How To Answer "Do You Have Any Questions For Me?"

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's almost the end of the interview and the interviewer asks "Do you have any questions for me?" How do you respond to this predictable job interview question and what does the interviewer really want you to say? If you have wondered how to answer "What questions do you have for me?", you'll find examples of questions you can choose from. Why would the interviewer ask this question during the interview? At first glance it can seem unnecessary, especially if you've been asking questions throughout the job interview. But there's a method to the madness. The interviewer may ask you this to: Provide you with a chance to ask your questions, Assess your interest in the job, See how well you've been listening, Be polite, Kill time.... Read more

Now hiring: Medical records techs help manage patient records

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

Every year, millions of Veterans across the United States receive care from VA. That equals millions of medical records that need to be managed and maintained in the VA electronic health record (EHR) system. We rely on a veritable army of medical records technicians to make sure this happens efficiently and accurately. This month, we're highlighting this essential career as part of a blog series celebrating VHA's 75th anniversary. Help Veterans receive care. If you have a background in medical records or coding, consider a career helping our nation's heroes as a medical records technician. We're looking for candidates with a commitment to our mission, strong attention to detail and the ability to work with data.... Read more

I Hate My Job! Simple Tips For What To Do Next...

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's Monday and you keep hitting snooze. If it's not due to a lack of sleep, it's probably a sign you hate your job. We've all been there and know that omnipresent thought — I hate my job. But the question is... what will you do about it? You always have at least two options: 1. Quit, 2. Stay and make it work. Here are straightforward steps to help you take the right actions based on your situation. Reasons You Are Unhappy At Work. You won't love your job all the time. No one does. The trick is figuring out what you hate about your work. During a change in leadership, unrealistic deadlines, or demanding customers, there are times you will hate your work. That's just how it is. Sometimes the reasons are temporary and will pass... ... Read more

VA programs aim to attract transitioning service women and health providers to its health facilities

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

Women are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. Veteran population, and we're ready to provide them with high-quality health care delivered by dedicated women's health providers. To encourage service women who are transitioning out of the military or are new Veterans to enroll in VA health care, we've kicked off a new, online women's health transition training program. The training provides a detailed look at all of the VA health services and programs available to women Veterans. The program also covers information about eligibility, how to enroll in VA health care and how to connect with other women Veterans. The training is designed to complement VA's Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and is based on an in-person and virtual program started as a joint effort between VA and the Department of Defense.... Read more

Top Three Tasks When Applying for a Security Clearance

By Thomas Braden | U.S. Navy Vet and Author of A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

WHO NEEDS A SECURITY CLEARANCE? Any person who has worked or will work for an organization that requires access to restricted information more than likely has or will need a security clearance.... Read more

MAINTENANCE ASSISTANT - Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant - FORT COLLINS - CO
Customer Service Specialist - BI Incorporated - Aurora Monitoring - Aurora - IL
C-9-21 Senior Producer-Political Rewind - Georgia Public Broadcasting - Atlanta - GA
C-7-21 Savannah Reporter WSVH - Georgia Public Broadcasting - Savannah - GA
AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICIAN - Seattle Land Rover Jaguar - Lynnwood - WA
  • A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

Complete list of Partners

In-Person Military-Friendly Job Fair

September 23, 2021 - Washington, DC Metro area 9 AM - 12 PM EST

Save the date to meet in person with many top companies and government agencies in the Washington, DC Metro area (location TBD) at the September 23 Military-Friendly Job Fair. This is an excellent opportunity to interview with employers face-to-face. Physical security precautions will be taken, and all CDC recommended safety guidelines will be in place. Be sure to apply for positions in advance and be prepared to tell the company recruiters how your skills and experience fit their staffing needs. For more information and to register, visit: CorporateGray.com/jobfairs/437.

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September 24, 2021 - Online 11 AM - 2 PM EST

Save the date to meet with many top companies and government agencies online at the September 24 Virtual Military-Friendly Job Fair. Take advantage of this excellent opportunity to interview with top employers via text chats and video. Apply for positions in advance and be prepared to tell the company recruiters how your skills and experience fit their staffing needs. For more information and to register, visit: CorporateGray.com/jobfairs/434.

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How To Answer "Do You Have Any Questions For Me?"

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's almost the end of the interview and the interviewer asks "Do you have any questions for me?" How do you respond to this predictable job interview question and what does the interviewer really want you to say?

