ChangesTo say that we are living in a period of competition is an understatement. Never before have we lived in a time of such simultaneous competition and demand.. Today’s teens have a difficult time locating convenient employment. As a father to two teens, I have seen some real changes since I was in high school. It used to be  commonplace to see teens delivering pizzas, newspapers and working at fast food restaurants, but many of those jobs have  evolved into sources for second incomes or retirement positions.

Another factor that is evolving is location. While we began as cities and towns for safety, we Americans headed to the Wild West to spread our wings. Like ants, we scrambled across the country filling in patches of land big and small. As the ability to travel opened up with roads and trains, so did the suburbs and an entirely new way of living apart from where you earned. Businesses migrated to where we lived and now we drive countless miles annually to keep up. Trends of re-vitalizing tired inner cities are seen with a focus on mass transportation and energy conservation. While culture has prioritized family higher than careers, rural areas have begun to grow again as well.

 No wonder it is difficult for some keep up with the job market, especially those requiring expert knowledge. Healthcare and Government organizations remain excellent employers of choice for highly skilled and degreed professionals. It takes years to obtain medical licensure and most high demand professions required advanced degrees and significant relevant experience to be eligible. In order to attract and retain employees, organizations must demonstrate an impeccable reputation as an employer of choice, as well as demonstrate opportunity for advancement and appreciation of employees.

Veterans Health Administration (VHA) consistently ranks high in customer and employee satisfaction. These two areas make VHA an employer of choice. That alone requires attention to detail in job applications with VHA. Taking an honest look at resume quality, educational achievements and demonstrated past experiences is critical. For those early in a career, additional education or work experience will be required to meet minimum requirements at VHA. A two-year nursing graduate position is harder to obtain than a four-year Bachelors of Nursing position. Therefore, a great option for a nurse desiring to work at VHA would be  to continue to gain experience and education and remain focused on working with VA as a career goal. Graduate students with ample military or private practice would be prime candidates for leader roles within VHA mid career.

Like me, many come to VA later in their career, which brings a set of different challenges, not the least of which is not having  sought for a position in several years. Some have been recruited and not found it necessary to pay attention to keeping up with educational standards or effectively demonstrating our skills in a professional Resume or CV. However, when you are applying to an employer of choice, such as VA, attention to detail is the key.

I invite you to review our series one on Job Search- a Warriors Approach. In the series, you will find useful information to consider before you apply. Use Cloud Tag “Series One” to locate all 12 postings. When a position is hard to fill due to undesirable factors, qualification will be lower and more easily obtained. Likely, most VA positions bring opportunities to advance, require considerable education and/or experience and are available nationwide offering career choices. It is these positions that we must hone in our job searching skills to be not competitive, but among the best.

Learn more at www.VAcareers.va.gov.

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