Question: Does being a veteran guarantee someone a federal job?
Answer: No, but it certainly helps.
Veterans whose military service meets certain standards get preference for a large majority of federal jobs. In competitive hiring, where agencies rank candidates for hiring in categories, veterans are placed above nonveterans within each category, and where agencies use numerical ranking, veterans get extra points. For jobs where formal competition is not practical, veterans’ status is still an advantage.
There are additional advantages for disabled veterans, as well as a program in which veterans can be hired without competition into certain jobs for a trial period and then converted to the civil service later.
Formal preference dates to World War II — informal practices date to the Civil War — meaning that veterans long have held a larger share of government jobs than in the workforce in general. A year ago that was 31 percent, up from 26 percent in 2009, although up only slightly from 2015, a new Office of Personnel Management report shows. About the same percentage of those newly hired in 2016 were veterans, actually down slightly from 2015.
Counting only full-time, nonseasonal, permanent positions, the veterans’ share of those newly hired is even higher at 42 percent.