Working with our nation’s Veterans, their families, and caregivers is one of the most coveted opportunities for social workers across the country. In order to successfully compete for a job at the VA, you must be the highest qualified, most professional, and poised applicant within the pool of candidates. Here are tips to consider during your job search.

Interview and Personal Narrative:

  1. Research the position and the VA Medical Facility ahead of time. Come prepared for the interview, understand what Performance Based Interviews (PBIs) are based on. Expect to respond to PBI questions. Further information about PBI is easily found through an internet search.
  2. It’s important to consider carefully the amount and depth of self-disclosure you share during the interview process. Be judicious about what you choose to discuss. People should earn the right to hear your story over time as they get to know you and as you establish a level of trust with them. During an interview, it is most important that you demonstrate professionalism and eagerness for the position.
  3. Understand the tradeoffs to creating the career you want: you may need to be flexible about your geographic location or on your specialization. Getting your foot in the door is a good place to start. Then, work toward landing your dream job.
  4. Be able to articulate your own self-care routine to show you’re really in tuned with the intensity of being a professional social worker and can handle the stress and emotional impact of this kind of role.
  5. If you’re not selected for the job being filled today, it doesn’t mean you’re not phenomenal or a perfect fit for a different job being hiring tomorrow. Be as professional and gracious as possible to leave the door open for next time and don’t take the rejection personally.

For 5 tips on Resume and Applying for Jobs, see Part 1 of this Blog

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*DISCLAIMER: The contents within this post are not intended to guarantee employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Rather, the content was written to generate thoughts and ideas for applicants to consider when applying for employment at VA.

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Published on Oct. 20, 2016

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