For many professionals, securing a government job in the defense industry is the ultimate goal. In many cases, government positions are highly stable, even during tumultuous economic periods. Plus, many come with competitive salaries and exceptional benefits packages. There’s also the intrinsic reward of doing your part to support your city, county, state, or country, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
While a job in the defense industry isn’t wholly unlike a private sector position, there are some nuances candidates should be aware of before proceeding. Here is a look at four things you need to know before getting a government job.
1. How the Defense Industry Organizational Structure Works
While essentially every organization has some degree of hierarchy in its leadership and decision-making structures, defense industry agencies take it to another level. The structures are often highly rigid, and there are expectations regarding how information flows both up and down through the organization.
Additionally, along with a firm organizational hierarchy, many employees in the defense industry are veterans. As a result, workers at all levels are often highly dedicated to the chain-of-command structure. If you aren’t willing to follow both spoken and unspoken rules about working within the hierarchy, you may struggle to impress managers and colleagues, as well as advance.
2. Background Check Requirements Are Incredibly Strict
Many private companies have some leeway in regard to what an employee can have listed in their background check. However, that isn’t the case with many government jobs, particularly those that require any level of security clearance. Both arrests and convictions can preclude you from government employment, depending on the role you want to land.
In many cases, having an infraction – such as a traffic ticket that can only result in a fine – isn’t an issue. Whether a misdemeanor is problematic depends on the level of security clearance required and the nature of the arrest or conviction. Felonies are also not automatically disqualifying, depending on the type.
However, repeat offenses of any nature can be potentially disqualifying. Even single incidents may make you ineligible as well, particularly those of specific types.
When you apply for a job in the defense sector, you need to be open and honest about any convictions on your application. Failing to disclose an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony in portions of the application that request that information can disqualify you from employment, as your background check will show your dishonesty.
3. Interview and Screening Processes Are Lengthy
When compared to the private sector, landing a job in the defense industry is often a lengthy process. Competition for these roles can be fierce, so organizations typically have access to numerous candidates with potential. As a result, they’ll conduct multiple rounds of interviews in most cases. Additionally, you may need to take skills tests or participate in other exams to prove your capabilities.
4. Keep Your Resume Format Simple, and Focus on Honesty
While more creative resume designs may catch the eye of a typical hiring manager, it’s best to keep your resume format simple when you apply for government jobs. Many of these roles rely on applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that work best when resume formats are traditional and logical, so avoid flourishes like columns and images.
Additionally, honesty is paramount. Any sign of potential falsehoods in the information you share can immediately disqualify you as a candidate or could lead to termination if you’re initially hired. As a result, you want to make sure every detail is accurate and truthful before submitting your resume for consideration.
Do you want to pursue an opportunity in the defense industry? Partner with the Staffing Resource Group to find your next career-boosting position. Contact us to learn more about our services today.