Attracting and Sourcing Veterans—Help for corporations looking for the right veteran for the job

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military people in uniform walking then transitioning to civilian professional attire. Side view.

By Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Some organizations, such as TriWest, GAE, and the Combined Insurance Company of America, appoint a key veteran staff member to lead efforts in recruiting high-potential veteran candidates transitioning from military service to the private sector. This person understands military and corporate culture and can help HR and hiring managers understand military culture and service.

However, general recruiting efforts may not reach prospective employees with disabilities, so advertising with disability organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, and disability-related job fairs are good ways to reach potential employees with disabilities.

Another means for attracting veterans is to develop marketing materials that help translate and transfer military skills/experience into civilian job responsibilities. Organizations that have focused veteran recruiting strategies leverage military classification codes in their application materials and jobs postings. These codes specify an individual’s job and rank, and often include additional qualifications, such as languages or specialized training.

Numerous organizations offer specialized websites for veterans, including AT&T, Amazon, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Sodexo, T-Mobile, and Walmart Inc. Military recruitment channels, career fairs, and other similar events are additional avenues where businesses can share their employment opportunities and veterans can explore whether there’s a match with their skills and experience. Businesses can showcase their job opportunities along with the benefits of joining their organization, while veterans have the opportunity to demonstrate they are some of the most qualified talent in the nation.

Partnerships with business and trade associations represent another important channel for recruiting veteran talent, as well as a means for communicating the value of veterans in the workforce. Leveraging community collaboration and networking with other firms are excellent means for sourcing veterans. Encouraging inter- and intra-industry collaboration to identify and utilize the most comprehensive military skills translators creates more effective placement. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of 41 companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, is an example of private-sector collaboration contributing to improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

JPMorgan Chase has instituted a “High-Touch Gold Desk,” where recruiters respond to any veteran applicant within five days of receiving the individual’s application for employment. This high-touch approach is positioned to support veterans in finding the right opportunity at JPMorgan Chase, based on the applicant’s experiences and qualifications. In addition, this personal response to each and every applicant has the benefit of helping the company’s HR staff become better educated as to how military skills and experiences correlate to the firm’s different work roles. The program functions by utilizing integrated, regional teams that map veteran applications against available positions at the firm. Using those maps, the teams are able to identify positions across the firm that best match the veteran’s skills profile. This results in a process that aligns the veteran with an opportunity where he or she is most likely to find success and also facilitates an approach to recruitment and hiring that looks across lines of business, as opposed to within a given organizational silo.

Other examples of focused military recruiting are at BAE and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. BAE provides career pathways for wounded warriors through its Warrior Integration Program (WIP), which is specifically designed to identify, hire, and develop qualified wounded veterans into valuable employees. Lockheed participates in the Army Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS), which allows those who serve our country to plan in advance to explore private-sector job opportunities. The program gives new soldiers the opportunity to select a job with a PaYS partner during the time of enlistment. After the position has been selected, a Statement of Understanding is signed, and the PaYS employer/partner promises to interview the returning solider, as long as he or she receives an honorable discharge, is otherwise qualified, and a job vacancy exists.

Many companies, including Walmart, leverage campus recruiting and veteran service organizations, such as the Student Veterans of American (SVA). Ernst & Young organizes veteran internship fairs at schools, while AT&T leverages internships that provide veterans job shadowing opportunities.

Following are other resources positioned to support employers with veteran-focused recruiting and onboarding initiatives.

U.S. DOL Vet Employment (VETS)

VETS proudly serves veterans and service members by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain careers, employment opportunities, and employment rights, as well as information on transition programs. VETS offers a multitude of resources for veterans looking for jobs.

Joining Forces

Joining Forces is a great resource and offers some of the nation’s top job resources for veterans and employers, such as access to the Veterans Job Bank, links to employment tools, like My Next Move for Veterans, and many more.

Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

This event includes military-friendly employers that represent thousands of available job opportunities for veterans.

U.S. Veterans Pipeline

An effort of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the U.S. Veterans Pipeline is a talent networking and career management platform that allows users to connect directly to peers, companies, jobs, schools, education programs, and more.

Gold Card Initiative

This joint initiative between DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and VETS provides post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services, necessary for success in today’s job market. Eligible veterans can present their Gold Card at any One-Stop Career Center to obtain enhanced intensive services that include up to six months of follow-up, job readiness assessment, referral to job banks, and much more.

100,000 Jobs Mission

JPMorgan Chase and the other founding corporation/coalition members are committed to working together, sharing best recruiting and employment practices, and reporting hiring results.

Hero Health Hire

This initiative is a gathering place where business leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens can learn, share information, and commit to helping our nation’s disabled veterans find and retain meaningful employment. This initiative provides information, tools, and guidance for recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting disabled veterans in the workplace.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training and corporate engagement.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Offers virtual and in-person meetings or webinars, helping military spouses with resumes, employment resources, training to update skill sets, and assistance in finding employment resources in their current location or the area to which they’re relocating.

Source: toolkit.vets.syr.edu

Veterans Day Freebies and Discounts for 2021!

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veterans day promo for freebies and discounts 2021

As a country, we celebrate Veterans Day every November 11 to honor those who courageously served in our Armed Forces. We honor our combat veterans still living from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Inherent Resolve.

Businesses across the nation are offering special deals and discounts to show their support on Veterans Day.

Whether you are celebrating at home or in a socially distanced matter, here are some incredible opportunities you won’t want to miss.

All offers will be for both active duty military and veterans unless otherwise stated.

Be sure to check each restaurant’s website, or call, for details like military qualifications, restaurant participation, COVID restrictions and more.

