As a veteran, you've given your service to our nation, and now it's the Federal Government's turn to serve you. Special hiring authorities have been put in place to facilitate your transition into federal employment, recognizing your sacrifice and dedication. In this blog post, we'll walk you through understanding and leveraging these hiring authorities as a veteran.
Understanding Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans
First and foremost, what are special hiring authorities? These are rules put in place by the federal government to hire individuals based on their special circumstances or unique qualifications. For veterans, these authorities are designed to provide preferential hiring for those transitioning from military to civilian life. The following are some of the key hiring authorities specifically targeted towards veterans:
Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA)
The VRA is an excepted authority that allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans without competition. If you're eligible and meet the qualifications, you can be appointed to any position up to the GS-11 level or equivalent.
Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998 (VEOA)
This act allows veterans to apply for positions that are otherwise only open to "status" candidates, i.e., current permanent competitive service employees. To be eligible, you must be a veteran who served during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized, among other criteria.
30% or More Disabled Veteran
This authority allows any veteran with a 30% or more disability rating to be non-competitively appointed. You can apply for any job that you are qualified for, not just those open to veterans only.
Steps to Leverage Special Hiring Authorities as a Veteran
Identify your Eligibility: The first step is to confirm that you're eligible for these hiring authorities. The Veteran's Preference Advisor offers an online tool to assist you in determining your eligibility.
Prepare your Application: Ensure your resume is up-to-date and clearly states your veteran status, military service dates, and, if applicable, your disability rating. Include a copy of your DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) and, if claiming 10 point preference, a completed SF-15 (Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference).
Search for Opportunities: Utilize websites like USAJOBS.gov to look for federal positions that interest you. You can filter search results to only display positions open to veterans.
Apply for Positions: Apply for positions that match your skills and qualifications. Highlight your transferable skills – those valuable skills you acquired during your military service that can be applied in a civilian context.
Follow up: After applying, don't forget to follow up with the hiring agency. This shows your interest in the position and allows you to stay on top of the process.
Remember, each agency has discretion in determining which hiring authority it will use to fill a position. Therefore, it's important to understand how these hiring authorities work and how they can benefit you.
The transition from military to civilian life can be challenging, but these special hiring authorities are designed to make the employment aspect a bit easier. By understanding and leveraging these authorities, you can navigate the federal job landscape more effectively and continue your path of service, but this time, as a civilian in the Federal Government.