If you want to apply for a job in the federal government, you need to know how to write a federal resume. A federal resume format is different from that of a typical resume. Jumping to conclusions is not a great pattern of behavior, but in this case, people who presume that writing a government resume is a tough challenge, are absolutely right. First of all, working for the federal government is not a piece of cake, so why would applying for a job be? To transform your traditional resume into a federal job resume, you have to take several important steps, all of which will be explained in the article below. In fact, federal resumes are different in many aspects, from their lengths and education details to their basic format.
We have collected the best tips from the experts for those who want to learn the peculiarities of preparing a resume for federal jobs. We will analyze the characteristics of a winning resumes and discover the easiest way to create a government resume that meets the highest standards.
Why Should Applicants Create a Government Resume?
Overall, application for a federal job is a lengthy, demanding, and complex procedure, and so is federal resume writing. Nevertheless, the primary goal of writing a resume is not to create a document that mirrors the government process – the resume will simply comprise numerous elements that are not required in a usual hiring process, for example, in a corporation. All of these elements are equally important and have to be included when applying for federal government jobs.
How exactly is it different? And how long should a federal resume be?
Obviously, a federal resume is longer than a resume for a job in a private sector because it contains more details. Applicants are expected to submit a 1-2 page resume when applying for a job in a private sector. On the other hand, when applying, for example, for military jobs, they will cover all details in around 3-7 pages. It all, of course, depends on the applicant’s experience.
What are the mandatory components of a government resume?
Since writing federal resume is the first step of the application process, it has to reflect your experience and qualifications and show that you fit the job you are applying for. In addition, such a resume should correspond to the government policies and meet the hiring procedure standards. They are issued by the Office of Personnel Management and undergo changes from time to time. Therefore, as an applicant, you have to redesign your resume to make sure it complies with the main requirements of the majority of federal agencies while also addressing the unique features of every job. In other words, it is impossible to create a powerful one-size-fit-all resume using a typical federal resume guide. Similar to any other resume, a federal job resume has to describe your core qualifications, namely, your relevant experience, education, additional training, etc. Your personal data along with the citizenship, Veterans Preferences, and any government employment history should appear in the header of the document.
Federal Resume: Categories
The information on a federal resume can be divided into several categories:
Professional Experience (Military Career if Applicable)
This step of federal resume writing closely resembles that of a traditional resume. Start by describing your experience. Discuss the most relevant professional experience in detail: identify your positions and responsibilities, include the names of the employers, and clearly describe each job you did so that reviewers understand exactly what you were doing. Do not forget to accentuate your value by listing your personal contribution and achievements. After that, include additional details, such as the time when you started and finished occupying each position, the salary you had, the number of working hours per week. Finally, include the contact details of your supervisor.
In a traditional resume, you would include a brief description of your education and the degrees you gained, but federal resume writing requires you to reveal more details about your education. This includes your grades, credit hours, completion date, as well as any significant achievements or awards received as a student. You might want to hire professional federal resume writers to help you cope with the task.
Certificates and Training
Do you have any relevant certificates? Maybe you have recently completed a training program that could be useful at a new job? Such details are helpful in creating a successful federal resume. Be sure to include the name of the granting organization since they will definitely want to do some check-ups.
Some More Details
There are some other necessary details that do not fit into the aforementioned categories but still help you customize a federal resume. In particular, do not forget to tell the potential employer that you are a member of some association, an author of some article, presentation, book, etc. Good knowledge of foreign languages puts you several steps ahead of your competitors. Finally, it is crucial to include references, with the type of relationships you had with each person and their contact details. For example, these could be your supervisors, colleagues, or mentors as soon as they are ready to cooperate and will be willing to tell a few words about you.
Vacancy announcement: What is it and what role does it play in writing a resume?
Apart from having their special resume form, federal jobs also have special job postings – vacancy announcements. An applicant has to keep them in mind when creating a resume for the desired position because it has to fit the job description. We got used to the fact that hiring managers in the private sector do not like reading generic resumes because they could fit any job on the market. Hiring managers in federal institutions are no different. Spare no effort when customizing your resume to show that you are a perfect candidate for this particular job. Here is where vacancy announcements come in handy – read and re-read them to note important elements in the job description and address them in your resume. According to the requirements of the Office Personnel Management, a candidate must include these elements to be eligible for the job. Finally, a vacancy announcement is a prompt because it tells you what the employer is looking for in their future candidates.
Do I need to hire a professional resume writer to write a winning federal resume?
Even if you do not, keep in mind that most of the candidates probably will. Of course, you can write a resume on your own, but delegating this task to an expert not only means that you save yourself a great deal of time, it also significantly raises your chances of landing a job interview. It is true that resume writing is not the final stage of the job application process, however, without it, you do not stand a chance to get the job at all, so why putting yourself at risk?
A reliable resume writing service will delegate your task to a knowledgeable expert who is familiar with the application process for government jobs and will prepare a resume according to a vacancy announcement.
Helpful Federal Resume Writing Tips
The selection procedure will be tough, so you have to scrupulously check your resume before sending it to the employer. First, make sure the document meets the vacancy announcement requirements. In case of hiring a professional writer, make sure to provide him/her with detailed information, including your education, experience, and achievements.
After you receive the resume written by an expert, just follow further requirements to the application process. Mind the deadline!
Some Things to Keep in Mind
1. Every resume with which you apply for a particular position should be customized to its requirements. Double-check everything to make sure that the competencies and skills you have mentioned match the job description.
2. Use the terms and keywords from the vacancy announcement in your resume. Hiring agencies often filter out applications that do not mention the experience they are looking for.
3. Make the resume structured and organized. This enhances clarity and helps hiring managers assess your competencies. A resume raises your chances to be considered for the job if it:
-lists your experience in a reverse chronological order – from the most recent to the earliest;
-focuses on the most relevant experience in detail;
-uses bullet points or short paragraphs to describe your achievements;
-is free from obfuscated language and acronyms that cannot be understood without Google search.
4. The resume has to be succinct. No one likes reading texts full of redundancies, especially hiring managers who receive hundreds of similar resumes. If a candidate is not qualified, meaningless phrases will not conceal it. Remember that hiring managers will skim through applications to determine which candidates should be considered. Therefore, ask yourself these questions:
-Are my key credentials clear within 10 seconds?
-Does the main information catch the eye?
-Does my resume have a good marketing potential?
5. Proofread and edit the resume before submission. Even the tiniest typos might be embarrassing, so do not let them spoil the first impression.