Food and Drink

    Ahipoke Bowl: Veterans and active-duty military receive 50% off poke bowls on November 11. Dine-in or take out.
    Applebee’s: Veterans and Active Duty Military members can choose a free meal from a limited menu on Veteran’s Day with proof of service.
    Baker’s Square: Active-duty military and veterans receive a free Rise & Shine breakfast on November 11, as well as a 20% off the entire check coupon valid for their next visit from November 12 through 30. Valid for dine-in and pick-up orders only. Online orders use promo code VETSRISE when placing order for pick-up.
    Black Angus: On November 11, veterans get the All-American Steak Plate for $10.99. This deal is available for restaurant dining and takeaway orders.
    BJ’s Restaurants: On November 11, all current and former military members receive a free entree up to $14.95 plus a free Dr. Pepper beverage. Dine-in only.
    Bob Evans: Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from a select menu on November 11. Dine-in only.
    Buffalo Wild Wings: Veterans and active military who dine-in with Buffalo Wild Wings can receive a free order of boneless wings and a side of fries.
    Bubba Gump Shrimp: Military personnel and their families receive 20% off on food and retail purchases on Nov. 11.
    California Pizza Kitchen: Veterans and active military get a complimentary meal from a select menu. Dine-in and walk-in takeout only.
    Chicken Salad Chick: On November 11, veterans and active-duty military will receive a free Chick Special and Regular Drink.
    Chili’s: Veterans and active-duty service members get a free meal from a select menu on November 11. Available for in-restaurant only.
    Claim Jumper: Veterans receive a free entrée from a special menu at participating locations on November 9. Dine-in only.
    Coco’s Restaurant and Bakery :On November 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a free slice of pie, along with a “Buy One, Get One” free deal at all locations. The offer is valid for dine-in or take out orders; online and delivery not included.
    Cracker Barrel :Veterans get a complimentary slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake when dining at any location on November 11.
    Denny’s :Veterans and military personnel get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on November 11, from 5 a.m. to noon. Dine-in only.
    Dunkin Donuts :On November 11, veterans and active-duty military receive a free donut at participating locations. Offer available in-store only.
    Famous Dave’s :Military personnel get a free Free Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich + Side at participating locations on November 11. Valid for Dine-In, To Go, and Online Ordering. Not valid for call in orders.
    Farmer Boys :Veterans and active-duty military receive a free Big Cheese cheeseburger on November 11 at participating locations.
    Golden Corral :Golden Corral is handing out a free meal and beverage card between November 1 and 30, while supplies last. Military personnel can then redeem their card once for lunch or dinner Monday through Thursday from November 1 to May 31.
    Hooters :Veterans can stop in for 10 free boneless wings with any 10 purchase from a long list of wing styles.
    IHOP: :Free Red, White and Blue pancake combo for veterans.
    IKEA :Enjoy a free meal at Ikea 11/11. Military ID Required.
    Joes’s Crab Shack :Veterans receive 20% off at participating locations on November 11. Dine-in only.< Juice it Up :Veterans and active-duty military receive a free 20oz Classic Smoothie on November 11.
    Krispy Kreme :Free doughnut and coffee on 11-11.
    Little Cesar’s Pizza: One free lunch combo from 11am-2pm.
    Logan’s Roadhouse :One free meal from 3:00pm-6:00pm.
    Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ :Active-duty personnel and veterans get a free Lucille’s Original Pulled Pork Sandwich on November 11.
    Macaroni Grill :One free “Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti” with military ID.
    McCormick and Schmick’s :Half-priced entrée for Veterans and Gold Star families 11/11.
    Mimi’s Cafe 20% off for Veterans and their families.
    Olive Garden :On November 11, veterans and current members of the military who dine in get a free entrée from a special menu.
    On the Border :Active and retired military get a free Pick 2 Combo on November 11. Dine-in only.
    Outback Steakhouse :Veterans and active-duty service members get a free Bloomin’ Onion and Coca-Cola product to on November 11. Offer available for dine-in or to-go (call-in orders only, not available online).
    Red Lobster :One free appetizer or dessert.
    Ruby Tuesday :Active-duty military and veterans get a free sandwich with fries or tots on November 11. Available for dine-in or call-in to-go orders.
    Starbucks :One free coffee, also eligible to military spouses.
    Texas Roadhouse BBQ :Texas Roadhouse will hand out dinner vouchers at the stores’ parking lots on November 11. Veterans and active-duty military can redeem their dinner vouchers when the restaurant opens for dinner, through May 30, 2022.
    Wendy’s :Free coffee for veterans, active duty and family members
    Wienerschnitzel :Free small breakfast combo on Veterans Day
    Yard House :One complimentary appetizer

Recreation

Shopping

Services

Check back for updates as we closer!

Colin Powell dead at 84 from COVID-19 complications

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Colin Pwell featured cover story on U.S. Veterans Magazine

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the first Black American to serve in the post, died on Monday at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19, his family announced in a statement.

The family said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been fully vaccinated and was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center.

“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” the Powell family said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family added.

Powell, born on April 5, 1937, in New York City, was raised by Jamaican immigrant parents in the South Bronx.

Following a decorated military career that included tours in Vietnam, Powell held key military and diplomatic positions throughout government, serving under both Democratic and Republican presidents.

Former President George W. Bush, who tapped Powell to serve as his secretary of State, said he was “deeply saddened” by the military leader’s death.

“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience,” Bush said in a statement.

“He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man,” he added.

Continue on to The Hill to read the complete article.

Best Careers for Military Spouses

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military spouse and husband smiling in the kitchen

By Navy Federal

Military spouses often face hiring challenges due to their spouse’s occupation, and the global pandemic has exacerbated this even more. The unemployment rate of military spouses is nearly three times greater than the national average. According to Navy Federal’s research, 13% of military spouses are unemployed, and 43% of military spouses are under-employed. In both unemployment and under-employment, military spouses cited specific challenges around relocation, childcare responsibilities and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a military spouse myself, I know that military spouses face unique employment challenges that make securing a sustainable, long-term career very difficult,” said Matt Vean, Commercial Banking Lead at Navy Federal Credit Union. “This Best Careers list offers deeply-researched insights that this community can turn to for advice and direction as they take the next step in their employment journey.”

Research & Results

To help them navigate these challenges and enjoy long-term career success, we conducted more than 2,000 online interviews with military spouses both within Navy Federal’s current membership and in the general population earlier this year. We found that this community requires flexible hours/schedule, competitive compensation, a clear career advancement path, a consistent work location (either in-person or remote), a team-oriented work environment and flexibility in childcare options.

