January 26, 2015
Explanation of Common Terms Found in LC Vacancy Announcements
- What does "area of consideration" mean?
- What do "opening date" and "closing date" or "application deadline" mean?
- What do "series and grade" mean?
- Is it possible to be hired at a grade level that is higher than the one advertised in the vacancy announcement?
- What does "promotion potential" mean?
- What do the terms "supervisory/nonsupervisory" mean?
- The vacancy announcement states that this is an "Indefinite NTE" position. What does that mean? How is an "indefinite" position different from a "temporary" position?
- What is an SF-50?
- If I am disabled, what is considered an "appropriate certificate of eligibility" and how and where do I obtain it?
- The vacancy announcement states that all Library of Congress positions are in the "excepted service". What does this mean?
- I am an employee in an Executive Branch agency and have been serving on a "Career-Conditional" appointment in the Competitive Service for approximately 2 years. If I remain in my present position for one more year, I will achieve "Career" tenure. I recently applied for a job at the Library. If I'm selected and become a Library employee before I'm converted from Career-Conditional to Career, will my service at the Library count toward the time required to become Career?
- Does the Library use Veterans' Preference in its hiring practices?
Explanation of Common Terms Found in LC Vacancy Announcements
The "area of consideration" tells you who is eligible to apply for the position. The areas of consideration used by the Library are: unrestricted (anyone may apply), current and former Federal employees from all three branches of government, current Library of Congress employees, and current employees of a specific Library division or office. Each vacancy announcement will specify the "area of consideration" or "who may apply."
The "opening date" is the date on which the vacancy is first announced and the earliest date interested candidates may apply. The "closing date" or "application deadline" is the latest date candidates may apply.
It is important to note that for Library of Congress vacancies, a postmark is not acceptable to meet the closing date; for Library of Congress vacancies, the closing date is the date by which completed applications must be received by the Library in order to be considered.
"Series" indicates the occupational family to which the advertised position belongs. For example, the Federal series code for the Librarian occupational family is 1410.
"Grade" refers to the level of difficulty of the position within the occupational family and also represents the pay-level of the position. For example, a Librarian position at the GS-11 level of difficulty would be expressed in a vacancy announcement as GS-1410-11.
No. Prior to advertising the vacancy, the hiring organization determines the grade-level at which the position is needed, and that is the only grade-level at which the position can be filled.
The term, "promotion potential" means that there is potential for the selected candidate to be promoted to a higher-grade level without further competition. Some jobs have the potential for noncompetitive promotion and others do not; it all depends on how the position is structured. If a job does have promotion potential, it will be noted in the vacancy announcement for the position. Promotions may occur after the candidate has; worked at the lower grade level for at least one year; performed at an acceptable level of competence; and demonstrated his/her ability to perform work at the next higher grade level. For example, a position advertised at the GS-11 level with promotion potential to the GS-13 level means that the candidate hired at the GS-11 level would be eligible for promotion to the GS-12 level at the end of their first year of employment Once promoted to the GS-12 level, the candidate would be eligible for promotion to the GS-13 level at the end of a year.
"Supervisory" means that the position being advertised has official responsibility for supervising an identifiable group of employees.
"Nonsupervisory" means that the position being advertised does not have supervisory duties.
An "indefinite"position is one that is expected to continue for more than one year but not permanently.
An indefinite NTE position is one that has a specific ending date, which is included in the text of the vacancy announcement. These ending dates are referred to as "Not to Exceed" (NTE) dates. Therefore, a position advertised as "Indefinite NTE December 31, 2006" means that the position will terminate on or before December 31, 2006.
"Temporary" positions last one year or less and are used to fill short-term staffing needs; "indefinite" positions, as discussed above, may continue for longer periods of time, but not permanently.
An SF-50 is the Standard Federal form for Notification of Personnel Action. Applicants for Library vacancies limited to current or former Federal employees must include a copy of their latest SF-50 with their application as proof of their Federal service and civil service status. Current or former Federal employees selected for any position are also asked to provide a copy of their latest SF-50. Current Federal employees may obtain copies of their latest SF-50 from their Human Resources Services Office. Former Federal employees may obtain it by contacting the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at the following address: National Personnel Records Center, 111 Winnebago Street, St. Louis, MO 63118-4126. Further information may be obtained from NARA by phone at 314-801-9250 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A "certificate of eligibility" certifies the nature and extent of your disability. These certificates are issued by and may be obtained from State vocational rehabilitation agencies or the Department of Veteran's Affairs, if you are a Veteran.
For further information, contact the Library of Congress Selective Placement Coordinator at (202) 707-6362 (voice or TTY).
All non-military Federal jobs fall into one of three categories, or "services", – the Competitive Service, the Excepted Service, or the Senior Executive Service. The Competitive Service includes primarily jobs in the Executive Branch of the Government. The Excepted Service includes most of the positions in the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch of the Government, as well as positions in the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies that have been excepted from the civil service laws because of their confidential, policy-determining, or policy-advocating character. The Senior Executive Service includes executive and managerial positions that do not require appointment by the President with Senate confirmation.
The primary differences between the three services are in the areas of hiring procedures and job protections. In the Competitive Service, hiring procedures, promotion requirements, and job qualification standards are prescribed by law or by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and apply to all agencies. In the Excepted Service, only basic requirements are prescribed by law or regulation and each agency develops specific requirements and procedures for its own jobs. Another difference between employment in the Competitive Service and the Excepted Service is the ability of Competitive Service employees to achieve "Competitive" or "Career" status. Competitive/career status is conveyed automatically to Competitive Service employees who successfully complete a required term of service (typically 3 years of continuous Federal employment). Since many vacancies advertised by Federal agencies are open only to Federal employees with competitive/career status, Competitive Service employees often are considered to have greater mobility in terms of their ability to apply for jobs at other Federal agencies. In addition, employees with competitive/career status may be hired to other positions in the Competitive Service without having to compete with members of the general public through an open vacancy announcement.
11. I am an employee in an Executive Branch agency and have been serving on a "Career-Conditional" appointment in the Competitive Service for approximately 2 years. If I remain in my present position for one more year, I will achieve "Career" tenure. I recently applied for a job at the Library. If I'm selected and become a Library employee before I'm converted from Career-Conditional to Career, will my service at the Library count toward the time required to become Career?
No. Since the Library is not in the Competitive Service, your service at the Library does not count toward the time required to become Career. Your Library service, however, would count for purposes of your retirement eligibility and benefits, rate of accrual of annual leave, etc.
No. Applicants who meet the definition of "Veteran," as defined in the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944, are given "preference" when they apply for Federal jobs in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. However, because the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944 does not cover the Legislative Branch, the Library of Congress does not credit Veterans' Preference. For more information, consult the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Website at www.opm.gov.
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