In the previous article in this series, we talked about Veterans’ Preference. Continuing on, we show you how to use it when applying for Federal jobs.

To demonstrate, let’s first look at a USAJOBS Vacancy Announcement. Some of the fields are self-explanatory; others are not.


The salary range varies depending on the Grade and Step assigned and is driven by education, qualifications and applicable experience. Next is Series & Grade. The GS tells you it uses the General Schedule pay system; 0600/0610 means the job falls under the Medical, Hospital, Dental and Public Health Group as far as job classification; the 09/10 is the grade of the job.

This one happens to be dual-graded meaning one could progress from a GS09 to GS10 without competing for a different job once maxed out in steps at the GS09 level. Be sure to include the Announcement Number on your application to tie it to this job posting.

As far as determining qualified individuals after the Who May Apply, we have to drill down by clicking on the job title. In doing so, we find basic requirements, minimum qualifications and experience:

1.  Degree or diploma from a professional nursing program approved by the legally designed State Accrediting agency at the time the program was completed by the applicant.  Must provide official Nursing Transcripts.

  1. An active, current registration as a professional nurse in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States. In addition, to the Basic Requirements, you must also meet the Minimum Qualifications stated below.

Your resume must demonstrate at least one (1) year of specialized experience equivalent to  at least the next lower grade level in the Federal service obtained in either the private or public sector performing the following type of work and/or tasks:

GS-09: 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education or a master’s degree OR 1 year of experience equivalent to at least the GS-7 level.

GS-10: 1 Full year of experience equivalent to at least the GS-9 level.

EXPERIENCE: Experience must have equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to fill.  To be creditable, experience in professional knowledge in nursing principles, practices and procedures providing critical patient care, knowledge of pre-operative, intra-operative and immediate post-operative care, and monitoring and treatment techniques. Knowledge and skill in use of specialized equipment, maintaining sterile and aseptic techniques.”

Here we also see links to the right on How to Apply, Required Documents and an APPLY button. Clicking on the How to Apply link, brings up a plethora of information about the job including a step-by-step checklist when applying.

Finding Veterans’ Preference Information

For Veterans’ Preference information, click on the View Occupational Questionnaire and scroll down to Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) (just after question 8).

Reading through the information, we see basic eligibility consists of:

  • Having served 3 or more years of continuous active duty service
  • And discharged under honorable conditions

Pick the appropriate answer to question 9:

“A. Yes, I am claiming eligibility under the VEOA and have submitted a copy of the required documentation with my application/resume package.
B. No, I am not claiming VEOA eligibility

Next is the Veterans Readjustment Act (VRA); for it, preference applies if you are:

  • A disabled veteran (usually with a disability rating of less than 30%);
    And in receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition;
    Or in receipt of an Armed Forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation;
    And separated from active duty within the past 3 years under honorable conditions.

Select your answer to question 10:

“A. Yes, I am claiming VRA preference and have submitted the required documentation with my application/resume package.
B. No, I am not claiming VRA preference.”

Disabled Veterans’ Preference

Disabled veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of at least 30% can continue with question 11 and may qualify for the Disabled Veterans’ Preference. If answering “Yes”, a copy of the DD214, SF-15 “Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference” and a VA letter documenting the disability rating of at least 30% must accompany the application. If claiming either VEOA or VRA, a copy of the DD214 must accompany the application.

When ready to apply online, click the APPLY button, create a USAJOBS account, sign in and follow the prompts, including building a resume.

For more in-depth Veterans’ Preference information, go the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Vet Guide.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.