If you have wondered how to answer "What questions do you have for me?", you'll find examples of questions you can choose from.

 

Why Interviewers Ask This Question

Why would the interviewer ask this question during the interview? At first glance it can seem unnecessary, especially if you've been asking questions throughout the job interview.

But there's a method to the madness. The interviewer may ask you this to:

  1. Provide you with a chance to ask your questions
  2. Assess your interest in the job
  3. See how well you've been listening
  4. Be polite
  5. Kill time

The truth is, it could be any or all of these reasons.

The worst possible answer you could provide is: "No, you've answered all my questions."

Always have questions ready to ask because that shows you are interested in the opportunity and that you've been paying attention.

Keep in mind, your mission during the interview is to determine whether you are interested in the job. And you want to make a good impression. One way to achieve both of these objectives is to have a well thought-out response ready when an interviewer asks you this question.

Honesty, I think most candidates are mentally exhausted by the end of an interview and just want to put on some comfortable yoga pants or sweats. But as tempting as it is to dismiss this question, it's always in your best interest to have several questions ready to go.

Tips For Preparing Your Answer

Your answer to "Do you have any questions for me?" shows the interviewer how well you've paid attention and processed the information provided during the job interview.

The questions you ask also signal to the interviewer what elements of the job and company are important to you as you evaluate their opportunity. Additionally, asking questions also sends a signal that you are seriously evaluating this opportunity as an important step in your career.

Here are some tips to make sure you're ready for this question.

Ask the Right Questions At the Right Time

It's important to keep in mind, the interview process can be lengthy and typically involves several rounds of interviews. During the early interviews, your questions may be more general, but as you get to the final round of interviews, the questions you ask will be more specific and build off of the information you've acquired during previous interviews.

For example, asking about salary, vacation or other benefits is best left until the final interview. It's up to you to gauge the questions you ask based on where you are in the interview process.

Research

As part of your pre-interview preparation, you'll want to carefully review the job posting, research the company and the people with whom you'll be interviewing. This research will help you identify questions you want answered. Here's what to look for when researching each.

Job Posting: The posting is usually a high level overview. It may not address the day-to-day tasks or flow of work. Formulate questions based on what isn't explained in the posting. Some questions to explore include: what portion of your time will be spent in the different responsibilities, how this role will interact with other teams or departments, or about processes or procedures.

Company Research: Is there news about new products or services? Does the company make reference to their mission statement? Has the company been mentioned in the news for other reasons? Ask questions that will help you understand why the company is growing, shrinking, redefining themselves.

People Research: What do you have in common with the person you'll be interviewing with? Did you attend the same school, belong to the same professional associations, did you both work for the same company previously? You can ask about something you have in common or ask how their college, professional association or previous job has impacted their career.

Prioritize Questions

Before diving into your questions, prioritize the two or three that are most important. You may only have five minutes or so before the interviewer has to conclude the interview and you want to make sure you ask the most important questions in case you run out of time.

Don't Wait Until the End

You don't want to wait until the end of the interview to ask all your questions. There simply won't be enough time. Plus, it may be easier for you to ask a question while the topic is discussed.

FYI, an interview feels more like a conversation when you and the interview take turns asking questions. (As you look at some of these questions, some may make more sense to ask earlier in the interview.)

Have a Hard Copy

Write your questions out and have them easily accessible during the interview. And yes, you can refer to your list of questions if you need to. It shows you've prepared for the interview and are thoughtfully considering the opportunity.

Maintain Your Energy

Smile, show respect and maintain your energy when answering "Do you have any questions for me?". Your positive vibes will get noticed and may leave a memorable last impression.

Always Have Questions

It is highly unlikely that all of your questions will be answered. But if you aren't sure what questions you still need to answered — just ask yourself, if I was to start this job tomorrow, what would I need to know? However, if you still feel your questions have been answered, you can always ask the questions mentioned below in the interview process section.

Here are examples of questions you can use when asked this during an interview.

Some Example Questions To Ask

Not every question may be suitable or relevant for you. While a question may sound good, ask yourself if it will provide a meaningful answer and one that will help you determine whether you want the job or not. My advice for selecting from the example questions is to focus on the questions that will provide you with information you feel is important in your decision making.

Review these questions and think about what is most important to you when evaluating your next job opportunity.