We then partnered with Hire Heroes USA® to identify industries and career paths that meet the values that matter most to this community.

“Although military spouse employment is being talked about more and more, there is still work that can be done. Military spouses are reporting they are looking for stability and flexibility across all industries according to the Best Careers list and data,” said Amy Dodson, a military spouse and Human Resources Manager at Hire Heroes USA. “I encourage military spouses to utilize employment resources that are tailored specifically to their unique needs, leverage volunteer work to build a career and search for companies that have military spouse hiring initiatives.”

With this in mind, here are the top 10 industries we identified as best for military spouses.

Government & Public Administration. No surprise here, but having a stable job is one of the most important qualities military spouses look for in a career. Government and Public Administration roles provide spouses with just that and more! In fact, nearly half (46%) of military spouses currently working in this industry plan to keep their job until they retire. Other important benefits of this industry are flexible scheduling and working for an organization that supports military service as employees. Some of the most popular career paths include analyst, manager or supervisor, support worker, or lawyer. Of note, the analyst is the role best suited for frequent relocation via permanent change of station (PCS).

Business Support & Human Resources. Military spouses seek out a meaningful career and job that allows flexibility in childcare options and moving locations, which aligns well with Business Support and Human Resource positions. These roles also provide flexibility for families who experience a PCS. Some of the most popular career paths include administrative assistant, secretary, analyst, support worker or recruiter. This career path is a relatively new industry of interest for military spouses, with two-thirds (66%) currently in this industry having been in their position for up to 2 years.

Health Care & Social Assistance. One in ten military spouses are employed in the health care field. Military spouses desire this industry because it provides a meaningful career, offers stability and has competitive compensation. There are a wide range of roles that military spouses can explore in Health Care & Social Assistance; a few potential job functions include becoming a nurse, therapist, health caregiver, dental hygienist, pharmacy technician or medical assisting personnel.

Educational Services. The Educational Services industry aligns well with military spouses’ desires for mission-driven environments, work-life balance and stable careers. Some of the most popular career paths include becoming a teacher or instructor, education counselor, support worker, manager, or supervisor in education administration. For military spouses who regularly experience PCS or plan a PCS in the future, the role of support worker is particularly flexible for changing locations.

Information Technology. With everything becoming increasingly digitized, careers in the Information Technology space have seen a rise in popularity. The great news is that these job functions are a good fit for military spouses because they provide a meaningful, stable career that allows them the flexibility to change locations with ease. There are a wide range of roles that military spouses can explore in IT; a few potential job functions worth exploring include software or web developer, manager or supervisor, computer programmer, network analyst, database administrator, or information security personnel.

Financial Services. Financial Services is a popular career path, particularly among military spouses in urban areas. Military spouses appreciate a stable career with a clear advancement path and competitive compensation specifically within this industry. What’s more, over half (56%) of military spouses employed in this industry agree that their current job offers them a clear path for advancement. Some roles within this industry include accountant, bank teller, service representative, project manager, claim adjuster or credit analyst. A financial institution that understands the military lifestyle is most likely willing to help military spouses in these roles maintain their careers as they PCS.

Defense Contracting. Military spouses often find Defense Contracting to be a good fit, citing that the work is meaningful, supports military service as employees and offers flexible hours and schedules to fit their needs. Military spouses can explore a wide range of roles in Defense Contracting. A few potential job functions best suited for military spouses include being an architect, analyst, project manager or engineer. Project managerial roles are great for spouses of Active Duty servicemembers, as there’s greater flexibility for families experiencing PCS.

Community-Based Services. Community-Based Services roles are most popular for military spouses 55 and up. Why do they like this industry? These spouses can achieve a work-life balance while contributing positively to the greater good. They serve a purpose every day and are passionate about their work. Some of the most popular career paths include social services, administrative support services, religious services or church workers, program management, general management, training, instructing, or teaching.

Retail & Customer Service. Retail & Customer Service ranks on our list due to its flexible work schedule, team-oriented work environment, and creative or strategic opportunities available. The importance of flexibility in Retail cannot be overstated: over one-third (34%) of military spouses rank flexibility as the first thing they look for in an ideal job. Job functions within this sector include cashier, salesperson or customer service representative. The customer service representative role is especially flexible for military spouses who may experience or are experiencing PCS.

Manufacturing. Rounding out our top 10 list of careers for military spouses is Manufacturing, as spouses are attracted to competitive compensation, flexibility, and creative or strategic opportunities in their job. Some roles within this industry include assembler, brazer or welder, machinist or operator, production manager, or quality control inspector.

Planning for a career also means having a financial plan to match. There are different insurance and retirement savings options as a military spouse and specific considerations your family needs to take into account at each step in your spouse’s military career. Navy Federal Credit Union is proud to offer tools, tips and resources to help military spouses succeed in their career search and continue their financial literacy.
More Resources

Navy Federal has presented its “Best Of” lists every year since 2018. In 2018, we developed the first iteration of the Best Cities After Service list. In 2019, Navy Federal developed Best Careers After Service, a comprehensive list of the best careers that will make the transition from Active Duty to civilian life more successful. Last year, Navy Federal published Best Cities After Service 2.0, which helps identify top cities in the U.S. for military members who recently completed Active Duty service and their families amid changing priorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re interested in even more resources, check out our blog. You’ll find articles and tips on topics important for military spouses, ranging from our military employment resources, military benefits you may not know about, and more.

Click here to view the article posted on Navy Federal.

Guide to Veterans Affairs benefits and loans

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Smiling woman in camouflage holding cardboard box and looking at camera with blurred military man on background

In a nutshell…The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many benefits for eligible veterans, including VA loans, the GI Bill, job training, medical benefits and housing grants for disabled veterans.

After your time in military service, you may be eligible for numerous veteran benefits. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, offers a range of services and assistance for eligible U.S. veterans and qualifying family members to help transition into civilian life.

Read on to understand the different benefits and loans available through the VA.

VA housing and homebuying assistance

One of the most well-known veteran benefits is VA housing assistance. It is meant to help veterans, service members and surviving spouses buy or build a home, refinance a home or make home improvements. Below are some of the specific programs and insights into each one.

