If you’re applying for a VA job, you’ve probably already noticed that the federal application process is different than in the civilian world.

We know the federal government has a bit of a reputation for lengthy processes and forms. While we try to streamline the application process as much as possible, there are usually at least a few forms and documents that you’ll need to upload when applying for a federal job.

Staying organized

Kenneth Mitchell, a VA recruiter, offers a few tips on how to make sure your application, forms and documents are in order before you hit submit.

Check which forms and documents are required. When you find a job that interests you on USAJobs, scroll down past the Duties and Requirements section to the Required Documents section. This will list the forms and documents that need to accompany your application. For some positions, like physicians, the only requirement is a CV or resume. “VA utilizes direct hiring authority for physicians, which makes the process easier and provides more flexibility,” Mitchell said. Other job types will require more forms and documents. If you later realize you forgot something, no worries. You can go back and update your application, as long as it remains open in USAJobs.

Consider whether additional forms will help your application. Even though they may not be required, you should still submit forms that may get you preferred status for your application. For instance, submit form DD-214 if you’ve served in the military and form SF-15 to receive Veterans’ preference. Military spouses also can receive hiring preference and will need to submit a marriage certificate, spouse’s military orders, and other documentation.

Build your USAJobs profile ahead of time. Plan on investing some time developing a comprehensive profile in your USAJobs account. “It’s worth the time up front to be thorough and include in your profile any supporting documents – resume, cover letter, letters of reference, transcripts, degrees and diplomas, awards, transcripts, etc. It’s really pretty easy to apply for positions once the profile is built,” Mitchell said. Keep track of which positions you apply for by noting their announcement and control numbers.

Keep several versions of your resume. You want to make sure your resume is fine tuned for the job you’re seeking and uses keywords from the specific job opportunity announcement. “Be sure to include those experiences you do have that are specific to the position you are applying for,” Mitchell recommended. “For example, you may have a resume geared towards program management and another geared more towards process improvement.” Check out our blog post on preparing your federal resume for more tips.

A worthwhile investment

While applying for a federal job can be a bit more cumbersome and require some up-front work, Mitchell provided assurance that it’s worth it.

A Veteran himself, Mitchell enjoys the chance to continue his service and is also appreciative of those who are interested in helping Veterans receive the health care they need.

“As a VA employee, I find it to be the most professionally rewarding and personally satisfying job I’ve had,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to continue my service in a very meaningful way.”

Work at VA

Now that you’re organized and ready to go, take the next step toward a VA career.

By VA Careers

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Published on Sep. 17, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.9 min.

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  1. John Averill September 19, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    I am currently a patient in The CWT program at the Corporal Michael J Crescenz Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Being that I am 100% sc perm & total, my limitations fortunately allow me to be able to work. I have been through more interviews that I was totally qualified for but because of a few incidents many years ago it causes me Eve overlooked and my depression becomes frustration causing me to want to just give up on applying knowing that the end is always the same. CWT has taught me that applying myself and people involved taking notice can help with those issues and I have a chance to get that job I’ve been trying for. If I had known that I didn’t need CWT to be employed by the VA I would’ve applied for everything posted in Philadelphia. I hope that this comment can help others get involved with CWT and maybe more information about the program and job eligibility be posted here and not just usajobs.gov. I learned that not everyone is as savvy with modern technology and that is taking some opportunities away from some veterans that are capable of doing the job but they are not very good at the process and steps needed to apply. I would love to be able to be in a position of helping those veterans learn these things as part of the CWT Program. The social workers are great but also don’t have enough time to focus on the little things that maybe someone like me or another veteran can do as part of our program.

    • CareBear September 30, 2021 at 12:10 am

      Great comment the CWT program, CWT is wonderful and thank God for all you veterans that come in every day hold your head up and work hard it’s a wonderful thing to see somebody working and feeling good about themselves, I have often thought about how to get people to help other people With the information that they have and honestly I think grass roots is really gonna have to be it, open are mouth trying to spread the word you know come on you can do it, if you don’t try you’ll never know. Until people start understanding that people who have been down the road of hard life, who have struggled and made it through, are who you need to help people we’re not gonna get far until the inclusion programs really start to work and and be what they say that they are. Because it really makes a difference when somebody can look you eye to eye and feel = you because they’ve been there and they understand how you feel and what you’re going through and what it’s like to be in your shoes and I’m gonna help you find out what it’s like to be in my shoes now and that’s real

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