Federal Resume Writing: How to Apply for a Federal Position
6 March, 2019 in Resumes & Cover Letters

If you dream of working in a government or federal institution, keep in mind that you will need to write a federal resume, which actually differs from the resumes you got used to. If writing an ordinary resume is tough for you, working on a federal resume will be a daunting challenge for you. To provide a resume for a federal position, you need to be informed of the specifications and requirements of the desired position. As such, even if you have your resume written, you will have to adjust it to the specific requirements. The rules and requirements for writing federal resumes are different from the requirements of a simple professional resume: the resumes may be different in length, format, details concerning your educational background, and others. To be well-versed in federal resume writing, you definitely have to know specific strategies and tips for successful writing. 

How to Write a Federal Resume: Why Do You Need to Have a Special Resume When Applying for a Governmental Position?

First of all, you should keep in mind that the very path of applying and getting a job in the governmental setting may be longer and more challenging than getting some other position. As a rule, people spend much time and effort to get the desired job in the government and the overall journey to getting work in this sphere is more comprehensive and complex. Consequently, your resume should also contain many new details that are more complex than in a resume for some other position. When applying for a governmental position, you will find out that there are numerous required elements that you will not come across in a corporate process of hiring, so be prepared to include everything according to the requirements. 

What Does a Federal Resume Look Like?

Most importantly, please consider that your federal resume is expected to be longer than the one you have been writing throughout your career search. A typical resume is no longer than two pages whereas a federal resume can range from 3 to 7 pages. Here the length depends on your educational background and previous work experience since you have to include all the details. You need to provide a clear description of all the positions you have formerly held as well as your educational experience. The positions you have held and the description of your skills should be an indication why you fit for the targeted position. 

Even if you already have a federal resume, you should double-check whether it is suitable for the desired position. You should carefully check on the requirements and hiring policies predetermined by the OPM (The Office of Personnel Management). The resume should be redesigned in a way that it adheres to the main requirements of governmental agencies. You need to be sure to reflect on the education, experience, qualifications, and certifications you have alongside with the other relevant information. As usual, in the header, you need to provide your personal and contact information, such as your full name, email address, telephone number, veterans preference, citizenship, and federal employment history (if present). 

How to Describe Experience on a Federal Resume:

  • Include your history of professional positions or career in the military

Always begin with mentioning your experience. Make sure you do not merely enlist positions in the professional career or in the military but also indicate the title you held. It is also recommended to provide names of your job givers and a detailed description of your job responsibilities you performed on a daily basis. Moreover, make sure to emphasize on your achievements or special accomplishments that indicate that you are a valued worker. 

  • Provide sufficient information about your education

Describing your educational background is a must if you want to apply for federal jobs. This section should be more extended than in a traditional resume. You have to provide information about your GPA, special awards, certificates, specific date of degree completion, etc.

  • Mention your certifications, training, and internships

If you have finished some special training programs or internships, or if you have earned a specific certificate, make sure to provide information about them. When composing a government resume, make sure to provide specific details about the place of internship and the exact date of program completion. 

  • Further details

If you are a member of some organizations or associations, make sure to provide details about it. Also make sure to mention your experience of a public speaker if you have formerly delivered presentations. If you can boast your publications in some federal journals, make sure to include the titles of your articles and the years of their publication. Moreover, include information if you are fluent in foreign languages (indicate which ones and the level). Highlight your technical knowledge as well (if you have it).

  • Provide a list of references

Make sure you include names of persons who can provide a reference of you. Particularly, you could provide contact information of your supervisors, academic consultants, mentors, former employers, etc. Make sure you indicate your relation with those persons. 

Is It Necessary to Send a Federal Cover Letter Along with Resume?

It is advisable to provide a cover letter if you want to be invited for an interview. In other cases, your hiring managers will not read cover letter as they merely focus on resumes. If you plan to include the cover letter, make sure you finish it with a precise offer, where you indicate that you appreciate the opportunity to get the interview and how you are interested in the job. 

Is It Necessary to Use Resume Writing Services When Applying for Government Job Positions?

You can definitely work on your federal resume on your own but if you want to save your time and efforts, you can opt for purchasing a resume from resume writing companies. A professional service will do the resume for you in a better way. As such, you will increase your chances for getting government jobs. 

Still, if you have decided to provide a federal resume on your own, make sure to proofread and edit it carefully before submission. Make sure your resume aligns with the job requirements. 


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