* How to Get a Job in the Navy as a Civilian

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Try a Job with the Navy

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has upset work environments and greatly affected millions of Americans in the job market across the US. If you live in Ventura County and are in the process of applying for a local job, consider a position with one of the local navy agencies.

Government jobs provide decent wages and good benefits. Government workers often have paid time off, paid holidays, and affordable health insurance, as well as retirement plan options, alternative work schedules, and flexible working conditions.  

The United States Department of the Navy System Commands, or SYSCOM, is responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of military systems such as ships, aircraft, facilities, and weapons. Some of the local SYSCOM agencies are the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), and Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP). They have a venerable presence at the naval base in Ventura County at Port Hueneme, as well as Point Mugu Naval Air Station.

Applying to the federal government isn’t like applying to most employers. Here are a few guidelines for applying to the many agencies of the federal government. These agencies have a wide range of interesting and appealing jobs that need to be filled.

1. Understand these important websites for civilian jobs with the Navy.

The federal hiring process can be confusing to those unfamiliar with it. In the past, there were a myriad of web portals for each agency, but fortunately, they now have been compiled into one website, USAJOBS (https://www.usajobs.gov/), that explains the hiring process. 

The hiring process is not just one process, but many. There are dozens of hiring authorities, hundreds of job series, and thousands of job classifications. Some jobs are open to the public and some are not.  Listings will have opening and closing dates for the application period, pay scale and grade, appointment type, salary range, work schedule, and duties and responsibilities. 

The Office of Personnel Management website (https://www.opm.gov/) is an invaluable resource for job seekers to understand and learn the various employment classifications where they might qualify.

Fortunately, there are specific websites for the Navy agencies in Ventura County that provide details on their respective employment programs and requirements.

  1. NAVSEA – https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Careers/NAVSEA-Careers/
  2. NAVFAC – https://www.navfac.navy.mil/jobs/students_and_grads.html
  3. NAVAIR – https://jobs.navair.navy.mil/
  4. NAVSUP – https://www.navsup.navy.mil/public/navsup/jobs/

2. Tailor your résumé to the position for which you are applying.

Your résumé should describe and emphasize different aspects of your background, education, work experience, and academic achievement. It is not good practice to use the same résumé for all your USAJOBS applications. The website allows an applicant to tailor their experience with up to five résumés, each one showing how they can fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the specific job.

Résumés first go to a human capital officer for an initial HR screening. This person may not work in the specific agency doing the hiring but will typically conduct a check to make sure that the applicant’s résumé matches up with the duties and responsibilities in the posting.

The human capital officer will review the résumés submitted and then forward selected résumés to a hiring official at the specific agency or component.  This person then picks candidates from that pool of résumés. The hiring official typically does not see the résumés that didn’t make it past the human capital officer. This is why it’s so important for an applicant’s résumé to demonstrate a good fit according to the posting.

3. Persistence and patience are paramount for success.

The process is meticulous and rigorous, and federal government hiring is highly competitive. If you apply for a position and learn that you were “not referred,” then your application was not among those forwarded by the human capital officer to the hiring official.

Set up job alerts and notifications in USAJOBS that will notify you by email or text of listings under the filters you’ve selected. The “window of opportunity” to apply for specific jobs at the Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) tends to be short, anywhere from three to five days, before it closes. Sometimes a job will be reposted if there are not enough applicants, but that is the exception and not the rule. Keep checking the websites systematically, much like you would if you were investing in the stock market.

Above all, do not get discouraged. There will be positions for which you were qualified but did not get referred because other applicants had higher qualifications, experience, or education, etc. The key takeaway is to remember that once your résumé is in the USAJOBS database, it continues to be looked at; you are not just another number. As you reposition yourself for the next opportunity, be prepared to anticipate delays and remain optimistic.

4. Explore different ways of working for the federal government through internships and part-time programs.

On December 27, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13562, “Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates,” to establish two new hiring programs and modify another. 

They are the Internship Program for current students, the Recent Graduates Program for people who have just graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs (two years from the date the graduate completed an academic course of study), and the reinvigorated Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program for people who obtained an advanced degree (e.g., graduate or professional degree) within the preceding two years. 

These programs, collectively called the Pathways Programs, are streamlined developmental programs tailored to promote employment opportunities for students and recent graduates in the federal workforce.
 

The new Internship Program provides students in high schools, colleges, trade schools, and other qualifying educational institutions with paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore federal careers while completing their education.

Many Navy agencies now have specific intern programs for students with interests in business, acquisitions, logistics, the sciences, and law, and give them substantive, interesting work. Interning for a federal government agency is a great way to enhance your résumé, gain valuable experience, and find a mentor—all good things, whether you end up working in the private or public sector.

5. STEM and SMART Programs for the Navy.

Two prominent Naval agencies in Ventura County, NAVSEA and NAVAIR, both support Naval Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs. Naval STEM programs are deliberate investments in the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) workforce, which enhance the Navy and Marine Corps’ ability to meet present and future war fighting challenges.

The focus areas of Naval STEM programs include:

  1. To inspire, engage, and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, technology professionals, and medical professionals.
  2. To employ, retain, and develop a diverse civilian and military technical workforce.
  3. To collaborate across both the Naval STEM communities and with other agencies to maximize benefits to the DoN.

NAVSEA is committed to hiring the best talent possible. Take some time to check out their website, https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Port-Hueneme/Career-Opportunities/Student-Opportunities-at-PHD/, for more details on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Summer Internships with the Office of Naval Research (ONR); Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) – ONR Internship for College Students; Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP) – ONR Internships for High School students; and Scholarship + Internship + Full-Time Employment Upon Graduation – Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Program.

https://seap.asee.org/

http://nreip.asee.org/

Contact the Office of Naval STEM Coordination for more information:

https://www.onr.navy.mil/en/Education-Outreach/naval-stem

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