Understanding Vacancy Announcements
When you find a job announcement of interest, read it carefully. The announcement provides information about the position. For example, the job title, duties, location, qualification requirements, who can apply (area of consideration) and how to apply will be identified. Many DFAS jobs require appointment eligibility.
If you have appointment eligibility, you can apply on any DFAS vacancy announcement provided your eligibility is included in the area of consideration. You must submit proof of your appointment eligibility at the time you apply. If you do not have appointment eligibility, you can only apply for jobs advertised through the Delegated Examining Unit (DEU). DEU job announcements are easily recognized by the job announcement prefix which will always begin with "D." DEU announcements are always open to all U.S. citizens.
Your time is valuable! By reading the announcement carefully, you can ensure your job search efforts are concentrated only on positions for which you meet the area of consideration and qualification requirements!
DFAS Vacancy Announcement Fields
Who May Apply/Area of Consideration
The area of consideration is referred to as “Who May Apply” within the DFAS vacancy announcements. It describes the individuals from whom DFAS will accept applications. It may be restricted to a limited group of individuals (e.g. All DFAS permanent civilian employees), broad to accept individuals with appointment eligibilities or open to all U.S. citizens. If you are not within the area of consideration for the DFAS vacancy announcement that you are applying, your application will not be considered. It is also important you read the DFAS vacancy announcement and understand the documentation that is required (e.g. proof of your appointment eligibility, resume, etc.)
The salary listed is a range for the position announced. For positions announced at only one duty location salary will include the locality pay specific to the geographic area. If there are multiple duty locations, the range includes the lowest locality pay to the highest locality pay for all possible locations. The salary range includes the lowest salary for the entry level of the position and the highest salary for the full promotion potential grade. The salary of most newly appointed employees will be set at the beginning of the salary range.
All pay tables by location are found through the Office of Personnel Management.
Opening and Closing Dates
The opening date is when the announcement is posted on USAJobs and applicants can begin submitting application packages. The closing date is when the announcement closes and applicants can no longer submit application packages for consideration. Online application packages or faxed application packages must be submitted by Midnight Eastern Standard Time on this date.
All federal jobs fall into one of several pay plans. The majority of our jobs are on the General Schedule (GS) pay plan. This pay plan is used for clerical, technical, administrative and professional jobs. DFAS has a few jobs covered by the Federal Wage System. This pay plan is used for manual labor and recognized trades and craft occupations.
All federal positions are classified by a numeric occupational series corresponding to the duties of the job. For example, all secretaries are in the 318 series and all accountants are in the 510 series. Job series can be used to search in USAJobs for positions.
In the federal government grades correspond to pay levels. The entry grade is the grade level applicants are placed at when the job is started. Pay at each grade consists of a basic salary and a differential for the area in which the job is located. The salaries listed on the OPM Pay Tables are categorized by grade.
This is the full performance level of the job. It can be different from the entry grade on the announcement. The applicant selected can be advanced to the target grade of the job without further competition when all the requirements for advancement are met.
This field provides information concerning the work schedule of the position being filled and type of appointment.
The work schedule is usually full-time, but on occasion a part-time or intermittent position is announced. Part-time positions include the number of hours expected to work during a two week pay period. Intermittent work schedules have no pre-determined work schedule and are not guaranteed a minimum number of hours of work per two week pay period.
The type of appointment can vary. Below are more common appointment types.
Positions filled as permanent have a long-term continuous need. Permanent positions are abolished only under Reduction-in-Force procedures.
Career-Conditional or Career
A career-conditional appointment is a permanent appointment leading to career tenure after completion of three years of continuous service. Career employees have completed the tenure requirement and are converted to career tenure.
Career-conditional employees have limited reinstatement rights and career employees have life time reinstatement rights. Veterans serving on a career-conditional competitive service appointment are exceptions and have life time reinstatement rights after serving one day on a career-conditional appointment. Additional information is found in the USAJobs Fact Sheet.
