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Federal Job Q&A: DD-214 and Resume Tips

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Two recent questions show a need to fully understand the federal job application process and to know what is required. Here are two questions with answers to help veterans along in their effort to land a federal job.

Question 1: I have been asked to submit an Electronic DD-214. I have not been able to convert a good looking version. I have scanned it with no Professional looking results. Can I request an Electronic or DATA version from VA?

Answer: This brings up a great point because in order to claim veteran status the veteran needs to submit a number of forms. Among these is the DD-214. Depending on when you separated from the military, the DD-214 can be either a clear, clean and crisp copy that is easy to scan and upload as a PDF file or it can be an old OCR carbon based form that had shading and has darkened over the years. In either case, smooth it out, iron it with low heat and no or light steam and produce a smooth copy and scan it into a computer file so it can be uploaded into USA jobs. The VA may have a copy if you provided one to them if you applied for one of the benefits administered by the VA but don't bet the ranch on it, it is a DOD form!  As for the professional looking results, just keep in mind that the only people who will see it are the Human Resources professionals who just need to make sure that you are in fact a veteran.

Your question also brings up a great point about other forms that need to be submitted by veterans when they apply for a federal job. For those veterans who are claiming a 10 point preference, they will need to submit a SF-15 along with a copy of their letter from the VA that indicates their level of disability and dates of service. Some agencies will require Optional Form 306 which is a declaration of federal employment that asks questions about military service, criminal history and delinquent federal debt among other things.

Question 2: I'm on currently on terminal leave and applied for a federal job and was rules ineligible. Here is a copy of my resume and the job announcement. Why was I ruled ineligible?

Answer: Without knowing what was in the HR person's head at the time he or she evaluated your application I can say this: After reading your resume I saw that it was full of military jargon!  I was in the same service branch and while I recognized all those terms I can't help but wonder if the HR person even had a clue about what you did. This is why it is so important that when we write a resume it is essential that we drop the jargon and write it so that a high school student can understand it. I'm not trying to slight the federal HR community but it is probably a safe bet that the vast majority don't understand all the military terms for equipment and systems that we have used during our military service.

The other key point about resumes, and I've written this before, make sure that your resume contains terms that are used in the job announcement in such a way that the HR person can't miss what you did in order to rate you as highly qualified as possible.

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Mark Butler is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and currently a federal employee. He is also the author of The Coffee Break Guide for Veterans Seeking Federal Employment, a guide for all veterans to understand the federal employment process, announcements, application of veteran’s preference and what veterans can do to get a leg up on the employment process. If you have federal job questions, email and include the phrase “Veteran’s questions” in the subject line.

The Coffee Break Guide for Veterans Seeking Federal Employment