Guide MassCareers Apply for a Job guide for JAWS Users

The Commonwealth is committed to a diverse workforce, which includes those who require reasonable accommodations to do their job. The Candidate Portal has been tested by the Mass Office on Disability and the Mass Commission for the Blind for accessibility. This guide has been developed to assist candidates using JAWS 13 or 15 in creating a profile and applying for a job. Additionally, every job requisition posted on the site has the name and phone number of the Diversity/ADA coordinator included. Please reach out to them for any reasonable accommodation needed to apply for a job with the Commonwealth.

Browse and Apply for a Job (User with a login)

Step 1. Go to link Career Section

Step 2. Go to sign in

Step 3. Enter your username and password

Step 4. You will arrive at the Job Search page

Step 5. Each job title is a heading and a link that will take you to the full description of the job on a separate page.

Step 6. The default sort is “descending order”.  The most recent job posted is listed first. If you want to change the sort order, use the up/ down arrow keys to choose Job Title or Schedule. Any of these three ways of sorting “Posting Date, Job Title or Schedule” can be used to sort A – Z, or Z- A, or oldest/ newest depending on the category.

Step 7. Once you have sorted your list according to your preference, you can move through the list by Tabbing to each job title.

Step 8. You can choose to Apply for the specific job at any time by pressing the Apply link that is in the information about the job

Step 9. You can also choose to add a job to your Job Cart. By doing this you can return to the short job description and details and apply at a later moment.

Filling in the Job Application Summary

Note: there are 11 steps in the job application form. These are:

  1. Resume Upload
  2. Personal Information
  3. General Questions
  4. Job Specific Questions
  5. Education
  6. Employment History
  7. Certificates and Licenses
  8. File Attachments
  9. Electronic Signature
  10. Diversity Survey
  11. Summary

You must fill out all of these steps and choose to submit the job application at the end to be considered for the job.

Note:  At the top of each page within the Job Application there is a progress bar before the main content area. This progress bar consists of all of the steps necessary to complete your profile.

Each of the steps in the bar is merely informational until you have successfully filled out that page. At that time the informational name becomes a link so that you can navigate backwards to any page you have successfully finished. Our instructions skip over the progress bar to facilitate faster filling out of the profile. If you wish to hear the progress bar read simply arrow or Tab down from the top of the page. The progress bar is the preferred method for navigating back to prior pages. Use of the browser BACK button is discouraged.

Resume Upload

Step 1. There are two possible ways to use this page. You can upload a resume, which will be used by the system to move relevant information into your profile OR you can skip that step and choose to enter all of your information by yourself on the next page.

Step 2. If you do not want to upload a resume go to step 3.

Step 3. Leave the default radio button selected.  Tab twice to the Save and Continue button. Press Enter. You arrive at the Personal Information page. To continue instructions move to the next heading in this document: Personal Information Page – Enter Information for Yourself.

Step 4. If you do want to upload a resume select the radio button that is labeled   ” I want to upload a resume”. Press the Spacebar. The radio button will be selected. This action will also activate the Browse button.

Step 5. The Browse button opens a window that allows you to search through the computer to locate your resume. When you have located your resume Press Open to insert a path to the resume into the Resume Upload page.

Step 6. Upload your resume, then select “Save and Continue to the next page”. Press Enter. You will arrive on the Personal information Page.

Personal Information Page -- Enter Information for Yourself

Step 1. If you have decided to enter all of your information for yourself into the Personal Info page then, once you arrive on that page Press h to go to the first heading. You will hear “Personal Information”. Another h takes you to the Subheading, “Personal Information”.

Step 2. Press Tab and you will enter the first form field on the screen, “Prefix”. Enter any Title or other addition to your name that you are usually called by, such as “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.” Or “Doctor”. Press Tab.

Step 3. You will be placed into the mandatory First Name field. Enter your name and continue pressing Tab to fill in all required fields and any other fields that contain information relevant to your situation.

Note: there are a number of input boxes which require data in the form of numbers. These would be items like “zip code” and “phone numbers”. Please enter 5 digits for the zip code and phone numbers in the following pattern “999-999-9999”. Please include the dashes in the phone number.

Step 4. Tab to the next combo box, “Primary Number”. You must select one of the choices.