VA home loans

A VA home loan is a type of mortgage loan that is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Note that just because the loan is backed by the VA doesn’t mean it’s risk free. The VA backs the loan to protect the lender, not the borrower. If you miss payments, you still risk getting hit with late fees, decreased credit scores or — worse — possible home foreclosure. VA loans can be used to …

  • Buy a home
  • Build a home
  • Buy a home and fund improvements
  • Make energy-efficiency improvements to an existing home
  • Refinance an existing loan

Specific eligibility requirements can vary based on when you served. But veterans, surviving spouses and those joining the military today must generally meet one of the following eligibility criteria to qualify for a VA loan:

  • Served 90 total days of active service during wartime
  • Served 181 continuous days of active service during peacetime
  • Served six years of service in the National Guard or the Reserve
  • The applicant is a surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or passed away from ­a disability that resulted while serving.

Additional eligibility requirements apply in some circumstances, so check with the VA for specifics.

The VA offers just one type of direct loan — through its Native American Direct Loan program for purchases on qualifying tribal lands. Otherwise it offers borrowers indirect, VA-backed loans from private lenders that participate in the VA loan program. Be sure to shop around and compare mortgage rates to choose the best mortgage for you. Ask friends and family for lender recommendations and be sure to look at online reviews.

VA loan programs specify that the home purchase being financed must be for a property used as a primary residence. Here are some other rules to keep in mind:

  • Property requirements: VA loans are for single-family residences with one to four family units and must be primarily residential in nature.
  • Qualifying income considerations: VA loan rules on using rental income as qualifying income for the loan include having cash reserves for at least three months’ worth of mortgage payments and providing the previous two years of tax returns showing the rental income.

There are some key differences between VA loans and other types of mortgages that make VA loans so appealing. These differences are:

  • No down payment may be required: Most types of home loans generally require some form of down payment. The VA loan typically requires nothing down — although you can make a down payment if you want to try to lower your total loan amount and monthly payment. If your home is appraised at a lower value than the listing or asking price — or if the lender needs it to meet secondary market requirements — you may have to make a down payment.
  • The VA has no minimum credit score requirement: There are no credit score requirements set by the VA — however, the specific lender you go through to apply for a VA loan may have their own credit requirements.
  • You may not be subject to loan limits: Unlike FHA loans, VA loans of more than $144,000 do not have a borrowing limit, as long as you have full VA loan entitlement — meaning you have not already taken out a VA home loan, or you have fully repaid a previous VA loan.
  • You do not need mortgage insurance: Unless you put 20% down, lenders typically require mortgage insurance to protect themselves in case you don’t pay your mortgage. Since a VA loan is backed by the VA, you are not required to pay for mortgage insurance.
  • VA loans have a funding fee: VA loans may require a one-time funding fee. This fee can range from 0.5% to 3.6% of your loan, depending on a number of factors, and can be wrapped up in your loan if you’re unable to pay it outright.

Types of VA home loans

There are several types of VA loans that are designed especially for the varying borrowing purposes listed above. These are:

  • VA purchase loans: A loan program that qualifying individuals use to buy, improve or build a home
  • VA cash-out refinance loans: A loan program that allows qualifying veterans, service members or surviving spouses to replace an existing loan with a new one, allowing them to borrow against equity in their home or refinance a non-VA loan into a VA loan
  • VA interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL): A program that allows qualifying individuals to refinance your VA loan under new terms, potentially allowing you to reduce your monthly mortgage payments or interest rate.

There are both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate VA mortgages. With fixed-rate mortgages, you lock in your interest rate for the life of the loan. With adjustable-rate mortgages, your interest rate fluctuates according to the index of interest rates. The VA no longer prescribes specific interest rates — adjustable-rate loan changes depend on whether the loan is a standard or hybrid adjustable rate mortgage. Be sure to talk with your lender about which option is best for you, and learn how often these rates are subject to adjustment.

Homeowners insurance for veterans

Like almost any type of mortgage, institutions offering VA loans will typically require the borrower to purchase homeowners insurance. Additionally, the VA requires borrowers to have a hazard insurance policy where appropriate (flood insurance, for example, in known flood zones), which may be included in the conventional homeowners policy required by your lender. It may be worth asking your insurer or agent about possible military discounts for these types of programs.

State-specific veterans benefits

If you do not qualify for a VA loan or you are simply looking for additional housing benefits, there are generally state-specific organizations and programs designed to help veterans and others with housing at the state level. Be sure to check with your local VA office to help point you in the right direction.

VA disability benefits and programs

If you became sick or injured while serving in the military, or have an existing condition that got worse as a result of military service, you may qualify for VA disability compensation. You can file a claim for VA disability compensation online or at your local VA regional office — or send the appropriate information via mail to the address below.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims Intake Center

P.O. Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

You will need the following documentation to submit your claim:

  • Military discharge papers (DD214 or any other separation documents you may have)
  • Any service treatment records
  • Medical treatment records that show proof of disability (for example, doctor reports, X-rays, test results, doctor orders/recommendations for treatment, mental status examination or operative reports)

Be sure to apply for disability compensation as soon as possible since the claims process can take a while — generally in the neighborhood of four to five months. The VA site regularly updates the average time it takes to approve or deny a claim — it was 134.4 days as of June 2021 and 139.6 days as of July 2021.

VA benefits for disabled veterans

  • Disability compensation: This is a tax-free monthly benefit paid to disabled veterans who are considered 10% disabled or higher. The exact dollar amount you receive each month fluctuates based on the degree of your disability and if you have dependents.
  • Clothing allowance: This is an annual allowance for eligible veterans and service members whose clothing has been damaged by prosthetics/orthopedic devices or topical medication for a skin condition.
  • Service-disabled veterans’ life insurance (S-DVI): This insurance benefit is for eligible veterans who may have service-connected disabilities but are in good health otherwise. The amount of premium you pay depends on your age, the type of plan and the amount of coverage you need.

The eligibility requirements and application process for each benefit can change, so be sure to check with your local VA center to determine whether you qualify and how to access the benefit.

