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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
Title
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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    polo2014

    about 1 month ago

    454 comments

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tonyk11

    7 months ago

    2 comments

    This information isn't exactly correct. I wrote a book about government resumes, and a good bit of the information here only applies to a small percentage of resumes submitted to open positions.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    nawallace

    almost 3 years ago

    4 comments

    In light of recent federal applications changes, you need to update your information to reflect the latest requirements. Thanks!

  • Me3_max50

    z_adams05

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    very good info except for the social security number.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Sean_D1

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    KSA's if they haven't already been done away with, are slated to disappear with in the next couple of months.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    GAB

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    This may help when filing out application.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Disco58

    about 4 years ago

    24 comments

    "Unlike the private sector, federal resumes are reviewed by people rather than software".... Prior to reading this article I've been in contact with an HR rep at a local government agency, and I was told in no uncertain terms that the opposite is true, that the first 'filter' your resume sees is a computer program written to pick out what are called 'screen-out elements'. Each federal job has them, and are listed in the body of the announcement. When, or if, it passes that filter there is another process of searching for particular keywords for that job. After that is when it touches human hands, or at least is read by someone with a pulse. That whole process makes resume writing incredibly tedious and time consuming, and is reminiscent of the days of using DOS--much trial and error trying to figure out what it wants and missing by one keystroke time and again. Because of that process though it gives the applicant an opportunity to revamp their resume and have the modified version looked at for any applications they've already submitted, so long as they haven't gone past the closing date.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jameshammond85

    over 4 years ago

    22 comments

    i have a company very similar to t m lewin, i've been running it for years and i doubt i could write my own cv now though

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    clallen

    over 4 years ago

    10 comments

    Actually I've been to Federal Job Fairs where they say NOT to HAND them a resume with SSN. An online resume is one thing. Dropping one off is another.

  • Gov_central_picture_max50

    JerryGJones

    over 4 years ago

    62 comments

    These are some great tips, except for putting our Social Security number on our resume, I would NEVER put mine on a resume handed to them unless they specifically asked for it. Businesses who go through hiring phases will interview people, choose the ones they are interested in, and throw all of the other resumes in the trash bin. (but hopefully the shredder)

    Do you really want your Social Security Number floating around in dumpsters and trash bins? I know I don't.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    5711mm

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Thank you for the information.

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    GHEnglish

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anne09

    almost 5 years ago

    6 comments

    Thanks for the information, I need all the help that I can get. I applied for a federal job and got this response 30 days later: “You have been found eligible for this position, but not within reach for the list of eligibles referred for employment consideration. Your eligibility is solely based on your responses and was neither reviewed or verified.”
    So I have to start the process all over again~

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    diamondswork

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Start by going to USAJobs.opm.gov and setting up an account and using the resume builder. Its a good way to start and to understand the information that is needed in an application.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    billinc

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    ...Thank you for the information on resume writing. I have been out of work almost a year now and I'm starting to worry a little if I will ever find another job. But I will not give up and the search. Again thanks for the information.

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