Federal Employment Resources for Military Veterans – Use Your Military Experience to Qualify for a Civil Service Job

Many military veterans struggle with the transition into the civilian sector. However, there are many available resources to help military veterans make the transition into the civilian world. Even in a difficult economy, veterans hold a special place in the job market. Although the private sector isn’t bound to preferential treatment towards our service-members, federal…
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Many military veterans struggle with the transition into the civilian sector. However, there are many available resources to help military veterans make the transition into the civilian world.

Even in a difficult economy, 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.

This article covers programs that can help you find a job in either the Federal government or in the civilian sector. The first section specifically covers the federal civil service, while the second section covers job programs that can help veterans find a job in any sector.

Federal Hiring Programs for Veterans

Federal civil service employment is often sought after by military veterans. Not only do many federal jobs align with the military mission, but many veterans are able to buy back their military service time to their federal time, earning additional benefits along the way, including an increased rate of annual leave and an increased retirement pension.

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 – https://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.

Additional Career Resources for Military Vets

The government has 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 new resources help you translate your military skills into related civilian jobs, search jobs in a job search database open to military veterans, and get personalized one on one job counseling from one of over 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers in the nation.

Here is more information about each of these programs.

My Next Move for Veterans

My Next Move for Veterans
Translate Your Military Skills into Civilan Terms

Have you ever wondered how your military skills translate into a civilian job? If so, you are not alone. Military members have a variety of skills, but not all of them easily translate into the civilian sector. But a new tool from the Department of Labor, My Next Move for Veterans, makes it easier to do just that.

Simply visit the site and enter a few things about yourself to help determine where your skills and interest lie, and how you can use those skills and interests in the civilian sector. You can even select your branch and MOS and the skills translator can help you find similar jobs in the civilian sector. You can also find information about various civilian jobs, including information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.

The Veterans Job Bank

National Resource Directory Veterans Job Bank
Search a National Job Database

The Veterans Job Bank is another tool available for military veterans. This tool helps connect unemployed veterans to job openings with companies that want to hire them. There are currently over 500,000 jobs listed in the database, with more jobs being added as they become available.

The Veterans Job Bank allows users to search for jobs using their current location, military occupation Code, or by keywords. You can use this widget, which the National Resource Directory was kind enough to provide for our readers or visit the Veterans Job Bank website.

Veterans Gold Card Employment Program

Veterans Gold Card - Employment Assistance for Military Veterans
Veterans Gold Card – Employment Assistance for Military Veterans

It might sound like it at first, but the Veterans Gold Card is not a military credit card– it’s much better than that. The Veterans Gold Card is a new program designed to give post-9/11 era military veterans one on one career counseling and job finding assistance. The Veterans Gold Card is a joint effort from the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).

To use this program, eligible veterans simply need to can print a Gold Card and visit his or her local One-Stop Career Center. From there, the veteran is eligible to receive one-on-one job counseling for up to 6 months. Some of the available services may include:

  • Job readiness assessment, including interviews and testing;
  • Development of an Individual Development Plan (IDP);
  • Career guidance through group or individual counseling that helps veterans in making training and career decisions;
  • Provision of labor market, occupational, and skills transferability information that informs educational, training, and occupational decisions;
  • Referral to job banks, job portals, and job openings;
  • Referral to employers and registered apprenticeship sponsors;
  • Referral to training by WIA-funded or third party service providers; and
  • Monthly follow-up by an assigned case manager for up to six months.

Eligible veterans can print a Gold Card here.

Summary – There Are Many Resources Available to You – Please Take Advantage of Them!

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 Department of Veterans Affairs JOBS homepage are an excellent place to start.

Finding a job after your military career isn’t always easy, but hopefully, these tools will make things easier for you. Thanks for your service!

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About Chris Mandia

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.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.


    • Ryan Guina 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.

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