There are many federal job opportunities available for veterans and those who have been disabled through military service. According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) one third of the entire civilian federal workforce is now comprised of veterans. Many special emphasis hiring opportunities exist for veterans if they know where to look and how to apply for these high paying and secure federal jobs. The competition is keen however those who take the time to explore the possibilities and spend quality time compiling their federal style resume have tremendous opportunities available.
OPM reports that “Each year, about 200,000 military service members hang up their uniforms and make the transition to civilian life,” said Beth Cobert, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management. “Veterans bring distinctive training, skills, leadership, and experiences that we need at every agency in the Federal Government.”
The statistics are compelling, in 2015, Uncle Sam hired in the neighborhood of 221,000 new employees of which 72,000 of the new hires were veterans and 31,000 were disabled veterans. There are many federal occupations (called job series) in federal service that veterans have the skill sets to meet and exceed the entry level qualifications for.
I made the transition from military to a federal civilian career many years ago when I was discharged from active duty. I was an avionics technician with the U.S. Air Force and accepted an early out under the Palace Chase Program. I applied for a comparable job with the Department of Defense (DOD) and was accepted for a full time civilian position with the Air National Guard. Vietnam was winding down and the Air Force, like all other branches of the service at that time, was downsizing. I spent 3 years with the DOD before apply for and accepting a navigational aid system specialist position with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The military system is similar to the federal system in many ways including supply systems, documentation, and training so the transition isn’t as difficult as many imagine. I was an electronics technician in the navigation, radar, and communications fields. When I moved from the DOD to the FAA the parts ordering system was basically the same using the Federal Stock Number (FSN) system and all of the documentation was similar. The major difference is you aren’t in uniform unless you are in a occupation such as a guard, police officer, or park ranger for the most part. You do have to learn new skills and the training is every bit as comprehensive and demanding as the military.
Veterans should explore the possibilities and use the benefits they have such as the Veterans Preference System to their advantage. In many cases vets go to the top of the list as long as they meet the qualifications for the position and on what is called the “Best Qualified” list.
To start your search review occupations of interest that compliment your military service. If you aren’t sure of what occupation (federal job title) would best suit your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) perform an assessment to determine realistic opportunities. Start early and apply frequently. It takes time and research but it can pay off with a solid career with exceptional pay and benefits. Plus your military service time will count towards your federal civilian retirement and you will start with four weeks of vacation time if you have at least 3 years of military service.
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