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Submitting Your Application for Employment at VA

Appication Process section image
Application Process

Submitting Your Application

Once you have completed your application you will need to submit it to the "contact person" listed in the vacancy announcement. Before you seal the envelope, send the fax, or hit send on your e-mail, take a few moments to be sure that your application is complete. Read it over one last time, checking for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure that you have included all requested information and documents (DD- 214 if you are claiming Veterans' preference; college transcripts if the job requires them).

For most jobs, you can submit your application package by postal mail, fax, or through e-mail. If you are using e-mail, you will need to submit any requested documents so that they can be matched up with your application. For example, if you need to send a transcript and you don't have a copy that can be attached to your e-mail, you will have to either fax or send via postal mail so that it can be attached to your application. If you are sending documents via postal mail separate from your application, make sure to indicate on the documents the vacancy announcement number, the position title, and the location of the position.

It will tell you in the vacancy announcement whether your application must be in by the closing date, postmarked date or received by date.

Understanding What Happens To Your Application
We've all heard the horror stories about how it takes too long to get a job working for the Federal Government. Because the jobs are filled using a competitive process, understanding the timing of the process will better prepare you for the wait after you submit your application.

After the "Closing Date"

When positions are announced, they will include both an opening date and a closing date. Some job announcements are opened for one or two weeks, while others may be open for longer periods of time. Once the closing date passes, Federal agencies must wait a period of time (typically, 7-10 days) for receipt of postmarked applications. During this time period, the Human Resources Specialist will begin reviewing the applications received to determine if the applicants meet the qualification requirements outlined.

The "Best Qualified List"

Those candidates who do meet the minimum qualifications will then be reviewed to determine if they are among the "qualified" or "best qualified" candidates. This can take a few days, or in some cases, a few weeks, depending on the number of applications received. Once the "best qualified" candidates are identified, a "certificate of eligible individuals" is prepared and sent to the supervisor (or selecting official) for the position. The supervisor will then review the applications and determine who among the "best qualified" will be interviewed.

The Interview

Interviews are conducted, references are checked, and final candidate selections are made. In fact, the recruitment and selection process may take several weeks from the time a position is advertised to when a selection is made. Don't be deterred by this. Ask questions and keep in touch during the application process and always print and keep a copy of vacancy announcements for which you apply.

Usually, the vacancy announcement will have the contact information for the position, which you can use to call to check further on the status of your application. Just keep in mind that the federal hiring process does take time and that calling the Human Resources office often will not speed up the process. You might wait a few weeks or a month before calling to check the status of your application. In most cases, you will be sent a notice acknowledging the receipt of your application. You will also be notified once a final selection has been made.

After the Selection is Made

Once a selection is made for a position, all applicants are notified. Feel free to contact:
  • The Human Resources Specialist to request feedback on your application if you were not referred for consideration. If you were considered not qualified for the position, ask why so that you will understand in the future.
  • The Selecting Official if you were referred for consideration and not selected to determine what you might do different in the future. If you were interviewed and not selected ask for feedback on how your interview went.
Don't be defensive. If you are angry or upset about not being selected, wait a few days until you calm down. Remember, the purpose of asking for feedback is to:
  • Learn whether additional experience or training would make you a stronger candidate
  • Determine whether you need to polish your application and KSA responses
  • Determine whether you need to polish your interview skills
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