Questions About The Role

You want to fully understand the job requirements and what you are expected to do in the role. You also want to understand how your work will be evaluated. If you've done a similar job in the past, don't assume the role will be exactly the same. Here are some you may not have thought to ask.

  • Can you tell me more about the team I will be working with?
  • Are there any other important aspects of the job that we haven't covered?
  • How many hours a week is required for this position? Is overtime expected or allowed?
  • Is working remotely an option for this position?
  • Is there anything I should know about this position that wasn't included in the job listing?
Company Culture Questions

It can be hard to uncover a company's culture using online research. But culture is a key factor in your satisfaction on the job. It's also difficult to describe culture, so you'll notice these questions evaluate things like leadership style, recognition, feedback and professional development.

Before selecting your questions, think about what you want (or don't want) in your next company and choose questions (or craft your own) based on the elements of company culture that are most important to you.

  • What do you like best about working here?
  • What communication methods are most commonly used in the workplace?
  • What type of work do you delegate to your staff?
  • Has anyone on your staff been promoted over the last couple of years? If so, what was the reason this person was promoted?
  • What are three things that your peers would say you do extremely well?
  • Does the company welcome celebrating special occasions? What was the last occasion your department celebrated?
  • Are employees expected to stay up-to-date on their emails over the weekends or while on vacation?
  • What opportunities do you make available for professional development and training?
  • What type of recognition have you recently given to one of your staff?
Questions About Your Candidacy

One of the questions you would really like to know the answer to is whether the interviewer is interested in moving you forward in the interview process. Without directly asking that question, you can use one of these questions to prompt the interviewer. Asking one of these questions gives the interviewer a chance to ask you about any missing qualifications or gaps in skills.

  • Is there anything else I can provide to help you with your decision?
  • This job sounds like something I'd really like to do — do you think there is a fit here?
Questions About The Process

Whatever you do, always ask these three questions about the interview process. You need the answers to these questions to understand what your next steps are and when you should follow up.

  • Do you have an ideal start date in mind?
  • What is the next step in this process?
  • What is your timeline for getting back to candidates about the next steps?

What Not To Do

There are a few things to avoid when responding to the question "Do you have any questions for me?".

Don't ask obvious questions

Ask questions that show you were paying attention. Don't ask questions about topics that have already been explained during the interview or can easily be researched online. However, if you are confused or unclear about some aspect of the job or company, you can ask for clarification.

You might preface your question by saying "You touched on the topic of [issue you want to learn more about] earlier and I was hoping you could explain how that works in greater detail."

Avoid self-serving questions

During the first interview, do not ask about salary, benefits or Paid Time Off (PTO). Focus on topics that show you are interested in the role, company and performance expectations. All those topics will be discussed later in the interview process.

As important as these things are, if the job and company isn't the right fit for you, you probably won't be a happy and engaged employee.

Don't ask "yes" or "no" questions

Don't ask questions that can be answered with "yes" or "no." Asking open-ended questions allows the interviewer to give a more complete answer. You'll also learn more about the topic.

Don't get personal

Avoid questions about family and relationships. These step over the boundary and feel like you are invading their personal space. You wouldn't want to or shouldn't answer those types of questions in a job interview either.

Conclusion

When asked, "Do you have any questions for me?" during an interview, it might be tempting to reply that everything you need to know has been covered. However, you definitely want to use this as an opportunity to show your interest in the job and the company.

Take the time to think about your potential responses and use the examples above to help you prepare. You'll be glad you did.

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Now hiring: Medical records techs help manage patient records

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

VA medical records technicians ensure patient records are accurately and confidentially maintained so that Veterans can receive proper care

Every year, millions of Veterans across the United States receive care from VA. That equals millions of medical records that need to be managed and maintained in the VA electronic health record (EHR) system.

We rely on a veritable army of medical records technicians to make sure this happens efficiently and accurately. This month, we're highlighting this essential career as part of a blog series celebrating VHA's 75th anniversary.

Help Veterans receive care

If you have a background in medical records or coding, consider a career helping our nation's heroes as a medical records technician. We're looking for candidates with a commitment to our mission, strong attention to detail and the ability to work with data.

"Our medical records technicians are vital to making sure patient records are maintained accurately and confidentially so that the Veterans we serve can receive the care they need," said Darren Sherrard, associate director of recruitment marketing at VA.

