Federal Employment Resources for Military Veterans

Our sluggish economy has virtually turned against the current lot of veterans who’ve served this country. With an unemployment rate nearing 30% for young veterans (18-24), it can seem as if the call for troop support is merely bumper sticker deep. But in times like these, everyone faces hardships – and in actuality, veterans hold a special place in the job market. Although the private sector isn’t bound to preferential treatment towards our service-members, federal and state agencies are. Numerous options exist – the trick is, finding them.

federal employment for military veteransDating back to the Revolutionary War, veterans have been rewarded for service with employment by the federal government. As the years progressed, Congress passed the Veterans’ Preferential Act in 1944. Buoyed by several veterans organizations, what we know today as the “point system,” was established over a half-century ago. With up to a 30-point advantage over civilians, service-members regularly find themselves in top contention for employment.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs has teamed up with state and federal agencies in order to better serve their clientele. From the Federal Aviation Administration, to the Treasury Department, and just about any acronymic agency out there, numerous job options are available. Here are some resources to help you find a job with a federal agency.

Feds Hire Vets

Feds Hire Vets is a “site for federal employment information for veterans, transitioning service members, their families and federal hiring officials.” It would behoove perspective applicants to digitally scan their DD214, resume, and if applicable, college transcripts. These items are regularly required for the application process. Generally, the Feds Hire Vets program is less reliant on service-members/veterans actually scrolling through job opportunities. Moreover, a counselor of sorts will gauge an applicant’s skill-set, degree, and former/current military occupation in relation to federal job postings. They purport to be “strategic partners,” with the departments of Defense, Labor, Veteran Affairs, Homeland Security, and the U.S. Office of Personal Management. Visit their site http://www.fedshirevets.gov/ for more info.

USA Jobs

With literally thousands of searchable job postings, USA Jobs is the U.S. Government’s official program for federal job data. As per their website, they seek to “specifically build and sustain excellence in the 21st century workforce, thereby fixing federal hiring.” A stopping point for numerous federal agencies, USA Jobs works in conjunction with the Veterans Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Also known as Chapter 31, this federal program assists veterans with a service-connected disability “prepare for, find, and keep suitable job.” You can out more about Vocational Rehabilitation here: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/.

More Veterans Employment Options – VA.gov

For those searching for an all-encompassing Mecca of veteran employment options, make sure to bookmark – http://www.va.gov/jobs/. There, you’ll find a smorgasbord of career advice and job opportunities. Although focused on full/part-time employment, one can also find internships. College students, graduates, VA employees, veterans and civilians, are eligible for numerous VA internships. According to the Veterans Administration, “VA internship [are] an excellent way to begin a long-term career with the Department that is rewarding, exciting and challenging. “ It’s definitely worth a try.

New Career Resources

The government recently created three new job search resources for military veterans. These aren’t specifically for federal employment, but they can open doors to a variety of opportunities in the federal or private sectors. They include: My Next Move for Veterans, the Veterans Job Bank, and the Veterans Gold Card. These programs are designed to translate your military skills into civilian terms, give you one one one career counseling, access to a job board, and more. You can learn more about these programs in this article.

Ultimately, we as Americans find ourselves in a precarious situation. Facing a stagnant job market, rising unemployment, an unprecedented rise in mental health issues, veterans – especially those of Iraq and Afghanistan, are in need of some assistance. Although phrases like “support the troops,” might seem like pure lip service under our current circumstances, there are people, organizations, and programs, which actually help. But it’s up the service-member and veteran to actively search out these resources. The Military Wallet and the Department of Veterans Affairs JOBS homepage are an excellent place to start.

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Date published: September 3, 2012. Last updated: September 4, 2012.

Article by

Chris Mandia is a Southern California writer who writes on military issues. Serving two tours in Iraq as a Marine machine-gunner, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2007 and studied at the University of Southern California's graduate film program. You can find out more about him at ChrisMandia.com.


  1. Yosniel says

    There are limitations as to what percentage you could be receiving from the VA for service connected disability, that would allow you to get back in as a reservist. I was told that threshhold is 30%. I left the Navy 3 years ago as an E-6, and I’m rated at 40%. Although I am contemplating going back in as a reservist, I’m not sure if I’m able to because of the percentage I’m rated.


    • says

      Actually, it used to be 30%, but that has recently changed. I spoke with a Veterans Affairs rep about this recently, and there is no longer a firm disability percentage cutoff for serving in the Reserve Component with a VA service-disability. There are three main criteria the services look at: 1) ability to be classified as worldwide deployable, 2) ability to perform the duties of your MOS/Rating/AFSC, and 3) ability to pass your PT test.

      Keep in mind, the exact criteria vary between services, so it’s best to contact a recruiter for more information.

      I will publish an article about this in the near future, as well as how the compensation is calculated when you join the Guard or Reserves with a service-connected disability. Feel free to drop me a line if you want more info in the mean time.

  2. Chris says

    You’re right. 30% is the cut-off – although I believe there’s a way to withdraw your rating, thus enabling entrance. Ask your recruiter.

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