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Resumes for Federal Government Positions
If you are applying for a career position with the Federal Government, there will always be an application form. However, in addition to that form, most career positions will require a resume. And federal resumes will not be structured as a resume for a position in private industry. It will look more like a CV, actually.
Characteristics of the Federal Resume
- It will be 4-5 pages in length, if you have been in your career field for any time at all. This is because you ae expected to give a lot more detail about each position you have held. However, a government resume will still be scanned for keywords, so it must be organized with a solid structure of headings, sub-headings, bullet points, bolded type, etc. so that the reader can see key skills and abilities quickly. Many applicants for government positions use a federal resume service because of these challenges.
- Federal resumes are not digitally scanned. While private industry now uses applicant screening software, your resume will be read by a human. This is why it is so important that you find the keywords, even the long-tail ones, which are contained in the job posting and make sure that they stand out.
- Spend more time on the jobs that directly relate. If you have had many positions, of course you need to list them all. However, any position that does not relate to the one for which you are now applying should be given very little space. And omit any temporary or part-time jobs that you held. And any gap years should be carefully accounted for. These are the things that experienced federal resume writers can help with.
- Put some positions in groups. If you were an outside contractor or self-employed, and if these positions did not really relate to the position for which you are applying but were related to each other, then put them in groups with general time periods. This is an excellent way to fill in gaps in employment. If, however, any of those positions related directly to this one, list it separately.
- Lots of detail. While a government resume may be formatted much like one for private industry, you will have a longer list of bulleted points under each position, because lots of detail will be expected. You can’t use long prose paragraphs to describe your duties. Instead use bullet points and very short paragraphs, maybe 2-3 sentences, with keywords bolded.
- The Rating Process. Federal resumes are rated by scores. When they are read, resumes are assigned a score a follows: If a person only meets minimum qualifications, the score is 70-79.; qualified applicants receive scores of 80-89; and highly qualified applicants receive scores from 90-100. Applicants are placed on a list starting with the top scores and moving down. Obviously, you want to be in the top few candidates if you intend to get an interview, because that’s where they start. Several factors on your resume can move you up into that top tier, and that is why a federal resume writing service is probably a good idea. These writers know how to get you there.
- Highlight accomplishments. Only listing the tasks and responsibilities you had will not bump you into that top tier of candidates. You will need to really highlight our accomplishments and achievements in each position you held. If you save an organization money; if you developed a system that resulted in greater employee productivity; if you developed a software app – these are the things resume readers want to see.
Full Resume Package: Resume + Cover Letter + Thank-you/Follow-up Letters$134.95
Resume Distribution to Employment Agencies$59.95
Thank You & Follow-up Letters$49.95
Other Important Factors
- Never submit a resume until it has been thoroughly checked for grammar, punctuation and spelling. While you may think “it’s only a government job,” believe that readers look for these things, just as they do in private industry.
- Look for those keywords in the postings. If you see one that occurs more than once get it in the first 6 lines of your work experience section.
- If you are applying for more than one position, you will need a different resume for each position. Generic resumes won’t have the right keywords.
- Federal resume writing is a challenge. Get some professional help.