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FAQs About Applying

Q: How do I know if I can apply to a job announcement?

A: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) advertises job announcement under three “Areas of Consideration:”

  • open to the public (All Sources);
  • restricted to current or former Federal employees; and
  • current CBP employees only. The area of consideration is noted on the first page of a job announcement under “Who May Apply.”

The job announcement’s “Area of Consideration” can be restricted to any one of these areas or a combination of the three.

Any All Sources announcement is open to the public. Any qualified applicant that meets the job qualifications and requirements may apply. A preference, eligible veteran applying under an All Sources announcement would be entitled to Veterans’ Preference. This includes extra points assigned to the rating based on the type of veterans’ preference.

Under a Merit Promotion announcement, all permanent Federal employees in a competitive position or excepted service position covered by an interchange agreement or someone eligible for reinstatement may apply. In addition, preference, eligible veterans, or any veteran separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous service, may apply.

Note: Veterans receive the same consideration as civil service employees that currently hold a competitive position or status employees. The Veterans’ Reemployment Opportunities Act (VEOA) permits veterans to apply to Merit Promotion announcements.

Merit Promotion (Internal) announcements can also be restricted to current agency employees. When an agency advertises this way you can only apply if you are one of their current employees and meet the eligibility requirements.

 

Q: What is the Veterans' Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA)?

A: When an agency advertises a vacancy and accepts applications from outside its own workforce, the Veterans' Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) allows veterans or veterans’ preference eligibles to compete for these vacancies under the agency’s merit promotion procedures. Veterans who are selected are given career or career conditional appointments. Veterans are those who have been separated under honorable conditions from the armed forces with 3 or more years of continuous active service. Veterans' preference, however, does not apply to selections made under merit promotion procedures. Additional veterans’ information can be found on the OPM Website

 

Q: How do I know if I am a VEOA applicant?

A: The Veterans’ Reemployment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) opens up Merit Promotion announcements to veterans allowing them additional employment opportunities. A veteran qualifies under VEOA if they have three or more years of honorable service in the U.S. military or they are preference, eligible. Applicants with veteran’s preference eligibility do not need to meet the three-year requirement. Additional veterans’ information can be found on the OPM Website

 

Q: What should I indicate if I am a current Federal employee and a VEOA eligible applicant?

A: The Veterans’ Reemployment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) opens up Merit Promotion announcements to veterans allowing them additional employment opportunities. If you are already a current government employee with competitive status, the VEOA would not apply, and you should indicate your status as a current CBP or other federal employee. VEOA provides veterans outside of the federal civil service the opportunity to compete for jobs that are open to current federal employees. Veterans’ preference or 3 or more years of honorable service allows you to apply, but you receive no preference under Merit Promotion procedures.

 

Q: Is there a limit on the number of duty locations I can select?

A: The job announcement will indicate if there is a limit on the number of duty locations that you can select. When the duty locations are restricted, consider carefully where you would like to receive consideration and only mark the appropriate number as indicated in the announcement and online questionnaire. If you mark more locations than permitted, the system will default to the number allowed and eliminate one or more of your choices. This could cause you to lose a location that you really wanted.

 

Q: How many times can I apply to the announcement?

A: You may apply to an announcement as many times as you want, however, you will be rated on the responses you provided on the last questionnaire submitted. If the last questionnaire is incomplete, your eligibility and or your rating will be affected. Do not start a questionnaire and submit it when it is partially completed, as this record will override a previous submission. If you are confident you provided all the required information and answered all questions to the best of your ability, then you do not need to submit a second or third questionnaire. If you submitted your documentation along with a previous questionnaire, you do not need to resubmit the same documentation. Your resume and any other supporting documents will stay with your record for that job announcement. Your last questionnaire submission will override the previous one but your documents will remain with the record.

 

Q: Once I apply, how long will my application be good for?

