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10 Big Mistakes Vets Make Applying to Fed Jobs

10 Big Mistakes Vets Make Applying to Fed Jobs

Kathryn Troutman | Federal Career Coach

Leaving a military career after five, 10, or 20 years is traumatic. Whether you’re enlisted or an officer, the career transition out of military is difficult. The good news is that the federal government is basically just “the other side of the desk.” You’re going to take the “hands-on” skills and technical training from your military experience and convert it over to the policy, program, support, administration side of the work you have been doing – maybe. The first federal resume after military is your most important resume and the most complex because you will translate your skills for a new career, new mission and customer.

Veterans are perfect for federal civil service positions because of their dedication to public service, the nation’s security, specialized expertise, knowledge of certain missions, technical skills and training, leadership, dedication, work ethic, attitude and willingness to learn and start-over. What’s more, these skills allow you to add 5 or 10 points preference points to your application score.

However, sometimes veterans rush through the fed application and make several mistakes. This article is a compilation of the top 10 mistakes veterans and transitioning service members make when applying for public-sector jobs.

The Ten Mistakes:

Mistake 1: I only apply for jobs on USAJOBS.

Mistake 2: I only apply for jobs that don’t require KSA’s.

Mistake 3: I have never written a resume, I don’t know how to get started.

Mistake 4: Sometimes, I sell myself short.

Mistake 5: My job is too unique to summarize.

Mistake 6: I’ve uploaded my resume, but heard nothing back .

Mistake 7: I didn’t tweak and edit my resume for each announcement.

Mistake 8: I have accomplishments embedded in the duties section.

Mistake 9: I didn’t realize that my five or 10 point preference really made a big difference.

Mistake 10: I can’t take personal credit for the work of my team, so what should I write?

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    thanks for your i am more confident of my interview.
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    over 4 years ago


    Very true list.I would like to list one mistake which is very common "Telling the employer what the company can do for you instead of what you can do for the company. This mistake is particularly common among new college graduates and other inexperienced job-seekers.
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    over 5 years ago


    Kathryn Troutman,

    You list is correct on the "Ten Mistakes" people make but your #4 "sometimes I sell myself short" should be #1. Also, #5 "my job is too unique to summarize" is likely the killer of 95% of the people who apply in that they focus their resume too specifically instead of writing it broadly using specific examples. I would rather go hunting duck with a shotgun than a rifle. If you throw up enough bird shot, something will fall out of the sky.

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