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Social media wrap: Got an iPad? The federal government wants YOU (to work for it)

The federal government is hiring (surprise!).

With unemployment hovering just under 10% nationwide and many companies hoarding their cash rather than hiring amid continued economic uncertainty, a federal agency has launched an app for all those unemployed people who own iPhones and iPads.

The application allows a user to search a jobs bank of more than 30,000 federal positions and since its debut last week has been downloaded more than 50,000 times. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has hailed the program’s accessibility for prospective workers.   

A Twitter feed that tracks the OPM but is unaffiliated with the federal government announced the release:

" is a hugely successful site that helps people identify employment opportunities with Federal government agencies," OPM Director John Berry said in a statement. 

"These enhancements are helping us make USAjobs even more accessible to the American public. It is part of our commitment to simplifying the federal hiring process and providing the public with the tools they need to join the federal workforce." 

Presumably, one of said tools is an iPad (which runs $500 plus for the basic model) or an iPhone (also pricey) although the app is apparently scheduled to be rolled out across other (similarly expensive) electronic hardware.  

Since its launch in 2003, the non-iPad USAjobs website daily logs more than 450,000 visits and establishes over 9,400 new applicant accounts. 

-- Craig Howie

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As an iPhone user who spent nine months without a job in 2009, I can definitely get behind this app. Anything that streamlines those horrible online forms must be a good thing. And if you can apply for federal jobs while riding the bus or driving across country in a moving van in search of cheaper rent and job interviews... well, it almost makes taking a government job an attractive option.

To be fair, you can get a used iPod Touch (which will also run this app) for under $100, and it has done wonders for my organizational and budgeting abilities, which are pretty damned important when you're out of work. (I certainly could have used one in 2001-2002, when I was out of work).

Plus, it is (with a free wifi signal) just about the cheapest usable way to access the internet.

So yah, maybe not such a bad idea after all.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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