A: When you apply to a job announcement your application record is assigned a period of eligibility. Typically the period of eligibility is 90 days, although this can vary. Open continuous announcements can have a period of eligibility that lasts six months or even one year. If the period of eligibility is anything other than 90 days, the agency will indicate the period of eligibility in the job announcement. The agency must issue a list of eligible applicants to the hiring official within the period of eligibility, or the applicant pool is no longer current and they must re-advertise the position.

 

Q: I have applied for a position. What should I do if my qualifications or eligibility changes, or I just want to make changes to my application?

A: If the announcement is still open to receipt of applications, you can make changes. You must complete the questionnaire in its entirety and re-submit. If you only want to submit additional or updated documentation then you can use the fax option. See the “How to Apply” section of the announcement. If the announcement is closed, you cannot make changes to your application or submit additional documentation.

 

Q: What documents should I submit?

A: It is best to read the How to Apply section of the announcement before sending your documentation. In most cases you are required to submit a resume; however, additional documents may be required, so it is important to read the announcement to ensure you are submitting the appropriate information.

 

Q: Should I fax or upload documents?

A: You should upload your documentation, if possible. The upload screen appears at the end of the online questionnaire. When you upload a file, it is scanned for viruses and then is attached directly to your record for this vacancy. If you receive an “Upload Successful” acknowledgement, your file was received and will attach to your record. If it is not possible for you to upload a document, then the facsimile (FAX) service is offered. Do not upload and then FAX the same documents. You may FAX documents that you do not have in electronic form, such as transcripts, Veterans Preference documentation, etc. Use the cover page when faxing documentation, or there is no way to associate your FAX submission to your record for this vacancy. The FAX “Cover Page” is located in two places. There is a link under the “How to Apply” portion of the announcement. Click this link and the page will appear, print it, and fill in the required job announcement ID, SSN, name, and address, and FAX it to (478) 757-3144. Make sure to print neatly, and use the same name and SSN that you used when you completed the online questionnaire.

You can also get a copy of the cover page on the upload screen at the end of the online questionnaire. If you scroll down this page, you will see a link for the cover page. If you print the cover page from this link, the required information (job Announcement ID, SSN, Name, and address) is preformatted on the page for you. Send this to the FAX number listed. FAXed documents take anywhere from 2-48 hours to attach to your applicant record.

 

Q: Why do you need my email address?

A: We need your email address to communicate the status of your application.

 

Q: How do I know if you received my questionnaire and documentation that I submitted?

A: If the job announcement is still open, follow these instructions. These same steps are outlined in the How to Apply section of the announcement.

  1. Go to the Office of Personnel Management and log in using the box on the right hand side of the page.
  2. Click the radio button next to the Job Announcement Identification Number.
  3. Make sure that all of your documents appear on the table with a status of Processed.

 

Q: How do I find a job on the USAJobs Website?

A: Each vacancy announcement posted on USAJobs has required information. The required information provides consistent content from one announcement to the next and allows applicants to search for positions based on this common criterion. Every announcement lists the agency advertising the position, a job announcement number, open/close dates, position title, series, grade level, salary, promotion potential, and duty location of the announcement being advertised. The announcements are further divided between All Sources and Merit Promotion announcements. The quickest way to find jobs advertised for CBP is to go to the USAJobs Website and select “Search Jobs.”

If you have the announcement number, use the “Basic Search” page and insert the announcement number into the Keyword search option, then scroll to the bottom of the page, indicate your eligibility (status), and press “Search for Jobs.”

An alternative search is to use the “Agency Search.” You will see this option on the “Search for Jobs” page. Select the agency (CBP is listed under Department of Homeland Security) from the drop down menu, scroll further and insert the series you are interested in, then select your eligibility and press the “Search for Jobs” button at the bottom of the page. The page will refresh and display all CBP jobs for that series.

Remember selecting “Yes” for the eligibility will display Merit Promotion announcements or announcements open to applicants with competitive status or VEOA eligibility. Selecting “No” will display “All Sources” type announcements or job announcements open to all qualified applicants. The majority of CBP job announcements are advertised as Merit Promotion.

