Ask a Coach

Q: I'm trying to prepare for my interview, and I am so worried that my answers won't answer what is being asked. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Make sure when you're formulating your answers during the interview to always keep in mind that your answers and relevant examples need to reflect the skills required for the position. The interviewers are wanting to find out whether you're the best fit for the position, so they're listening to the examples you give and are assuming that you'll do the same types of actions in the position you're interviewing for. Since that's the case, you'll want to make sure the answers you provide reflect how you feel you'll perform in the new position. Always make sure you keep the position you're interviewing for in mind. Before your interview, you might want to think of possible skills of the position you could be asked about so you're prepared. As long as you remember to highlight the experience you possess that's relevant to the position you're interviewing for you'll increase your chances of success.

Saved Searches on USAJOBS

With last month's Ask a Coach question, we briefly discussed the ability to save your USAJobs searches for future use. It's such a useful feature of the website that this month we'll go into further detail about it.

Automate the Search

The key to understanding and using USAJobs in the most effective manner is to explore all of its functionality. One of those functions is Saved Searches. Like many other job boards, USAJobs lets you set up a search which will send newly opened positions to your email. The saved search function will automatically search for jobs based on your search parameters.

Versatility and Customization

You can set up 10 Saved Searches depending on the types of jobs you are considering. For example, one saved search might focus on geographic considerations, another might focus on a specific agency, and another on a particular occupation. It can make your job search much more efficient and easier when you don't have to design a new search every time you utilize USAJobs.

Setting Up Saved Searches

Here are the basic instructions for setting up your own Saved Searches for future use:

  1. Sign into your USAJobs account.
  2. On the left hand side is a column of choices; select "Saved Searches."
  3. Once you're on the "Saved Searches" screen, click on the blue button, "Create a New Saved Search."
  4. Now select the parameters for your search. You can enter information for any of these boxes, but can leave some empty, too.
    • Keyword Search: For example, "law enforcement," "criminal justice," etc.
    • Salary and Grade: Download a comparison of TSA pay bands to GS pay grades
    • Occupational Series or Job Category: Either type in an occupation's title and the series number (the four digit code used to classify federal positions) should appear OR know the series number you are interested in. The OPM Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families can help you figure out the series numbers.
    • Location: You can select up to 10 locations.
    • Department and Agency: You can either type in department and agency names or use the "Show Additional Department and Agency Search Option" to view a full listing of federal departments and agencies.
    • Type of Work or Work Schedule: Select any or all that you are interested in.
    • Posting Options: Select yes or no.
    • Additional Search Options: You can choose to see or not see supervisory level positions, decide on the amount of travel you desire in a position, only see positions that cover relocation expenses and choose the level of security clearance.
    • Who May Apply: Ensure you change the "no" to a "yes" if you have reached career status in the federal government.
  5. Name your search for easy retrieval in the future.
  6. Click on how often you would like to receive email notifications on which positions match your specifications. Make sure you verify the email associated with your USAJobs profile is up-to-date.
  7. click "Save Search" or "Save and View Results."

Modify your saved searches as necessary to meet your current requirements. Saved Searches will expire after one year, but USAJOBS will send you a reminder to renew. If you have any questions, the help function within USAJOBS is a great resource.