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How to Apply to Federal Jobs Presented by: Antoine L. Dotson, Director Office of Human Resources, IMLS.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Apply to Federal Jobs Presented by: Antoine L. Dotson, Director Office of Human Resources, IMLS."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Apply to Federal Jobs Presented by: Antoine L. Dotson, Director Office of Human Resources, IMLS

2 What does GS, WS, WG, YA, VN etc. mean in a position’s title? Positions within the Federal Government are classified by occupational series, grade or pay level, and pay plan. Pay plans identify the pay system under which the position is covered. Many white-collar employees are paid under the General Schedule (GS), which is regulated by title 5 and administered by OPM. GS positions, including other white- collar positions, are paid annual salaries. Current GS salaries may be viewed at: 2

3 What does GS, WS, WG, YA, VN etc. mean in a position’s title? Blue-collar employees are paid under the Federal Wage System (FWS). FWS positions are craft, trade, and laboring positions and include several different pay plans (WS, WG, WL, etc.). FWS positions are paid on an hourly basis. For current FWS rates, please visit and select a state and county for the corresponding wage schedule. Some agencies have statutory authority to administer their own pay systems. Employees within these agencies may be paid under separate pay systems (e.g., pay bands) with separate pay plan codes. 3

4 What does it mean when the vacancy announcement's Who May Apply section says "all sources" or "status applicants" and/or "reinstatement eligible”? These are groups of individuals the agency may identify as groups from which it will accept applications to compete for its vacancy. When a vacancy is open to “all sources”, it means anyone may apply. While there are no restrictions on the groups of candidates who may apply to these types of announcements, in most cases, U.S. citizenship is required. “Status applicants” refers to those individuals who are current or former Federal civilian employees who hold or held non-temporary appointments in the competitive service, not the excepted service. 4

5 What is the Competitive Service? For Competitive Service positions, appointment procedures, internal promotion requirements and qualification requirements are prescribed by law or by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and apply to all agencies. Competitive Service includes all civilian positions in the Federal government that are subject to Title 5, United States Code; that are not specifically excepted from Civil Service laws by statute, by the President, or by OPM. This includes most positions in the Executive branch of government. The most common method for entering the Competitive Service is to be selected for an appointment after competing in an examination with other individuals from the general public who also desire to work for the government. 5

6 What is the Excepted Service? The Excepted Service can be defined as employment in a federal position or with an agency that is outside the federal Competitive Service. For this definition to be meaningful, one needs to understand the Competitive Service. Briefly, the competitive civil service refers to federal employment that uses OPM's competitive hiring process including Veterans' Preference rules. This means that OPM, or an agency delegated by OPM, conducts a competitive evaluation and rates the job candidates. Once employed, candidates who have gone through this process have civil service competitive status. An employee with this status can move freely from one government job to another without going through OPM's competitive hiring evaluation again. 6

7 What is the Excepted Service? The Excepted Service, then, is comprised of positions and agencies that are not required to use OPM's competitive hiring examination. These agencies have authority to establish their own hiring programs to fill Excepted Service vacancies. There are two kind of exceptions: (1) positions and (2) agencies. Agencies that are considered to be primarily Competitive Service likely will still have some Excepted Service positions. In other cases, an entire agency may be excepted by statute from the Competitive Service and is referred to as an excepted agency. 7

8 How to Find and Apply to Federal Government Jobs Primary Sources –www.studentjobs.gov –www.usajobs.gov –www.monster.comwww.monster.com –www.government.about.com

9 How to Apply to Federal Government Jobs Resumes and KSA’s –Resume Format Detailed Exact Professional Personal Information Educational Information Work Experience Length –What are KSA’s “KSA” Knowledge, Skill, & Abilities –Knowledge- Organized body of information-normally factual or procedural in nature –Skill- Proficient manual, verbal, or mental manipulation of data or things –Ability- Power or capacity of activities performed

10 What are these KSA’s ? “KSA” is an acronym that stands for Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (also called “ranking statements”, “evaluation criteria” and narrative statements”) required by government and public sector organizations in addition to a resume or application when applying for a job vacancy. KSAs are qualities needed by applicants to successfully perform their job and are used in the Merit Promotion process to distinguish the “highly qualified candidates” from among the “qualified” candidates. KSAs are defined as: KNOWLEDGE: An organized body of information, usually factual or procedural in nature. For example, “knowledge of the concepts and principles of accounting” could be used as a KSA for an Accountant position. When responding, applicants should indicate what accounting principles they are familiar with, discuss how they applied these principles in the work environment, and describe other significant situations they were involved in. SKILL: The proficient manual, verbal, or mental manipulation of data or things. For example, “Skill in Operating Personal Computers” could be used as a KSA for a Computer Assistant position. When responding, applicants should indicate what type of personal computers they have operated, discuss the various types of software programs they have used, and describe how these programs were applied in their work environment. ABILITY: The power or capacity to perform an activity or task. For example, “Ability to Identify Signs of Discord, Tension, or Abnormal behavior” could be used as a KSA for a Correctional Counselor position.

