VETERAN FAQ

Welcome to our Questions & Answers (Q&A) Page. These questions were asked by other Veterans seeking information about employment opportunities in the Department of Defense (DOD). We will continue to add questions and post our answers as we receive them. If your question has not been answered, please do not hesitate to Ask Us, and we will respond as soon as possible.

1. Where can I get information about transitioning from active duty to the civilian workforce?
2. Now that I'm getting out of the Armed Forces, how can I convert my military experience toward a civilian career?
3. How does a Veteran apply for a job with the Department of Defense?
4. Is there an office in the Department of Defense that can provide assistance?
5. When vacancies are announced by a DOD agency, how can selecting officials fill the position with a Veteran?
6. What does "Veterans' preference" do for a disabled Veteran?
7. If I have five point preference, am I considered a disabled Veteran?
8. How do I get ten point preference for employment?
9. What do I need to show to the Human Resources Office to prove that I am a disabled Veteran?
10. How can I find out what kind of Veterans' preference I have?
11. What is derived preference?
12. What proof do I need to obtain derived preference for employment?
13. I have recently become blind. I was a computer specialist in the military. What jobs can I apply for now?
14. What are Selective Factors?
15. What are Quality Ranking Factors?
16. Job Announcements often refer to "certificates." What does that mean?
17. I've read job announcements that identify positions in the Federal Wage System. Can you explain more?
18. I was a mechanic in the service and now want to consider other types of craft or laborer jobs. Where can I find these types of jobs as a civilian?
19. What is USAJOBS?

 



Q1: Where can I get information about transitioning from active duty to the civilian workforce?

A: Before transitioning from active duty, military service members should make a visit to their Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Office. TAP was designed by the Department of Defense to smooth the transition of military personnel into the civilian workforce. Whether you're retiring, going back to school, or looking for a new career, success requires planning and resources and the Transition Assistance Program is there to help. The Transition Assistance Office, normally located at the Military Family Support/Service Center on your installation, provides assistance with job searches, career decision-making, advice on current occupational and labor market conditions, resume and cover letter preparation and interviewing techniques. Participants are also provided with an evaluation of their employability relative to the job market and receive information on the most current Veterans' benefits. In addition, to better assist military service members preparing to transition to the civilian workforce, the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor created a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Manual. Information contained in the TAP Manual includes excellent advice on career exploration, job search strategies, interview techniques, how to review job offers, how to determine your strengths, how to analyze your skills and competencies, how to assess your financial needs and includes up-to-date information on Veterans benefits. You may find this informative manual at http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/tap/

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Q2: Now that I'm getting out of the Armed Forces, how can I convert my military experience toward a civilian career?

A: The Department of Defense (DOD) recognizes the enormous contributions you made and the excellent skills you acquired while serving your country in uniform and are glad that you are considering a civilian career with DOD.

There are over 700 different types of occupations within the Department of Defense. To find information on military to civilian occupation comparisons, there is a great "Skills Translator" tool that can help you locate jobs similar to your military occupation. This user-friendly "Skills Translator" tool also provides salary levels and information on future employment outlook and can be found at website http://www.military.com/Careers/Home/.

To also help in your search, you may want to obtain a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD From 2586). This document contains education and training data on skills you acquired while serving on active duty. The primary purpose of the document is to assist you with your civilian job search by cross-walking military skills into civilian job fields. Information about this document can be found on the following websites: https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/tgps/ .

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Q3: How does a Veteran apply for a job with the Department of Defense?

A: All applicants for Department of Defense jobs must follow the same application process. The most important step in the process is your job search. DOD job openings are described in a vacancy announcement so you must search the various DOD Agencies until you find a job vacancy. To respond to these vacancy announcements, you must submit a resume containing specific information describing your skills, experience, education level, etc. Please be sure to read the vacancy announcement very carefully and follow the instructions in the "How to Apply" section of each announcement. Each vacancy announcement will include specific information such as title, duties, salary, location, who can apply, and how to apply.

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Q4: Is there an office in the Department of Defense that can provide assistance?

A: Yes. The Recruitment Assistance Division (RAD) offers job applicants assistance seeking DOD civilian employment. You may call one of the RAD staff advisors at 1-888-363-4872. You can also visit them via the web at http://www.godefense.com.

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Q5: When vacancies are announced by a DOD Agency, how can selecting officials fill the position with a Veteran?

A: Agencies must select from the top rated eligible applicants. Disabled Veterans are considered to have Veterans' preference for employment purposes and may be placed at the top of the Certificate of Eligibles if qualified for the job. Other Veterans and non-Veterans may be referred on the same certificate in lower categories.

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Q6: What does "veterans' preference" do for a disabled Veteran?