Because we're the largest health care system in the nation, you can choose from roles in a variety of capacities and care settings anywhere in the U.S.

You could work in coding, where you would apply knowledge of medical terminology, disease processes, treatments, procedures, and more to ensure the proper codes from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) system are selected and applied. You would also ensure documentation requirements are met.

Or you could specialize in release of information (ROI), where you would:

  • Process all ROI requests to the medical facility and ensure information is properly released.
  • Help Veterans complete authorization forms to release their medical information and respond to patient questions.
  • Triage requests so that urgent ones receive priority.
  • Ensure confidentiality of medical records under public laws, rules and regulations.

Enjoy generous benefits

One of the richest rewards of working at VA is the chance to be part of a dedicated team that shares your commitment to helping Veterans. Our employees enjoy a host of other benefits, including:

  • Paid vacation time that starts building right away, paid sick leave, paid parental leave and 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Comprehensive health insurance, which may become effective on the first full pay period after you start.
  • Generous retirement benefits through the Federal Employees' Retirement System, a three-tier retirement plan.
  • Education support, including flexible work schedules, scholarships, and leadership and training programs.

Work at VA today

Bring your skills and experience to a rewarding career as a VA medical records technician.

NOTE: Positions listed in this post were open at the time of publication. All current available positions are listed at USAJobs.gov.

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I Hate My Job! Simple Tips For What To Do Next...

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's Monday and you keep hitting snooze. If it's not due to a lack of sleep, it's probably a sign you hate your job.

We've all been there and know that omnipresent thought — I hate my job.

Table of contents

But the question is... what will you do about it?

You always have at least two options:

  1. Quit
  2. Stay and make it work

Here are straightforward steps to help you take the right actions based on your situation.

Reasons You Are Unhappy At Work

You won't love your job all the time. No one does. The trick is figuring out what you hate about your work.

During a change in leadership, unrealistic deadlines, or demanding customers, there are times you will hate your work. That's just how it is. Sometimes the reasons are temporary and will pass, but other things won't change or go away (like a toxic work culture).

People don't leave bad jobs. They leave bad bosses.

If you find yourself feeling bored, stressed, or unappreciated, then it's time to figure out what is causing you to feel that way and identify why you hate your job.

Identify Where The Hate Is Coming From

You don't want to jump from one bad job to another, so it's worth figuring out exactly WHY you hate your job so you don't find yourself constantly thinking "I don't like my job" again.

Use the questions below to understand the impact of disliking your work on your life.

  • Is this job negatively affecting your health?
  • Is work preventing you from doing things that you truly want to accomplish in life?
  • Is work impacting your relationships with the people you care about?
  • Are there parts of work that conflict with your core values and beliefs?
  • Is the work environment toxic?
  • Do you have conflict working with your boss or coworker?
  • Are the demands of the job not what you expect or want?
  • Are the company's goals not in alignment with your values or personal goals?

Consequences Of Being In The Wrong Job

When you hate your job and you don't take steps to fix the situation, it can negatively impact your well-being and work. Here are some signs that you and your job aren't a good fit:

  • Your work quality drops
  • You arrive late to work, leave early or call in sick
  • You lash out at work
  • You destroy work relationships
  • You indulge in alcohol or drugs
  • Your family relationships suffer
  • You are constantly feeling angry or sad

All of these are signs and symptoms that you are in an unhealthy relationship with your work and you need to make a change before you do long-term damage to your career.

And never, never post your gripes about your job on social media! Recruiters and future employers are looking at what you post when screening candidates.

Too often people don't realize they are in the wrong job and find themselves fired. You don't want that to happen to you.

Fix What You Can

There are literally thousands of different reasons you no longer love your job but it doesn't necessarily mean you need to quit.

However, there are things you cannot fix. Don't expect that your boss will change or to change the organization's culture.

The trick is to determine whether it's worth putting effort into saving your job or is it better to jump ship.

The one thing you can always control is how you respond to situations — your actions. These are some of the actions you can take if you hate your job.

Invest In Your Professional Development

If you are not feeling challenged by the work you are doing, consider taking an online course. Focusing on your own professional development is a win-win. First, you may feel energized by learning new skills. Second, your new skills make you more marketable inside and outside of your current company.

Be sure to see if your employer will cover all or some of the costs involved, but don't be discouraged if they don't. If it is a course you are interested in, find a way to pay for it. It will help you in the long run.