11 How to Apply For Federal Government Jobs Resumes –Detailed- Current most up to date information –Exact- Dates, Months, Hours, Names, Titles, Telephone Numbers, –Work Experience- Professional & Non-professional (i.e., Volunteering) –Personal- Full Legal Name –Educational- Complete history (i.e., Schools, Major (s), Quarter Hrs./Semester Hrs., Exact Dates attended) –Work Experience- Start with relevant first then strongest other experience –Entry level –Journeyman level –Senior or Supervisory –Length- Approximately ¾ page per experience –Total Length 5-6 pages depending on history –Concise –Consistent – Utilize the same format throughout

12 What are Competencies? Competencies are identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and organizations. Competencies can be objectively measured, enhanced, and improved through coaching and learning opportunities. Here are a few examples: Technical and Functional Expertise Understanding of the Business Results Focus Customer Service/Teamwork Interpersonal Communication Leadership 12

13 Federal Resumes Full Legal Name [ Your street address & Apt. # ] [Your city, state, zip] [Daytime and evening phone #s Available ] [Your address if you have one] [Optional/Best Means of Contact] Social Security Number: Country of Citizenship: Veteran's Preference: [Type N/A, 5pt. or 10 pt.] Highest Federal Grade: [Type series and highest grade or Federal Equivalent] Contact Current Supervisor: [Type Yes or No] Schedule A Eligible [Attach Certification Letter] VACANCY INFORMATION: Announcement #: Job Title: Grade (s) Applying for: [Failure to do so will result in mis-qualification] SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS: [Type a summary of work history and skills – This could state a career change, completion of a degree, and so forth] WORK EXPERIENCE: Employer:Dates Employed: 02/ /2001 Street:Hours per Week: 40 Not 35 for FT City, State, Zip:Annual Salary: Supervisor:[Click here and type name/ph#] {Can this person be contacted ? If not, provide alternate} Title, Grade, Series:[Click here and type position title, grade, series or Equivalent] Responsibilities and Accomplishments: [Type major responsibilities/accomplishments] [Type minor responsibilities/accomplishments]

14 How to Apply to Federal Government Jobs What are my KSA’s measured against? –Rating Criteria (Established by mgt.: Tool assessment, mandatory selective factors) –Legal Standards (OPM Qualification standards on minimum qualifications and education requirements) Overall outcome of rating determined: –Best Qualified/Well-Qualified/Qualified

15 Category Rating – Competitive Hiring The Presidential Memorandum - Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process issued on May 11, 2010, requires agencies to use the category rating approach (as authorized by section 3319 of title 5, United States Code (external link)) to assess and select job applicants for positions filled through competitive examining. Agencies would evaluate candidates and place them into two or more pre-determined quality categories. section 3319 of title 5, United States Code (external link) 15

16 Category Rating – Purpose: The purpose of category rating is to increase the number of qualified applicants an agency has to choose from for selection while preserving veterans' preference rights. The category rating approach gives agencies the flexibility to assess and select from among applicants in the highest quality category without regard to the "rule of three." 16

17 What About Automation? Faster, Smoother, User Friendly –Environmentally Friendly –Time sensitive –Adaptability –Just-in-Time –Return on Investment –Greater Applicant pool –Privacy –Sources Primary portal: –www.quickhire.comwww.quickhire.com –www.avue.comwww.avue.com –www.usastaffing.comwww.usastaffing.com

18 Applicant Processing Old vs. New Applicant is notified of status by sent by hiring agency throughout the recruitment process Applicant is notified of vacancy status via USPS mail Applicant responds to questions and writes a brief summary to certify qualifications Applicant writes summary to demonstrate KSA’s which are used to certify qualifications Automated system screens for basic qualifications based on applicant responses to questions HR staff member assesses the basic qualifications of candidates using paper resume Manager views certificate and application package online Manager receives paper applications 18

19 Applicant Processing Old vs. New 19 Applicants are rated and ranked based on responses to weighted questions - Panel members rate/rank applications - HR issues best qualified certificate Application information is stored online for future use System has ad-hoc reporting capability - HR Specialist maintains paper copy of application & resume - HR Specialist manually researches information and prepares reports

20 Question Format

21 Immediate Registration & Eligibility Notification

22 Basic Qualifications Screen

23 Resume Template

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31 How does hiring officials make selections? Agencies make selections from within the highest quality category regardless of the number of candidates (i.e., the rule of three does not apply). However, preference eligible receive absolute preference within each category. If a preference eligible is in the category, an agency may not select a non-preference eligible unless the agency requests to pass over the preference eligible in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 3318 (external link), and the request is approved.5 U.S.C. § 3318 (external link) If there are fewer than three candidates in the highest quality category, agencies may combine the highest category with the next lower category and make selections from the merged category. 31

32 Helpful Tips for Impressive Federal Resume Be descriptive but not too wordy. Write complete sentences. Use Sub-headings (Education, Skills, Interest) Top-down approach Word or PDF Customize your resume to fit the position. Pay close attention to fonts and formatting….stay consistent. Don’t decorate! 32

33 How to Find and Apply to Federal Government Jobs Questions, concerns or thoughts…


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