Print

Career Guides >> Browse Articles >> Military-to-Federal

+2

10 Steps to a Government Job - For Military Service Members

10 Steps to a Government Job - For Military Service Members

GovCentral and Military.com


Step 4: Choose an Agency

Starting pay, proximity to where you want to live, and the amount of positions in demand are all important to take into consideration when you choose a government agency you want to apply for. Rather than decide that you want to work for a super-specific department with 10 staff members, try to choose a type of department that suits you best. One of the biggest mistakes made by candidates is having their heart set on one specific department and refusing to apply anywhere else. As anyone with experience will tell you, this is a big no-no.

Once you decide what type of agency you want to work for, decide WHERE you want to work. Try to narrow it down sooner rather than later, because you want to be sure you’re available in the area for interviews, exams, background checks, etc.

Now that you’ve decided where you want to work, here are a few pointers for narrowing in on the specific departments.

Zero In

It is important to do your research on your relocation area’s government departments. Most importantly, set up a calendar of application dates so that you can be prepared well in advance. Also set up a pro’s and con’s list of all your possible areas of relocation including salary information for those departments, application requirements, and interview schedules.

Agency and Department Reviews

Learn what departments are in the area and start researching them. Searchable by region, GovCentral Department and Agency Reviews are a great source of inside information about government offices throughout the country. Visit individual department websites and learn what type of work they do, how big the departments are, their chain of command, and anything else you can about the agency. Of special importance should be their recruitment section. This may indicate if they’re hiring, or when their next exam may be. It should also list qualifications for the positions, such as maximum age, educational requirements, past military service, etc.


+2
  • Bild0669_max50

    charlie27

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I am a female veteran and have applied for government jobs for the past 6 years. I have a college degree, years of experience in administration and human resources. Doesn't matter! I can never seem to get hired or even get an interview for the matter. It can be a year before you get notification that a job you applied for was filled. What is going on?
    THIS STATEMENT IS VERY TRUE! from VETERAN52.
    I just got out from the service. As a matter of fact , I just got back home from downrange. I have spreaded out my resume to any available jobs in the Government/ Federal/Homeland Department but still haven't heard from any of them. It's very frustrating! We have the tools, the experience, the professionalism and the leadership. HELP the Veteran, FIRST!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    GentFromAlaska

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I am a 25 year military retiree with a VA rated 10 point preference. Thus far I have applied for a handful of positions at Fort Campbell. I did not transition from the Army so I'm the proverbial fish out of water. My TAP seminar was taught by a Department of Labor contract vendor. With that said I have not limited my job search criteria to just the Army, There are many Federal agencies out there.

    Unbeknown to me Fort Campbell has a Army Community Services (ACS) Office which offers CPOL RESUMIX/ANSWER training. None of this was taught to me to me in my TAP class, which can be its own service connected disability of sorts. In the grand scheme of things it is one more obstacle to navigate. I've sat on the other side of Civil Service interview table, searching for the right candidate can come down to fractions of a point.

    By trail or error as a lesson learned a canditate applying for an Army position must locate the Position Description (PD) in CPOL FASCLAS. The ACS office taught me the applicant must (stress must) paste the PD in his/her resume up to the maximum 12,000 characters allowed to successfully pass the optical scanner buzzword test. Thereafter applicant names make the cut is forwarded back to the CPAC. This is the first a human see's it. I've received a fair share of the canned statements "You were not referred because you were not amongst the group of best qualified candidates" I feel I have a remarkable resume.

    Additionally either as part of the ACS or as and individual entity there is a Retirement Services Office (RSO) on base. I suspect this to be the old Civil Service office. I'm told VEOA eligibles with a 30% or more service connected disability can hand deliver their resume to the RSO even after the vacancy closes and still be considered for the position. This takes RESUMIX/ANSWER out of the equation. I suppose the other elements of DOD have similar requirements and offer similar support facilities on base. Seek them out!

