The Department of Defense (DOD) has a vast number of job opportunities across a multitude of career paths and geographic locations. As a current or prior Federal employee, there are many options for finding your fit with DOD.
Federal Employee Options
Current Federal Employees with Competitive Status
Employees with competitive status can apply to merit promotion (government-wide) positions and positions open to everyone on USAJOBS. Federal employees with status may also able be hired through direct hiring authorities and Veteran authorities with previous qualifying military service.
Prior Federal Employees with Competitive Status
As a prior Federal employee in the competitive service, you may be eligible for reinstatement. If you have acquired career tenure after three years of continuous competitive service, you may apply for reinstatement to merit promotion announcements. Additionally, under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for reinstatement within three years after separating from a position in competitive service. You may also apply to positions open to everyone on USAJOBS.
Current or Prior Federal Employees without Competitive Status
If you are a current or prior Federal employee that served in the excepted service, you can apply for positions that are open to the public or open to Federal employees – excepted service. Additionally, there are some agencies that have interchange agreements for employees in the excepted service. Those that served in the senior executive service may apply for positions that are open to the public or senior executive positions.
Competitive Service Hiring
Many positions in the competitive service are eligible to obtain career status (tenure) upon completion of three years of continuous service. There are some Agencies that have interchange agreements which allow their employees that are not in the competitive service to apply for positions that are in the competitive service at different Agencies. Additionally, some Foreign Service employees are also eligible to be appointed to competitive service positions.
If this is the first Federal position in the competitive service that you are applying to, you will need to apply to vacancy announcements that are open “to the public.” Each vacancy announcement will specify those that are eligible for the position.
Excepted Service Hiring
There are some positions within the Government that are excepted by law from the competitive service. As a result, these positions are also exempt from obtaining career status (tenure). Some initial appointments are done through the excepted service but are either required or have the option to be converted into the competitive service without the need to compete (i.e., advertise and apply) after certain requirements (e.g., two years of service) are met. Here are some examples of these types of appointments: Veterans Recruitment Authority (VRA), 30% or greater Disabled Veterans, Schedule A Disability, some student internships (detailed in the vacancy announcement), recent graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows (PMF).
Due to the criticality or difficulty in filling certain positions, some jobs have been granted an authority to “direct hire.” Typically, this means a shorter hiring process as not all of the same regulations apply. There are several positions across the Federal Government where Agencies have the authority to direct hire. These include some Medical occupations, Information Technology (Information Security), some Acquisition positions, and some Veterinarians.
The Department of Defense has been granted the authority to hire for additional positions using direct hiring. As critical needs arise, these authorities are updated. Each vacancy announcement will detail if the position being advertised is using a direct hire authority.
Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) positions are very similar to other Federal positions except that they are paid from a different funding source. As a result, the pay scales and employee benefits are also slightly different. NAF positions are similarly advertised as other positions on USAJOBS, where you must apply and meet qualification requirements. Each vacancy announcement will detail if the position is a NAF position and outline the requirements, salary, and benefits.
When applying for a position with the DOD, make sure to include all required documentation as outlined in the vacancy announcement. Most commonly requested documents include:
Resume that includes:
Copy of your latest performance appraisal
Typically, a review that has occurred within the last 12 months
Include a copy that displays the final overall rating
SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action
Make sure that it displays Tenure, Position Occupied, Current Grade, and Salary. If the full promotion potential (FPL) of your position is higher than your current grade, please ensure that the Remarks section annotates this FPL. If you have held a higher grade than what you are applying to, please be sure to include a copy of that SF-50 as well. Typically, an Award SF-50 does not include this information. You can obtain a copy of your SF-50 from your local Human Resources Office, an electronic personnel system within your agency, or in your electronic official personnel file (eOPF).