This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Secretary (OA) (DEU) GS-318-5/6

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Natural Resources Conservation Service

Job Announcement Number:SD-949652-SK

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$31,315.00 to $45,376.00 / Per Year


Friday, August 23, 2013 to Friday, September 06, 2013




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Huron, SD United StatesView Map


United States Citizens


You will be a member of the team that has the mission of "Helping People Help the Land."

The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides leadership in a partnership effort to help conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment.  Visit


South Dakota has excellent hunting and fishing, low cost of living and no state income tax:



Applications will be accepted from all U.S. Citizens.  Those interested in applying under Merit Promotion (MP) should apply via the MP announcement that runs concurrent with this announcement.  Only one position is being filled between the two announcements.  


Please read the entire vacancy announcement and follow the specific instructions for applying.  Failure to do so may eliminate you from consideration.




  • You must be a United States Citizen
  • You must possess a valid state driver's license


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Receives telephone calls and visitors, answers inquiries on the basis of knowledge of NRCS programs and operations, and refers callers or visitors directly to supervisor or redirects them to the appropriate staff member.


Personally locates and summarizes information from files and documents, recognizing which information is or is not relevant to the inquiry.


Distributes, assembles, routes and dispatches mail utilizing effective and efficient methods.


Provides clerical support to Ecological, Soils and Engineering Sections as requested.


Consistent with the Agency Directive System, maintains, receives and reviews all correspondence, handbooks, bulletins, technical reports, technical notes, technical guide notices, state supplements, ecological sites descriptions, Wetland and HEL conservation compliance work items and other reference material/equipment for the state resource conservationist (SRC), state soil scientist (SSS) and state conservation engineer (SCE) and their respective staffs. Anticipates the need for material in reply to correspondence, assembles the material, and/or has it available for their use and maintains a record of distribution. On own initiative, prepares draft replies to correspondence. Maintains appropriate controls on correspondence and action documents and follows through to insure replies to correspondence and reports meet all deadlines. Reviews outgoing correspondence for conformance to policies and priorities, proper grammar, proper spelling, factual validity, and appropriate attachments.


Monitors action registers, variance requests and staff schedules, and ensures material is properly prepared and obtained in accordance with policies and procedures for Ecological Sciences, Engineering and Soils sections to ensure completion of assignments by established due dates.


Helps staff plan and prepare training sessions. Locates and reserves training facilities, solicits training candidates consistent with line and staff procedures. Ensures needed Audio/Visual and computer access equipment and services are available. Duplicates, organizes and assembles training materials. Assist with procurement of printing through Government Printing Offices.


This position arranges meetings and conferences to include space, time, agenda, and procuring background and meeting material, as needed. Makes travel arrangements for the SRC, SCE, SSS and their respective staffs, and others as requested, to include preparing travel authorizations, making hotel/transportation/car rental reservations, preparing itineraries, and preparing/submitting travel vouchers for Ecological Sciences, Engineering, and other staffs in GovTrip as requested. Prepares minutes of meetings and serves as recorder when required.


Calculates and communicates meeting and training costs to ensure compliance with Departmental meeting expense policies and approvals. Monitors planned and actual travel expenditures to ensure section travel budget's integrity.


Compiles data and prepares program reports, coordinates the preparation of technical/nontechnical material, and assembles handbooks developed by the staff. Searches for and assembles information and documents from files as required by the supervisor and staff. Organizes and maintains files, records, manuals, handbooks, and other related materials.


Uses a wide variety of office automation systems and various software packages to accomplish work which. The automation and software includes but is not limited to: Microsoft Office,, Access, Lync, Adobe Acrobat, Internet, SharePoint, VTC, teleconferencing, webinars, LiveMeeting, electronic communications and video projection equipment. Assignments include text editing; file creation, maintenance, and retrieval; use of message, calendar, and suspense systems; and other specialized tools in support of specific functions. The incumbent utilizes knowledge of software utilities and function commands to manipulate text to accomplish formats, revisions, deletions, and additions. Incumbent prepares in final form, a variety of narrative and statistical material, correspondence, reports, etc., for supervisor's signature. Provides software/system instruction to staff members as needed and requested. Instruction can vary from basic to advanced user levels.