Start A Side Hustle

A side hustle lets you do something YOU want to do and allows you to make more money. Both of these things can make you feel better, even if it's just buying you time before you quit.

You could do gig work like Instacart or Uber or you could set up your own Etsy shop and sell things online. There are so many options for side hustles out there! Just be sure you do it on your own time and without using your employer's resources.

Stop Giving 120%

If you are giving everything you've got to your job, ease back. Maybe you don't need to work as hard or put in all those extra hours. Give yourself permission to step back a bit and re-energize.

As long as you are delivering good work and meeting expectations, maybe you don't need to over-deliver all the time. Re-invest your newfound time and energy doing things you enjoy outside of work or spend more time with your family and friends.

Warning: Some companies may expect employees to always go the extra mile or work long hours. Think about whether this is something you want to endure.

And then there are things outside your immediate control. These changes will require a conversation with your boss.

Prepare For Difficult Conversations

I often hear people say that they know their boss won't agree to their suggestions or will dismiss their ideas. And that might be true. But it's also possible that a conversation will make things better. There's no harm in trying, especially if you hate your job anyway. Don't you want to feel like you did everything possible to make this work?

It's also possible that your boss has no idea how unhappy you are. Maybe she/he will surprise you by agreeing to your requests.

But before you have this conversation, you will want to plan your message to your boss.

Here's what you don't want to do:

  • Never blame your boss, even if he/she is the problem.
  • It's not an ultimatum (aka fix this or I'll leave). It's a conversation with questions.
  • Don't get emotional. Use indisputable facts and data.

Work is like a relationship, it takes two (or more) people to make it work. That means sometimes having difficult conversations.

Instead, use this framework to approach the conversation:

  • Explain that your current work isn't meeting your goals/expectations.
  • Next, explain what type of work you are interested in and why it's a good idea from a business perspective.
  • Finally, propose a solution.
Ask For New Projects

If your dissatisfaction is due to a lack of challenging work, you could ask your boss if there are any projects or work that they need help with. If you want to develop new skills or the chance to use skills, request taking on a project that would allow you to use those skills.

For example, ask if you can take on a new project analyzing customer feedback data that will help improve the systems in place and ultimately result in better customer satisfaction.

If your boss agrees, you will be tested to see how well you perform. Make sure you understand the deliverables, due dates and overall importance of the assignment. You want to provide the very best work possible.

Ask To Work Solo Or In A Different Group

While it may not always be possible, it's worth asking to work with a different group if you and a co-worker don't get along,

Be sure to explain to your boss why you think you would be more productive if you worked in a different group so they can justify the change.

Ask If You Can Work A Flex Schedule Or Change Your Schedule

Could it be the hours or the schedule that make you hate your job? With more companies being open to remote or flexible work schedules, this option may be a viable option today.

You could propose an alternate work arrangement on a trial basis (perhaps just for the summer) to see how it works. Sometimes a temporary adjustment may buy you time to find another solution to your scheduling problems or be enough of a change to relieve the stress.

Ask For A Raise

If you feel you are underpaid, bring the facts to your boss's attention. Gather salary data, present your measurable accomplishments for the past year and ask for an increase in your pay.

Ask How You Can Work Better With Your Boss

This is not an easy question to ask, but it's often one of the greatest opportunities for personal growth. Simply ask your boss how you can work better together and listen to the answer.

You may be surprised by their answer.

Anticipate The Worst Outcome

Remember, the reason you are having a conversation with your boss is because you hate your job and are looking for a solution.

The best case scenario is that your boss will agree to your suggestions or ideas. The worst case scenario is that nothing happens.

However, there is always the possibility that your boss may not be able to give you what you want. It's also possible that your boss may suggest you leave your job if you aren't satisfied.

You aren't going to quit on the spot. But you will begin putting together your exit plan using the steps below.

The key point here is to be sure you have your backup plan ready just in case things don't go the way you want.

Plan Your Escape

It's always better to have a new job lined up before you leave. Always.

However, there are circumstances that may make staying intolerable. Will you be able to look for a job while you are working?

No matter which choice you make, you'll want to create a plan to help you secure a new job. If you hate your job, follow the steps below and be sure to set a reasonable deadline for securing a new one.

Plan on job search taking at least six months or longer if you are more senior in your career.