    Additionally DFAS publishes many if not hundreds of FAQ under the Careers tab on the URL under the "askHR" which goes indepth about applying for a Civil Service positions. This is one of the best FAQ and answer platforms I've found to date. DFAS does not use the Army CPOL mentioned above so the application process is streamlined.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Veteran52

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I am a female veteran and have applied for government jobs for the past 6 years. I have a college degree, years of experience in administration and human resources. Doesn't matter! I can never seem to get hired or even get an interview for the matter. It can be a year before you get notification that a job you applied for was filled. What is going on?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    carden

    almost 5 years ago

    12 comments

    It does not matter what your rights are as a veteran just ask MS Ferguson, Ms Peterson, if you appeal this two individuals findings reference your resume they will have you investigated by the military police on Ft. Sam Houston Texas. I was found not guilty of all allegations by these two individuals but they remain in their positions as human resource personnel continuing to turn down veterans and disable veterans for employment. To think you went to war sacraficed everything you know for your country to be treated as no more than a common criminal is an insult. you can not even appeal these peoples findings without them protesting aginst you the veteran. just a reminder to these two is freedom is not free and many women and men made the sacrifice so you can be where you are at today, what sacrifices have you made for your country!!!!!!!! Why don't you post your hire rate for veterans and disabled veterans on the internet.
    Just remember when you appeal these two peoples findings whether they are right or wrong they will call the MP's on you. Kenneth J. Carden

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    CALLA66

    almost 5 years ago

    50 comments

    VETERAN KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND LAWS, START QUESTIONING AND DO NO'T ACCEPT THERE BS AND LIES and believe me your get alot of that. Here is the HR OPM BIBLE page 178, start sending FOIA letters to all you applied, the lawlessness and the anti-veteran sentiment comming out of these Government agencys HR hiring office. read this guide and start sending FOIA request letters, on all job refusals start doing your own investigations, if you get a name call them, see if they are veteran education, etc. ask questions. http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2007/DEO_Handbook.pdf read page 178, use the FOIA generator paste and copy start sending letters on refusals, when you get enough contact the media, your Senator, Representaive they know its happening and will do little. See each agency acts like there "United States of own own rules, you have one agency that will give you name of the person hired, and you have another that will not, that is public information the VA will not they want you to go through there gaulent of FOIA unhelp.
    As you see on page 178 on the bible, there is many questions you can ask, SEND THEM A FOIA LETTER. Many with DOL/VETS. you will be wasting your time, but at least they get in the system. When they tell you to appeal, that is another way the government is telling the VET to go away, because they know the soldier can't afford 4 to 5 thousand dollars for MSPB lawyer and the government does not give you one or will pay for it, THEY SHOULD. But if your try to do it your self all your find out there just another office that will make excuses and will protect the government.
    Veterans its not the corporations that hate us, its our own government, if there letting hiring practices like that that is hate. Write your politicians I already did, do they care "?".
    Good luck Veterans, and women veterans we need more then luck we need a God send.

    http://www.federaltimes.com/index.php?S=3026827

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    CALLA66

    almost 5 years ago

    50 comments

    THE GOVERNMENT IS MAKING LAWS FOR CORPORATIONS,

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    CALLA66

    almost 5 years ago

    50 comments

    THE TRUTH http://www.federaltimes.com/index.php?S=3026827, Iput in over 500 government applications, the truth is the government has many anti veteran, anti american people working in there HR offices. The facts are there in Black and White even the DAV in April 2009 Issue states the VA only hire 30 percent Veteran and 8 percent disabled veterans, and its not just the VA, but lets talk about the VA, they will deny you, they will hire less educated then you, and if your a women veteran forget it. The VA will violate your FOIA rights then perjure them selves, getting help forget it the DOL is worthless, theylike to tell you to appeal to MSPB because they have no idea how to do there jobs, Then when you go the MSPB fair hearing no way, you need to hire a lawyer got 5000 dollars, 5k to fight a government you fought to protect, the MSPB lawyers want another arm and leg you already gave to protect America. There is no help for veterans out there for jobs, just do what everybody does stay home, your get a job then. Network? you mean like all the civilains will tell you that work at the VA, how they got in I knew someone within, but I got a high school,diploma and I never served that whay i get 70 percent of the time, forget until our govrnment does a congressional inquiry veterans forget it, they need to get rid of all the loop holes, that these anti veterans HR have matter of fact they need to start getting rid of many of the HR that have not served and hire some that have, to work these hiring agencies.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    CALLA66

    almost 5 years ago

    50 comments

    VETERAN PREFERENCE IS BUNCH OF LIES IT HAS MORE LOOPHOLES IN IT THAT A PSEGGETTI STRAINER, THE GOVERNMENT IS ANTI VETERAN ANTI AMERICAN. OUR OWN GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST WOMEN VETERANS ITS ALL LIE.

