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How to get a job at Veterans Affairs.

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How to get a job at Veterans Affairs.

Do you work at Veterans Affairs? How did you find the job? How did you get that first interview?

Any advice for someone trying to get in?

I am convinced that 99% of the jobs that are advertised are filled from within. I have tried for 6 months on a variety of fronts and most of the time, they either never respond or they find some minute red tape reason for accepting the application.

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"Do you work at Veterans Affairs? How did you find the job?"

usajobs.gov is the ONLY way you are going to get to the interview stage, if you are not already employed in the VA system (as you are not). The website clearly instructs how the process is done.

"How did you get that first interview?"

See above. If you complete the application process online correctly, AND you are qualified AND eligible, you will get a call for an interview.

"Any advice for someone trying to get in?"

Yes. Complete the online application accurately, and completely. Incomplete applications will be tossed out without any further notice to you. It is on you to provide the VA with every piece of information requested.

"I am convinced that 99% of the jobs that are advertised are filled from within."

Not true. If a job is posted online, it IS available....however some will say right in the posting that it is ONLY available to a current appointee of that particular VA. If it doesn't say it's a restricted application, it will go to whomever best qualifies....inside or outside applicants are equal at that point.

"I have tried for 6 months on a variety of fronts and most of the time, they either never respond or they find some minute red tape reason for accepting the application."

 

Then you aren't doing it right. Most likely you continue to submit incomplete or inaccurate applications; that's the primary reason for tossed applications. It isn't "some minute red tape reason", it's the reason you keep getting ignored, think of it that way. The VA is very detailed, very specific in its requests, and if you vary from what they want, you won't get what you want.

I see you are a VERY new grad, like one week post-NCLEX new grad. If you are applying for positions that require experience and you don't have it, you won't get a second look. If you are applying for positions that don't specify experience, but are up against those WITH experience, you might get to the interview stage, but in the end unless the experienced one comes across like an idiot, you're going to come in second place. Just how it is: there's lots of new grads and not alot of need.

One piece of advice: change the avatar you are currently using. It's a cute photo, but it's unprofessional and since you are trying to get IN, that's not what you want showing up on a background search. Just my 2 cents.

Edited by RNsRWe
second thought

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twinmommy+2 is a ADN, BSN and specializes in ED.

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I have to second what RNsRWE said about applying, it is a very detailed application process. Its meant that way in order to weed out many of the applications ahead of time. You have to read very carefully through the USAJOBS vacancy announcement and turn in everything they ask for. If there is a question as to what form to use, just google the form number and you'll find it. And don't expect a response from HR. They likely won't give you one. What you'll get next if your application was complete is the call for an interview.

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85 Posts; 8,050 Profile Views

Thank you!! :) both for your response. Do you know if VA's hire new grads. I have tried applying everywhere and contacting HR and tracking down email contacts through linkdin and government websites.

Where would you suggest I might have most luck getting a first RN job?

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3 Articles; 10,428 Posts; 89,559 Profile Views

Thank you!! :) both for your response. Do you know if VA's hire new grads. I have tried applying everywhere and contacting HR and tracking down email contacts through linkdin and government websites.

Where would you suggest I might have most luck getting a first RN job?

VA does not have a policy against hiring new grads, but it IS a tough market, and the more qualified the candidate, the better his or her chances are. Many VAMCs have student nurse residency programs, designed for BSN students during the last couple of years of school--summer programs. Those who participated are the most likely to get coveted new grad spots; after all, they spent a year or two learning VA and networking.

After that, it's sheer competition among the applicants. Not really anything you can do other than to slam dunk the PBI questions, should you get to the interview stage. Google PBI (performance based interviews) for explanations as to how this type of interview works. VA's website will have much info on it, and it's well-detailed.

Letting the VA aside for the moment, I would think you'd be applying to every nursing home, home health agency, clinic, office, outreach center, anything and everything that hires RNs. Make sure your resume is superb: have a job center (maybe one at your alma mater?) take a look at yours to make sure you're not slitting your own throat by turning in something that's sub-par. In competitions like first-job hunts, EVERYTHING matters. Have an expert review yours for strengths and weaknesses.

If you're someone who is poised, confident, and well-presented in person, try the walk-in approach, resume in hand. It's not done much nowadays because of the advent of "we only take online applications", but I was recently reminded that this can be a very effective approach IF the applicant is someone the employer would smile at seeing, and IF they are willing to make initial contact this way. It can't hurt to try!

Professionalism all the way. No cutesy images or fonts on your resume. Attire that says "mature professional", not "how cute is THIS outfit??" :)

By the way, love the new avatar ;)

It's tough, but not impossible. Hope this helps! :D

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85 Posts; 8,050 Profile Views

I really appreciate your response back, very detailed! I need you as a life coach.

You bring up very good points. I am going to take a different approach to job hunting. I am so glad you responded. Thanks again.

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85 Posts; 8,050 Profile Views

when applying it asks for all of these forms, but when I find them online it appears they are just for veterans. Do I still have to submit these even though they do not apply to me?

These are:

SF-50

DD-214

SF-15

OF-306

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twinmommy+2 is a ADN, BSN and specializes in ED.

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The dd214 you won't have which is ok.

The SF 50 is only for current or former federal employees so you won't have that either which is ok as long as the job vacancy is open to anyone and not just restricted to gov employees.

Don't worry about the SF 15 either. The OF 306 is mandatory and has to be turned in. This is one of the forms that will get your application rejected of you don't do it.

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85 Posts; 8,050 Profile Views

This helps a lot. I kept searching for information on the files and on the actual job posting and it did not specify.

hank you so much for clarifying this. @twinmommy+2

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16 Posts; 1,350 Profile Views

How to get a job at Veterans Affairs.

Do you work at Veterans Affairs? How did you find the job? How did you get that first interview?

Any advice for someone trying to get in?

I am convinced that 99% of the jobs that are advertised are filled from within. I have tried for 6 months on a variety of fronts and most of the time, they either never respond or they find some minute red tape reason for accepting the application.

I have to say that I just got hired with the VA and to keep plugging! I started last year in Aug of 2013 and assumed after several months (May of 2014) that I would not get hired. I interviewed 3 different times but kept applying and finally I got a position in a town that really needed RN's. Do not lose hope. Once they offer you the job it will take several months to get there. For me once all the VETPRO, background checks, and paperwork was completed I finally made it at the end of June.

So once again do not lose hope, have confidence in what you bring to the table, and make sure whomever you use for references can be contacted and you call each HR rep to follow up on the job. I got to know my HR rep a little by calling after one of my first interviews.

Hang in there,

Me

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273 Posts; 5,714 Profile Views

Just graduated and I have my interview with the VA super nervous...... RNsRWe you mentioned on the VA website they have a list of PBI examples? Where do I find these?

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370 Posts; 6,602 Profile Views

Google PBI veterans affairs. Also, I am sure someone posted a link with that page somewhere on a VA thread. It may have been me but I'm not sure.

I would recommend that anyone looking for a VA Job, information, hiring processes, etc, look through the VA threads here on Allnurses. The Hiring Process thread is long but reading it will give you lots of good information. There are other VA threads here, too. Maybe it is just me, but it seems like people keep coming on here asking for the same basic information. Read. Research. Just like you did for your patients in nursing school. I understand that looking for jobs can be tough, but the more ambitious you are regarding it, the stronger and more prepared candidate you will be.

Edited by pfchang

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