 

Q: How do I know how many positions are being filled at a location?

A: The number of positions (openings) varies with each job announcement. When the job announcement is displayed on USAJobs, each location will usually have the number of openings shown beside it. If there is more than one vacancy, it can be displayed as 2, 3, or even 10 positions. Often the word “Few” or “Many” appears instead of an actual number. The agency is not obligated to fill all positions at all advertised locations.

 

Q: How often will referral lists be issued?

A: Typically, referral lists are issued within 2 weeks after an announcement closes. Lists are usually generated for each of the grade levels and duty locations advertised. If the job announcement is an “Open Continuous” type, then referral lists are issued as needed. When a position opens up in a given location, a request is processed and a list of eligible applicants is developed.

 

Q: What is “full performance level” and “performance potential”?

A: “Full performance level” and “promotion potential” are terms used to indicate the highest grade level you can obtain in a position without further competition. Once you have reached that grade level and have completed one year of service at that grade, then you must apply and compete with other applicants to receive a promotion to the next higher grade level.

 

Q: What is the lowest acceptable grade?

A: The lowest acceptable grade is the lowest grade that you are willing to accept.

 

Q: Do I have to submit an application for each duty location listed on a single job announcement?

A: No, you do not have to apply multiple times for the same job announcement. If the announcement has more than one duty location and there is a limit on how many locations you select, it will be noted in the job announcement.

 

Q: Why can’t I print the questionnaire and my responses?

A: At this time, there is not a feature enabling you to print the questionnaire and your responses. Remember, simply filling out the questionnaire does not mean you have finished the application process. You must click the “Finish” button at the bottom of the last page of the questionnaire then select the “Submit” button.

 

Q: How do I submit my resume?

A: You should upload your resume if possible. The upload screen appears at the end of the online questionnaire. When you upload a file it is scanned for viruses and then attaches directly to your record for this job announcement. If you receive an “Upload Successful” acknowledgement, your file was received and will attach to your record. If it is not possible for you to upload your resume, then the facsimile (FAX) service is offered. Use the cover page when faxing documentation or there is no way to associate your FAX submission to your record for this vacancy. The FAX “Cover Page” is located in two places. There is a link under the “How to Apply” portion of the announcement. Click this link and the page will appear. Print it and fill in the required ID, SSN, name, and address, and FAX it to (478) 757-3144. Make sure to print neatly and use the same name and SSN that you used when you completed the online questionnaire. You can also get a copy of the cover page on the upload screen at the end of the online questionnaire. If you scroll down this page you will see a link for the cover page. If you print the cover page from this link the required information (job announcement ID, SSN, Name, and address) is preformatted on the page for you. Send this to the FAX number listed. FAXed documents take anywhere from 2-48 hours to attach to your applicant record.

Please note that if you have a USAJobs resume that you built using the resume builder feature, it will not automatically attach to your application. Ensure that your resume contains the required information: Name, address, (email address) current and previous employment, to include the hours worked and dates employed (grade level held if current Federal employee), education, Veterans preference (if applicable), and any other pertinent information.

 

Q: What is “time in grade”?

A: For most promotion opportunities, in addition to meeting qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position, you must have completed at least one year of service equivalent to the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the position to be filled.

 

Q: What type of documentation do I need to submit to support my Veterans' Preference claim?

A: To support your claim of veterans’ preference or VEOA eligibility you must submit a DD-214 form. The DD-214 form shows your length and dates of service and your type of discharge. The dates that you were on active duty determine whether you are entitled to veterans’ preference. If you are a veteran who has a service-connected disability, or you are receiving compensation for a service connected disability or you are entitled to derived preference, then you must submit a completed SF-15 along with your DD-214. If you would like additional veterans’ preference information visit the section called "Veterans' Preference" at the Feds Hire Vets website. The site provides information about general requirements and types of preference.

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