Serves as Content Manager of the South Dakota (SD) Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG). Coordinates the revision, release, and archiving of the SD Technical Guide (TG) materials with supervisor, SCE and SSS. Processes, formats, proofs and edits conservation practice standards, specifications, documentation requirements, statements of work, letters, manual releases, bulletins, and policy documents.


Serves as the lead contact for SharePoint administration and maintenance, managing permission levels, data access and revisions, ensuring compliance with policies and procedures.Maintains contact with and distributes technical information to SD Technical Service Providers as needed and directed by the SCE.


Serves as State Forms Coordinator with national headquarters, ensuring that state forms are current, in correct format with national headquarters forms, and do not duplicate any existing national forms.


Serves as the Food Security Act appeal assistant creating, assembling and distributing complex Administrative Records (AR) to support agency decisions that are appealed to the National Appeals Division (NAD. These AR's are used by hearing officers (HO), appellants and/or appellant attorneys, and National Headquarters (NHQ) staff, the Office of General Counsel and Department of Justice Staff during the hearing process. In consultation with staff specialists, communicates with the NAD HO, NHQ staff, and/or attorneys to ensure records are complete, accurate and well organized.


The incumbent assists in providing phone and personal visit coverage for all staffs whenever coverage is needed. Serves as backup for the secretary to the state conservationist and program assistant in their absence and reviews/edits their respective correspondence, reports, etc., for accuracy.


The on-line occupational questionnaire that you will complete on-line will address the following Knowledge, Skills and Abilities necessary for this position:


1.  Ability to plan, organize, coordinate and participate in office activities. 

2.  Skill in operating personal computers, related hardware and software, office and printing equipment.

3.  Knowledge of policies and procedures governing corespondence and office management.

4.  Ability to communicate with others.







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Proficiency Requirement: A fully Qualified Typist (minimum typing speed of at least 40 words per minute) is required.  All applicants must provide proof of typing proficiency by providing a certificate of proficiency or by self-certifying proficiency.  In cases where self-certifying, applicants must have held a position(s) during the last three years where assigned duties required the use of typing skills on a regular basis and must be able to type at least 40 words per minute having a minimum of three errors.  You must self-certify typing speed proficiency on your resume.


In addition to typing skill, candidates must meet the following experience or education levels or a combination of experience and educations as described below.


For the GS-5 level:

Specialized Experience for the GS-5:  One (1) year specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-4 level in Federal Service in a performing a full range of secretarial duties which includes organizing the flow of clerical and administrative processes in an office; maintaining attendance records; ordering office supplies, equipment repair, and printing services; receiving and screening incoming correspondence; reviewing outgoing correspondence for format and grammar, and punctuation; typing correspondence, compiling data in spreadsheets and other automated programs; follow written and verbal instructions; and meet deadlines set by supervisor.


Substitution of Education for Experience: (If qualifying based on education, applicant must submit copy of transcripts):   I have a Bachelor's degree which would be fully qualifying for a GS-5 grade level position. This level of education was achieved from an accredited college or university; or I have successfully completed 4 years (120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours) of education above high school in any field for which high school graduation or the equivalent is a prerequisite, I obtained my education in an accredited business, secretarial, or technical school, junior college, college or university. [NOTE: One year of full-time study is defined as 30 semester hours, 45 quarter hours, or the equivalent in a college or university, or at least 20 hours of classroom instruction per week for approximately 36 weeks in a business, secretarial, or technical school].


A combination of education above high school and specialized experience as noted above that together qualifies for the GS-5 level. I have provided a copy of my college educational transcript and documents.

For the GS-6 level:


Specialized Experience for the GS-6: One (1) year specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-5 level in Federal Service in a performing a full range of secretarial duties which includes Reads directives and instructional material pertaining to administrative practices, clerical procedures in order to be aware of new, revised, or amended procedures for such matters as preparation and processing correspondence, reports, forms, filing, mail procedures, preparation of travel vouchers, timekeeping, security procedures; preparing one-of-a-kind reports from information in various documents by identifying relevant items to include in the report and experience setting up conferences requiring planning and arranging travel and hotel accommodations for participants based on knowledge of schedules and commitments of participants; organizing the flow of clerical and administrative processes in an office; maintaining attendance records; ordering office supplies, equipment repair, and printing services; receiving and screening incoming correspondence; reviewing outgoing correspondence for format and grammar, and punctuation; typing correspondence, compiling data in spreadsheets and other automated programs; follow written and verbal instructions; and meet deadlines set by supervisor.

