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10 Steps to a Government Job - For Military Service Members

10 Steps to a Government Job - For Military Service Members

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Step 6: Applying for the Job

Applying for a job can often be nerve-racking. There are many unknowns that have be dealt with and overcome. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is standing out against the “competition.” In this section we’ll go over a few ways to highlight your military service to help you stand apart.

But first, here’s a word of warning. Don’t expect your military service to be your golden ticket. It is quite likely that you’re not the only service member applying for the job. Departments are looking for candidates with the complete package, so these suggestions will work best only when you couple them with the rest of the advice found in this guide.

Leverage Your Veteran’s Status

As a veteran, you have a leg up on the competition when it comes to getting a job with the federal government. Make sure you completely understand how your military advantage works for you—the following section describes how to determine your veteran’s preference points, and the best way to apply for a civil service job.

Because the Federal Government recognizes the economic loss suffered by citizens who have served their country in uniform, the Veteran’s Preference system was created to restore veterans to a favorable competitive position for Government employment, and acknowledge a larger obligation owed to disabled veterans.

Veteran’s Preference Points

Veteran’s preference points are used when civil service examinations are part of the hiring process conducted by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and related agencies, for most service jobs including Veterans Recruitment Appointments (VRA), and when agencies make temporary, term, and overseas limited appointments. Preference in hiring applies to both permanent and temporary positions in the executive branch’s competitive and excepted services.

To receive preference, you must have been separated from active duty in the Armed Forces with an honorable or general discharge. You must also be eligible under one of the following preference categories:

• Five points are added to the examination score or rating of veterans who served:

- Between Dec. 7, 1941, and July 1, 1955.

- For more than 180 consecutive days at any point between Jan. 31, 1955, and Oct. 15, 1976.

- During the Gulf War from Aug. 2, 1990, through Jan. 2, 1992.

- In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized, including El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Lebanon, Panama, Somalia, Southwest Asia and Bosnia.

• Ten points are added to the examination score or rating of:

- Veterans who served any time and who have a disability connected to their military service or are receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits or pension from the military or Department of Veterans Affairs.

- Veterans who received a Purple Heart qualify as disabled veterans.

- Unmarried spouses of certain deceased veterans and spouses of veterans unable to work because of a service-connected disability.

- Mothers of veterans who died in service or who are permanently and totally disabled.

Note: Military retirees at the rank of major, lieutenant commander, or higher are not eligible for preference in appointment unless they are disabled veterans. This does not apply to Gray Area Retired Reservists – those who will not begin drawing military retired pay until age 60.

Using Your Veteran’s Preference Points
Using your Veteran’s Preference Points is actually relatively simple. You simply claim preference on their application or resume when applying for Federal jobs. Applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the requested documentation.

Applying for Federal Employment
The easiest way to apply for Federal employment is to go to the office of personnel management web site – USAJOBS – ( and follow the simple instructions. You will notice that part of the process requires you to indicate whether or not you are you are eligible for veteran’s preference points. Once you’ve selected the job that interests you, you will be given specific details on application process for each job.

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