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Frequently Asked Questions USAJOBS

  • Visit the FAQ page on the USAJOBS website for more information.
  •   Contact your former agency personnel office, if recently separated. Otherwise, send your request to: Federal Records Center National Archives and Records Administration Civilian Personnel Records 1411 Boulder Boulevard Valmeyer, IL 62295 (314) 801-9250 Fax: (618) 935-3014 Inquiries should include the full name under which formerly employed, social security number, date of birth, and to the extent known, former Federal employing agencies, addresses and dates of such employment. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a) and the Office of Personnel Management require a signed and dated written request for information from the Federal Records Center. No requests for information from personnel or any other type of records will be accepted by telephone or e-mail.  
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  • Series and grade refers to the Federal government's system for categorizing and defining jobs. For more information on the job classifications and pay, please visit OPM website. If you have never worked in the Federal government, you do not have to enter a series or grade on your resume for previous, non-government jobs. Upon application, however, you may be prompted to pick the highest grade you desire or are eligible for. To view the GS pay schedule, please go to 2010 Pay Schedule. There, you may view the base schedule and schedules by state. To view wage scale schedules, please visit http://www.cpms.osd.mil/wage/wage.html. Here are some guidelines and general information:  
    • A step is a raise in salary. Most grades in the Federal government have 10 steps.
    • If you are just starting out, you can qualify for jobs at the GS-2 level with a high school diploma or as little as 3 months of general work experience. At GS-3 and GS-4 levels, you can qualify with more months of general experience. Starting at GS-5, jobs generally require 1 year of specialized experience to qualify.
    • When you have a degree but no specialized experience in a career field, you are eligible for appointment at the GS-5 pay scale. (If you maintained a B average, or met other academic credentials in college, you can start out at the GS-7 pay scale.
    • To qualify for jobs at the GS-7 and higher grades, your background must have included experience closely related to the work to be performed in the job for which you are applying
    • You can qualify for GS-9 positions on the basis of a master’s degree, and for GS-11 positions on the basis of a doctorate.
    For more information on grades, steps, and Federal salaries, please go to 2010 General Schedule. The "Federal Occupational Groups" contains a list that will help you identify the General Schedule (GS) series positions that are of the greatest interest to you. You may obtain additional information in the "GS Position Classification Standards" and the "Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions."
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  • The system under which agencies consider an employee for vacant positions on the basis of personal merit. Vacant positions are usually filled through competition with applicants (current competitive service employees) being evaluated and ranked for the position on the basis of their experience, education, competencies and performance.
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  • “Status candidates” 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. When a vacancy announcement indicates that status candidates are eligible to apply, Federal government employees who have served at least 90 days after competitive appointment may apply. For further information, please visit https://www.opm.gov/faqs/topic/employment/index.aspx.
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  • The Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) is designed to improve a current Federal employee’s chances of finding a new job within their agency through selection priority. Each agency has a specific CTAP containing more detailed information about the agency's transition policies. Your human resources office should be able to explain the specifics for your agency. Note for Department of Defense (DoD) Employees: CTAP special selection priority does not apply to DoD employees. DoD uses the Priority Placement Program (PPP) to help place its surplus employees. In addition to PPP, displaced DoD employees can register for their local Reemployment Priority List (RPL), and request selection priority for jobs in non-DoD agencies using the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) . To get selection priority for vacancies in an agency, an employee must meet the following criteria:
    • be considered "surplus" or "displaced" (meeting the definitions below);
    • have a current performance rating of at least "fully successful" (Level III) or equivalent;
    • occupy a position in the same local commuting area of the vacancy;
    • apply for a specific vacancy at or below your current grade level with no greater promotion potential than your current position;
    • meet the application deadline in the announcement; and
    • be found "well qualified" for the job.
    Definitions surplus employee: An employee in the competitive service**, in tenure group I (career) or tenure group II (career conditional), who has an official notice from your agency saying that your position is no longer needed. This notice could be:
    • a "Certificate of Expected Separation" (CES);
    • an agency certification that you are in a surplus organization or occupation;
    • a notice that your position is being abolished; or
    • a letter saying you are eligible for discontinued service retirement.
