Here are a few special hiring authorities for non-veterans that may help you better compete for your target job:
• Direct Hire Authority: Some entire occupational series qualify for Direct Hire Authority (DHA). The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides both government-wide and agency-specific direct hiring authority for filling vacancies when there arises a critical hiring need or severe shortage of candidates. Direct hiring authority can be used to fill a variety of types of appointments: permanent, temporary, and limited and term appointments with “not-to-exceed” dates. A few position types eligible for DHA government-wide include: Information Technology Management Specialist (Information Security)—grades 9 and above (job series 2210); diagnostic radiologic technologist (job series 647); medical officer (job series 602); nurse (job series 610); pharmacist (job series 660); and federal acquisitions positions covered under Title 41.
• Digital Services Experts: In mid-2015, OPM authorized excepted service appointments at the GS-11 to GS-15 levels for candidates with expertise in “modern digital product design, software engineering, product management, creating and maintaining flexible infrastructure, and designing and implementing agile governance structures,” as stated by the then OPM Director. If your work falls into this category, you may be eligible for this specialized hiring authority. Twenty-five agencies and a number of programs may use this authority. As you engage in career networking, be sure to mention your eligibility for this appointment; not all HR personnel and hiring managers may know about this.
• CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) is a unique program designed to broaden and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information technology infrastructure. SFS scholarships typically fully fund full-time student costs such as tuition and education-related fees, as long as you attend a participating institution. Funded by National Science Foundation grants, students receive stipends of $22,500 for undergraduate work and $34,000 for graduate programs. Visit https://www.sfs.opm.gov/ for more information.
• Former AmeriCorps and Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV): Agencies may appoint former AmeriCorps and PCV non-competitively within 12 months of their separation from volunteer service. The 12-month period can be extended in certain circumstances such as military service, higher education, or other activities at the agency’s discretion.
• Schedule A for People with Disabilities. Qualified individuals with disabilities can be appointed to federal jobs non-competitively through a process known as Schedule A. In order to be eligible for Schedule A, you must meet the qualifications for your target (i.e., have the required competencies and relevant experience to perform the job) and provide “proof of a disability” documentation. “Proof of a disability” is a letter stating that you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability. This letter is obtained from your doctor, a licensed medical professional, a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist, or any federal, state, or local agency that issues or provides disability benefits.
• Military spouse. This hiring authority is for: a military spouse who is relocating with their service-member spouse as a result of permanent change of station (PCS) orders; a spouse who is 100% disabled due to active duty service; or the spouse of a service member killed while on active duty. This appointment is authorized under Executive Order 13473. Military spouse appointments are non-competitive and may be made to competitive service (status) jobs. Because these are noncompetitive appointments, veterans’ preference is not considered for positions filled under this authority.
• Emergency Hiring Authority to support recovery from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Agencies have been authorized to make Excepted Service hiring appointments on a temporary basis for up to one year, to work on recovery and relief; these appointments can be extended in one-year increments.
The authorities above do not represent the full range of specialized hiring authorities, nor does it include the nuances of these eligibilities. Just being eligible for any of the above hiring authorities does not guarantee you a job. It does, however, provide you with some additional tools to use in your search. If applicable, ensure you include these eligibilities in your resume, mention them during networking, and include them when you complete your USAJOBS profile. Additional information special hiring authorities is located at www.opm.gov.