Feds Hire Vets: A Full Guide for Veterans Aiming to Make the Move

February 4, 2024


7 min read


Veterans bring unique skills and dedication to the table. That’s why the Federal government—through the Feds Hire Vets program—is committed to connecting you with fulfilling careers that leverage your experience and service.

An Army veteran is now a park ranger. A disabled Navy veteran is now a law office manager. A retired Army marine engineering warrant officer is now an apprenticeship and training representative with the US Department of Labor. An Air Force veteran is now a NASA security specialist. Learn about these and other success stories, and keep reading to learn how your story can be one of them.

What Is the Feds Hire Vets Program?

The Feds Hire Vets program exists to connect skilled veterans, transitioning service members, and their families with rewarding federal careers. In addition to serving job seekers, Feds Hire Vets supports current veteran employees in their careers and hiring officials.

Veterans’ Preference

The Feds Hire Vets program recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of veterans. That’s why Veterans’ Preference gives you an edge in securing exciting Federal careers.

Here are some things to be aware of:

  • You get a preference, not a guarantee. You’ll gain an advantage over many applicants, but qualifications still matter. Think of it as a boost on your journey!
  • Eligibility varies. Eligibility depends on factors such as active duty service, campaign badges, Purple Hearts, or service-connected disabilities. If you’re retired, you might not be eligible unless you’re disabled or below the rank of major. Check out the details to see if you qualify.
  • Honorable discharge is essential. This is non-negotiable for eligibility.
  • Start early. Under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, soon-to-be veterans can apply early if they’re expecting an honorable discharge within 120 days.

Preference categories:

  • Sole survivors: Family members of fallen veterans.
  • Non-disabled veterans: 5-point preference boost.
  • Disabled veterans: 10-point preference boost.

Ready to learn more about Veterans’ Preference? Dive deeper into the details, and explore resources to navigate your path to a fulfilling Federal career.

Applying for a Federal Job

While regulations guide how positions are filled, the process can vary across agencies and types of jobs. But, don’t worry! Many agencies welcome direct contact for additional information and application guidance.

Federal careers offer stability, and they value your veteran skills. Agencies often see your experience as highly transferable, resulting in a natural transition for many veterans. But, be prepared for competition—you’ll be among other highly-skilled applicants.

Preparation is key. Applying for a Federal job requires time, thoroughness, and attention to detail. To help, the Veterans Employment Initiative established offices at agencies specifically to support veteran hiring.

Remember: While similar to private industry, the process has key differences. Statutes, executive orders, and regulations—along with interpretations—set the framework for Federal employment.

3 Types of Service

Ready to explore Federal careers? Let’s break down the categories.

Competitive Service

Think of it as an open competition for fantastic jobs! Everyone with the minimum qualifications gets a fair shot, including veterans with valuable advantages thanks to Veterans’ Preference.

Here’s how it works:

  • It’s open to all. You don’t need prior connections! Just meet the basic requirements, and you’re in the running.
  • It’s fair and transparent. They use tests, education evaluations, and competency assessments to choose the best person for the job; it’s not about who you know.
  • Veterans’ Preference matters. As a veteran, you get extra points in the evaluation process if you qualify.
  • Find your perfect fit. Most Federal jobs fall under this category, offering diverse options across agencies.
  • Start your job search. Head to USAJOBS to discover open positions and launch your application.

Remember, competition can be stiff. Be prepared, polish your resume, and highlight your unique skills.

Excepted Service

Ready to explore diverse Federal careers? Let’s dive into Excepted Service positions. Think of this category as offering unique opportunities tailored to specific needs. While they have different appointment processes, Veterans’ Preference still applies unless exempted.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Alternative pathways exist. These positions offer ways to showcase your skills beyond traditional exams.
  • Veterans’ Preference matters. You still get an edge in the evaluation process if you qualify.
  • Contact agencies directly. Reach out to agencies directly for applications and details; they’re your primary source of information. Find their contact information in this directory.
  • Explore diverse options. Some agencies voluntarily post openings on USAJOBS, while others manage applications entirely.

