Woman reading papers at computer.It is mind-boggling to me that there are 13 million people looking for 3.2 million jobs according to Department of Labor. Because of such statistics, it is easy to get over-whelmed and not know where to start in a job search. Employees working at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are often asked how to get a job at VA. It is usually followed by a concern that it seems that you have to know someone at VA to get a job there. I try to focus on this topic often, because it is just so relevant daily.

First, I did not know a single person at VA when I became an employee, so much for that theory. Second, a very large number (around 40-60%) of all hires in America are from employee referrals. Therefore, the reality is, yes; it does help if you know someone who can refer you to his or her manager as a qualified prospect.

There are two types of job seekers. Highly qualified in a skill or trade and those not qualified. I love the bluntness of this article 6 Secrets To Beat The Job Market, Nick Corcodilos, Ask The Headhunter. VA is no different from many other organizations. We have a great mission, great job satisfaction and great benefits. That in itself means competition can be steep. The greatest competition exists in non-health care occupations. The Federal Government, including VA, honors Veterans’ hiring preference In accordance with law.  Most occupations currently open at VA are in health care. However, most Veterans are not health care providers. Thus, VA hires many non-Veterans also. While we are about 40 % Veterans, the Veteran demographic simply cannot meet the hiring needs for VA in health care.

That brings me back to my point. If you are a Veteran, VA has set up VA For Vets and they are excellent at networking and building contacts and bridges to identify available positions for Veterans within VA. I encourage all Veterans to use all of their resources to improve your options for a job offer.

Of course everyone one should review open positions often at http://www.vacareers.va.gov/ for your next position.

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Published on Oct. 2, 2012

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