The Department of Defense employs an impressive number of people worldwide. There are, according to Pentagon sources, some 950,000 civilians working for DoD across a large number of jobs and missions.
That is in addition to the worldwide numbers of American troops serving in uniform on active duty, in the Guard, and in the Reserve.
If you are interested in a career in the Department of Defense but you don’t want to join the military, how do you proceed? DoD jobs are not limited to those that require military service. There is a very large pool of DoD civilian employees who make up the backbone of the DoD without ever wearing a uniform.
These employees are hired for a wide range of jobs from admin to processing classified materials. But where do people look to find jobs like these?
There are recruiting websites for every branch of military service. Army Recruiting, Air Force Recruiting, all branches of service are individually represented online to answer questions about becoming a military member, life in uniform, what it takes to join, etc.
How The DoD Civilian Careers Site Got Started
DoD planners realized they were having a difficult time competing for new hires. Social media and online networking is something that other job sites have mastered; in order to compete in today’s marketplace any DoD job board would have to meet job seekers where they are looking online.
Enter the DoDCivilianCareers.com site, intended to help job hunters find the specific DoD jobs and classifications they want. Job search options on the site include the ability to search by location (important because there are many overseas jobs as well as stateside).
Official sources say there are approximately 600 different job types offered within the Department of Defense; everything from aircraft maintenance to human resources professionals. If you seek a job with the DoD, this is a very good place to start searching.
Who Should Apply?
There are a wide range of jobs offered by DoD but the recruiting official site has a selection of in-demand positions that have included, but are not limited to:
- Cyber and Information Technology
- Financial Management
- Human Resources
- Health and Wellness
You can use the site’s Job Exploration Tool to search vacancies in your areas of expertise. It is important to understand that applying for any federal job is more involved than a typical resume and cover letter submission.
The website features a “Getting Started” screening that helps you to narrow down some basic initial job interests, and asks for your basic current education level and current job experiences. You can do all this without creating an account at the site and you are also able to browse jobs without account creation required.
It’s important to recognize that these screening functions can be a bit of a blunt tool–when using the site for the first time to write this article, we found that identifying as a job seeker looking for work in the arts or in public affairs, we were routed toward jobs in the Military Family Support section and the Recent Graduates section as well as Public Affairs and Arts.
You may need to be more flexible in your searches to get where you need to go.
DoDCivilianCareers.com and USAJobs.com
When you are ready to apply, you will be required to create an account at the website to apply for any position. Be advised that account creation and job application procedures are handled by USAJobs.gov–the DoDCivilianJobs.com website acts as a portal to these jobs but at press time does not list civilian jobs directly at the site.
You read that correctly–when applying for jobs you will be using the USAJobs.gov interface.
Furthermore, when applying for the jobs, expect that your resume will be sent to the appropriate agency for review (USAJobs does not review your resume or participate in the hiring process) and this may take more time than you expect during the application process. Be prepared for a wait depending on the type of job you seek.
The website also features an interactive map that helps job seekers find positions based on geographic location, which can be handy if you only want to work near a specific military base or community.
When sitting down to use these resources for the first time, don’t expect to be able to complete a job application without having extensive information at your disposal to enter into the system including your most updated resume and copies of any credentials (including college degrees) that may be relevant to the application.
Read Job Posts Carefully
Screening procedures for federal jobs can be ruthless–if you don’t follow the instructions on the job listing to the letter, your application may not even be considered, which is why it is extremely important to carefully review the job posting.
What do we mean? For example, some federal jobs are not offered to the general public, but rather only to those who are already within the federal job system. In other cases, a federal job may be offered only to those who meet a very specific set of requirements. If you don’t meet that specific set of requirements but apply anyway you are likely not to be considered at all.
Federal job boards commonly encourage users NOT to submit the same resume again and again for federal jobs, but rather to customize each application with a new version of your resume that contains only the relevant information for the job requirements listed in the ad.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News