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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

  • 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 http://www.opm.gov/oca/06tables/index.asp. 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 http://www.opm.gov/oca/wage/Wagesch.asp 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. For instance, the YA pay plan is used only by the Department of Defense for positions classified under the National Security Personnel System (NSPS). The VN pay plan is specific to nursing positions within the Department of Veteran Affairs. Because of variations in independent personnel systems across the Federal Government, it is recommended applicants contact the hiring agency directly to obtain definitive information about pay plans other than the GS.
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  • To apply for a job, there are four basic steps: 1. Create an account
    • Enter your profile information and create a resume.
    Note:  Visit USAJOBS' Resource Center for more information on Getting Started Please note that you do not need to create a "My Account" to search for jobs, but you must create an account to apply for jobs online. 2. Search jobs
    • Use basic search to enter in job and location keyword information from the USAJOBS home page or the advanced search function.
    • Review the job opportunity announcements and note of those of interest.
    • Carefully review the "Qualification and Evaluation" section to determine whether you will qualify for the position.
    3. Apply for jobs
    • Carefully follow the instructions in the "How to Apply" section for each announcement.
    • Submit any additional documentation to verify your qualifications such as transcripts, SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, and/or Veterans' Form DD-214.
    4. Manage Your Career
    • Log into your account to obtain application status for positions for which you have applied.
    • Contact the agency for specific follow-up questions or those related to the particular job.
    • The agency contact information is listed on the right-hand side of the announcement.
     
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  • Under the new 5 CFR 213.3102(u) appointing authority, a hiring agency may make:
    • Under the 5 CFR 213.3102(u) Schedule A appointing authority regulations, an agency may make a temporary appointment when:
      • The agency determines that it is necessary to observe the applicant on the job to determine whether the applicant is able or ready to perform the duties of the position. When an agency uses this option to determine an individual's job readiness, the hiring agency may convert the individual to a permanent appointment in the excepted service whenever the agency determines the individual is able to perform the duties of the position; or
      • The work is of a temporary nature.
    • A temporary appointment of an individual who provides proof of a disability and certification of job readiness, when the duties of the position do not require it to be filled on a permanent basis. (Refer to 5 CFR 213.104 for the definition of temporary appointment)
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  • 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. In rare cases, agencies may hire certain non-citizens when there are no qualified U.S. citizens available, unless the appointment is prohibited by statute. In addition, Congress frequently restricts agencies’ ability to hire non-citizens into the excepted service as well, through appropriations provisions. “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.  
    NOTE: Certain veterans eligible under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) may also apply and be considered under vacancy announcements limited to status candidates. For information on VEOA eligibility, please visit: http://www.opm.gov/veterans/html/vetguide.asp#Veterans_Employment_Opprtunities_Act_of_1998.
      Reinstatement eligibility refers to the ability for those individuals who previously held a career or career-conditional appointment to apply for jobs in the competitive Federal service open to status applicants. There is no time limit on reinstatement eligibility for those who either have veterans' preference, or acquired career tenure by completing 3 years of substantially continuous creditable service. For more information on reinstatement, please visit: www.usajobs.opm.gov/ei2.asp.
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  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued final regulations pertaining to the Schedule A Hiring Authority for the appointment of intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities.  This final rule removes the requirement for a certification of job readiness.  To learn more, refer to http://chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=5333
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  • Generally, applicants for most Federal jobs must be (1) at least 18 years old, or (2) at least 16 years old and: • Have graduated from high school or been awarded a certificate equivalent to graduating from high school; or • Have completed a formal vocational training program; or • Have received a statement from school authorities agreeing with their preference for employment rather than continuing their education; or • Be currently enrolled in a secondary school and either work only during school vacation periods or work part-time during the school year under a formal student employment program. Some positions, like those in law enforcement have a maximum entry age and the age may vary from agency to agency but generally falls within the range 34 yrs to 37 yrs.  Please review the job opportunity announcement or call the agency directly to find out specific information about the job of interest to you.  What does status candidate means?
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  • The Office of Management and Budget has mandated that agencies are responsible for evaluating and providing status to applicants at four points which are:   Application Received Application Assessed Applicant Referred or Not Referred to Selection Official Applicant Selected or Not Selected   Although each agency is different, generally, you will hear from the hiring agency in about 15-30 days after the job opportunity announcement (JOA) closes.  If you have not heard from the agency, you should contact the agency that posted the JOA to inquire about the status of your application. You may also go to "My Account" to view your application history.  The contact information for each announcement is listed in the lower portion of the JOA and also on the floating menu on the right hand side of the JOA.  If the JOA has closed and no longer appears on the USAJOBS® website, you can contact the human resources office of the hiring agency for additional information and assistance or feel free to click on Contact Us.
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  • Searching for job opportunities on USAJOBS® is very easy.  To search for jobs, select “Search Jobs” from the USAJOBS home page or go to http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov At the job search page, you can:   1) Search Jobs by "Location", "Job Category", "Salary range", "Pay Grade", and/or 'Search Keyword'; or 2) Select a more refined search from the specialty search options at the top of the page including "Agency", "Series", "Senior Executive" or "Advanced". If you are looking for a particular position, use the "Keyword Search" box to indicate the specific position or location of interest  Additional tips for keyword searching can be found at:  http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/help/index.asp?ma=keyword_tips
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  •  Qualification Standards are a description of the minimum requirements necessary to perform work of a particular occupation successfully and safely. These minimum requirements may include specific job-related work experience, education, medical or physical standards, training, security, and/or licensure. They are not designed to rank candidates, identify the best qualified for a particular position, or substitute for an analysis of an applicant's knowledge, skills, and abilities/competencies. The qualification standards for white collar occupations are in the Operating Manual: Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions. To review the Operating Manual please visit: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/index.asp. For information about the Job Qualification System for Trades and Labor Occupations, please visit: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/x-118c/index.htm.
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  • Yes. However, time spent on the SCEP appointment may be credited towards probation provided it meets the requirements of 5 CFR § 315.802
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