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Federal Resume Writing Checklist

Federal Resume Writing Checklist

Jason Kay | KSA Doctor

May 18, 2009

A federal resume is a tool for gaining or advancing one’s career in the government arena. At its core, it is similar to the standard private sector resume. However key differences exist in the type and amount of information provided. Therefore, in order to be successful with federal employment, it is necessary to be mindful of these differences.

Application Differences

Unlike the private sector, federal resumes are reviewed by people rather than software. Further, these individuals are seeking information that demonstrates that the application has direct knowledge or experience of the position he/she has applied for. Therefore, it is necessary to:

Review the specific job announcement for the skills and knowledge required.
Include previous experiences, often accompanied by quantifiable results and accomplishments

Organization Differences

Information in a federal resume is most commonly presented in chronological format. List:

Educational history before work history
Highest level of education attained followed by earlier schooling (including high school)
Number of course hours completed if college coursework has been completed but a degree was not received
Work history in reverse order with most recent experience listed first
Summarize work history for at least the last 10 years

Formatting Differences

Once the content of the resume is drafted, it is necessary to ensure that it is properly formatted. Use:

Commonly accepted font such as Times New Roman or Arial
Main text in 11 point type
Margins no less than 1 inch
3 to 5 pages in length (typically longer than private sector resumes)

Information Differences

There are several key pieces of information that must be included on a federal resume that are not typically utilized on a private sector resume. Vital content to include:

Beginning of the resume

Announcement number
Grade of the job

Further down…

Include your social security number
Veteran’s preference
Number of hours worked per week for each position listed
Hourly or annual salary for each position listed
Specify GS numbers and Grades for current or past federal jobs

Also provide or attach:

Supervisor’s name, phone number, and address for each position on the resume
Whether the recruiter has the candidate’s permission to contact the supervisor
No permission granted? Address this issue in the cover letter that accompanies the resume
Typically, candidates must address knowledge, skill, and abilities (KSA) factors specified in the job announcements on separate attachments submitted with the resume

By observing a few stylistic and information differences, candidates for government employment can create a resume that speaks strongly to their abilities to perform the duties of the job to which they are applying.

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