Step 5. Tab to the three phone number choices. Make sure you have placed a phone number in the field that corresponds to your choice in the Primary Number combo box.

Note: All phone numbers in the site must be entered in the following format 999-999-9999. Remember to put the ‘–‘ in as well as omitting any “1” or “9” at the beginning of a number.

Step 6. Tab once. Reviewing or input your email address

Step 7. Press Tab. If you are an Internal Candidate use the space bar to select the checkbox. Tab again.

Step 8. You are in the Employee Number input box. Enter your employee number if applicable. Tab again.

Step 9. You are in the Bargaining Unit drop down box. If applicable use the up/ down arrows to make the correct choice. Press Tab.

Step 10. You reach the Job Posting Notification.  You are in a checkbox which allows you to choose to receive an email notification when a new position matching your profile is posted. If you wish to receive these emails press spacebar.

Step 11. Press Tab. Your cursor will be placed into the combo box Source Type. You can use the up/ down arrow keys to select the closest choice to where or how you learned about the Commonwealth job.

Step 12. When you have selected your source type, tab again. This should bring you to a second Source Type box, which has selections that further explain where you heard about the job site. This second drop down box is also mandatory.

Note: If you do NOT hear the second source type box, but instead are moved to the ‘Save and Continue’ button, use your up arrow to go back to the second box. This is a mandatory field and must have an option selected or you will throw an error.

Note: An example of what you might choose would be Source Type combo box #1 = “Job Board”. Source Type combo box #2, Job Board = “Monster”

Tab once more and you will be on the ‘save and Continue’ button. Press Enter. You will be taken to the next page in the job application. This page is called ‘General Questions’.

General Questions

Note: the questions are mandatory and are asked of all applicants to all jobs in the Commonwealth. There are two questions.

If you answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Are you legally authorized to work in the United States of America?’ you can tab to the next question. If you answer ‘No’ to that question, an input box will open up where you are expected to enter an explanation. Tab once from the ‘No’ radio button and you will be placed into the box. When you are finished Tab once to the second question.

The second question is ‘Do you have any immediate family working in Massachusetts State Government?’ There is a longer explanation next to this that details what is meant by this question.

The default answer to the question is ‘No’. If that is the case, then Tab once more to the ‘Save and Continue’ button and Press that.

If the answer is ‘Yes’, again you will be presented with an input box. There is specific information that is expected. JAWS will not read this information to you. It is ‘Name of Relative, Relationship, Title of Relative’s Job, State Agency.’ Please input all of this information into the box. Then Tab again to the ‘Save and Continue’ button.

Job Specific Questions

Step 1. Each job in the system has a number of questions that are specific to the job you are applying for.  They are mandatory to answer.

Step 2. As you move from question to question, select your best choice and move on to the next question.

Step 3. When you are finished with the questions you will move to the ‘Save and Continue’ button. Press Enter. You will arrive on the Education page.


Step 1. If you uploaded your resume, verify the information is entered correctly.  If you are entering it yourself, tab into the first edit box which is where you will type in the name of the school you attended. There is a dropdown menu that suggests results that match what you type in. Do not try to use the list, since you will get stuck in the list. Just type in your entire school name. Tab to place your cursor into the Program input box.  Enter the name of your program/major.

Step 2. Tab from the Program input box to go into the Education Level drop down box. Select the level of education level you attained at the education institute.

Step 3. Tab to the ‘Remove Education’ and the ‘Add Education’ links. If you need to, add and remove education.

Caution: If you press Enter while on the Remove Education link the institution, program and education level you have input directly BEFORE that link will be deleted. Be sure that is what you want to do. Once the data has been removed you will have to reenter all of it.

Step 4. When you Remove Education and then Tab once you will find the Add Education link. Pressing this link will restore a new education section with the three necessary fields in it.

Step 5. When you are finished in this section Tab to the “Save and Continue” button. Press Enter. You will arrive on the Employment History page.

Employment History

Step 1. If you uploaded your resume, review to make sure the information was entered correctly.

Step 2. If you are entering the information yourself, enter the Employer name, then Tab to enter your job title

Step 3. Tab to the Start Date drop down box. There are two drop down boxes (month and year) for both the Start and the End Dates.

Step 4. If this is your current job Tab past the ‘End Date’ combo boxes and Tab one more time to the checkbox which says ‘Current Job’ Press spacebar to select this checkbox.

