Federal Resume Tips
When applying for a federal job, forget what you learned about resume writing. A federal resume, even for an entry-level job needs to be more detailed and may run anywhere from two to five pages. We strongly recommend that you visit USA Job's Resume Builder to guide you through the resume-writing process to ensure you do not leave out anything important.
Building Your Federal Resume
- Candidate Information
You will first be asked to provide your name, contact information, citizenship status and other basic information. Most positions require applicants to be a U.S. citizen to apply, but there may be some exceptions for hard-to-fill jobs. You also need to identify whether you have ever worked for the federal government and whether you qualify for veterans’ preference.
Note: You are eligible for veterans’ preference if you have served on active duty in the Armed Forces.
- Work experience
List the required information fields for all relevant jobs you’ve held. Each part of the resume is essential to your resume meeting the minimum qualifications. Experienced workers may choose to only list jobs held in the last 10 years. You must show how your skills and experiences meet the qualifications and requirements listed in the job announcement to be considered for the job.
Required: Employer, location, position title, start and end date, average hours worked per week, responsibilities and accomplishments.
The level and amount of experience–for instance, whether you served as a project manager or a team member helps to illustrate your level of experience.
Examples of relevant experiences and accomplishments that prove you can perform the tasks at the level required for the job as stated in the job announcement. Your experience needs to address every required qualification.
Optional: You may include your supervisor(s) as a reference. Including your salary is also optional and will not exclude your resume from consideration.
Program Analyst GS-343-11
January 2009 - Present
Include volunteer work and roles in community organizations
Don’t limit yourself to only including paid work experience. Include relevant volunteer work or community organizations roles that demonstrate your ability to do the job.
Use numbers to highlight your accomplishments
Use numbers, percentages or dollars to highlight your accomplishments–you can find this information in things like your performance reviews, previous job descriptions, awards and letters of recommendation.
When explaining your accomplishments:
- Include examples of how you saved money, earned money, or managed money.
- Include examples of how you saved or managed time.
- “Improved efficiency of document processing by 25% over the previous year”.
- “Wrote 25 news releases in a three-week period under daily deadlines”.
- “Managed a student organization budget of more than $7,000”.
- “Wrote prospect letter that has brought in more than $25,000 in donations to date”.
These statements show in concrete terms what you accomplished.
Include information on all the schools you have attended and relevant coursework you completed. Only list degrees from accredited schools or programs that meet the Office of Personnel Management’s standards. If you would like to substitute education for experience to qualify for a job, you must include information on relevant coursework. To ensure you receive appropriate credit for your academic credentials, you should provide as much information as possible.
Required: Schools attended, degrees obtained.
Optional: Grade-point averages, relevant coursework taken, academic papers or projects, key presentations, honors received, other important accomplishments.
Optional Information to Include
It is to your advantage to provide as much pertinent information as possible in the following optional sections.
Include any classes, seminars, coursework, certifications, or training you have completed that relate to skills and experience the position requires.
In addition to providing the names of your supervisors, you may want to list professional or personal references who can vouch for your character, work ethic and dependability. Colleagues, classmates, mentors and other individuals you have worked closely with can add credibility to your application.
Include any language experience you may have and your level of proficiency.
List any professional associations, societies, clubs or other organizations you are affiliated with. Highlight your leadership roles and volunteer experience as it relates to the job description.
Include any publications you have contributed to, along with the names and dates of those publications.
In this section, include any other relevant information: awards, leadership activities, public-speaking engagements, volunteer experience or other items. You may choose to list your availability, the type of work environment you seek and your desired location. Recruiters use these items to determine your interests and will not exclude your resume from consideration.