This spring, lines at airport security have grown so long that thousands of travelers have missed their flights. But there’s a silver lining to the cloud hanging over the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), according to Kathryn Troutman, president of The Resume Place.
CNN Money reports that TSA is on a hiring blitz! Thousands of Americans will soon be hired into well-paying federal government jobs with excellent benefits. You CAN begin your federal career at TSA and grow your government career from this position, which is in demand, right now.
On May 24, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to increase TSA spending by $228 million for fiscal 2017, making it likely the hiring wave will continue beyond summer 2016.
TSA openings recently posted on USAJOBS range from Transportation Security Officer (with pay ranging from $15.13 to $21.61 per hour plus, at some locations, quarterly retention bonuses of $3,500) – the familiar checkpoint screeners who scan bags and travelers by the millions – to accountant ($50,601 to $95,636 annually) and program analyst (with some positions paying up to $142,203). These jobs come with medical, dental, vision and life insurance, retirement savings plans, paid federal holidays, and more. Veterans’ preference applies.
Duties of the entry-level transportation security officer typically include operating screening equipment; performing searches and otherwise interacting with the public; controlling secure entrances and exits, maintaining situational awareness; and so on. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED, or a year of experience in security, among other qualifications.
Applying for a job at TSA or another federal agency differs in many ways from applying for employment in the private sector, according to Troutman, whose firm helps people prepare federal resumes. “A federal resume is different than your private sector resume. The federal resume is two times longer. Instead of two pages, it could be 3 pages with more details of your responsibilities and competencies.” she says.
In the USAJOBS application, candidates must give a detailed employment history in reverse chronological order, including accomplishments. “It’s critical to provide every bit of information that’s requested and follow instructions to the letter,” says Troutman, author of Federal Resume Guidebook 6th Edition. Troutman highly recommends that you copy and paste your resume into the USAJOBS builder to ensure all of the information is in the resume.
Competencies required by the TSA for a given position could include: application of standard operating procedures, attention to detail, conscientiousness, critical thinking, customer service, incident management, multitasking, oral communication, situational awareness, teamwork, security equipment proficiency, and visual observation.
To create an effective resume block demonstrating application of standard operating procedures, for example, a candidate could describe in detail her or his experience as an employee executing instructions given in writing or orally by a supervisor at a retail store, for example – specifically using the words application of standard operating procedure.
Conscientiousness is a competency that an applicant can illustrate with a variety of examples, whether it’s a job thoroughly and consistently done, a documented record of spotless attendance, or an employee-of-the-month award. Candidates will score points with the TSA for including the word conscientiousness.
The concept of competence in customer service also applies across many domains, from fielding inquiries from a business’s customers to serving internal clients of a candidate’s current or one-time employer. The trick is to couch such accomplishments in the language of customer service, quantifying wherever possible with metrics such as number of cases successfully resolved.
Security experience, even of limited duration, is a boon to any application to the TSA. Any work duties involving increasing the personal safety of others or preventing theft could count as relevant experience, even if security wasn’t the candidate’s primary responsibility on the job.
With Congress feeling the heat from constituents enduring delays at airports across the country, the flow of money to increase the TSA’s headcount is virtually assured – making this a great time to answer a posting on USAJOBs. These jobs with great career potential will go to those who show the intelligence and persistence to write a federal resume that covers all the bases.