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Take Advantage of the Benefits of Federal Employment

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Take Advantage of Federal Employment with Veteran Preference Points & Recent Graduate Program

Honorably discharged service members seeking employment after separating from active duty should consider applying to federal jobs via USAJobs. Many vets are eligible for Veterans Preference Points which provide applicants special consideration during the hiring process. Additionally, many jobs from the military directly translate to government jobs and federal employment is often stable, secure, and benefitted.

Veterans Preference Points

Veteran preference points are allotted based on active duty service and disabled status. You may receive a 5-point preference if you served on active duty (and were honorably discharged) from:

  • September 11, 2001 through August 31, 2010
  • August 2, 1990 through January 2, 1992
  • January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976
  • April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955
  • Or during a war

You may receive a 10-point preference for a service-connected disability classified at 10% or higher by the Office of Veteran’s Affairs, or were awarded a Purple Heart.

You are required to submit your DD-214 and SF-15 (for disability preference) with your application to be awarded any preference.

What this means is that if you are considered one of the Best Qualified candidates for your job posting your name will appear on a ranked roster of potential interviewees, but with bonus points added. All federal applicants must complete an experience-based evaluation consisting of multiple-choice questions and, in some cases, essays. Those results are ranked, and provided to the hiring official for further action. So, if someone scores a 90 on their evaluation and has a 10-point preference, their total score will equal 100. The maximum someone can rank is 110.

You must first be evaluated as one of the Best Qualified candidates, if you do not rate high enough you will not be considered for the position regardless of any preference points you are entitled to. You must also conduct a job interview and complete possible background and character checks depending on the position.

RELATED: Read more about Veteran Preference Points at CollegeRecon.

Recent Graduates Program

Additionally, many agencies operate a Recent Graduates Program (RGP). This program provides developmental opportunities for applicants who have completed any qualifying degree within the past two years. Qualifying degrees depend on the position, but can include Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorates, vocational, and technical degrees.

Service members may have up to six years after graduation to apply for Recent Graduate positions if they were constrained by military service obligations. For example, a reservist who graduated in 2019 but was called to active duty in 2020 for a 12-month deployment would be authorized extended eligibility the RGP.

The RGP is usually a one-year assignment designed to teach applicants about possible careers in civil service. Recent Graduates can expect a level of training and development that includes mentorship, an Individual Development Plan, and 40 hours of formal, interactive training per year during the program. The RGP is run by each individual government agency and it is common for participants to be offered a full-time position after completing the program so long as their work is satisfactory.

A veteran who is eligible for preference points should include their documentation when applying to any Recent Graduates Program.

Jobs on USAJobs.gov

USAJobs is a job aggregator like Indeed.com. Users can search for jobs by keyword, location, or even government agency. So, if you always had a dream to work for the Department of Homeland Security you can search specifically for openings within that organization.

If you find a job that looks suitable, make sure you can claim your preference points by double checking the hiring path. Some jobs are only open to current members of that particular agency, or may not be authorized to award veteran preference points. Do not worry, though. There are many jobs post monthly, and if you keep an eye on the postings you will eventually find the perfect job.

Spouses of active duty members may garner special consideration depending on the job posting. Be sure to look into the requirements of the Priority Placement Program for Military Spouse Preference and have any documentation ready to go when you apply. A veteran spouse is in a good position to be picked a job if they make the best qualified list considering they may be granted spousal preference as well as veteran points.

Federal Departments and Agencies Suited for Veterans

Whether you are looking for adventure or want to stay close to home you can apply for a job almost anywhere. The federal government has openings in many places from New York to Los Angeles, and from Alaska to Wyoming which match military jobs quite well.

Department of Defense

love the military but tired of the uniform? Consider working for the DoD as a civilian. The DoD is responsible for supervising all agencies and activities involving the armed forces and national security. Positions can be found within all branches of the military, the National Security Agency, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Defense Logistics Agency, and more. In fact, the DoD employs over 700,000 civilians in a wide variety of jobs, so chances are you may be able to do something similar to your active duty job but with facial hair.

Common Jobs: Budgeting, Project Management, Contract Specialist, Information Technology and Cybersecurity, Childcare, and Transportation.

Department of the Interior

the DOI is the umbrella organization for the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Indian Affairs, and others. Responsibility for all federal lands, national parks, national monuments, and national recreation areas falls on the DOI. This department would be a great employer for military police, combat engineers or Seabees, and navy firefighters. Many of their job listings are for park rangers or security, forestry technicians (fire), or maintenance teams. Also, a public affairs officer would do well at NPS headquarters or managing one of the busier sites in Washington D.C.

Common Jobs: Park Ranger, Park Guide, Firefighter, Smokejumper, Surveyor.

Social Security Administration

SSA is responsible for managing the largest social welfare program in the United States by dispersing monthly payments to retirees, disabled Americans, and survivors. There are a wide variety of jobs within the agency, but since files management and administration rule the day-to-day operations former yeomen and IT specialists will likely find a home at the SSA. There are over 1,200 Social Security offices all throughout the country, so chances are you could land a job near your dream locale.

Common Jobs: Customer Service, Claims Specialist, Information Technology, and Budget Analyst.

Veterans Affairs

a surefire hit for any medic, corpsmen, medical corps officer, or anyone with facilities experience. The VA employs over 350,000 people from cooks and janitorial staff to doctors and administrators in hospitals, office buildings, and even cemeteries. Working at the VA would be a particularly rewarding career for anyone who feels a strong desire to give back to the veteran community.

Common Jobs: Physician, Surgeon, Registered Nurse, Phlebotomist, Facilities Management, Housekeeping, Food Service, Maintenance.