Federal jobs offer a lot of competitive perks. Whether you are impressed with secure income, healthcare, or retirement benefits, the federal government can be a great employer. Securing a position with the government as a veteran may easier than navigating the civilian job market. There are plenty of opportunities in the government, but to land one you have to understand the complicated hiring process used by the government. If you're a veteran seriously considering a federal job, consider this list of tips for getting a government job, originally posted by Forbes.
- Survey the market. Although federal jobs are far fewer in number than civilian jobs, that doesn't mean the market is any less complicated. The government employs over two million people, so there is a lot to learn in regards to what jobs are available and what's in demand. One of the best places to start is a job search engine, such as the one found on Military.com. Even if you don't find something right away, understanding what jobs are being posted will help focus your efforts in securing federal work.
- Target priority. With millions of personnel and thousands of job openings, the odds are good that there's a federal job somewhere that's right for you. Wading in expecting to find opportunity everywhere, however, will leave you frustrated and exhausted. It's important to prioritize the types of jobs you can do with experience requirements that match your own. If you don't have a clear idea on how to fit those roles, take a look at the Military.com skills translator, talk to a career counselor, or take time to meditate on what direction you want to take. There are plenty of podcasts focused on life after the military and the transition process, so consider listening to a few of those to inspire you and help you find your path.
- Utilizing your network. Military service usually lends itself to strong interpersonal connections, and they're a fruitful vector in searching for federal jobs. Even if no one in your direct circle of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances works in a federal job, the chances are one of them knows someone who does. Once you've established who's connected to federal jobs, set up some informational interviews. Ask them about how to make yourself a better candidate, what job opportunities they are aware of, and how they secured their positions. Hopefully someone can take your resume and push it to the top of a job application stack, but at the very least you'll get some good advice.
- Resume checkup. Updating your resume is always a good idea, but especially so for government jobs. One of the best ways to strengthen your resume is to ensure it contains the proper keywords. Some organizations use keyword searches and will kick out resumes that don't contain enough of the right kind, and even humans tend to hone in on nice, easily digestible keywords. Federal jobs pull from an extensive list of jargon, and any time spent learning those terms will be very beneficial in marketing yourself.
- Hurry up and wait. Patience is the keyword for any job seeker – your overall job search will likely take months. Searching, sending out resumes, following up, interviewing, and following up again can take a hefty toll, but persistent effort pays off. Think about the job search as a job in and of itself. Take an hour or two every day to work on it and you'll gain some momentum over time. Patience is required not just in letting the whole process play out on its own, but in waiting a week or two to hear back from a company, or to send a check-in email. If you can work through the grind, actually tackling your new job will be a breeze when the time comes.