A: Veterans' preference gives special consideration to eligible disabled Veterans in Federal employment. Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans. If a numerical rating scheme is used to evaluate applications for employment, 10 points are added to the overall score. If a quality factor rating scheme is used, such as Best Qualified, Highly Qualified, and Qualified, the disabled Veteran is placed at the top of the quality group. Veterans with a 30 percent compensable disability are placed at the top of the Best Qualified Group.

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Q7: If I have five point preference, am I considered a disabled Veteran?

A: No, five-point preference is given to those honorably separated Veterans (this means an honorable or general discharge) who served on active duty (not active duty for training) in the Armed Forces:

  • During any war (this means a war declared by Congress, the last of which was World War II);
  • For more than 180 consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976;
  • During the period April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955; or
  • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized, such as El Salvador, Lebanon, Granada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti.

Medal holders and Gulf War Veterans who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, or who entered on active duty on or after October 14, 1982, without having previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty, must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. Effective on October 1, 1980, military retirees at or above the rank of major or equivalent, are not entitled to preference unless they qualify as disabled Veterans.

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Q8: How do I get ten point preference for employment?

A: The Department of Veterans Affairs assigns the preference rating. Ten-point preference is given to:

  • Those honorably separated Veterans who 1) qualify as disabled Veterans because they have served on active duty in the Armed Forces at any time and have a present service-connected disability or are receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs; or 2) are Purple Heart recipients;
  • The spouse of a Veteran unable to work because of a service- connected disability;
  • The unmarried widow of certain deceased Veterans; and
  • The mother of a Veteran who died in service or who is permanently and totally disabled.

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Q9: What do I need to show to the Human Resources Office to prove that I am a disabled Veteran?

A: When applying for Federal jobs, eligible disabled Veterans should claim preference on their application or resume. Applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete a Standard Form SF-15, "Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference" and provide the supporting documents as indicated in the form.

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Q10: How can I find out what kind of veterans' preference I have?

A: The Department of Labor's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Veterans' Employment and Training Service has an "expert system" to help Veterans assess the preferences to which they are entitled. Two versions of this system are currently available, both of which help the disabled Veterans determine the type of preference to which they are entitled, and the benefits associated with the preference.

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Q11: What is derived preference?

A: Derived preference, available to eligible spouses (including widows or widowers), is based on the qualifying service of a Veteran who is not able to work. Under certain circumstances, mothers of deceased or disabled Veterans are also eligible for derived preference. Detailed information on derived preference can be found in Chapter 2, "Veterans' Preference in Appointments," of the OPM VetGuide located at http://www.opm.gov/StaffingPortal/vetguide.asp .

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Q12: What proof do I need to obtain derived preference for employment?

A: You should complete a Standard Form 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and follow the directions in sections D through H of the form. An eligibility determination will be made by the personnel office accepting your employment application.

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Q13: I have recently become blind. I was a computer specialist in the military. What jobs can I apply for now?

A: You can still apply for computer specialist positions in Defense. Software tools such as Screen Reader, JAWS, and Dolphins software are available to assist you in your daily work. A Refreshable Braille display is also used, if needed, through the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP). Read more about CAP at http://www.cap.mil/.

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Q14: What are Selective Factors?

A: They are mandatory knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the duties of the specific position. If selective factors are listed, your application must demonstrate that you possess all of them. Selective Factors supplement basic qualification requirements. If you do not possess any one of the Selective Factors, you will not be considered for the position.

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Q15: What are Quality Ranking Factors?

A: Quality Ranking Factors are highly desirable knowledge, skills or abilities that are helpful in performing the duties of the position. Your application must address how you meet them. These factors help determine the very best qualified applicant for the position. If you do not meet any one of them, you may not be rated among the best qualified.

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Q16: Job Announcements often refer to "certificates." What does that mean?

A: A certificate is a listing of the names of eligible candidates for a job. The certificate is an official document that is given to a supervisor or selecting official from which to make a selection determination.

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Q17: I've read job announcements that identify positions in the Federal Wage System. Can you explain more?

A: The Federal Wage System, or FWS, is a system that groups together the trades and laborer occupations in the Federal Government.

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Q18: I was a mechanic in the service and now want to consider other types of craft or laborer jobs. Where can I find these types of jobs as a civilian?

A: There are many trades and laborer occupations available throughout the Department of Defense. Machine-Tool Operator, Truck Driver, Telecommunications Mechanic, Electronics Mechanic, Boiler Plant Operator, and Painter are just a few. These and numerous other job opportunities can be viewed at www.goDefense.com, the official job site of the DOD or call 1-888-DOD 4USA for assistance.

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Q19: What is USAJOBS?

A: www.USAJOBS.gov is the primary source for jobs vacancy announcements. Search for DOD jobs using the Advanced Search feature.

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