How to apply for federal employment


Transitioning from military service to federal employment required me to manage a variety of emotions and to undergo a shift in mindset. I was anxious about whether I was qualified, will I get an interviewed and/or will I be offered the job. The disappointment came about when one of the three things didn’t happen. I had to shift from a service member to a federal employee mindset. For me military service was all about the team along with individual accomplishments. I had to learn that the hiring panel was interested in my individual accomplishments. Once I discovered a way to manage my emotions, exercise patience and understood that I had to sell myself, I was ready for the next step. The next step was setting up my profile on www.usajobs.com, the Federal Government's official employment site.


Prior to setting up your profile, having several items readily available will be helpful. I strongly suggest that you create a professional email (first name.last name) because once you leave service your work email will be disabled and your current personal email account may not be named appropriately. Make sure you have a copy of your DD 214 ( if you haven't transitioned your commander can write a letter identifying your ETS or retirement date), VA disability letter and college transcripts (this can be a unofficial copy) to upload on your profile. Finally, you can upload your resume or create a resume using the above link. I personally create the resume on the site.


Here are five resume writing tips:

1. List three professional references with email addresses (get their personal email in case they transition out of military) and telephone numbers

2. Don’t assume the Human Resources Specialist or Hiring Manager understand your jargon (spell out acronyms)

3. Don’t be shy, boast about your accomplishments (you have done a lot)

4. Proofread your resume      

5. Have someone else proofread your resume

Now that you have completed your profile. Learn how to search for jobs on the site. When you search the website, it is important to pay attention to the hiring path. The hiring paths appear in the "this job is open to" and "who may apply" sections on the job announcement. The hiring paths determine if you are eligible to apply for the job. There are several hiring paths. A few examples of hiring paths are: open to the public (US citizens and nationals), current or former federal employees, veterans, students (currently enrolled in school) and recent graduates.  For more detailed information see Hiring path. Now that you understand all to this, select the apply button.


My name is Jacqueline Hill, an Army retiree and a current federal employee who wants to make your journey to federal employment a little easier. Visit survivingthemilitary.com for more information.

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