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What veterans, spouses need to know about federal jobs

9 mins read
Larry Dandridge

Last week’s ISLAND NEWS Veterans Benefits article (Part 1 of 2) covered six things that should help veterans in searching, finding, and applying for federal government jobs. This article is Part 2 of 2 on Federal job searching will cover eight more important tips and items of interest concerning the pursuit of federal jobs.

As a Veterans Employment Assistance Volunteer with the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and with the Charleston, S.C. Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Chapter, I am asked many times, “How can I get a good job with the Federal Government?” Here are eight more things I tell them.

7. There are more than 300 federal agencies and corporations to apply to. The DOD and VA are not the only Federal Agencies seeking employees. There are more than 300 federal agencies. Do not forget to go to each of those agency sites and look for and apply for jobs you are interested in and are qualified for. Those federal agencies include organization like the Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Resources, Interior, Justice, Homeland Security, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and many others. Do not forget independent government agencies and government corporations.

There is a federal agency directory at https://fedshirevets.gov/AgencyDirectory/index.aspxhttps://fedshirevets.gov/AgencyDirectory/index.aspx. This list of Veteran Employment Program Offices at the FEDS HIRE VETS site Agency Directory includes the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of those government employees responsible for promoting Veterans’ recruitment, employment, training and development, and retention within their respective agencies. Veterans are encouraged to contact these individuals for specific information on employment opportunities in those agencies.

8. Just get your foot in the door is NOT a good idea for most people. Some people ask me, “Isn’t it a good idea to get your foot in the federal job door, at a low level, and then apply more for higher level federal jobs?” My answer is, “no.” There are long time-in-grade requirements, and if you get into the federal world at a GS4-GS5 levels, you may be qualified for higher jobs, but time in grade will prevent you from getting promoted rapidly.

9. Where are federal jobs listed? Federal jobs are listed at:

USA.Jobs web site,

In social media (Face Book and Twitter but not Linked in or Rally Point), and

Individual agency web sites.

See these sites for some federal jobs:

The Official Twitter account for veteran Federal employment information.is at https://twitter.com/FedsHireVets.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Feds Hire Vets official Facebook fan page for Federal employment information for veterans is at https://www.facebook.com/pg/Feds-Hire-Vets-262183904582/about/.

(WARNING! One word of caution for anyone wanting a federal job or wanting to keep a federal job. The government (and industry) uses social media to help determine the wisdom, trustworthiness, ethical conduct, morality, honesty, integrity, and eligibility for employment and security clearances. Don’t put anything on social media that might embarrass you, raise doubts about your character or honesty, or jeopardize your employment.)

10. Go to the OPM Veterans Services Vet Guide. Go to https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/veterans-services/vet-guide-for-hr-professionals/ for a complete explanation of veterans and family members veterans’ preferences. By law, 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 others in hiring from competitive lists of eligibles and also in retention during reductions-in-force. In addition to receiving preference in competitive appointments, veterans may be considered for special noncompetitive appointments for which only they are eligible.

OPM’s Veterans Services Vet Guide explains zero point, five-point, and 10-point preferences for veterans, point preferences and special considerations for widows and widowers, mothers of deceased vets, mothers of disabled vets, Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW – you need DD214), adjudication of veterans’ preference claims, crediting experience of preference eligibles, and dozens of other conditions of veterans and veteran’s family preferences. This subject is too large for one newspaper article.

11. There is NO Veteran’s preference in the Legislative or Judicial branches of our government. Veterans are always surprised (and disappointed) to learn this. Next time your senator or congressman says he support our troops and veterans —- remind him or her of this injustice.

12. Use the Employment Advisers at VA Medical Centers. Our local Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston has vocational specialists on the healthcare side who help homeless Vets with training and jobs, Vocational Rehab specialists from the benefits side who work to help veterans with jobs support, and all 20+ Human Resources staff members help veterans as needed at the HR Customer Service Center.

13. The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that strives for a more effective government for the American people. This organization can be helpful to job seekers looking for federal employment. Federal agencies are struggling to recruit and hire the vital talent needed to ensure our government’s health and security. Due to competition for top candidates and the slow federal hiring process, many of the brightest employees in critical fields like cybersecurity, science, technology, engineering, medical, and math are choosing other employers over the federal government.

Young people, whose energy and creativity in the workplace is valuable, are vastly underrepresented compared to the broader labor market. And it is challenging for government to attract and hire mid-level and senior-level talent from outside government, who could bring fresh perspectives and innovations from other sectors to solve federal challenges.

14. SC WORKS.ORG is a great employment assistance resource to Veterans and Their Families. I saved some of the best news for Vets for last – https://jobs.scworks.org/ links all of South Carolina’s state and local workforce services and resources. The partners are the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and South Carolina’s 12 Workforce Investment Boards, which administer SC Works Centers, which have full-time, dedicated veteran employment assistance advisers) throughout the State. Every Veterans and vets’ family members should use this resource in searching for jobs. SC Work Centers offer services from a to z. Here are some of the Lowcountry SC WORKS centers contact information:

SC Works Beaufort County Center,164 Castle Rock Road, Beaufort S.C. 29906, Phone: 843-524-3351.

SC Works Jasper County Center, 11332 B North Jacob Smarts Blvd., Ridgeland, S.C. 29936, Phone: 843-726-3750.

SC Works Colleton County Center, 101 Mable T. Willis Blvd, Walterboro, S.C. 29488, Phone: 843-538-8980.

SC Works Charleston County S.C. Center, 1930 Hanahan Road, Suite 200, North Charleston, S.C. 29406, 843-574-1800.

Larry Dandridge is a retired Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army. He is a Vietnam War era wounded warrior, a combat and 100 percent disabled veteran, a former Infantryman, former Warrant Officer and pilot. Dandridge is also a past Veterans Service Officer, and a current volunteer Patient Adviser, CEO Advisory Council Member, and Patient and Family Advisory Committee Member at the RHJ VA Medical Center, as well as a published author and free-lance writer. He can be reached at LDandridge@earthlink.net.

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