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Initiatives that give vets an edge

Jul. 7, 2014 - 07:57AM   |  
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Federal agencies aren’t trying to hire veterans just because they think it’s a nice thing to do. They’ve been ordered to do so by their chief executive and board of directors — the president and Congress.

To help agencies reach vet hiring goals, federal leaders have established several special pathways to federal jobs for vets. Taking advantage of these typically requires vets to submit particular paperwork and documentation. For more details, visit

And keep in mind that many other qualified vets may be trying to use the same programs to land the same jobs. A so-called “noncompetitive” job listing may eliminate civilian competition, but you’ll still be competing with fellow vets.

Federal hiring is still merit-based, and these special perks likely will do nothing for vets who apply for jobs for which they’re not qualified. But for vets who are, these programs could push their résumés to the top of the stack.

Veterans preference provides a slight boost to the applications of qualifying vets who are trying for open, competitive listings, often in the form of numerical points added to their exam or application scores. Vets who don’t have service-connected disabilities but do meet certain service requirements can get five extra points. Disabled vets can get 10.

Veterans recruitment appointments can land vets in federal jobs without those positions being opened up to the general public. Agencies are authorized to simply appoint qualified vets to positions as high as the GS-11 federal pay level. This is available to honorably discharged, recently separated vets, as well as those who are disabled or received a campaign badge or service medal.

Veterans Employment Opportunity Act allows veterans to apply for job openings that are otherwise open only to current and former federal employees. This is available to honorably discharged, recently separated vets, as well as those who are disabled, received a campaign badge or meet other requirements. Family members of vets injured or killed in action also may qualify.

Veterans rated 30-percent or more disabled can be appointed to a federal job noncompetitively if their disability is service-connected.

Disabled veterans enrolled in a VA training program can undergo training at a federal agency. When the training is complete, the agency can appoint that vet to a job noncompetitively.

Recent Graduates Program is an initiative for people with and without military service, but vets may be eligible for a longer time. It’s open to recipients of everything from technical certificates and associate degrees to doctorates. Nonvets must have graduated within the last two years. Vets who were prevented from applying for the program within that time frame because of military service may be able to take advantage of the program up to six years after graduating. The program typically lasts for one year, after which agencies may place participants in permanent jobs.

Presidential Management Fellows Program is also open to people with and without military service, but qualifying vets receive preference. Applicants must have graduated with an advanced degree, such as a master’s or professional degree, within the last two years. This is a two-year paid fellowship, after which the participant may be placed in a permanent federal job.

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