GS-03

Completion of 1 full academic year of post-high school study (15 units per semester totaling 30 units)

For a GS-04

Completion of 2 full academic years of post-high school study or associate's degree (15 units per semester totaling 60 units)

For a GS-05

Completion of all requirements for a bachelor's degree or equivalent degree

To qualify for a Temporary position, you must meet at least one of the following or combination of both:

GS Level

Work Experience



For a GS-02

3 months of fulltime (40 hours per week) general work experience or equivalent

(40 hrs/per week x 4 weeks x 3 months = 480 hours)

Your resume must clearly show a minimum of 480 hours.

Graduated from high school or the equivalent

A combination of education and experience

For a GS-03

6 months of fulltime (40 hours per week) general work experience

(40 hrs/per week x 4 weeks x 6 months = 960 hours)

Your resume must clearly show a minium of 960 hours.

At least one year of education above the high school level


Possibly 6 units in courses related to position

A combination of education and experience

For a GS-04

6 months of fulltime (40 hours per week) general work experience
(40 hrs/per week x 4 weeks x 3 months = 960 hours)
6 months of specialized full-time (40 hours per week) work experience equivalent to the GS-3 level duties

Your resume must clearly show a minimum of 960 hours.

At least two year of education above the high school level


Possibly 12 units in courses related to position

A combination of education and experience

For a GS-05

12 months of specialized fulltime (40 hours per week) work experience equivalent to a GS-4 level
(40 hrs/per week x 4 weeks x 12 months = 1,920 hours)

*experience in resume needs to show hours totaling up to 1,920 hours.

Completion of 4 year degree


Possibly 12-24 units in courses related to position or degree in certain fields such as biology and engineering

A combination of education and experience

Be aware that the qualifications included above are a general overview of the mentioned GS levels for temporary positions. The qualifications can vary from job to job; therefore we strongly encourage students to research the position of interest in order to becomefamiliar with the requirements of any position they want to apply. Click the following link to be directed to USAJOBS to search for examples:

View links for GS table which illustrates qualification and pay levels for the Forest Service: hourly pay and annual pay. All employees begin at a STEP 1 (only view the first column under STEP 1) B= base pay and O= overtime.

The majority of CA Consortium Forest Service Internships are paid internships. Entry level students begin at a GS-2 ($11.17 per hour) or GS-3 level ($12.19 per hour) depending on education and work experience. More experienced students can start at GS-3 ($12.19 per hour) or 4 ($13.68 per hour). Persons in doctoral or professional, masters, and even bachelors programs are eligible for up to GS-11 ($28.06 per hour) based on qualifications.

Each candidate’s transcripts and government standard resume is evaluated to determine the GS level the individual qualifies for and whether the candidate qualifies for the position applied for.

Back To Top

9. Submit application on Forest Service Application Webpage

Once linked to the Forest Service application webpage, you will be directed to complete 5 sections before you are able to submit your final application.

  1. Core Eligibility Questions - Look over your personal information to verify everything is correct. Ensure attachments are included. It is important that your documents are transferred from USAJobs to the application webpage to submit a complete application packet.
  2. Application Preferences - Be sure to select the locations where you are interested in working; not doing so will prevent your application from being sent to those locations.You can view the following link for locations in California organized by forest
  3. Complete Minimum Qualification Questions – View Question 10
  4. Complete Assessment Questions-  View Question 10
  5. View Application Summary – You will have one last chance to review all your information, attachments, and answers to assessment questions.

You can continue to submit your application. If you need to update your application, navigate back to the position you applied to, select update information, transfer all your new attachments to eRecruit, change any answers you wish to update, and resubmit or recertify your application.

IMPORTANT:  Never withdraw your application to submit a new one. Once an application is withdrawn, you will not be allowed to resubmit an application to that position using the same USAJobs account.

Back To Top

10. Complete assessment questions with optimum results

Each job application will have a multiple choice minimum qualification and assessment question section. It is important to recognize the intent of each question. The goals of these questions are to ensure you are capable and have experience completing the tasks for the job you are applying for. It is important to review the questions carefully and thoroughly and ask yourself, have I completed this type of work before in any context? Do not sell yourself short. Instead of assuming you do not have experience because you do not understand the question, be resourceful and look it up, ask your supervisors, classmates, or contact the CC. The answers to these questions will determine whether you will be considered for the position.

Below are example assessment questions for temporary positions and suggestions on how you may choose to answer them. Be aware that some questions allow the selection of multiple answers.

1. I have communicated verbally with the following individuals and groups on a recurring or as needed basis. Select all that apply.

    a) Supervisors
    b) Co-workers in my immediate work unit
    c) Co-workers in my organization
    d) Technical experts and specialists in my organization
    e) The public
    f) Private sector employees/representatives
    g) None of the above

SUGGESTIONS: If you are a student and have worked on a group class project in which you were required to work regularly with assigned classmates and keep your teacher or instructor updated on the progress, you can and should select options a) and b). Also, if you volunteered to staff an informational booth for a club on campus, or participated in a carwash/ food sale for a club fundraiser, you can also select e).