Some vacancy announcements are used to hire for a specified time period. These announcements indicate the type of job as temporary or term. Temporary and term jobs are intended to meet temporary staffing needs. Additional information on non-permanent appointments is found in the USAJobs Fact Sheet.
- Temporary jobs are for positions not to exceed one year. A temporary employee's appointment can be extended for up to two years of total service based upon need. Temporary employees do not serve a trial or probationary period and may be terminated at any time upon notice in writing.
- Term jobs are for positions needed for more than one year but less than four years. Many term employees are initially appointed for two years and may be extended for up to four years as needed. Term employees serve a trial period.
Excepted Service Appointments
Excepted appointments are used to fill positions exempt by law from the competitive system. Some excepted appointments are eligible to be converted to competitive service after certain requirements are met.
The vacancy announcement “Other Information” section provides further information on the type of excepted position being filled. Examples of employees under excepted appointments are Student Temporary Employment Program, Student Career Experience Program, people with disabilities, Attorney-Advisor positions and positions filled by veterans under the Veterans Readjustment Authority. Excepted appointments are either permanent or temporary. Additional information on excepted service appointing authorities can be found through OPM.
Who May Apply/Area of Consideration
This explains who may apply on the announcement. If an applicant is not within the area of consideration, it ends considered for the job. A list of the consideration categories and descriptions can be found here.
Applications received by this date are guaranteed consideration for the very first jobs filled from an announcement.
Announcements with an extended open period
Extended or open continuous announcements are used to accept applications in anticipation of vacancies. Extended announcements provide DFAS a readily available source of applicants when vacancies occur. Eligibility and qualifications are not verified until there is a vacancy. At that time, applicants receive a notification letter advising of qualification and referral.
If a vacancy does not occur, for the location and grade applied, no further notification concerning this announcement will be provided. Extended announcements are identified by an "X" in the vacancy announcement prefix i.e. XX-313131-11. To ensure consideration for the very first jobs filled from an extended announcement, apply early.
The major duties of the position are listed in a bulleted format to provide a quick overview of the duties of the position at the full performance level.
DFAS expects its employees to be qualified for the jobs they hold. The OPM has published qualification standards to ensure federal employees are, indeed, qualified. Background and experience is evaluated against the minimum qualifications established by OPM.
All applicants must meet these minimum qualifications to be considered for employment. Applicants meeting minimum qualifications are evaluated further. The vacancy announcement includes information about the minimum qualifications for the job.
All applicants should carefully read the qualification requirements in the announcement, to include information at provided links, of the position. If the position is filled at multiple grade levels, the qualifications are stated for each grade level. Some positions, such as accountants, require applicants to meet a basic qualification requirement.
In addition to the basic requirement, additional specialized work experience requirements or education must be provided. Other positions require a certain number of months or years and level of general or specialized work experience. Specialized experience is experience equipping the applicant with the particular competencies to perform successfully the duties of the position and is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. Experience described in the vacancy announcement defines the type of specialized experience required to qualify.
Some positions may allow a substitution of education, if required work experience has not occure,d or a combination of work experience and education may be used to meet the qualifications. If relying on education to qualify for a job, submission of an official transcript may be required. Please read our transcript policy carefully. It explains when you must submit a transcript and how to submit.
Time-in-grade applies to the promotion of current and former federal employees in the GS pay system. Generally, employees applying for GS jobs must serve at least one year at the next lower grade level. This requirement is called time-in-grade.
Time-in-grade restrictions do not apply to former federal employees who have had a break in service of more than one year. It also does not apply to current or former federal employees applying for a new appointment on a DEU vacancy announcement.
Time after competitive appointment
Time after competitive appointment only applies to current Federal employees who have been hired within the preceding three months and are applying under the agency’s merit promotion procedures. These employees are not allowed to apply for promotion, reassignment, detail, or transfer to a different position or to a different geographical area until they have served three months in their latest non-temporary competitive appointment.
