Career Tune-Up

The following are some specific actions that you can take to further your career with TSA and the federal government.

Evaluate your career options

If you are uncertain about the direction of your career, you may want to take some time to assess a variety of career options. A career coach can assist you in doing this. After you talk with a coach, you may decide to take one or more of several online career assessments that are available to you at no charge. These assessments can help you to compare your interests with those of people in a variety of careers, to assess your preferences that may relate to the type of job in which you would be most comfortable, and to assess how your skills and priorities will impact your future direction. When you complete one or more of the assessments, your coach will arrange to discuss the results with you by telephone.

Demonstrate your commitment to your work

It is important to build a foundation of success in your work that will prepare you to apply for higher level or other positions that may interest you. Here are some suggestions:

  • When you have the opportunity, volunteer to take on a new assignment, even if it may be temporary.
  • Show your willingness to help out in dealing with a project or problem that may arise.
  • Volunteer to be a member of a team or special work group of your colleagues.

Studies have shown that employers highly value the following skills: initiative, dependability, reliability, efficiency, loyalty, maturity, cheerfulness, helpfulness, unselfishness, and perseverance. These are self-management skills, which means that you do not have to get any special training to learn them. They come from the attitude that you bring with you to work and you have control over whether you develop these skills.

Demonstrate your commitment to learning

It is important to career growth to show that you are committed to improve your knowledge and skills, both specific and general. Here are some actions that you can take:

  • Sign up for any new on-the-job training that is offered.
  • In addition to completing your required courses through the Online Learning Center, take additional OLC courses in order to enhance your knowledge and skills, especially in areas that relate to your goals. For example, if your goal is to become a Lead TSO, look for courses that deal with the responsibilities of the position, such as supervision, management, dealing with problem situations, and using effective communication.
  • Depending on your career goal, you may want to begin or continue your college education. Federal employment is becoming more specialized and higher-level skills are valued and required. Consider what type of educational goals you want to set for yourself. The career coaches are experienced in helping you to decide on the educational program that will be best for you.
  • Special training and career development opportunities, such as the Mid-Level Development Program, may become available. Apply for them if you are at all interested.

Complete a TSA Career Plan

By completing a career plan, you make a commitment, in writing, to a course of action that you will take to improve your skills and expand your experience. Since your plan must be approved by your supervisor, this is an opportunity to talk with your supervisor about your plans and to gain your supervisor's support in achieving some of your career goals.

By Fred J. Hecklinger, Ph.D., National Certified Career Counselor, TSA Career Coach