2. Which of the following best describes your highest level of experience in communicating other than in writing? (Select all that apply)

    a) I have presented non-technical information to co-workers or employees within my work group.
    b) I have presented technical information to co-workers or employees within my work group.
    c) I have made presentations of both types of information to superiors, co-works and others.
    d) None of the above

SUGGESTIONS: If you are a student and have presented to classmates, instructors, or during an award ceremony or special event, you can select a) and c). If you presented a project for class to your classmates and teacher or instructor, you can select b).

3. Have you used hand tools to make repairs or complete minor construction projects?

    a) Yes
    d) No

SUGGESTIONS:  If you have ever used hand tools to complete a personal project, you may still select yes. The question does not ask whether you completed this task during work hours. The goal of these questions is to ensure you are capable of completing the work, not whether the work was completed during work hours or during your personal time.

We recommend that you take the time to strengthen your resume by rewording or adding additional experience that can make you more competitive.

Back To Top

11. Checking your Employment Application Status

The FS application process is coordinated by our national Forest Service- Human Resource office in Alburquerque, NM (Alburquerque Service Center- ASC). Consequently, the CA Consortium (CC) does not have access to your application and does not know the status of your application.

Below are tips on how you can check on your application status and how the CC can help you.

1. Update on hiring process:

FS Supervisors/hiring managers have roughly 1-2 months to request a list of applications from the Human Resource office (ASC) to make selections. ASC is currently evaluating applications and ensuring students meet the minimum requirements and qualifications.

2. How can the CC help you?

We are a student resource center and we care about your needs and opportunities. Call us if you need advice or guidance on your application.

3. Did you meet the minimum qualifications? If not, why?

You will likely not be given a reason why you did not qualify, so you need to contact ASC.

3. How to check the status of your application and contact ASC:

First, check the status of your application on USAJobs (view picture below). If you have concerns about your status, contact ASC.

  • Call 1-877-372-7248 Forest Service-Alburquerque Service Center (ASC)
  • Select Option 2- Human Resource Management
  • Select Option 1- Job Opportunities for non-Forest Service Employees
  • Select Option 3- Checking the status of your FS Application
  • Select Option 0*0- Speak to an agent

  • *Make sure to be clear and assertive. If you are having technical issues, be clear about the problem you are encountering. Ask to receive a ticket that will assign your issue to experts who can address these problems. If you were NOT referred and believe this is incorrect, ask to speak to the Human Resource Case Manager who was assigned to qualify your application (name and number).

    Back To Top

    12. What occurs during the screening and selection process

    If you have been contacted by a Forest Service employee through “erecruit,” this is a good thing. It means your application was referred, (determined to meet the minimum qualifications) and you will now be part of an applicant pool (What the Forest Service calls a Certificate List) which was referred and being reviewed by supervisors/hiring managers to make selections for hire

    Since you applied to a general announcement, supervisors want to know if you are interested in their specific positions. Many supervisors will email or call you with more details about their specific positions.

    Please read carefully!!! The “realistic job preview” will include the following.

    1. Specific location (city and state)
    2. Duration of internship (start date – end date). Is it negotiable?
    3. Specific position (position title and possible job duties)
      1. Ex. Front Desk, recreation crew, or wildlife biology crew
    4. Will you need your own transportation or a driver’s license?
    5. Keep in mind what the GS level is for the position you applied to and what the hourly wage is. A reminder is included below:
      1. GS-0_99-01 = $9.93 per hour (working 40 hours a week unless otherwise specified)
      2. GS-0_99-02 = $11.17 per hour (working 40 hours a week unless otherwise specified)
      3. GS-0_99-03 = $12.19 per hour (working 40 hours a week unless otherwise specified)
      4. GS-0_99-04 = $13.68 per hour (working 40 hours a week unless otherwise specified)
      5. GS-0_99-05 = $15.31 per hour (working 40 hours a week unless otherwise specified)
    6. Housing should be specified
      1. If housing is available, make sure you learn how much the rent will be.
      2. If housing is not available, do your own brief research to learn about housing costs in the area.
    7. Make a decision whether you would like to be considered further for that specific position.
      1. Decide based on the wages and rent for this position. For example, If the position is a GS-1 and there is no housing in South Lake Tahoe (an expensive city to live in), you can assume it is not reasonable or profitable.
      2. Decide based on whether you are available to work  when they need you to work. Are they flexible?
      3. Decide based on their need for an employee with a driver’s license? Do you have a license? Do you need transportation to get to and from work or will the housing location be next to the work site?

    If you determined that you cannot be considered further, please respond with a reason why you cannot be considered further. There should be many more positions which vary in housing, transportation, and start dates. The goal is that you receive an email or call which meets your interests and needs as well as theirs.

    1. These email messages should also include the actual name, email, and/or phone number for the supervisor/hiring manager. If you have any further questions, we recommend you contact the individual. If you don’t have questions but are very interested in the positions, we recommend you contact the individual anyway to show your enthusiasm and let him/her know how interested you are in the position.

    Back To Top

    US Forest Service - Central California Consortium
    Last Modified: Friday, 17 April 2015 at 18:29:07 CDT

    USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.