VA disability housing programs

  • Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA): The HISA program provides up to $6,800 in funding for home improvements and structural alterations to a disabled veteran’s primary residence. The intent behind the program is to improve home accessibility.
  • Specially Adapted Housing grants (SAH): The SAH grant helps certain veterans and service members with disabilities work toward independent living by creating barrier-free environments.
  • Temporary Residence Adaptation grant (TRA): The TRA grant may be available as part of the SAH program described and linked above. It is used to help veterans and service members make accommodations when living temporarily in a family member’s home that needs changes to meet their needs.

Automobile allowance for veterans

Although the VA does not offer specialized car loans for all veterans, it does provide an automobile allowance for veterans and service members with qualifying injuries. This is a one-time allowance for disabled veterans and service members to help them purchase a vehicle that better accommodates their needs.

Qualifying individuals can use this allowance to purchase a new or used vehicle that is already equipped with adaptive equipment, or they can purchase and install adaptive equipment to an existing vehicle.

VA education, training and employment benefits

The VA offers several education, training and employment benefits to veterans, service members and their qualified dependents to help with education costs, finding a training program or career guidance and counseling. Below are the different VA education and training benefits.

  • Veteran Readiness & Employment (VR&E): The VR&E program is designed to help veterans and service members with service-related disabilities with job training, employment accommodations, resume developments and job-search coaching. In some cases, these benefits may extend to dependents.
  • Personalized Career Planning and Guidance (PCPG): The PCPG program offers education/training, career, academic, resume and goal-planning counseling to eligible service members, veterans and dependents.
  • Dependents and Survivors Educational Assistance: This is a specialized program for spouses and children of veterans or service members who died or received permanent disabilities while serving. The program helps with tuition, housing, books and school supply costs.
  • Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC): The VET TEC program helps veterans with training and educational courses in high-demand areas of the tech industry. The training is for computer software, computer programming, data processing, information science and media applications.
  • VetSuccess on Campus: This program is designed to help veterans and service members transition from life in service to life on campus. Each school that is a part of the program has a VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to help support veterans with assistance needed to pursue their educational and employment goals.
  • Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR): The MGIB-SR program pays for up to 36 months of education or training benefits for qualifying reservists and members of the Army National Guard or Air National Guard.
  • The National Call to Service Program: This program offers a choice between a $5,000 cash bonus, up to $18,000 of student loan repayment, or educational assistance for eligible veterans who performed a period of national service.
  • Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP): The VRRAP is a temporary program that provides up to 12 months of tuition and schooling fees as well as a monthly housing allowance for qualified veterans who became unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligibility for other unemployment and education benefits can impact eligibility for this program.

Next steps

To find out if you are eligible for VA home loan programs, visit the VA website or your local VA regional office to discuss the programs and your service record.

Continue to read the complete article on CreditKarma.com

Veterans turn to farming jobs, receive assistance through Farmer Veteran Coalition

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Army Veteran Jon Jackson on his farm

Veterans have an opportunity to use the land they fought to defend, getting assistance along the way.

Army Veteran Jon Jackson deployed twice to Iraq and four times to Afghanistan between 2003-2015. Now, he channels that energy into a new career as a farmer.

When he was in the service, Jackson had a backyard garden. He grew vegetables and had chickens, also admitting to having an illegal pig when he lived in Columbus, Georgia, near Fort Benning. After receiving a medical discharge following repeated deployments with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, he decided he wanted to try his hand at a larger farm.

One of his first stops was Farmer Veteran Coalition. FVC is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization assisting Veterans – and currently serving members of the Armed Forces – to embark on careers in agriculture.

“Getting my start in farming, the Farmer Veteran Coalition was the one organization that had the best integrity, the best resources, the best information out there for a farmer like myself to get started,” he said.

He used Farmer Veteran Coalition grants to get started and also connected with other Veteran farmers to gain experience, advice and find camaraderie.

Farming start

Jackson’s original goal was to open up a barbecue restaurant.

“It was literally the proverbial question: What comes first, the barbecue joint or the pigs?” Jackson said.

Jackson searched for an in-residence training program but couldn’t find one. Using his Ranger mentality, he started his own, creating the AG Tech to Success program. The collaborative effort is between Central Georgia Technical College, Fort Valley State University and through the group Jackson created, STAG Vets, Inc.

The program aims to increase the number of qualified Veterans trained and educated in food and agriculture production through a comprehensive, hands-on model farm/ranch program within the central Georgia region.

The Sustainable Small Farm and Agriculture Technician program study is a 17-week program. Veterans receive a specialized technical certificate of credit. The program includes hands-on training in the production, management and marketing of small-scale food production.

Farming program origins

Jackson’s location is Comfort Farms in Milledgeville, Georgia. The farm name is in honor of one of Jackson’s teammates. Army Capt. Kyle A. Comfort, a fellow Ranger, was killed in action May 8, 2010, in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

Jackson said the constant deployments and horrors of war caught up with him, leading to a mental health crisis.

“I was in a really dark, dark place and I needed help,” he said.

His mental health crisis lit a fire under him. He started the peer-to-peer program for active duty and Veterans. They come out two to four days to work on the farm, helping with farm projects.

“It’s just to get Vets who are going through crisis outside of their own head space and do something productive,” he said. Working with people and on the farm helps them talk through issues, he noted.

Building camaraderie

The program’s goal is to be proactive, building camaraderie before a Veteran needs help.

“We want our shelter during sunny days, not when it’s actually raining,” he added.

Jackson said another Veteran team building event is the upcoming Q For the Few backyard barbecue cook-off during Labor Day weekend. Veteran teams will compete in the contest, cooking two slabs of ribs, eight chicken thighs and a side dish. The competition includes two teams from the Western Judicial Circuit Veterans Court in Athens, Georgia. They target Veterans in the local area who are or could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor criminal offense stemming from mental illness or substance abuse problems associated with service. The Superior Court works with VA. The group came to the farm for a short trip recently and instantly connected with the program.

“These guys have kind of crawled their way out of a dark space and now they’re coming in next week, practicing their barbecue and having fun,” he said.

