Image of people networking on phones. I just read an article about a 6 Second resume and how to effectively use that limited time to tweak your resume to better the odds of being selected for an interview. The article ends by reminding us that the only thing that improves our chances of being interviewed is a referral.

Almost daily, many of today’s applicants become frustrated in their career search. This frustration can lead to negativity, self-doubt,  depression and a feeling that the system is not fair.

Granted, job searches today are different. NO ONE can simply apply online and expect to be magically selected for a position. Yes, at one time that did happen, but not today. On most career sites, you will find tips and advice that you can choose to  either implement or ignore. If you ignore today’s advice on how to conduct a job search and resort to traditional, old school methods, you are likely unemployed or under-employed and will continue to be so.

With that said, I have heard numerous times that you must have to know someone at VA to get hired. It is said with frustration and emotion.  As my old Command Sergeant Major would say, “If you cannot run with the big dogs, stay on the porch”. So… who do you know at VA? If you do not know anyone, then you are not “running with the big dogs”. Rather… you are still on the porch. Below are a few steps that will get you in the hunt.

1.    Read A Veterans approach to a job search. on

2.    Meet with a VA employee or network with a VA employee. If you are not using or another professional site, you should be.

3.    Learn about ALL hiring programs and hiring authorities.

4.    Realize that people you meet at VA, or any company for that matter, cannot get you a job. They can assist you in the process and assist in getting your application to the correct person IF you have a hiring preference. (See # 3)

5.    Most likely to get a position at VA.

·        Healthcare Providers (Physicians, Registered Nurses, etc.) APPLY TODAY!

·        30% or more Service-Connected Disabled Veterans. Hiring Authorities.

·        Veterans separated less than 3 Years. VRAP

·        Veterans should use

·        Spouse of Active Duty, Schedule A Applicants; these can all be researched for eligibility.

So, I’m hoping you are still with me and not  discouraged.  Simply stated, if you  have a hiring preference, get  off the porch and run!If you do not have a hiring preference, that means that you are not eligible for a direct hire position in healthcare at VA. It also means you are not disabled; likely not a veteran or you have been separated from service longer than 3 years.  Below lists your best chances to work at VA.

1.    Veteran- Sign up at and become eligible for a healthcare position by enrolling in college with your GI BILL. Your local Veteran Service Officer or VA can assist.

2.    Non-Veteran- Become eligible for a healthcare position and follow up when you do.

As my boss says, if you do not apply, you cannot get hired. I say, frustration about who you “know” does not help either. Connect with us and get to know us! VA hires over 40,000 staff annually and processes over 1 Million applications. If you want to stand out, you have to run with the big dogs.






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Published on Jul. 18, 2013

Estimated reading time is 2.9 min.

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