Build Your Wish List

The best time to inventory what you want from your next job is while you are working. You have more confidence and feel more secure when you have a job.

Create a wish list of things you would be doing in the ideal job. Next, do some research and find companies that you think would like to work for. You'll need this clarity to help you uncover your next great job.

Start Planting Seeds

Well before you have your conversation with your boss, you want to start networking with people you know and trust.

Since you don't want news that you are potentially looking for a new job to get back to your boss, be sure to let people know that you are in a confidential search and that your employer doesn't know you are looking...yet.

When you are having conversations with people, tell them exactly what you want to do and list some companies you are interested in working for. Providing this information makes it so much easier for them to provide you with relevant leads.

PS: Never bad mouth your current employer or boss.

Never Burn Bridges

You've probably seen the viral videos of people quitting their jobs. Nope, don't do that. And while it may feel deeply satisfying to walk into your boss's office and scream "I quit", that usually doesn't work well for you or your career either.

You want to make sure you do everything possible to maintain a positive relationship with your manager and coworkers. You never know where you'll end up next and who you work with again. And it would be nice to be able to get a recommendation.

The best way to resign is to write a professional letter of resignation and submit it in person to your boss. Another action item that will show your professionalism is sending a thoughtful goodbye email to your coworkers, inviting them to keep in touch.

Stay or Go — The bottom line

If all you can think at work is "I hate my job", your first instinct is to quit. But there are many valid reasons why you may want to stick around and try to salvage the situation.

Before you do anything, take time to figure out why you hate your job so you don't end up in the same situation at another job or workplace!

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VA programs aim to attract transitioning service women and health providers to its health facilities

By VA Careers | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

Every VAMC has a designated women Veterans program manager to help women Veterans access VA benefits and health services

Women are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. Veteran population, and we're ready to provide them with high-quality health care delivered by dedicated women's health providers.

To encourage service women who are transitioning out of the military or are new Veterans to enroll in VA health care, we've kicked off a new, online women's health transition training program. The training provides a detailed look at all of the VA health services and programs available to women Veterans. The program also covers information about eligibility, how to enroll in VA health care and how to connect with other women Veterans.

The training is designed to complement VA's Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and is based on an in-person and virtual program started as a joint effort between VA and the Department of Defense.

Some of the health services available to women Veterans include reproductive care, maternity care, cancer screenings, whole health and mental health services for issues including military sexual trauma, domestic violence, post-deployment adjustment and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Every VA medical center (VAMC) has a designated women Veterans program manager to help women Veterans access VA benefits and health care services. Each VAMC also has a health care professional available by phone 24/7 to answer health-related questions and offer advice.

Advancing women's health

A lot has been happening on the women's health front at VA, which increases our need for professionals in this field. For instance, we're partnering with other federal agencies, academic institutions and private health care companies to improve prevention, treatment and outcomes for women Veterans with cancer. We created the Women's Health Mini-Residency for Primary Care Rural Providers and Nurses. The program aims to increase skills related to women's health among nurses and providers serving rural communities. Research on women Veterans' health is expanding, and deployment and post-deployment health research is now a major part of the VA women's health research portfolio.

We're also actively recruiting more health care providers with expertise in women's health to participate in these initiatives and help serve the growing number of women Veterans seeking care.

Dual mission

If you want to serve Veterans and are interested in promoting and protecting women's health, VA is the place for you! Not only will you get to fulfill a rewarding dual mission and win the gratitude of Veterans you care for, you will:

  • Receive excellent benefits, including a generous health care and retirement plan.
  • Have opportunities to advance your education and career with financial support from VA.
  • Be able to contribute to innovations and research that improve the health and quality of life for all Veterans.
  • Work for one of the nation's top large employers.

Work at VA

We need top-notch health care providers to care for our women Veterans' health needs. If this describes you:

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Top Three Tasks When Applying for a Security Clearance

By Thomas Braden | U.S. Navy Vet and Author of A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

As the result of Congressional legislation and Presidential Executive Orders, all federal positions which require a security clearance, have their background investigations completed by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) in Quantico, VA. Their website is a wealth of information and is available, here: dcsa.mil

By all pre-COVID accounts, the federal government's reorganization of a variety of agencies and entities under DCSA's leadership has been a success. By streamlining and expediting the process, DCSA has reduced a huge backlog of almost 200,000 pending cases. Despite the many successes in this reorganization, the average processing time still exceeds 3-4 months.