Background Investigation/Security Clearance
In the interest of national security and because of the public trust inherent in a government position, all persons appointed to a position in an agency of the Federal government are subject to a background investigation. This investigation is required whether the duties of the position include access to classified material or not. Some positions may require secret or top secret clearance.
The scope of the investigation varies depending on the nature of the position and the degree of harm an individual in the position could cause. Current employees can be subject to periodic investigations (upon promotion or assignment to another position). Below are types of negative information that can affect suitability for the position and cause us to withdraw a job offer.
- Issues related to use or possession of alcohol such as drinking and driving and the illegal manufacturing or sale of alcohol.
- Issues related to illegal use/possession of controlled substances including marijuana such as possession for sale and regular use of a controlled substance other than marijuana.
- Issues related to financial responsibility such as a judgment with no attempt at restitution or a pattern of financial irresponsibility as reflected in the person’s credit history
- A pattern of immoral conduct as reflected in conviction records.
- Issues related to honesty such as grand theft or grand larceny or burglary.
- Issues related to disruptive or violent behavior such as assault, battery or a pattern of violence as reflected in conviction records
- Issues relating to firearms/weapons violations such as carrying a concealed weapon
Any negative information is evaluated and such factors as the recency of the information, seriousness and relevance to the position are considered in relationship to all other information provided by applicants.
The background investigation (or security clearance process if the position requires a secret or top secret clearance) is likely to delay the start date if offered a position. In rare circumstances the investigation can take more than six months although investigations are normally completed in four to six months.
If selected and a favorable determination cannot be made within a reasonable period of time due to disclosed or undisclosed issues in the background investigation (or secret or top secret clearance required cannot obtain the for the position) the employment offer can be withdrawn.
Some jobs require you to file a statement of financial interest because of the nature of the duties.
Managerial or Supervisory Probation
Management and supervisor jobs require you to serve a probation if you have not already done so. If you have served a managerial or supervisory probation in a Federal job you may be exempt from this requirement.
Probationary or Trial Period
Most newly appointed Federal employees must serve some type of probationary or trial period and will depend upon your appointment type.
There are some instances when the majority of the costs associated with relocating to a new geographic area to accept a position will be paid by DFAS. Even if the position indicates that moving costs will be paid, no applicant or the selectee should incur any expenses associated with relocating until the point that they have a firm job offer and have been advised that they may do so.
Some positions require travel. For jobs requiring travel, the announcement will state the degree of travel required as a percent of the available work hours.
- Seldom (less than 15%)
- Occasional (up to 30%)
- Frequent (may be more than 40%)
If jobs with similar duties but with different travel requirements will be filled from the same announcement, the announcement will state that the travel requirement is variable.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the law that governs premium pay and overtime for most clerical, technical and administrative support positions. Jobs not covered (exempt) by the Act are typically Executive, Administrative and Professional positions.
This tells you whether the job is in a bargaining unit represented by a Union.
DoD Program for Stability of Civilian Employment
The DoD has a program which provides DoD displaced employees with priority consideration for certain positions. There may be times when a position cannot be filled from those who applied through the vacancy announcement in order to place a priority candidate into the position.
DFAS Leaders in Motion (LIM) Program
The selectee for this entry-level developmental position will participate in a formal developmental training program, with promotion opportunities, under the DFAS Leaders in Motion (LIM) Program. The purpose of this program is to develop well-qualified, well-trained, high potential employees for future positions and opportunities within DFAS. Program participants are required to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with specific career competencies and goals; attend mandatory program meetings; complete required courses; complete a process improvement project; participate in mentoring activities; and partake in a developmental rotation opportunity. Career promotion is conditional based on performance, successful completion of training requirements, and availability of higher graded work. Participants who do not successfully complete the training program may be separated.
How to Apply
When viewing vacancy announcements for which you wish to apply, make sure you follow the application instructions in the How to Apply section of each announcement.
Agency Contact Information
The telephone number and email address provided is for the DFAS Customer Care Center. You may call or email to get more information about the announcement.