Glossary of Terms for Federal Resumes

Usually, when a federal job seeker wants a resume, they submit to us an “Announcement” of the job they want by the federal agency.
The means by which the qualifications of a candidate are measured. Agencies across government employ various assessment methods, including reference checks, bio-data measures, tests, and interviews.
Career and career-conditional employee
Permanent federal career status is automatically gained upon completion of the mandatory three-year career-conditional period. Career tenure employees have a better shot at surviving downsizing and often have an edge when applying for other federal jobs.
Competitive civil service
Most federal government civil service jobs fall under this category. Positions are filled through a fair, open and merit-based process, unless excepted by statue, Executive Order or OPM action.
A measurable pattern of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors and other characteristics that an individual needs in order to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully.
Creditable Service
Federal Government employment (civilian or uniformed service) that meets requirements for a particular type of appointment or benefit, such as leave accrual or reduction in force retention.
Declaration for Federal Employment
This form - provided during the application process or before employment begins - documents a candidate's fulfillment of the two requirements for federal employment: US citizenship and, for men born after December 31, 1959, compliance with US Selective Service registration.
Executive Core Qualities. A document that is usually written for a specific federal executive job posting. It lists the executive core qualities for the applicant interested in the position. Certain federal jobs require this document be included when an applicant submits their resume.
Federal Resume
There is no mandated form, although some vacancy postings will refer to it. It is simply a resume that contains all the information required to apply for a federal job, including personal information, education, work experience, and job-related skills and training.
Form C (OPM form 1203)
An optical scan form, a bubble sheet like the SAT, on which applicants mark answers to employment questionnaires if required for the application process. Some agencies have applicants answer these questions online.
Federal Government Service
The total of all periods of military and civilian Federal service considered for retirement, reduction in force, and leave purposes.
Federal Wage System
The job-grading and pay system that applies to most trade, craft, and labor positions in agencies subject to 5 U.S.C. 5342. Under this system, pay is adjusted according to the rates paid by private industry for similar jobs in the same area. Included are Federal employees in recognized trade or craft or skilled mechanical crafts, occupations, and other persons, including foremen or supervisors, in positions where trade, craft, or labor experience or knowledge is the main requirement.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. This is a document that is usually written for a specific federal job posting. It lists the knowledge, skills and abilities for an applicant interested in the position. Certain federal jobs require this document be included when an applicant submits their resume. Our staff can also write a general KSA based on the client’s resume. This term can be used to mean, “The entire KSA document as a whole”, and also as each individual point made in the document. For instance, if a particular job posting requires KSA’s, it will list what KSA points they want. For instance, one KSA may say “Experience in communicating complex technical financial and investment analyses, both verbally and in writing”. So in the KSA document we produce, the writer will write the word for word KSA from the posting, and following that point, will write how the client fits that particular “knowledge”, “skill” and “ability”. A typical KSA document will have five KSA points defined.
Merit System Principles
A list of nine broad principles enacted into law in 1978 (Title 5, U.S. Code § 2301) to guide federal human resources management policies and practices. Among other things, these principles require that selection and advancement of employees be determined solely on the basis of relative ability, knowledge, and skills after fair and open competition, assuring that all applicants receive equal opportunity.
Military Retiree
A person who has retired from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.
The current format we use to write federal resumes. The documents are written according to US government requirements.
Occupational Questionnaire
Included in some applications, it assesses a candidate's qualifications through detailed multiple choice or yes-or-no questions.
Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF 612)
This OPM form is the closest thing to a federal resume and can be used as part of your application for virtually any federal job.
Outstanding Scholar Program
Some federal agencies are authorized to make immediate employment offers for select entry-level positions in more than 100 career fields to college graduates with a 3.5 GPA or better or who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class or major. Eligible candidates receive Outstanding Scholar Designation.
Official Personnel Folder (OPF), Standard Form 66
This a file containing records and documents related to civilian employment under title 5, U.S. Code.
The Office of Personnel Management.
Preference (Veterans' Preference)
This an employee's category of entitlement preference in the Federal service based on active military service that was terminated honorably:
  • 5-point preference is the preference granted to a preference-eligible veteran who does not meet the criteria for one of the types of 10-point preferences.