So, what can you do to avoid delays in your processing? You can ensure the following:

Be organized

When you begin your background investigation and have to complete the perquisite SF-86 via the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system, you need to be well-organized. If you've done this before, the system may have retained your information. If not, you will be starting from scratch and need to have your facts in order. You will need to outline your entire family history including dates of birth and current addresses. That may sound easy, of course you know Mom's birthday... but what year? And you will even need to provide this information for your outlaws... I meant, in-laws and extended family (again, including place and date of birth and yes, dates of death, too.)

You will need to provide data reaching back as far as ten years, including addresses, foreign travel/contacts, etc. I recommend that you have a copy of your credit report on hand, as it will likely contain useful information. For each period of employment and/or residence, you will also need to provide a current U.S. based point of contact who can vouch for you during that time; such as a neighbor, co-worker or boss. You will need full names, as well as valid phone numbers and email addresses. This is time consuming and may involve some sleuthing on your part to track them down today. (You may want to find them on Facebook of Linked In and give them a head's up, as well.)

Also, men will be required to provide verification of their registration for the Selective Service (aka, "the draft.") Fortunately, you can look up your registration number: sss.gov/verify

Get finger-printed, properly

According to DCSA, the next biggest reason which causes delays in the completion of your background investigation is finger-printing. Yeah, this one surprised me as well, but it can be major hiccup in your processing. I had previously had a security clearance (with finger-prints on the record) for more than 25 years, but none of that mattered... I needed to get a new set of finger-prints and they needed to be collected electronically. Luckily, I was located near Washington, D.C. and was able to get this task completed on one of the military bases. If I wasn't retired (and therefore had access to the base), I'm not exactly sure how I would have completed this task. So, think that part through, you may need to be escorted onto a DoD installation, or you may need to find a civilian police station that is willing to do it. You'll also need to verify if your organization and level of clearance requires submission via the same DoD electronic system, or will they accept the tradition rolled/hard copy prints. I would certainly run these requirements to ground, early-on in the process with your Human Resources Office (HRO) and/or Security Office.

Be honest

Another reason which causes delays when completing your background investigation is extensive foreign travel and/or undisclosed foreign contacts, and foreign investments which the DCSA investigators will need to exert time and resources chasing down. If you've lived or served overseas, this can be an issue. You will need to provide all dates of foreign travel. I recommend checking your passport and Facebook, Instagram or other social media for pictures you or your family may have posted. (If you haven't lived overseas, this may sound ridiculous, but it's easy to forget that day trip across the border....) You will also need to identify if that travel was for work or pleasure. (At some point it gets compared to the actual travel they find with your passport; so, it's best if you include everything.) Lastly, you will need to disclose any foreign contacts that you had or maintained during those times. This could be your landlord, a co-worker, or your maid/gardener. My advice is to provide as much information as you possibly can; again, including any known contact information that you may have for these foreign contacts. If they're just that, casual acquaintances, you should be fine; however, if they're considered "close and/or continuous" you have to provide additional information. This is particularly true if your spouse is/was a foreign national and perhaps maintains a house or other foreign investment. So, be honest, be prepared and come to this process ready to disclose everything.

If you follow these rules

So, if I follow these three rules will I be guaranteed to obtain my security clearance?

No, there never any guarantees, but you should help in speeding up the timeline for DCSA to make an adjudication/determination.

The Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information are used by DoD Central Adjudication Facilities (DoDCAF) to determine both initial and continued eligibility for access to classified information. The adjudication process is an examination of a sufficient period of a person's life to make an affirmative determination that the person is an acceptable security risk. Eligibility for access to classified information is predicated upon the individual meeting these personnel security guidelines. The adjudication process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the whole-person concept. All available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, is considered in reaching a clearance determination. When an individual's life history shows evidence of unreliability or untrustworthiness, questions arise whether the individual can be relied on and trusted to exercise the responsibility necessary for working in a secure environment where protection of classified information is paramount.

But if you follow the guidelines above: Be Organized; Get the finger-prints correct; and, Be Honest. You should be well on your way to a streamlined adjudication process.

I cover this - and so much more - in greater depth and detail throughout my book, A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service, now available on Amazon for less than the cost of a cup of coffee, I might add! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Z83W9BK/

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