As a general rule, education is not creditable above GS-5 for most positions covered by this standard; however, graduate education may be credited in those few instances where the graduate education is directly related to the work of the position.


All applicants must meet the education/specialized experience requirements by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.


The qualification for the GS-318 may be found at: and group standard:



Foreign Education:  Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment.

Applicants must submit all necessary documents to a private U.S. organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials, commonly called a credential evaluation service.  To be acceptable, the foreign credential evaluation must include/describe:

The type of education received by the applicant;

The level of education in relation to the U.S. education system, and state that its comparability recommendations follow the general guidelines of the U.S. National Council for the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials;

The content of the applicant’s educational program earned abroad and the standard obtained;

The status of the awarding foreign school’s recognition and legitimacy in it s home country’s education system; and

Any other information of interest such as what the evaluation service did to obtain this information, the qualifications of the evaluator, and any indications as to other problems such as forgery.






Your application will be evaluated and rated under the Category Rating and Selection Procedures.  Your resume must support your responses to the occupational questionnaire. We will review your resume and supporting documentation and compare this information to your responses on the occupational questionnaire to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for this position.    If you are basically qualified for this position, we will evaluate your application package, using a panel of subject-matter experts or HR Specialist to assess the quality, depth, and complexity of your accomplishments, experience, and education as they relate to the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities for the position.  We will then place you in one of the following categories and only those in the Best Qualified category will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration.

Best Qualified:  Applicants possess all of the job related competencies identifies as important for successful job performance.

Well -Qualified:  Applicants possesses a majority (i.e., more than half) of the job related competencies needed for successful job performance.

Qualified:  Applicants meets the basic eligibility and minimum qualification requirements, but does not meet the definition of Well-Qualified or Best Qualified describe above.

Veterans’ preference is applied after applicants are assessed.  Veterans’ preference eligibles who meet the qualification requirements are place in the appropriate category and are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles.  Veteran preference eligibles that have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent are listed in the highest quality category, except in the case of scientific or professional positions at the GS-9 level or higher.


To preview questions click on the following link:  View Occupational Questionnaire



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Working for Natural Resources Conservation Service offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System.  The following Web address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees.   To find out more click here


Information on Special Hiring Authorities

You are eligible if you meet one of the following criteria:

 - A 30% compensably disabled Veteran ( 
 - A VRA eligible (  The VRA hiring authority is limited to positions at the GS-11 level and below.

 - A person with a severe physical handicap (  Clearly indicate on your application you are applying under a Special Hiring Authority, provide required documentation of your handicap and if appropriate, indicate the type of accommodation you are requesting.

 - A Former Peace Corps or VISTA Volunteer - must state in their application under which of these special hiring authorities they wish to be considered.  To be considered under a special hiring authority as well as the regular competitive process, applicants must submit two complete applications and request the dual consideration.  When only one application is received from a special hiring authority eligible, it will be considered under the appropriate special hiring authority only.  Submit proof of your eligibility with your application or you will not be considered under a special hiring authority.


Information on Veterans’ Preference (  If you served on active duty in the United States Military and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for Veterans’ Preference.


Management has the prerogative to select at any grade level for which this position has been advertised.  If you are place in this position at a grade lower than the target grade (i.e. the promotion potential grade), you may be promoted to the target grade without further competition.  However, there is no commitment or obligation on the part of management to promote you.  Your promotion will depend upon the continuing need for that level of work to be performed and your ability to perform the higher level duties.




1. If you are a male applicant who was born after 12/31/59 and are required to register under the Military Selective Service Act, the Defense Authorization Act of 1986 requires that you be registered or you are not eligible for appointment in this agency.

2. You can apply for a non-competitive appointment if you meet the basic eligibility requirements and you are eligible for special appointment such as those authorized for the severely disabled; certain Vietnam era and disabled veterans; returned volunteers from the Peace Corps or Vista , etc. Please indicate the type of special appointment you are seeking, if any, on your application and follow all other instructions for applying shown in this announcement.