  • Img_1004_max50

    frankwgonzalez

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Great information on the things you think will get you hired but I am sorry to report it is not what you know or what you have done its who you know and who you have pissed off that is now in the hiring authority position. NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK! Its all about who you know. You may be the Lords gift to mankind in your area of expertise but if you don't know the right poepl to get you hired you won't get the job even if you are recommended. I recommend the following as well: 1) If you are not recommended appeal the decision and fight for it, the last thing they want is a congressional inquiry or a DAV inquiry into discrimanatory hiring practices. 2) Apply VERY early in the job announcement posting. 3) Know someone where you want to work.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kencpotishnak

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    This is all great for the guys that just got out of the service or the ones that are still in but how about us Vietnam guys that have over 25 years experience in something else that has nothing to do with what we did in the service. I have built a career as a Maintenance Manager in the casino world were everybodies problems are mine. I had to know something about 6 different trades, not saying I had to be an expert in them all, but I had to know them to run crews to make repairs in the casino/ hotel world. Had to know building codes in Plumbing, Electricial, Fire and Board of Health.
    I was laid off twice last year and only worked 5 months all year and I'm still out of work. Yes I'm going on 60 years old and have school loans to pay for my kids schooling taxes and what have you. Companies see all this experience, total it up, see how old I am and you never hear from them. I have applied to some of these jobs on Govjobs.com in the past and never heard from them. I have applied to 28 other jobs and still out of work. Don't let anybody tell you your age doesn't matter because it does.

  • Cropped_face1_max50

    BonnieOBrien

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I recently did a project with the DoD for their hiring and recruiting. I worked on USAJobs from the hiring side as well as the candidate side. There are are certain things that most candidates are unaware of:
    1. Sometimes the hiring group will hire based on the paperwork and never meet the candidate.
    Because of this, it is very important to ensure that when candidates self nominate that they mirror the job description within their resume and not making sure that the apprpriate key words are being used.
    2. Applying to the government is different than applying for jobs in the private sector. For government jobs you need to make sure that the resume and application contains EVERY job, training class, certification, education, award, etc. is included. The data should incllude EVERYTHING you have ever done.
    3. Applicants should make sure that the MEET all qualification criteria.

    You do not need a professional resume writer for government jobs if you have all the information on past employment because the format doesn't come out the same way you put it in.

    Good Luck!
    Bonnie@placementprofessionals.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rustyday

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    for 6 months i have been applying to jobs on usa jobs.com i have 5 points i must b doing something wrong..when can i get a break.. i have two sons i raise on my own and $ is so tight.. im a hard team player ive been in construction for 13 years after the navy.. im so broke i had to go back to the reserve.. its been a real rough year.. i dnt mean to sound like a sap. sry.. everything was stolen from me this year.. wife job truck and my boys bikes.. and it sucks cause the federal gov says they will help but 240 dollars doesnt help and wth the banks calling everyday, ahhhh, im staying positive for my boys though. they need me to be tough so i will for them.. if u know anyone who needs help in phoenix let me kno cottonfieldracing@yahoo.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    retarmygal

    about 5 years ago

    10 comments

    should be-folks at Nc CPAC DO NOT care

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    retarmygal

    about 5 years ago

    10 comments

    Carden: I too have been applying for jobs at Fort Sam and Lackland and have paid professionals to write my resume-ALL to no avail. I think the whole government hiring process is messed up and the folks at NC CPAC do care. Lot's of inbreeding going on I bet! Nothing will get done because of that for sure! Makes me wonder if we REALLY want to work for the Army as civilians if there is this kind of incompetence. 10 pt veterans pref, BS in HR, MBA, 21.5 years of varied Army leadership, mgmt and KSA experience and 13 years of corporate experience and I still see "not among the best qualified therefore your resume was not referred to the hiring agency." Give me a break. IF I am NOT among the best qualified (or you for that matter ;-) what are they hiring? Sad sacks, as you say, and incompetents. The more things change the more they stay the same. I agree-the ALL should be REPLACED.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    carden

    about 5 years ago

    12 comments

    I think your 11 steps is a good artice - but for 5 years I have applied for positions at the North Central US Army CPAC for Ft. Sam Houston Texas and have yet to get a bite on my resume. My resume has been through 7 re-writes and the last time it was co-authored by a representative from the Office of Personnel Management and rated at a GS 11-12 level only to be turned down cold by the North Central CPAC. Even my Military Service was insulted by a Mr. Hanson who is a Human Resource Representative at this very Office. But guess what nothing was done I wrote the appropiate people reference these issues and guess what nothing got done. Veterans do not have the advantage as you say they do with the US Army North Central CPAC office, even the director is a lame duck. They do not think they have to answer questions and they act like they are untouchable. This is the largest buch of sad sacks I have had the displeasure of dealing with. My opinion they all should be replaced.

    Kenneth J. Carden
    SFC US Army retired
    210.296.4742

Govcentral School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use GovCentral's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.