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Ten Steps to a Federal Job for Veterans

two federal employees

The federal government, which offers some of the best jobs, pay, and benefits in the United States, has various veteran hiring programs and is full of veterans who would love to bring on more veterans. Follow the Ten Steps to a Federal Job below, you could increase your odds of getting hired.

  1. Focus the Federal Job Search: Find out which federal jobs are right for the qualifications and education. Search the Office of Personnel Management Classification Standards and find jobs that will match experience and education. You can find out how Rifleman / Combat equates to a federal job: Security Specialist, Police Officer, Special Agent (requires a bachelor's degree).
  1. Networking Success: Veterans should set up LinkedIn and other networking accounts on sites such as VA4Vets. Add your work experience, certifications, skills and objectives. Then research federal employees who work in the agencies of interest to you!
  1. Target Top Accomplishments: Get out your fitness reports and make a list of your accomplishments. They can be added to your resume so you will stand out. Accomplishments are impressive, interesting and can help you get Best Qualified and Referred to a Supervisor.
  1. Find the Perfect Job Announcement: Go to and search for jobs in your salary range, geographic preference and with a keyword: such as administration, human resources, security, information technology. GOOD NEWS: Veterans can apply for most of the jobs listed on USAJOBS. The exceptions would be positions that are open ONLY to that particular hiring agency.
  1. Identify Keywords: Popular keywords for veterans could be: team leader, trainer, instructor, analyst, critical thinking, supervisor, data analyst. For each opening, analyze the USAJOBS announcement to identify at least five keywords to add to your resume.
  1. Master the Federal and Electronic Resume: The federal resume is practically your ENTIRE application. This is important! The federal resume is on average 3 or 4 pages. Samples of the USAJOBS federal resume are available in the Ten Steps to a Federal Job publication. You can also see this article about resume tips.
  1. Take a Moment Acquaint Yourself with the New USAJOBS: There was a time when USAJOBS relied heavily on questionnaire tests called KSAs, but OPM is overhauling USAJOBS and KSAs began their descent into extinction years ago. Know what the new process is, and master it.
  1. Apply for Jobs with USAJOBS: Be patient. The new system relies heavily on your resume and cover letter, so you simply have to focus on keeping those two up to date, in the system, and continue to submit.
  1. Make Sure to Follow Through: Track down your applications. You can see your RESULTS on most applications in If you are "ineligible" or just "eligible" that's NOT great news. You want to see "Best Qualified" for the best results.
  1. Interviewing 101: The federal job interview is another TEST. Be ready to talk and get graded on your answers. This will take practice and preparation. For more interview tips, see this section.

In summary, the federal job application system is competitive and time-consuming. Be prepared and read the job announcements carefully. Ensure you match the resume to the qualifications in the announcement.

The federal government is hiring. The jobs, pay, and benefits are among the best in the United States. However, the application process for these highly competitive positions is complex. Be ready to earn your federal government job by putting time and effort into each step of the application.

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Kathryn Troutman is the creator of the popular book and curriculum, Ten Steps to a Federal Job. This is a proven formula for researching, applying for an landing federal jobs. This curriculum is taught in in AF, Navy, Army, USCG and USMC Miltiary Transition Centers around the world. This is a step-by-step system for learning about federal job search through the interview preparation. Consider a free estimate or federal resume review to improve your federal job search results at  Kathryn has written a SAMPLE book for military personnel seeking federal jobs, the Military to Federal Career Guide (also on CD-ROM). Kathryn has free samples of veteran federal resumes at