Remember, while these positions differ from Competitive Service, your dedication and skills are valued. Be proactive, connect with agencies, and highlight your unique strengths.

The Senior Executive Service

Intrigued by senior leadership roles in the Federal government? Look no further than the Senior Executive Service (SES). Think of this as a distinguished group of executives chosen for their exceptional leadership qualities and commitment to making a difference. While veterans don’t get a hiring preference for SES positions, your unique skills and dedication are still highly valued.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • It’s designed for top leadership. The SES was created to identify and cultivate exceptional leaders.
  • Focus on leadership traits. Emphasize your qualities such as strategic thinking, decision-making, and public service commitment.
  • Positions are advertised on USAJOBS. Explore open opportunities, and see if your qualifications align.
  • Learn more. Dive deeper into the application process on OPM’s dedicated website.

Remember, being part of the SES means making a significant impact. If you’re ready to step up and lead, explore this rewarding path.

Job Openings & Applications

Ready to explore rewarding Federal job opportunities? USAJOBS is your one-stop shop! Think of it as a dynamic hub bursting with over 30,000 diverse positions worldwide, updated daily. Here’s what awaits you:

  • Clear information: Easily access details about job openings, requirements, and benefits.
  • Convenient tools: Build and submit your resume online, saving time and effort.
  • Easy application: Apply for most positions directly through the platform.

Each job announcement has crucial details:

  • Agency and overview: Understand the organization’s and role’s essence.
  • Location and flexibility: Know where the job is located and if telework is possible.
  • Responsibilities and duties: Discover what you’ll be doing day-to-day.
  • Qualifications and requirements: See if your skills and experience align.
  • Application materials: Gather the necessary documents (resume, transcripts, etc.).
  • Benefits: Learn about health insurance, retirement plans, and more.
  • Application instructions: Follow the agency’s specific guidelines.

While agencies can cancel job postings, the site is constantly adding new opportunities. Explore, apply, and get on the road to your fulfilling Federal career!

Learn more about applying for a Federal job as a veteran.

Find resources designed for veterans transitioning to civilian positions in the Federal government.

How to Prepare for an Interview

While the hiring process for Federal jobs varies from agency to agency and position to position, you’re bound to participate in at least one interview as you pursue opportunities. Focus on how your military service contributes to your qualifications, and practice answering questions. The Yoodli Interview Practice can give you a leg up.

Here’s how it works. Choose the type of interview, such as Software Engineer, Data Scientist, or Learning and Development. Select the type of interviewer style you think fits best (e.g., Friendly or Behavioral). Select at least a couple of starter questions. (After each of your answers, Yoodli will generate one more question in real-time based on your response.) Make sure your webcam and microphone are connected, and click on Start Interview to initiate the practice interview.

After your practice session, Yoodli will give you feedback on your word choices and delivery as well as insights on how to be more concise and how to rephrase your answers in simple terms.

Jobs for Military Spouses & Family Members

The Feds Hire Vets program recognizes the dedication of military spouses and families to supporting our nation’s heroes. As a spouse or family member of an active duty service member, you also have unique skills, commitment, public service mindset, and experience that are valuable assets to the Federal workforce.

Explore your options:

  • Discover relevant eligibilities. Learn about programs that give you a leg up in the Federal job search.
  • Gain valuable insights. Access resources and information tailored to your unique situation.
  • Build your fulfilling career. Find opportunities that match your skills and aspirations.

Ready to step into your next chapter? Connect with the resources and support you need to thrive in a Federal career. Learn more.

Wrapping Up

Veterans, transitioning service members, and families—Feds Hire Vets sees you. They recognize your dedication, your skills, and your desire to continue serving. That’s why they exist—to connect you with fulfilling Federal careers that honor your service and leverage your unique strengths.

Ready to embark on your next chapter? Dive in, and discover how your talents can make a difference in the Federal workforce. Together, you can build a future where your service continues to shape our nation.

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