Q: Can I give answers during my interview that use experiences in positions outside of TSA?
A: Absolutely! When you give specific examples of your past experience in your interviews, you certainly can give examples that occurred outside of your work with TSA if that example is most relevant to the question being asked. Use your best examples no matter what position they came from. Keep in mind, however, that you'll want to ensure your example best reflects how you think you'll utilize that skill or experience while in the position you're interviewing for, because the interviewers are assuming you'll solve a similar problem the same way while in the position. If you use an example outside of TSA, see if you can tie that experience back to TSA, such as letting the interviewer know at the end of the answer that you'll use that same skill or problem solving process in the TSA position.
Brainstorming Your Next Career Steps
Many of you have a good idea of what your career progression will look like, or at least know what kinds of positions you'd like to hold. What are some things you can do if you're not quite sure what you'd like to do next?
The first step can be to take a Career Assessment. The TSA Career Coaching Program offers three different assessments to take for free to help pinpoint what kind of careers would be a good fit based upon your personality and skills. You can request to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Skillscan, and the iStartStrong Inventories through a Career Coach.
Another step is to brainstorm types of positions that sound interesting to you, or if you're not quite sure, what types of skills you'd like to use in future positions. It's ok if you don't know what positions you'd possibly like to hold, but it is helpful to identify the skills you'd like to use. Think of positions you've held in the past or your current position, or even volunteer experiences you've had. What have you enjoyed doing? Were you ever given a task that was interesting or even fun? Was it a task that you did with others or did you work alone? Were there any skills you needed to utilize that you'd like to utilize again? Spending the time to identify skills you've enjoyed using will help you pinpoint skills for positions you might like to hold.
Once you've identified skills or positions you'd like to use or sound interesting to you, you'll want to start researching positions that might be a good fit. There are some resources available to find out more specific information regarding career fields that could help you determine whether the positions you've identified are for you. One resource is the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS contains the most up-to-date information about career fields and the workforce available for all positions, private and public sector. The BLS's Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) contains information regarding pay, growth rate, and training and education needed for positions. Another resource is O*Net OnLine, the US Department of Labor's occupational database. It contains detailed descriptions of nearly any position you can think of, with information on skills utilized and education or training needed.
When you're not quite sure what positions sound interesting to you, another option is to run a job search to see what positions catch your interest. If you're looking for a private sector position, two good job bank resources are Indeed and LinkedIn. If you're looking for Federal positions, go to USAJobs. Run a search in your geographic area to narrow your search results, and once you've got the positions in front of you, start scrolling through them to see if there are any positions that interest you or utilize skills you'd like to use. You might even find positions you'll want to apply for now.
Brainstorming and researching your options for positions will help set you in the right direction when you're ready for change. Good luck!