According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate among Gulf War II era vets (those serving since September 2011) is 11.5 percent, roughly 1 percent higher than the non-veteran population. But veterans do have several programs and opportunities that can give them a leg up when competing for work.

The most widely known of these are the civil-service Preference Point system and the Veteran’s Recruitment Appointment rule. Preference points apply to federal civil service examinations, and can add either five points for eligible veterans or 10 points for eligible disabled veterans depending on the nature of their service. Many state governments offer a similar preference point system for veterans.

A special rule

Under the Veteran’s Recruitment Appointment rule,a veteran can be appointed to a white-collar position through GS 11 without having to compete with other applicants. The VRA is open to disabled veterans who served on active duty during a war or major campaign and have left the service under honorable conditions within three years.

Training, education, and counseling

In addition, veterans have support services and programs to help them get the training, education, and counseling needed to improve their employability. One such program is offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program known as VetSuccess. Several organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Non-Commissioned Officer Association (NCOA) sponsor local career fairs throughout the country.

These veteran job expos are specifically designed to help veteran-friendly employers find veterans looking for work.