Advice for Veterans

Jackson’s best advice for a Veteran thinking about farming is to simply volunteer at a farm.

“Learn all types of agriculture,” he said, including visiting everything from blueberry to cattle farms. He also advised to visit chefs to see how they use it on a plate, whether in a restaurant or catering. Jackson believes seeing different types of operations will help Veterans decide – or avoid – a certain type of farming.

“Everyone says, ‘I want to go cattle’ until they get kicked in the chest by a damn cow,” he joked.

Whatever direction a Veteran decides, Jackson wants Veterans to know that farming takes a long time to master.

“Farming is the only profession that you’re still a beginner with less than 10 years of experience, so it’s not a fast process,” he said. “You need to start slow.”

From fire trucks to farming

Evan Boone used to spend his days fixing fire trucks during his four years in the Air Force. Now, he spends his days tending to cows, pigs, sheep and chickens.

He started out with a small farm at his last assignment at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He said his wife and him fell in love with the farming lifestyle, and soon decided to pursue their dream. Following his discharge, Boone moved to Aroda, Virginia, to start Three Springs Farm.

Growing up in a neighborhood, Boone had little experience outside visiting family farms in West Virginia. He also used Farmer Veteran Coalition for assistance, including webinars and training opportunities to learn. He also received a fellowship in 2019 and a grant to buy a three-door glass freezer for his farm store, which he said was a “game changer” because he can sell direct to consumers.

Boone especially enjoys the farming lifestyle and how every day is both busy and different. He likened the military and farmer lifestyles are similar because the commitment to helping fellow Americans.

“It’s really that sense of duty and kind of being there to feed people,” he said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s about each other.”

Read the complete article posted on the VA website here.

What You Can Do to Successfully Transition from A Military Career

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Change can be challenging — or even downright difficult. But if you’re transitioning from the military, choosing a career at VA can make the experience alot easier and less stressful.

At VA, we understand the unique circumstances transitioning service members face and have created plenty of resources and tools to support you in your move to a new career. You will work alongside other veterans as you continue your mission to serve.

Here are six things you can do to successfully transition from a military career to one at VA:

1 . PREPARE FOR YOUR TRANSITION WELL IN ADVANCE.
Planning and preparing for your next move can help relieve stress and boost your confidence. Take advantage of what’s available to you while you’re still a service member, such as the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program. Take stock of your skills and think about how you could parlay them into a job at VA.

For instance, VA created the Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) Program to hire former medics and military corpsmen into positions at VA medical centers. Ask supervisors for letters of referral or to serve as job references. Brush off your resume and make it shine. Talk with former service members who have already transitioned to civilian careers for tips and moral support. If you think you want to switch careers or need more education or training to make you competitive in your current career, explore educational opportunities and see how VA benefits may support you.

2. MAKE LINKEDIN A BEST FRIEND.
LinkedIn is an invaluable, career tool that can help you network, search for jobs and take advantage of careerbuilding resources. VA offers transitioning service members a free year of LinkedIn Prime, which includes more than 14,000 LinkedIn learning courses. LinkedIn Prime also has two learning paths for veterans: Transition from Military to Civilian Employment and Transition from Military to Student Life. Need some help navigating LinkedIn? Check out this video for tips on using LinkedIn for job searching.

3. ACTIVATE YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK.
Job hunting can take a toll on even the most persistent job seeker. That’s why having a support network is a good idea. In addition to current and former military colleagues, family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances may all potentially be great contacts. You might be surprised to learn where they worked, who they know and who they might be able to connect you with. Keep an open mind and network, network, network!

4. SPEND TIME ON THE VA CAREERS WEBSITE.
The VA Careers website has all kinds of resources to help you explore and apply for positions at VA. A page dedicated to veterans has useful information about benefits and veterans’ hiring preference — and lets you view available opportunities or search for specific VA careers. On our Navigating the Hiring Process page, you’ll find an instructional guide that can help you search and apply for positions through USAJOBS.gov, as well as tips for preparing and submitting a job application.

The VA Careers blog is chock full of information about topics like how to ace a cover letter, how VA helps transitioning service members and spouses pursue civilian careers and what you can expect in a post-military career. VA Careers also participates in virtual career fairs, allowing you to speak with VA recruiters and learn about available positions.

5. CONTACT A VA RECRUITER.
Be proactive and email a VA recruiter. Connecting with a recruiter will speed the job application process and help you secure an interview. A recruiter can answer questions and guide you on finding the opportunity that best matches your skillset, preparing your resume and planning for interviews.

6. FINALLY, DON’T GIVE UP!
Finding a job takes time and patience, especially in a tight job market. Create a transition plan, rely on your network, use LinkedIn often, take advantage of all the resources VA Careers has to offer, connect with a recruiter and stick with it!

Source: VA.gov

Why Do Veterans Make Great Business Owners?

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Once their service ends, veterans often expect to start a new career. In many cases, the same skills and characteristics that helped make them successful in the military, such as ambition and a drive to succeed, make veterans uniquely suited for entrepreneurial endeavors like business ownership.

Franchising is a path toward business ownership that requires strong leadership skills, so veterans are often some of the most qualified and successful prospective franchise owners. According to the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran), a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association and the Franchise Education and Research Foundation, at least 97 percent of franchisors believe veterans would make excellent franchisees; 70 percent have brought on a veteran franchisee or employee in the last year alone.

“The skills veterans develop through their military experience are integral to pursuing a new career,” said Tim Davis, former president of The UPS Store, Inc. and former U.S. Marine Corps captain and Gulf War veteran.

Leadership. Work ethic. Discipline. These qualities are exactly what help more than 200 veteran The UPS Store franchisees succeed.

  • Working as a team: The success of an organization relies on its members working together and a recognition that the business is greater than the sum of its parts. Many veterans learn to rely on their fellow service men and women; franchise owners must embrace teamwork at multiple levels, from employees of the local franchise to the franchise’s national and regional leadership team.
  • Executing a plan: Although a franchise owner typically has access to a proven business model and ongoing support, executing the plan is the franchisee’s responsibility. Putting the pieces together and developing a working business plan requires an entrepreneurial approach similar to the military training veterans received.
  • Thriving under pressure: Things don’t always go according to plan, and service members possess the training and discipline to remain calm in pressure-filled situations. For best results when navigating situations like disgruntled customers or employees, a level-headed approach often prevails.
  • Working hard to accomplish a goal: Not all business owners have the level of commitment and work ethic necessary to accomplish their entrepreneurial goals. Service members are trained to understand the requirements of a mission and work diligently to achieve them.

