Ask a Coach

Q: If my resume is "Referred for Selection," does this mean I am definitely going to receive an interview?

A: Congratulations on your resume being referred! This means you've made it through the most grueling of the resume portions of the hiring process. Unfortunately, being "Referred for Selection" doesn't automatically mean you're going to have an interview. Generally a certain number of candidates are singled out for selection, but the number can be larger than the ultimate number of candidates receiving an interview. The hiring managers want to pull from the best of the bunch when it comes to interviews, and that might mean some candidates won't interview. Additionally, due to constraints in resources or changes with the hiring process, the decision might be made to interview fewer candidates than expected. No matter what happens, please take heart in the fact your resume made it this far, because the majority of resumes don't. The next step is to see if you can make your resume even more dynamic than it already is.

Deciphering the Position Information on a Job Announcement

When you decide to start searching for Federal positions, both within TSA and outside of it, you'll notice that the top of each job announcement contains information regarding each position.

Once you really focus on that section, however, it might be confusing. Let's decipher this information so you'll understand these job announcements in the future.

The Basics

First off, we'll start with the easy parts.  You'll see the agency name and the location of the position listed.  The Work Schedule will tell you if this is a part- or full-time position, or temporary, term, etc. 

The Open and Close dates of the position are very important to pay attention to.  Although the typical position is open for two weeks, many agencies and airports are choosing to limit their open periods to one week to cut down on the amount of applications received.  Make sure you have checked this information and apply no later than 11:59 PM EST on the close date.

The Pay

The Salary Range shows minimums and maximums of pay for each position; the amount you'll be offered for the position is dependent on many different factors, including amount of time worked within the Federal government.

Series & Grade

Series & Grade refers to the classification of the position and the pay grade the position will be for.  For positions within TSA, you'll see this number start with "SV," and with Competitive Service positions, this number will either start with "GS" or "WG."  The four-digit number refers to the occupational series, which is how the Federal government groups similar positions.  You can find a listing for General Schedule (GS) series here; these series also correspond to TSA positions.  The last letter or number(s) refer to the position's Pay Band or Grade, which could encompass two or more grades.

Promotion Potential shows the highest pay grade or GS level you could reach for the position.  Supervisory Status will let you know if this is an official supervisory position or not.

Who May Apply

Who May Apply is one of the most important parts of this section because it narrows down who's eligible for the position.  Sometimes you'll notice the position is "Open to all U.S. Citizens."  Sometimes the application pool is limited to those who already work for the agency, for a specific department, or at a specific location.  If you're looking for positions outside of TSA, you'll notice that many of the positions will mention they are limited to "Status" candidates.  Due to an Interchange Agreement that the TSA has in place with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), if you hold a permanent position within TSA and have served for over a year, you're considered a "Status" candidate for hiring purposes.  Additionally, if you see this section mention you may apply via an Interchange Agreement, you're also eligible for the position.  Please make sure you consult this information before applying in order to save yourself time and energy!

Other important information in this section includes locality pay and the job announcement number, which is unique to each individual position.

Good luck with your job search, and don't forget to read this section before applying!