Federal Government Jobs

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Tips on Writing your Federal Resume

Resumes are unique and specifically those that are aimed at landing a spot on the federal employment roster or changing jobs within. With a few tweaks, you can create a new federal style resume that highlights your experience while emphasizing your ability to meet the needs of the federal government mission. By using phrases and keywords, for example, along with the criteria mentioned in the vacancy announcement, you can become one of the top candidates!

Finding a way to show value to a government organization while highlighting your knowledge, skills and abilities is challenging. By organizing your information appropriately, you can effectively capture attention while communicating your most important attributes.

  1. Be sure to review the job opening or announcement in detail, be thorough and select the important criteria surrounding the duties or qualifications required so as to be sure you have the qualifications to do the job they are looking to fill.
  2. Demonstrate your experience surrounding these specific qualifications and build upon them with your skills and abilities; present a picture of a solid understanding of them while meeting requirements.
  3. Illustrate and highlight performances by incorporating personal success stories into the resume; be sure to address examples for each of the duty areas mentioned in the open position. Use statistics and numbers where you can (saved x amount of time and/or money for the company, etc.).
  4. In addition to employment highlights, be sure to include any hobby/volunteer skills that may be applicable or perhaps those acquired from an additional part-time career (past or present).. (writing, bookkeeping, editing, etc.)
  5. List any and all education that is currently being pursued (additional degree, certifications, etc.).
  6. List any and all awards, achievements, hobbies or titles applicable to the skills surrounding the position you are seeking (author, publisher, blog, etc.).
  7. Include any unique responsibilities (international travel, deployments, military reserves, etc.)
  8. Make it personal where you can and be sure to avoid using acronyms that others may not understand; proofread and ensure formatting, tone and tense are appropriate (bullet format, bold where applicable, reverse chronological order, etc.).
  9. Highlight your computer skills (MS Word, Project, Excel, Powerpoint, Graphic Designer, etc.) as applicable
  10. Include your resume even though the organization or agency may require an additional application

Some keywords found on government resume submissions include:

Spearheaded  –  Improved  –  Managed

Streamlined  –  Authored  –  Developed

Steadfast  –  Saved  –  Implemented

Fostered  –  Engaged  –  Hand-Picked

The above words can assist in not only capturing your expertise, but effectively highlighting your accomplishments. With a simple change, here is an example:

Old: Worked with a small team to develop a new mobility application for our organization which was very successful.

New: Spearheaded a new mobility application (called XFirst), which expanded our European business market segment by 10% and increased our international sales by 5% in year one.

Overall, be sure to present your knowledge, skills and abilities in an organized, yet attention grabbing fashion; highlight your experiences and background to demonstrate a sound ability to meet job expectations. Proofread, proofread, proofread to ensure an error-free submission; be timely with all responses, ensure proper tone and format as well and maintain a positive attitude with the recruiter at all times. A sample federal style resume is available for your review and if you need assistance there are expert resume writing services available that can help you tailor your resume to the job announcement.

Good Luck!

References & Career Planning Tools 

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

About The Author

Dr. Donna Day is a Manager at the Department of Defense, where she has been for more than 30 years. With a background in Information Assurance, Customer Engagement and Marketing, more recently she has been studying Cyber security Policy and Management at the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). She earned her Doctor of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science Degree in Technology Management at UMUC and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Day is also an Adjunct Professor at Norwich University in Vermont, where she teaches Cyber security, Critical Infrastructure and Information Assurance courses to a myriad of students, worldwide, from across the intelligence community. A published author, Baltimore Ravens fan, and life-long learner, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.