Financing a Franchise Dream

Through its participation in VetFran, The UPS Store, Inc., makes it easier for veterans to attain their post-military professional goals.

For example, its “Mission: Veteran Entrepreneurship” program offers nearly $300,000 in financial incentives to assist qualified U.S. military veterans in opening their own franchise locations. In addition, the first 10 eligible veterans to submit a complete buyer’s application packet and initial application fee by Nov. 11 will receive a waiver for their franchise license fees.

Before You Buy a Franchise

Becoming a franchise owner is a big decision, which means it’s important to thoroughly research potential opportunities and carefully review all the available documents. In most cases, you will have an interview with the franchisor, which is not only a chance for him or her to assess your abilities but also for you to ask questions like these that can give you more perspective.

  1. How mature is the brand?

Some franchise systems are backed by a nationally renowned brand name and decades of franchise experience. A mature brand with a proven track record of success can be especially beneficial for a first-time business owner.

  1. Will training be provided?

A good franchise will be committed to helping you succeed by providing the tools and training necessary to get you started on the right foot. The best franchise opportunities will offer a comprehensive training program that covers more than just basic operational procedures, but also provides ongoing assistance. Ask if there is a support team you can reach out to with questions. Also find out how the brand’s franchisees work collaboratively to learn from one another and help each other succeed.

  1. How stable is the industry?

It’s impossible to guarantee the success of a business regardless of the state of the economy. However, some industries are more recession-resistant than others. Those that offer essential products and services that remain in demand or those that flourish due to tough economic conditions are typically among the best franchise opportunities. If you’re exploring opening a franchise business as a means of controlling your own employment and financial security, consider an industry that can thrive even in the face of market volatility.

  1. What type of marketing, advertising and promotion do you provide?

While you can generally expect to receive marketing assistance and grand opening guidance when first opening a franchise business, the type of marketing and advertising support provided beyond that can vary greatly among franchisors.

  1. What is the total short and long-term financial commitment?

Discuss all initial and ongoing fees in depth with the franchisor before committing to buy. You will also need enough operating capital to support the business until it breaks even. The franchisor should be able to give you an idea of how long it typically takes franchisees in the network to become profitable.

  1. Do you offer funding, incentives or deals?

The costs associated with opening a franchise business can be a significant factor in finding the right opportunity. Some franchisors offer financing options, as well as special incentives for veterans, women and minorities; certain business models; or opening a location in specific geographic areas.

Source: globenewswire.com

Resume Tips to Land a Federal Job

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Whether you’re a current federal employee or new to the Federal Government, your resume is the primary way for you to communicate your education, skills and experience.

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
Read the entire job announcement. Focus on the following sections to understand whether or not you qualify for the position. This critical information is found under:
■ Duties and Qualifications
■ How to Apply (including a preview of the assessment questionnaire)
■ How You Will be Evaluated
Make sure you have the required experience and/or education before you apply. Hiring agencies use the job announcement to describe the job and the required
qualifications, including:
■ Level and amount of experience
■ Education
■ Training

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR RESUME
Federal jobs often require that you have experience in a particular type of work for a certain period of time. You must show how your skills and experiences meet the qualifications and requirements listed in the job announcement to be considered for the job.

Include dates, hours, level of experience and examples for each work experience.

For each work experience you list, make sure you include:
■ Start and end dates (including the month and year).
■ The number of hours you worked per week.
■ The level and amount of experience – for instance, whether you served as a project manager or a team member helps to illustrate your level of experience.
■ Examples of relevant experiences and accomplishments that prove you can perform the tasks at the level required for the job as stated in the job announcement. Your experience needs to address every required qualification.
Example:
Program Analyst GS-343-11
January 2009 – Present
40 Hours/Week
$63,000/Year
Experience/Accomplishment

INCLUDE VOLUNTEER WORK AND ROLES IN COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
Don’t limit yourself to only including paid work experience. Include relevant volunteer work or community organizations roles that demonstrate your ability to do the job.
■ Use numbers to highlight your accomplishments
■ Use numbers, percentages or dollars to highlight your accomplishments – you can find this information in things like your performance reviews, previous job descriptions, awards and letters of recommendation.

When explaining your accomplishments:
■ Include examples of how you saved money, earned money, or managed money.
■ Include examples of how you saved or managed time.
Examples:
“Improved efficiency of document processing by 25 percent over the previous year.”
“Wrote 25 news releases in a three-week period under daily deadlines.”
“Managed a student organization budget of more than $7,000.”
“Wrote prospect letter that has brought in more than $25,000 in donations to date.”

These statements show in concrete terms what you accomplished.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR RESUME
You should tailor your resume to the job announcement rather than sending out the same resume for every job. Customizing your resume helps you match your competencies, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to the requirements for each job. Emphasize your strengths and include everything you’ve done that relates to the job you’re seeking. Leave out experience that isn’t relevant.

USE SIMILAR TERMS AND ADDRESS EVERY REQUIRED QUALIFICATION
Your experience needs to address every required qualification in the job announcement. Hiring agencies will look for specific terms in your resume to make sure you have the experience they’re seeking.

For example, if the qualifications section says you need experience with “MS Project” you need to use the words, “MS Project” in your resume.

ORGANIZE YOUR RESUME TO MAKE IT EASY TO UNDERSTAND
You need to organize your resume to help agencies evaluate your experience. If you don’t provide the information required for the hiring agency to determine your qualifications, you might not be considered for the job.

■ Use reverse chronological order to list your experience – start with your most recent experience first and work your way back.
■ Provide greater detail for experience that is relevant to the job for which you are applying. Show all experiences and accomplishments under the job in which you earned it. This helps agencies determine the amount of experience you have with that particular skill.
■ Use either bullet or paragraph format to describe your experiences and accomplishments.
■ Use plain language – avoid using acronyms and terms that are not easily understood.

