How to Apply for a Government Job

The following sites and info will get you started down the employment line with the government, and more specifically, the Air Force, as a civil servant. These are not contractor jobs. They are direct government employment – which carries with it much better benefits and stability (but maybe a little less pay). In turn, they also require a much more vigorous application process.

The two sites you’ll need to look at are and Of these two, USAJobs is the most important. It is the one where you’ll need to set up a profile and resume. It will also be the gateway to jobs outside the Air Force (Navy, Marines, National Park Service, Army, etc.). This sub-site will help you get started on it all: . The second site (Air Force specific) will allow you to get more familiar with Air Force terminology, career paths, bases, and other topics. The HTML version of the site is faster than the FLASH version, and easier to navigate.

With regards to a resume – a federal resume is totally different from a private resume. One page resumes do not apply. You’ll need to provide as much information as possible about each different assignment you’ve had. Any job or title you’ve had within your team, squad or platoon is applicable. You’ll also need the dates that you served in that capacity as well as location. It is quite easy to work up a resume in a Word document and paste it into the resume builder – in fact, this is what I encourage you to do. Further, be sure to document any education you have – high school, training courses, college classes, vo-tech, degrees, or certificates. Additionally, you’ll want to scan and attach any educational supporting documentation to your profile. Once your resume and profile are established, you’ll want to start searching for the jobs by occupation, agency or location.

One of the huge advantages former service members have is veterans’ hiring preference. When you create your profile on USAJobs, be sure to click the box that says you are eligible for VEOA and VRA appointing authorities. Further, if you have a disability determination from the VA (which I highly recommend), you can possibly have even more preference. Additionally, if you have a campaign badge, you automatically have 5 points of hiring preference.

Lastly, the government hiring process, as with all things governmental, is inherently slow and inefficient. Do not be surprised if you hear nothing on a job for six months, and then get a call or email out of the blue. Also, each agency does things a little different, so don’t assume that the process is one-size-fits-all. Interviewing and hiring practices vary greatly within the regulations set forth by the Office of Personnel Management.

As with the private hiring process, applying for government employment is totally dependent on what the government needs. Also, Congress has recently mandated that the federal agencies all tighten their belts – which will result in less hiring. Be patient, and treat this as a new side road on the map to employment.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section, and I’ll try to answer them as quickly as possible.

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