If you’ve been job hunting over the last two years or so, you’ll no doubt have come across the questions near the end of an application asking you if you’re a protected veteran or not. Does it matter if you put yes, no, or I don’t want to answer? Maybe.
You’ll easily recognize this screenshot if you’ve been putting in resumes in the last several years. It’s one of the last questions you’re asked if the company you’re applying for does any business with the U.S. Government. However, I was recently asked a very pointed question when it came to filling out the answer, “Does filling this out correctly guarantee me a job as a veteran?” Sorry, but no.
That said, it’s still essential to fill it out, especially if you fall into the protected veteran status. Doing so can still mean the difference between getting (and keeping) a new job.
As mentioned above, this question is required if the subject company does business with the government. In short, the Federal Government wants to be sure that a company they’re doing business with isn’t discriminating against veterans in their hiring, retention, or firing practices. While this can’t protect your job if you’re a terrible employee, it can do so if you’re unable to do your job because of a military-related injury or if you hold a specific status such as a campaign medal.
The practice dates back to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). You’ll recall from history that many returning veterans could not find work. While not always the case, many weren’t able to find work because they were veterans. So, congress stepped in.
As Military.com points out,
You cannot be denied employment, harassed, demoted, terminated, paid less or treated less favorably because of your veteran status. If you are an employee and a disabled veteran you can request “reasonable accommodation.” That accommodation allows you to “perform your job, and must be provided by your employer unless doing so would cause the employer significant difficulty or expense.”
So while selecting that you’re a protected veteran might not give you a leg up against your competition for the new job, it could help you somewhat. I’ll be the first to admit I’m proud of being a vet, and I’ll select that box EVERY time.