  • 10-point (disability) preference is the preference to which a disabled veteran is entitled. * 10-point (compensable disability) preference is the preference to which a disabled veteran is entitled if he or she has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 10-percent or more.
  • 10-point (30% compensable disability) preference is the preference to which a disabled veteran is entitled if he or she is entitled to a 10-point preference due to a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more.
  • 10-point (other) preference is the preference granted to the widow/widower or mother of a deceased veteran or to the spouse or mother of a disabled veteran. It is called "derived preference" because it is derived from the military service of someone else – a veteran who is not using it for preference. When the disabled veteran does use the service for preference, then the spouse or mother is no longer entitled to preference.
Preference Eligible
This means veterans, spouses, widows, or mothers who meet the definition of "preference eligible" in 5 U.S.C. 2108. Preference eligibles are entitled to have 5 or 10 points added to their earned score on a civil service examination (see 5 U.S.C. 3309). They are also accorded a higher retention standing in the event of a reduction in force (see 5 U.S.C. 3502). Preference does not apply, however, to in-service placement actions such as promotions.
To simplify the assessment process, many agencies use automated screening programs during the application process, usually to determine if an applicant meets the minimum qualification requirements. These systems do not replace other, more precise methods of assessing candidates; rather, they serve as the first step in screening.
Professional / Technical Qualifications. A document that is usually written for a specific federal job posting. It lists the professional / technical qualifications for an applicant interested in the position. Certain federal jobs require this document be included when an applicant submits their resume.
Qualifications Standards Operating Manual
The federal government's published guide to qualifications required for General Schedule positions in the federal government.
Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86)
Used for background checks of applicants for national security positions requiring a security clearance, this form includes questions about educational background, past and current employers, police records, financial situation, and drug and alcohol usage.
A format of a federal resume that is usually used for the DOD (Department of Defense). All you need to know is that some federal jobs require applicants to submit their resume in this format. It is generally used for online submissions.
Status Candidates
Job applicants who currently work for the federal government or certain former federal employees.
Temporary or Term Position
Appointments used to fill nonpermanent positions. Temporary positions are filled for one year or less; employees do not receive benefits. Term employment may last from one to four years, and employees generally have the same benefits as permanent employees.
Upward Mobility Program
Agencies can use this program to groom talent by creating or restructuring positions to be filled by promising entry-level applicants who will then be offered training and other career-development opportunities.
Scientific And Professional (ST) Series
Classes of positions similar in specialized positions are positions established under 5 U.S.C. line of work but differing in difficulty or 3104 to carry out research and development responsibility of work, or qualifications requirements functions that require the services of specially and, therefore, differing in grade and pay range than qualified personnel. ST positions are in the competitive service, but are not filled through SERVICE COMPUTATION DATE (SCD) — The date, competitive examinations. Recruitment is carried out either actual or constructed by crediting service, by the agencies concerned. ST positions are used to determine benefits that are based on how ungraded as long the person has been in the Federal Service.
Senior Executive Service or Senior Executive Search. This is a senior executive federal resume. These types of resumes are required for members of the US government who hold high positions and thus the submission criteria are more involved.
SON (Submitting Office Number)
A number that was assigned by OPM to identify an SEPARATION-US (uniformed services) (formerly Central Personnel Data File (CPDF). The SON was called Separation–MIL) is a separation action replaced by the POI (Personnel Office Identifier.) initiated by an agency when the employee enters on duty with the uniformed services and provides SPECIAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE.
Superior Qualifications Appointment
Placement of a person in a hard-to-recruit-for position at a pay rate above the minimum based on the applicant's unique or unusually high qualifications, a special government need for applicants' services and the fact applicants' present salary or salary offerings are higher than the minimum rate of the grade level to which the applicant can be appointed.
Supervisory Differential
The annual total dollar amount paid, over and above basic pay, to a General Schedule supervisor who otherwise would be paid less than one or more of the civilian employees supervised.
Vacancy Announcement
Describes the skills and experience required of applicants for an available position. Also known as a job posting.

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