Step 5. Tab one more time to enter the input box ‘Achievements/ Responsibilities’. Input information about this position.

Step 6. Tab to the ‘Remove Work Experience’ and the ‘Add Work Experience’ links. Use these links only if you need to add and remove work experience.

CAUTION: If you press Enter while on the ‘Remove Work Experience’ link the Employer, Job Title and Start/ End Dates you have input directly BEFORE that link will be deleted. Be sure that is what you want to do. Once the data has been removed you will have to reenter all of it.

Step 7. When you remove work experience and then tab once you will find the ‘Add Work Experience’ link. Clicking this link will provide you with a new ‘Work Experience’ section with the all necessary fields in it.

Step 8. When you are finished in this section Tab to the “Save and Continue” button. Press Enter. You will arrive on the ‘Certifications’ page.


Step 1. Type in the name of the certification relevant for this position.

Step 2. Tab to move to the Issuing Organization edit box.

Step 3. Enter the name of the issuing organization.

Step 4. Tab once to the Number/ID edit box. Enter the unique identifying number.

Step 5. Tab once to the Country combo box. The default value in that box is “Not specified”. The United States is the next country in the list. If this is the issuing country arrow down once and select it. If you have a different issuing country then you can either arrow up/ down until you find it or you can type in the first few letters of the country name.

Step 6. Tab once more to the State/ Province combo box. Select your state.

Step 7. Tab once more to the Region combo box. Select your region. If, when you Tab, you hear “Issue Date” instead of “Region” use your Tab + Shift keys to move back to the Region drop down box. Select your region, choosing the closest choice to your understanding of the Region.

Note: The Regions do not always correspond to our usual understanding of county, city, or other geo-political designation. Choose the best one from the list since this is a mandatory field.

Step 8. Tab to the issue date. This is represented by two separate combo boxes, Month and Year. Select the correct choices.

Step 9.  Tab to the Expiration Date. This refers to the future expiration date. If the certificate has already expired, then it should not be included in the list.

Step 10. Tab to the ‘Remove Certification’ and the ‘Add Certification’ links. Use these links only if you need to add and remove certificates.

CAUTION: If you press Enter while on the ‘Remove Certification’ link the Certification, Issuing Organization, Number/ID and Issue/ Expiration Dates you have input directly BEFORE that link will be deleted. Be sure that is what you want to do. Once the data has been removed you will have to reenter all of it.

Step 11. When you remove a certification and then Tab once you will find the Add Certificate link. Pressing this link will provide you with a new Certificate section with the all necessary fields in it.

Step 12. When you are finished entering data on this screen press Tab and go to the Save and Continue button. Press Enter and you will arrive at the File Attachment page.

File Attachments

This is a good place to attach items like a cover letter that would help express your suitability for employment in your field. Letters of reference and portfolio items and samples can also be attached here. On this page you can upload files and add comments which can be read by a hiring manager and/ or the HR department.

Note: There is a 10 file limit. This limit applies to you, as an applicant, not per job. If you are planning on applying for multiple jobs think about the file limit and plan accordingly.

Step 1. Read the paragraph explaining how to attach a file.

Step 2. Press Tab until you are on the Browse… button. Press spacebar to activate this button.

Step 3. The Microsoft Windows “Choose File to Upload” window should be open and you should be able to locate whatever files you want to upload using the standard Windows keystrokes. When you have selected the file and pressed the Open button you should have the path to the desired file listed in the input box.

Step 4. When you are satisfied that the correct file is in the attachment box Tab three times until you are in the “Comments about the file” input box. This is your opportunity to very briefly put a meaningful tag on the document so that you can tell your docs apart and so that the hiring managers have a quick idea of what the file’s purpose is. Examples might be “Cover letter program manager position May 2015”.

Step 5. When you are finished adding a comment CTRL + Shift back to the Attach button. Press Enter. Your file should now be attached and a record of it should be in the section below. Use your down arrow to read the information about the section that contains the files.

For each file there are two checkbox options (‘Relevant Files’ and’ Resume’)

Step 6. If you have chosen to attach a resume be sure that the Relevant Files and Resume checkboxes within this section are checked. Selecting the ‘Relevant Files’ Checkbox will attach that file to the specific job posting for which you are applying.

