Veterans' Families Get Head Start on Federal Jobs

with Derived Veterans Preference

By Kathryn Troutman, President, The Resume Place, Inc.,
May 24, 2018

Spouses and mothers of men and women killed or totally disabled in service to their country have long been recognized with a “derived veterans preference” that gives them a competitive advantage in applying for federal jobs. And with the passage of the Gold Star Fathers Act, the civil service now recognizes the sacrifice of the fathers of deceased or disabled servicemen or women; all such parents are eligible for derived veterans preference. #MilitarySpouseAppreciationDay #milspouse #MilitaryAppreciationMonth

Potential beneficiaries of the Gold Star Fathers Act are just beginning to use it in their federal job applications. But military spouses have long claimed a derived veterans preference to help them get a quality government job that can help them improve their often difficult financial situations.

Susanne of Virginia is looking for a federal job in office administration, hoping that a veterans preference derived from her late husband’s service will help her achieve best-qualified status for a competitive position in the civil service. “My husband served 17 years in the Army as a logistics specialist, then died, leaving me with limited financial resources,” she says. Susanne has found work in the private sector as an admin, but she still lacks the pay and job security to create the kind of life she seeks for herself and her two sons.

Working with The Resume Place, Susanne created a federal resume that uses all the right keywords to highlight the professional accomplishments that qualify her for a step up to an administrative specialist position in the civil service. She is continuing to submit applications for these positions at a number of federal agencies.


What the preference does for your federal job application

FIRST, qualifying veterans’ spouses, widows, widowers or parents who apply for federal positions with their federal resume, questionnaire and documents must be Best Qualified for the position. Then these resumes will have 10 points added to their scores.

A new hiring process today puts the candidates into 3 CATEGORIES: Silver, Gold and Platinum. If the qualifying person gets BEST QUALIFIED on their application, they would move up to the top CATEGORY – PLATINUM. And the hiring manager MUST hire a veteran or derived veteran’s preference person from the TOP CATEGORY.

This preference is strong and really can help the family member land a federal career.

How to qualify for derived veterans preference

To qualify for a preference derived from a spouse’s military service and death or 100 percent disability, the applicant must be unmarried, legally separated, or married to someone who is also totally disabled. To qualify under the Gold Star Mothers or Gold Star Fathers acts, the applicant’s child must must have died while on active duty or have been permanently and totally disabled. The parent seeking the derived preference must also be unmarried, legally separated, or have a spouse who is totally and permanently disabled. Other restrictions may apply.

How to apply for federal jobs with a veterans preference

As with all federal jobs, the requirements of the entire job application process – and the federal resume in particular – are stringent. Candidates must create a detailed federal resume, typically three to five pages, and follow all application instructions to the letter.

Candidates applying for a federal job with a 10-point veterans preference must fill out Standard Form 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference and submit supporting documentation.

Above all, to succeed in the federal job search, those with a derived veterans preference must persist. This group of applicants often has complex family obligations and strong local ties, which can make it challenging to find a position that works for everyone.

For Susanne, the road ahead may not be easy – but she’s hopeful. “I think I could adjust to any administrative specialty now,” she says. “I’ve worked in so many different offices.” A civil service job would also enable Susanne to build retirement savings, an employment benefit she currently lacks.


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