The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act gives veterans access to federal jobs that might otherwise be closed to them and, indeed, the federal government has an outstanding record when it comes to hiring veterans. This is due in large part to the laws providing veterans special preference. Most federal agencies have a veteran’s employment program to enhance employment opportunities for veterans within their organization.

Veteran’s preference gives eligible veteran applicants preference in appointment over their civilian counterparts and in retention during reductions in force. Preference does not guarantee veterans jobs and does not apply to internal actions such as promotions and transfers. Only veterans discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions are eligible for veteran’s preferences. Veterans who retired above the rank of major are not eligible for preferences unless they retired with a disability. Veterans with a disability will receive an additional preference, but must fill out an SF-15. Any veteran must produce a certified copy of their DD-214 form outlining the status of their discharge from active duty.

If you are applying for a government job in your home town at either a military base or other government agency, it is best to visit the facility and find out how they process their applications. Although websites like USA Jobs list thousands of positions for jobs across the country, there are differences in how each agency processes its applications. Some agencies may be backlogged and applications that appear on the USA Jobs site may no longer be active and therefore unavailable. By visiting the agency itself, you can find out firsthand what the current postings are and you might even be able to find out who is conducting interviews and get a chance to meet them. This will save you hours of time as opposed to needlessly filling out applications for jobs that are no longer current.

Agency employees can also tell you how to fill out and package your application, along with how many certified copies of your DD-214 are needed. Incomplete applications or ones that are incorrectly submitted are usually discarded. If this happens, you may never discover why your application was not considered until it is too late and the position has been filled. Once you fill out your application, you should make a point of visiting the personnel office from time to time to check on the progress. These offices receive hundreds of applications, and the more you are seen the better your chances are of getting an interview. The squeaky wheel gets the interview, and your persistence could definitely pay off.

The key to landing a government job is to read the announcement thoroughly and provide everything it lists as required for that position. Postings may list the email of a human resources specialist to contact if you have questions. However, this specialist may be far removed from the actual position and may only be able to answer general questions about the posting. Your ability to connect with the very people who are going to process your application and possibly be seen by the hiring manager will help to move your application from the bottom of the pile to the top.