If you have served our country in a branch of the armed services, thank you for your dedication to our country! Your experience and expertise in a military role uniquely qualifies you to work for a federal agency. The government takes your veteran status into consideration if you apply to a federal position, giving you a preference in appointment over other applicants if you qualify for the position. You should use this to your advantage!
To be eligible for veterans’ preference, you must have been discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces under honorable conditions. Veterans’ preference eligibility is based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, receipt of a Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. To receive veterans’ preference when applying for a job, you must demonstrate proper documentation of your eligibility. The member 4 copy of your DD214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,” is preferable to use why applying. Note: Not all active duty service may qualify for veterans’ preference.
Veterans’ preference gives you preferred status in appointment to an opportunity over other applicants. This applies to all new appointments in both the competitive and many in the excepted service but it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements. Note: Veterans’ preference will not guarantee you a job.
When applying for a position in the competitive service, veterans’ preference is most commonly applied through a category rating system, where all applicants are placed into larger categories, such as “qualified” and “well-qualified.” Preference eligible veterans are placed at the top of the category they are assessed to be in, and veterans with service-connected disabilities must be considered by a hiring manager first above non-preference eligibles within their respective category.
Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans
Agencies may simplify the traditional hiring process for veterans by taking advantage of certain hiring authorities. The Office of Personnel Management encourages veterans seeking positions to ask for consideration under as many hiring authorities as they qualify for. We have highlighted a few of these veteran-specific authorities below, though FedsHireVets has additional information.
Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment
The veterans’ recruitment appointment allows agencies to directly hire veterans for a two-year term position up to a GS-11 or equivalent without competing with the general public. After successfully completing the first two years, the veteran may be converted to a career or career-conditional appointment. There is no limit to the number of times an eligible veteran can apply under VRA if they meet the definition of being eligible for the authority.
Veterans Employment Opportunity Act
The Veterans Employment Opportunity Act is used to fill permanent, competitive service positions. This authority allows veterans to apply to positions that state they are only open to “status” candidates or those who are current competitive service employees.
While not specifically for veterans, you are eligible to apply for positions under Schedule A if you have a severe physical, psychological or intellectual disability. This may be a service connected disability.
Agencies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities, unless doing so will result in undue hardship to the agency, to allow an applicant with a disability to have an equal opportunity to compete for a job. Accommodations include making adjustments to the interview process, essential functions of the job, access to the workplace, and benefits and privileges of employment.
To receive accommodations at work or in the application process, information about your disability must be disclosed and shared with the relevant individuals, such as the agency’s selective placement coordinator. Procedures to request accommodation may be includes on an agency’s job posting, website or onboarding materials. You can request an accommodation verbally or in writing; no specific language is needed.
Workforce Recruitment Program for Students
The Workforce Recruitment Program connects federal employers nationwide to eligible students and recent graduates with disabilities. Managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, this program provides numerous advantages to jobseekers with disabilities. Contact your school’s disability services or career services coordinator early in the spring semester to ensure successful completion of the online application for phone interviews in October and early November. Contact the WRP coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the program. The WRP works directly with college coordinators and cannot respond to inquiries from individual students.