Federal job hunt made easier for outgoing military members

Tuesday - 6/19/2012, 7:51pm EDT

By Keith BieryGolick
Special to Federal News Radio

Active-duty military expected to be discharged under honorable conditions now can start their federal job hunt with one less hoop to jump through.

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry released a memo Friday providing guidelines, facts and frequently asked questions for the VOW (Veterans Opportunity to Work) to Hire Heroes Act.

The VOW Act, signed by President Barack Obama Nov. 21, requires agencies to give certain active duty service members veterans' preference when they apply for jobs.

As part of the old application process, agencies mandated that service members provide certification of release or discharge from active duty. But with numerous individuals beginning to search for employment prior to discharge, these procedures left many people facing an uphill battle to find a job.

OPM enacted the Vow Act to ensure these individuals did not lose the opportunity to be considered for federal service, Berry wrote in the memo, even if they didn't have a DD form 214 to submit along with their resumes.

Now, active-duty military applicants can obtain a document from the military that certifies the service member is projected to be released from active duty no later than 120 days after the document is signed. If the certification expires, an agency must request other documentation acceptable under the provision in the law that grants the service member eligibility to veterans' preference, Berry wrote.

Agencies can consider an outgoing service member who submits proper documentation in lieu of a DD form 214 for an appointment or preferential entitlement.

OPM provided a few other details in the FAQs, instructing agencies to grant service members' tentative veterans' preference, but to verify the individual meets the law's definition of "preference eligible" before awarding permanent veterans' preference.

Keith BieryGolick is an intern at Federal News Radio

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