A Job-Seeker’s Guide to Successfully Completing State Job Applications

This post is a little different from what I was expecting to write. But for working moms who want to change their jobs or are looking to apply for jobs with the State of California, I hope you find it useful.

Every time I look up the State Jobs website, I get overwhelmed with the application process. It looks very daunting and frankly, very time consuming and scary.

I believe at one point only paper applications were the acceptable format, however, now applications can be submitted online as well.

If you are interested in doing some state job applications, this step by step may be able to help you get started.

A Job-Seekers Guide to Successfully Completing state job applications

Disclaimer: This post is just for information purposes. All the information in this post is based on my experience and information obtained from the state’s website. I am not a professional nor using this technique in any way enhances your application process. The websites and pictures are all part of the State of California’s job site. The steps I provided here can change so please refer to the State of California job site for the most updated information.


Step 1. Create a Cal Career account here

Click on Log In on the far-right side of the page and it will take you to another page. Click on Create Account and follow the instructions from there.

Once you create an account, you can go back to the login page and sign in using your User ID and Password that you just created.

Step 2. Create an Application Template.

An application template is basically a profile for a job type. For example, if you will be applying for Accounting Specialist positions, then you can create a “profile template” for that job specifically.

You don’t have to create a separate template for each job type. However, if you are only applying for 1-2 classification types, then a template for each will be handy. You can customize it to that position and when applying, you just select jobs and hit submit.

The template will ask you some questions about your education and employment history so have your resume handy.


Step 3. Upload documents

On the same page, you will see a section to upload your documents. Here you can upload your resume, cover letters, references, transcripts, diploma or anything else pertaining to the job you are applying for.

Once you do that, you are ready to proceed with searching for examinations pertaining to the positions you wish to apply for.


Some keywords that are good to know when browsing for a job:

Department – this is basically the state department such as Department of Public Health, or Mental Health Services, or Department of Insurance. If you know a department that you wish to apply for, you can narrow your job search by department.

Classification – these are the titles available for application. Basically, these are the positions that a given department is hiring for. For example, Accountant Specialist, Associate Governmental Provider Analyst, Staff Services Analyst.

Job code – this is like the job ID or requisition number of a given position. You are unlikely to have this information when you are applying for a position, unless you have searched and saved a job for later application. Or someone has given you a specific job code to apply for.

Class Specification – this is a general description of a classification/title, and the general qualifications for that position.

Duty Statement – this is a more specific version of the job description. Usually this is supplied by the specific division or branch that is hiring for a given position.

Step 4. Prepare to Search

To begin looking for a position, know your strengths and skills. If you are not sure where to begin, or have a general degree or are looking for an entry level general position, start with the Staff Services Analyst position.

From my knowledge, many positions with the state require you to take an exam. For the most part, it is a skills assessment rating where you evaluate the various skills and knowledge you hone. There may be English and Math exams pertaining to specific titles, or departments you choose, however, I have not come across that so far.

Click on the home page to start your search.

There are 3 ways to search:

Advanced – you can use keywords, job ID, classification/title or department to search under the advanced section.

Geographical – search via the location

Exam search – search for openings via the type of exam. Again, you can use department and classification search options to narrow your search for an open exam.

Regardless of the classification or department you pick, the process of applying is very time consuming. This is especially true if you are not sure about the niche or title or exam you should or can apply for.

You will need to review your experiences and education background to know which department or title is best for you. Once you know that, you can start searching and reviewing the duty statements to see if you meet the necessary qualifications and requirements for that job.

Step 5. How to Search and Take the Exam

If you are not sure about a classification to choose, start by searching for all jobs within a department. Use the Advanced Search option.

Suppose you would like to look for positions in the Department of Public Health (based on your healthcare background), you will select this department and hit search.

All the positions open with the Dept. Of Public Health appears and there will be plenty.

Click on a classification/title to review the duty statement and class specification within it.

If you believe you qualify for this position, go back to the home page and click on the examination search section to search for this title.

Once you have found the exam for your chosen classification/title, review it thoroughly and click on the office exam bulletin to take the exam.

After you take the exam, your score and rank will determine if you are eligible to apply for a given position. If you are eligible, go back to My Account and search for that position in the department of your choice, and start applying.


Some tips:

A high score gives you a high rank and the chances of being selected for an interview increases.

You will need your resume, transcripts, a working computer, and about 1 hour of your time to take the exam online.

Examinations can vary between various classifications, and departments and are subject to change.

Review the job requirements, duty statements, and additional information within the posting. If you know you qualify for that position, follow the instructions and apply for it.

Applications are only processed if the examination and application has been completed and filed prior to the final filing date.

The tough part is taking the exam, making your resumes/cover letters. Once you have completed these, it is as simple as selecting positions and clicking submit!


Good luck 😊

Hi! I am Ashna. I am a working mom of 2 little girls, and I love organizing, writing and learning new ways to balance work and family life. If you like what you read, please do comment and share 🙂 !

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