3.  A background investigation will be required for all new appointments. Your continued employment will be subject to your successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination

4.  Relocation expenses are not authorized.    

5.  If this announcement is posted at two grade levels and you are selected at the lower grade you would be eligible for non-competitive promotion to the next higher grade after completing the minimum 12-months time-in-grade provided you are found otherwise eligible and recommended through your supervisory chain.  Promotions are not automatic.     

6.  E-Verify:  This employer will provide the Social Security Administration and, if necessary, the Department of Homeland Security with information of each new employee's Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. 

7.  Reference Checks:  Are likely to occur, often in advance of an interview.  Applying for this announcement gives consent to these reference checks.  

8.  Vehicle Operation:  Serves as an incidental motor vehicle operator on public and private roads during daylight and after dark, as needed, to perform the duties of the position. A valid state driver's license is required.



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The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, September 06, 2013 to receive consideration. 


To begin, click Apply Online to create a USAJOBS account or log in to your existing account.  Follow the prompts to select your USAJOBS resume and/or other supporting docouments and complete the occupational questionnaire.

Click the Submit My Answers button to sumit yoru application package.

It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation is submitted prior to the closing date.

To verify your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the more information like for this position.  The Details page will disply the status of your application, the documentation recieved and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application.  Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.

To return to an incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement.  You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.






IF APPLYING AS A VETERAN YOU MUST SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT(S):  Attach a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility.  Applicants eligible as disabled veterans must submit an SF-15 and Letter from VA establishing disability rating to receive special hiring consideration. 

IF APPLYING UNDER THE VETERANS OPPORTUNITY TO WORK (VOW) YOU MUST SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT:  For appointments in the competitive service, Active duty service members may make applications for Federal employment by submitting a certification (written documentation from the Armed Forces) that certifies expected discharge or release from active duty under honorable conditions not later than 120 days from the date the certification is signed.



If you prepare a resume, be sure you provide all of the information listed below.  Tell us what job you are applying for, i.e, the announcement number, title and grade.


Provide all of the following.

  - Full name, mailing address and day/evening telephone numbers

  - Country of Citizenship.

  - Highest Federal civilian grade held, job series, and dates of employment in grade.

  - Work experience related to the job for which you are applying:

  - Job title.

  - Duties and accomplishments.

  - Number of hours per week.

  - Employers name and address.

  - Supervisor's name and phone number.

  - Starting and ending dates of employment (month and year).

  - Salary.                   

  - Indicate if your current supervisor may be contacted.


Other Qualifications:                            

  - Job-related training courses (title and year).

  - Job-related skills (e.g., other languages, computer software/hardware, tools, machinery, typing speed,etc.)            

  - Job-related certificates and licenses.

  - Job-related honors, awards, and special accomplishments (e.g. publications, memberships in professional or honor societies, leadership activities, public speaking, performance awards, etc.) Do not send copies of documents unless specifically requested.


Faxing Applications or Supporting Documents:  You are encouraged to apply online.  Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application.

NOTE:  If you applied online and your application is complete, do not fax the paper application (1203FX) as this will overwrite your prior online responses and may result in you being found ineligible.


If you completed the occupational questionnaire online and are unable to upload supporting document(s): 

  1. To fax your documents, you must use the following cover page http://staffing.documents(s): .gov/document(s):/usascover.pdf and provide the required information.  The Vacancy ID is 949652.
  2. Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.


If you cannot complete the Application Package online, you may fax all of your materials.  The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, September 06, 2013 to receive consideration.  Keep a copy of your fax confirmation in the event verification is needed.

To complete the occupational questionnaire and submit via fax: 

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print the 1203FX form, follow the instructions and provide your responses to the occupation questionnaire items
  3. Fax all six pages of the completed 1203FX form along with any supporting documents to 1-478-757-3144.  Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.








Shari Kieffer
Phone: (605)352-1224
Fax: (605)352-1270
Agency Information:
Federal Building - Room 203
200 fourth Street SW
Huron, SD
Fax: (605)352-1270


Once the online questionnaire is received you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. After a review of "ALL" applications is made you will be notified of your rating and or referral to the hiring official. If further evaluation or interviews are required you will be contacted.




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