Veterans’ Preference Hiring: What You Need To Know

Veterans’ preference points are a distinct advantage of being a veteran of the United States Military. But using “preference points” isn’t standardized, and depending on the type of job you seek, you may encounter different requirements, standards, and regulations on how and when you may claim veteran’s preference when competing for a job.

For example, when taking a Civil Service exam, qualifying veterans may be awarded additional test scoring points on a given test. This practice may vary depending on the state you’re in, the type of exam you’re taking, or other factors.

A good example: those applying for civil service jobs with the University of Illinois (U of I) would be awarded preference points based on the following criteria:

Preparing for transition from the military
USAF photo illustration by Justin Connaher

Veterans with a service-connected disability who were separated from service under honorable conditions…Purple Heart recipients…Veterans who served, or members of the National Guard or Reserves who were activated, during a period of hostility…

That’s a direct quote from the U of I Careers page on the university’s official site. Preference points added to your score on the Civil Service exam can be quite helpful, especially for hiring where the decisions are made with a specific emphasis on the exam scores

But what about Federal hiring? The United States Office of Personnel Management official site has this to say about applying for a federal job using veterans’ preference points:

In general, veterans’ preference eligibility is based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. Only veterans discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions (honorable or general discharge) are eligible for veterans’ preference.

Those interested in finding out whether they are eligible for veterans’ preference points for federal jobs should explore the online Veterans’ Preference Advisor.

This resource will walk users through a series of questions designed to help determine eligibility for hiring preference points for federal jobs.

State and local hiring practices will vary, and members of the National Guard or Reserves may need additional documentation of active duty service times and current military commitment.

About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News