Veterans' preference: A guide to using it

Obtaining employment into the federal government can be like trying to navigate a very large and complicated maze. For veterans, the process can be even more cumbersome and confusing. Many visit and find difficulty. Veterans’ preference hiring laws give those who served in uniform a leg up on others when pursuing federal-government employment. This means veterans receive either a 5-point or 10-point preference, based on where they served and whether or not they are disabled. A service-connected disability results in a 10-point preference.

To find out if you qualify for a 5-point or 10-point preference, visit FedHiresVets.The Web site lists employment opportunities within the federal government. Most federal positions are posted there. Searches can be conducted by job, agency or even location.

But the process does not end after you see a desirable position and apply for it. What most veterans don’t understand is that there is a non-competitive hiring process for veterans, available to all who are rated 30-percent service-connected disabled or higher.

When applying, you will check a box that identifies you as the one applying for the position; once you apply, the waiting begins. One of the main complaints from veterans has been the amount of time an applicant has to wait before he or she is interviewed and/or hired. The hiring process takes 180 days on average from the time of application until the date of hire.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has identified some ways for the federal government to expedite the wait. One is to eliminate several steps in the hiring process. OPM’s experts say eliminating the “rule of three,” and the “Knowledge, Skills, Assessment” testing will result in a higher percentage of veterans being interviewed and ultimately hired.

In November 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to establish a federal hiring initiative focusing on increasing the number of veterans in the federal government. The initiative targets veterans and transitioning servicemembers, and their spouses and families, who are interested in federal employment.

The American Legion is encouraged by the administration’s focus on hiring veterans. Ultimately, the Legion is looking for the number of veterans working for the federal government to steadily increase.

Indeed, it can be a complicated process. Job seekers will be asked for multiple documents to upload into It could take a month or two before hearing any feedback from the agencies. The American Legion has experts in the federal employment arena who can answers questions or provide assistance in navigating the application process. For more information, click here.


  1. I have applied for 4 seperate jobs in sebring, fl. I am qualified for the positions that i applied for. During every (all 4 ) interviews i found that the hiring panel had not even looked at my resume. This would indicate that there was no real intention of hiring me and the interview was merely to satisfy the requirement.
  2. I truly feel that the veterans preference is a joke. No where that i apply could give a damn about me being a combat veteran. i am not asking for a handout or pity. i just want a chance. i apply over and over again to only hear that i am not qualified. i see more and more that even veterans with a 30% disability are getting a hard time. when will the powers that be live up to all the lip service they serve up. every politician wants to take a picture at some poor soldiers bedside. but what about when that soldier goes home and tries to put their live back together. let's take a moment to think about this. people are being disqualified because of credit. well let's think about that for a few minutes. if i do not have a job, how can i pay my bills ???!!!!! so these people that interview, who know nothing about me get to tell me that i am not " qualified " because my strained credit is no good... that is a bowl of bull!!!!!!!!!!!! things have got to change!!!
  3. I am a 30% eligible veteran and I have a Master's Degree in Education. I have applied for over 11 positions. I have interviewed for 3 of them and all chose the internal candidate. The agencies did the minimum requirements for the 30% eligible and made no real attempt to hire. They just followed the mandates. The interviews are geared toward the incumbents and as long as they can indicate that the 30% veteran was not the strongest candidate, they can just about do as they please. Oh, but if you are a 30% eligible veteran, you can be non competitively appointed to a custodian or elevator operator. They just choose to leave the "good jobs" to the internal candidates shall we say. The intiative has no real merit, it's only there on paper as a photo opportunity and to provide high level appointment jobs. All smoke and mirrors!
  4. Someone should inform the Postal Service that Veteran Preference exists. The Postal Service is one of our nations largest employers,yet they are one of the most anti-veteran organization in our nation. The percentage of veterans employed by the Postal Service has been on the decline. In 2009 The Postal Service offered an early retirement Program.Prior to the deadine for this program many veteran found themselves targets of harassmant.Many veterans accepted the retirement program in spite of the negative economic impact on their lives, just to avoid the harassment.Of the 20,876 employees that accepted this program 8,301 were veteran or approximately forty percent, yet veterans only make up 23.4 percent of the workforce,this will further add to the decline in the percentage of veterans in their workforce. Its time for our politicians to stop giving veteran lipservice and see that veteran preferance rules are followed and the Postal Service is the place to start
  5. It has been extremely difficult for me to return back into Federal Employment. I have 19 years Civil Service experience with the DOD, and that doesn't include my military experience. One thing that would save time and money would be eliminate the backgound check on all those that are military veterans or reinstatement eligible with the Federal Government. Our fingerprints and security clearances should already be on file and in the database. I also noted that any Department of Justice positions requires a background credit check. That makes it extremely difficult for all those that are unemployed as well as underemployed. Why the discrimination with that government agency.
  6. There's no such thing as VP I feel all veterans so called support groups/organizations need to wake up to reality. Look around this country we're at what 28% unemployment and are any of these organizations laying people off, doubling the work load and cutting pay for government employees? NO! It takes 5 to 10 working days for them to answer a simple question! The truth is today VETS are comimg home to nothing this is our reward for your sacrafice or our way of saying thanks alot!
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