4 Tips for Former Servicemembers Seeking Federal Jobs

4 Tips for Former Servicemembers Seeking Federal Jobs
Servicemembers and military spouses past and present mingled with industry experts and others at the MOAA Military and Veteran Networking Forum last month at the National Air and Space Museum. Former servicemembers seeking a federal career have many ways to make themselves stand out. (Jennifer Milbrett)

The federal government loves former military personnel. Why? You get the job done. You think strategically. You understand how complex organizations operate.

Couple these skills with technical competencies, and now you're virtually untouchable! So, how can you best leverage this experience when launching your federal job search?

1. Understand your value … and brag about it in your federal resume. You have acquired skills that are beyond the reach of most individuals. Grasp the concept that the military has probably prepared you well to engage in many activities that are desired by employers, such as how to:

  • Manage highly sensitive situations that require great skill, experience, and judgment to balance the interests of multiple stakeholders.
  • Manage and coordinate change.
  • Use strategic and critical thinking skills for problem solving.
  • Communicate effectively at various levels in the organization and across a diverse workforce.
  • Build collaborative working relationships.

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2. Use their language. Not yours. Imagine engaging in a conversation with an individual who does not speak your language. Challenging, right? If you want to move your federal application forward, use their language. Facilitate the process. Clearly document your skills in their terms, not the military's: No military acronyms, no military job titles. “Civilianize” your terms.

3. Identify transferable skills. Create a list of skills from your military career and determine how they align to the skills required to perform your target job. These are “transferable skills” - skills you have acquired in your life (your military career, jobs, classes, projects, volunteer work, parenting, hobbies, sports - virtually anything) that are applicable to what you want to do in your next job. Make sure to document your transferable skills in your federal resume.

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4. Leverage your military preference. There are a number of programs you can leverage. There are special hiring authorities available to federal agencies for appointing eligible veterans without competition. Get more information and required documentation for these programs by visiting FedsHireVets.gov.

Corliss Jackson is an expert on federal government hiring. As a GS-15, she left her comfy cubicle at the Office of Personnel Management to launch her consulting firm, Federal Job Results. Her insider's perspective of the federal hiring process has helped thousands ignite their federal careers; learn more at www.FedJobResults.com.