BE CONCISE
Hiring agencies often receive dozens or even hundreds of resumes for certain positions. Hiring managers quickly skim through submissions and
eliminate candidates who clearly are not qualified. Look at your resume and ask:
■ Can a hiring manager see my main credentials within 10 to 15 seconds?
■ Does critical information jump off the page?
■ Do I effectively sell myself on the top quarter of the first page?
■ Review your resume before you apply
■ Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors and have someone else, with a good eye for detail, review your resume.

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE FEDERAL HIRING PROCESS
The Federal Government does have a standard job application. Your resume is your application. Hiring agencies use the job announcement to describe the job and list the required qualifications and responsibilities.

After applying, the hiring agency uses the information in your resume to verify if you have the required qualifications stated in the job announcement. Once the hiring agency has determined who is qualified, they may use other assessments, such as interviews or testing, to
determine the best qualified applications.

Source: usajobs.gov

Here’s How to Tell in Less Than 1 Minute Whether You’ve Made a Great First Impression, Backed by Science

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By Jeff Haden

Making a great first impression is supposed to be fairly simple. Smile. Make eye contact. Listen more than you speak. Ask questions about the other person.

And, oddly enough, simply believe you will make a good first impression. A 2009 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows people who expect to be “accepted” act more warmly and therefore are seen as more likable. (Of course, you genuinely have to believe you will be accepted — or at least “George Costanza believe” you will be accepted — which is obviously the hard part.)

So, yeah: You know what to do. But knowing what to do is never a guarantee of success.

How can you tell if you actually made a good first impression? Science to the rescue.

According to a 2018 meta-analysis of more than 50 different studies published in Psychological Bulletin, the key is to look for specific nonverbal and verbal signs to determine if you’ve established some degree of rapport.

  1. Smiling and laughing. No surprise there. But most people reflexively smile back, especially at first. And then there’s the Jimmy Fallon-esque “Oh, my gosh, I’ve never heard anyone say anything so funny” kind of laughter that doesn’t indicate anything genuine.
  2. Holding eye contact.Also, unsurprising; the eyes are usually the first indication the other person is thinking about somewhere they would rather be.
  3. Maintaining physical proximity.We all define “personal space” differently; the fact you back up half a step might just only mean I’ve slightly encroached on yours. Yet, according to the researchers, physical proximity is a key indicator of likability.
  4. Starting new topics of conversation.Another less obvious, yet important, indicator. If there’s no spark, polite people will see the current topic through and try to move on. But if they bring up something else without prompting…
  5. Unconsciously mimicking nonverbal expressions.A 2019 study published in Cognition and Emotion shows that when other people mimic your nonverbal expressions, that indicates they understand the emotions you’re experiencing — and may even result in “emotional contagion.” (Which means, if you want to use your first impression skills manipulatively, copying the other person’s expressions and gestures can make you seem more likable.)

So: Imagine you meet someone new. You know what to do. Smile. Make and hold eye contact. Laugh when appropriate. Don’t back away. Shift the conversational focus to the person you just met; one way is to use the 3 Questions Rule.

All the while, pay attention to how the other person responds. Whether they smile, laugh, and hold eye contact.

And more important, whether they maintain physical proximity, initiate new topics of conversation on their own and mimic some of your nonverbal expressions.

And then use what you learn to make a better first impression with the next person you meet.

Because the next person you meet could turn out to be one of your most important connections. Or one of your biggest customers.

Or, best of all, one of your closest friends.

Jeff Haden is a keynote speaker, ghostwriter, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc. and the author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.

Applying for a VA job? Here’s how to keep your application forms in order

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If you’re applying for a VA job, you’ve probably already noticed that the federal application process is different than in the civilian world.

We know the federal government has a bit of a reputation for lengthy processes and forms. While we try to streamline the application process as much as possible, there are usually at least a few forms and documents that you’ll need to upload when applying for a federal job.

Staying organized

Kenneth Mitchell, a VA recruiter, offers a few tips on how to make sure your application, forms and documents are in order before you hit submit.

Check which forms and documents are required. When you find a job that interests you on USAJobs, scroll down past the Duties and Requirements section to the Required Documents section. This will list the forms and documents that need to accompany your application. For some positions, like physicians, the only requirement is a CV or resume. “VA utilizes direct hiring authority for physicians, which makes the process easier and provides more flexibility,” Mitchell said. Other job types will require more forms and documents. If you later realize you forgot something, no worries. You can go back and update your application, as long as it remains open in USAJobs.

Consider whether additional forms will help your application. Even though they may not be required, you should still submit forms that may get you preferred status for your application. For instance, submit form DD-214 if you’ve served in the military and form SF-15 to receive Veterans’ preference. Military spouses also can receive hiring preference and will need to submit a marriage certificate, spouse’s military orders, and other documentation.

Build your USAJobs profile ahead of time. Plan on investing some time developing a comprehensive profile in your USAJobs account. “It’s worth the time up front to be thorough and include in your profile any supporting documents – resume, cover letter, letters of reference, transcripts, degrees and diplomas, awards, transcripts, etc. It’s really pretty easy to apply for positions once the profile is built,” Mitchell said. Keep track of which positions you apply for by noting their announcement and control numbers.

Keep several versions of your resume. You want to make sure your resume is fine tuned for the job you’re seeking and uses keywords from the specific job opportunity announcement. “Be sure to include those experiences you do have that are specific to the position you are applying for,” Mitchell recommended. “For example, you may have a resume geared towards program management and another geared more towards process improvement.” Check out our blog post on preparing your federal resume for more tips.

A worthwhile investment

While applying for a federal job can be a bit more cumbersome and require some up-front work, Mitchell provided assurance that it’s worth it.

A Veteran himself, Mitchell enjoys the chance to continue his service and is also appreciative of those who are interested in helping Veterans receive the health care they need.

“As a VA employee, I find it to be the most professionally rewarding and personally satisfying job I’ve had,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to continue my service in a very meaningful way.”

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