    ** Agencies can extend the definition of a "surplus" employee to include employees in the excepted service if they are on Schedule A or B appointments without time limit and have received an appropriate notice (see above). Selection priority for these employees is limited to other permanent Schedule A or B positions in the same agency and local commuting area. Note: Excepted Service employees are not eligible for selection priority in other agencies under ICTAP. displaced employee: An employee in the competitive service**, in tenure group I (career) or tenure group II (career conditional), who has an official notice from your agency saying you will be separated by reduction in force. This notice could be:
    • a specific reduction in force separation notice; or
    • a notice of proposed removal because you declined a directed reassignment or transfer of function out of the local commuting area.
    ** Agencies can extend the definition of a "displaced" employee to include employees in the excepted service if they are on Schedule A or B appointments without time limit and have received an appropriate notice (see above). Selection priority for these employees is limited to other permanent Schedule A or B positions in the same agency and local commuting area. Note: Excepted Service employees are not eligible for selection priority in other agencies under ICTAP.  
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  • Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 Report of Separation and other military and medical records through the National Archives Veterans’ Records Service.      
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  •   Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) gives an eligible, well-qualified employee selection priority over almost any other applicant from outside the agency. Under ICTAP, employees must apply for positions in the local commuting area and include proof that they were displaced. For example, a Department of Defense (DOD) employee with a Reduction in Force (RIF) separation notice could apply for a competitive service vacancy in the local commuting area at the Department of Education (DOE). In most cases, DOE must select this well-qualified person for the position before choosing another applicant from outside the agency.  *Note to DoD Employees: The Department of Defense does not provide agency selection priority through the Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP). Instead, DoD uses the Priority Placement Program (PPP) to help place its surplus employees. DoD also provides career transition services to its employees to the extent possible. Displaced DoD workers can also register for their local Reemployment Priority Lists, and request selection priority for jobs in non-DoD agencies using ICTAP.  
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  • The following are general rules:
    • One can qualify for jobs at the GS-2 level with a high school diploma or as little as 3-months of general work experience. At GS-3 and GS-4 grade levels, more months of general experience is required. Starting at the GS-5 grade level, jobs generally require 1 year of specialized experience to qualify which may include specific job-related work experience, education, medical or physical standards, training, security, and/or licensure.
    • A degree but no specialized experience in a career field, makes one eligible for appointment at the GS-5 grade level. If you maintained at least a B average; were in the upper third of your college, university or major subdivision; or are a member of a national scholastic honor society recognized by the Association of College Honors Societies, you can start out at the GS-7 grade level.)
    • To qualify for jobs at the GS-7 and higher grade levels, background must include experience closely related to the work to be performed in the job for which you are applying.
    • One can qualify for GS-9 positions on the basis of a master’s degree, and for GS-11 positions on the basis of a doctorate.
    For more information on Qualifications, please visit http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/
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  • If you have forgotten your username, you can use the email address associated with your account to log in. Simply enter your email address in the field provided for your username. If you have forgotten your username and/or password, click the My Account tab at the top of the page. On the right hand side of the page below "Log In", click the "Did You Forget Your Username or Password" link and follow the prompts. If further assistance is needed after following the prompts, click Contact Us.
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  • A Federal agency cannot discriminate against an employee or applicant with respect to the terms, conditions or privileges of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other factor that is not related to job performance. Discrimination on these bases is prohibited by one or more of the following statutes: 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(1), (b)(10); 29 U.S.C. 206(d); 29 U.S.C. 633a; 29 U.S.C. 791; and 42 U.S.C. 200e-16. If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or disability, you must contact an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action, or, in the case of a personnel action, within 45 calendar days of the effective date of the action, before you can file a formal complaint of discrimination with your agency. See, e.g. 29 CFR 1614. If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination on the basis of age, you must either contact an EEO counselor as noted above or give notice of intent to sue to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory action. For further information, check the EEOC's website at www.eeoc.gov. If you are alleging discrimination based on marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other factor that is not related to job performance, you may file a written complaint with the United States Office of Special Counsel (www.osc.gov). In the alternative, you may pursue a discrimination complaint by filing a grievance through your agency's administrative or negotiated grievance procedures, if such procedures apply and are available.
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