How To Get a Government Job: Transition Master Class

red lollipop surrounded by hoard of ants

Is government employment your secret backup plan during military transition? As’s transition master coach, I almost never hear anyone list government employment as their very first choice of employer. Why is that?

When I first ask active-duty members about federal, state or local government employment as a job option, most give me the same response: I don’t want to work for the government. This usually comes with a disdainful curl of the lip -- as if I had just offered Elvis an entry-level job as an ant on a lollipop-moving crew.

Sexy Government Jobs

Funny how the disdain disappears as the months start to go by. The closer your separation date gets, the sexier those government jobs start to look. After all, 2.1 million civilian workers are employed by the federal government alone. Veterans hold a great, big 32% of those federal jobs. Veterans find even more opportunity with the 19.7 million jobs available in state and local governments across the country. In total, more than 33% of post-9/11 male veterans find employment in government and 40.2 percent of female veterans find employment there.

Woo-hoo! This can mean only one thing: Government jobs must be super easy for veterans to get.

Navigating USAJOBS

Not so fast, my friend. There is a lot about government jobs you need to know, and there is something standing in the way of your brilliant government career, which is a little thing called USAJOBS. Part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), USAJOBS is the website federal agencies and organizations use to post their job listings all over the country. On average, they post 900 new jobs every day, and more than 17,000 usually are open. They must need workers, right?

So, of course, you apply. If you are skillful and lucky, you get a note back that says they received your application. 

Then you hear pretty much nothing. Even if you are the only candidate on Earth who possibly could be qualified for a particular job, you still can get a notice that says you were not referred for an interview.

What can you do to get a government job?

So what are you doing wrong? It is complicated, and it starts when you think of the government as only your backup plan for employment.

The government really does want to employ veterans. They do not make it easy. That is why we are offering our FREE How To Get Government Employment Master Class. In just 60 minutes, you will learn:

·         How to find a first choice job in government

·         How to make the government want you as much as you want that job

·         How to navigate a posting so you get a response

·         When to pay for a federal resume

·         Best states for veteran employment


Federal, state and local governments do have great opportunities for young enlisted, junior officers, mid-career pros, senior leaders, spouses and veterans+.  The process is not intuitive and is extremely time-consuming if you do not get the inside scoop. Sign up for our FREE How to Get A Government Job Master Class today from’s Veteran Employment Project and move forward on your transition plan today.

Learn More About the Veteran Employment Project

To get more tips on how to make a successful military transition, sign up for one of our FREE Military Transition Master Classes today. You can view previous classes in our video library. Questions for Jacey? Visit our Facebook page.

Jacey Eckhart is’s transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website Reach her at



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