Applying for a VA job? Here’s how to keep your application forms in order
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.
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.”
Work at VA
Now that you’re organized and ready to go, take the next step toward a VA career.
- SEARCH for an open position.
- READ other career advice blog posts.
- LEARN how to navigate the hiring process.
- WATCH videos about working at VA.