As we wrap up the holidays and go into a new year, it’s a natural time to look around and think, “Now what?”

Some of us have noticed little change. At the same time, many of us have changed just about everything – our schedules, careers, relationships, and even how we spend social occasions.

“People are at a crossroads of whether to continue to do less with less or to do more with more,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of recruitment marketing and workforce solutions at VA. “That may sound like a funny concept or an unrealistic goal, but it’s not. VA employs over 420,000 employees. Most of them are full-time, with benefits. These are secure jobs that offer a total compensation package that almost doubles the value of the base pay.”

A VA Career ticks all the boxes – the federal compensation package, education opportunities, dependent childcare and flexible spending accounts, and health, dental and life insurance options.

“These are the things that we should be thinking about most,” Sherrard said.

With over 6,500 current job openings, now’s the time to explore that VA career you’ve been considering. Start your year off on the right foot with these few simple tips.

Strike while the iron is hot

December is typically the slowest month of the year for job postings and hirings, thanks in no small part to the holiday season. However, January is usually the start of a much busier hiring season.

Just like you, hiring managers have their own resolutions – one of which may be to fill any empty positions. As people return from their vacations and settle back into their work routines, January is usually the month that sees the most job postings.

Patience is a virtue

Studies show that more than 80% of people who make a New Year’s resolution abandon it by February. If you haven’t heard a response from any of your January applications, you might start feeling the same way.

However, February is statistically the peak hiring time in most industries. Hiring managers often begin interviewing top candidates in February for the jobs they posted in January, so while the hiring process may feel slow, don’t get discouraged. Plan to reach out to hiring managers as the winter season reaches its peak.

Prepare for the outcome you want

Once you’ve applied for the job, you may feel like there’s nothing left for you to do but wait. Instead, take some time to review your interview skills and craft potential responses, which can help you feel more confident and better prepared.

VA uses performance-based interview questions to get a better understanding of who you are as a potential employee. Rather than asking opened-ended questions about hypothetical situations, we ask you to fill in the blanks by applying examples from specific moments in your career.

Consider how you might respond to questions about how you used your communication skills to present complex information, or how you tackled competing priorities on a tight deadline.

Beat the odds

Remember how we said that 80% of people abandoned their resolutions early in the year? Don’t be a statistic. You may not get the first job you set your sights on, or even the second. That’s no reason to give up, even though the process can feel futile at times.

If you don’t hear back from the jobs you’ve applied for, dig in your heels and try again. Consider traditional advice, like updating your resume or networking with people in your field. Or reconsider what it is you want from your career and find something more in tune with what you’re looking for.

Work at VA

So, now what? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and think VA. It’s going to be an excellent year for you.

Your expertise as a physician assistant can be applied to numerous specialties within VA, all of them helping Veterans find the care they need.Five unique ways to serve Veterans as a physician assistant
With ongoing investments in hiring and support, VA is addressing the need to better serve women Veterans head-on.Enhance care for women Veterans with your VA career

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