In the private sector, one can typically knock-out a 1-2 page resume overnight and begin distributing it the next day to various HR Departments and Hiring Managers. You’ll probably even receive some sort of follow-up phone call in most cases. When you apply for a government position, you cannot and should not expect these same results, it simply will not happen. A government resume really needs to be a step above a normal resume. There are things that you need to include in your government resume that are not necessarily needed on private sector resumes.
Here are some things you will want to take into consideration when preparing your federal style resume:
. Is your resume content relevant? – Your resume for the government must be much more relevant to the position you are applying for than for any other industry. Soft skills are nice to include, but don’t rely on getting a job based solely on your ability to communicate, or your ability work as team for that matter. If you do not list your relevant experience, training or schooling, you can miss out on the job. Show the Hiring Official that you have done exactly what they are looking for. Check over the specialized experience listed in the job announcement. That 1-2 sentences tells the applicant exactly what the agency is looking for in a qualified candidate.
. Did you elaborate on your strengths? – A typical federal resume is about 4-6 pages in length, so you can certainly afford to do so. Don’t be modest by any means. Many times these resumes are heavily ranked and rated based on a point system. Don’t sell yourself short. Key Accomplishments in the federal resume are CRUCIAL. Try to brainstorm 1-2 for each position.
. Have you targeted a specific job announcement? – You can send just about any resume to any company and have a good chance at getting the job if you have the right experience. Not the case with the government. There is a TON of red tape to cut through. You need to begin by analyzing a specific job announcement. Then, write the resume to fit the position. Include all of the “keywords” from the job announcement and any buzzwords that are “germane” to the position itself.
. Is your federal resume formatted correctly? – Begin with listing your personal/contact information, as well as your citizenship information and veteran’s preference (if applicable). Follow this up with a strong summary of qualifications (typically about 3-5 sentences). After this, list your work experience in reverse chronological order. HOWEVER, if you are qualifying based on education alone, it is recommended that you list your education before your work history. If your are not qualifying based on education, your educational background can go directly after your work experience. After this, you can list any awards or academic achievements, volunteer work and specialized training.
Kristin Andersen is the President of Professional Federal Resumes. She is a Certified Federal Career Coach and a Certified Federal Resume Writer. Kristin has helped countless people land interviews and secure jobs within the federal government.
For more information and help with your federal application package please visit Professional Federal Resumes
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