Step 7. If individual files (i.e. cover letter, writing sample, etc) are relevant to this particular job position choose the ‘Relevant Files’ checkbox prior to the file name.

Step 8. When you have finished reviewing all files in the table, select the Save and Continue button. You will arrive on the Electronic Signature page.

Overwrite a file on file attachments page

There are times when you might want to return to the File Attachments page to add files, including updated resumes, cover letters, etc. Follow Steps1 through 7.  The system will notice that you are trying to add a file with the same name. When you press Enter on the Attach button the system will put up a message that says, “This file has already been attached. Are you sure that you want to overwrite it? Yes No.” This gives you a final opportunity to make this decision.

Step 9. When you have finished reviewing all files in the section Tab to the Save and Continue button. Press Enter. You will arrive on the Electronic Signature page.

Electronic Signature

Step 1. Read through the whole screen. This is a legal document and signing the page subjects you to the terms on this page. Note that, just prior to giving you a signature box within which to sign, the page says “Do not e-sign until you have read the above statement.”

Step 2. When you reach the signature input box type in your full name. Tab once to the “Save and Continue” button. Press Enter. You will arrive at the Diversity Survey page.

Diversity Survey

Note: The answers on this page are required. For any of the six (6) diversity questions it is acceptable to choose “I do not wish to provide this information.”

The page promises that “the information will be treated in a highly confidential way.” The system is designed so that this information is delivered only to the Diversity Officer/ ADA Coordinator. No one else can access it.

Step 1. There are six questions. They are ‘Ethnicity’, ‘Race’, ‘Gender’, “Vietnam Era Veterans and Protected Veterans’, ‘Special Protected Veterans’ and ‘Do you consider yourself a person with a disability?’   Each question has a drop down box with a default value of “Not specified”.

Use up/ down arrows to navigate through the combo box choices and select one answer.

Step 2. Tab from one combo box to the other, use your up/ down arrow keys to make your selection. Tab to the ‘Save and Continue’ button. Press Enter. You will arrive at the Summary page.

Summary Page

Step 1. Since this is a summary of all of the information you have input you may want to read through the entire page and make notes of anything that you find incomplete or incorrect. You can still Edit from this page before you finally submit your profile.

Step 2. If you find an item to correct your best course of action is to move to each heading in turn and select the Edit link that pertains to that section.

Step 3. If you are still not finished with the Profile you can choose to Save as Draft. You could also do this on any of the other intermediate pages.

Note: Choosing Save as Draft triggers a warning which is read to you.  “You are about to save this job submission (including the information on this page) as draft. If you save as draft, you will exit the current submission process. Are you sure that you want to save as draft and exit the job submission process? Yes or No”

Step 4. When you are ready to submit the entire Profile, navigate to the Submit button and press Enter. You will arrive at the Thank You page. You can sign out from here or go to the Job Search or View all jobs links.

Locate your submissions

Step 1. Sign into the website

Step 2. Press Insert + F7 to bring up a list of links. Press the letter M until you hear “My jobcart”. Press Enter. You will arrive at the My Jobcart page, on the My Submissions tab.  Depending on what previous actions you have taken you can have up to three sections.  ‘Completed Submissions’ means you have completed and submitted an application for a specific job.  ‘Draft Submissions’ means you have begun an application for a specific job and saved it for future completion. ‘Withdrawn Submissions’ means you have withdrawn a previously submitted application for a specific job.

Step 3. Press the letter H until you arrive at the job you have submitted an application for.  You will know you have arrived because the heading will be the same as the job title.

Step 4. Use your up/ down arrows to read through the description. You are particularly looking for “Job Status” and “Submission Status”. If the “Job Status” says 'Active’, then the position has not yet been filled. You can also check that “Submission Status” is ‘Complete’. This tells you that your submission is current and gives you the last date you worked on it.

Step 5. You can down arrow to the ‘View Submission’ link. Pressing this link takes you back to the application so you can add and amend items. For instance, you can add another document or change an address or phone number in your contact information.

Step 6. After the ‘View Submission’ link there is a ‘Withdraw’ link. Pressing that takes you to a page where you must enter a comment to explain your withdrawal and submit it.

Note: All withdrawals are stored on the My Submissions tab of the My Jobpage. If you do change your mind you can navigate back there and Resubmit your application.


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