If you are planning to apply for a federal position you’d better be prepared; a standard resume just won’t cut it. A federal resume needs to meet specific requirements. Applying for a federal position is an entirely new ball game and if you don’t know the rules you won’t stand a chance.
The most obvious difference, at first glance, is that a federal resume is usually much longer than a regular resume. It can be three, four, or even more pages. One of the reasons for the length is that a federal resume is more in depth than a regular resume; you need to include your entire work history – going back 10 years isn’t going to cut it. Additionally, you will need to provide your supervisor’s name and contact information, salary, and how many hours you worked per week.
Along with your contact information you need to include your social security number and your country of citizenship, your veteran’s preference and security clearance if you have either of those. If not, don’t worry, you don’t have to have served in the military to apply for a federal position. Anyone can apply for a federal position as long as they meet the requirements of the position.
A federal resume needs to clearly state the job title you are applying for, the series, grade, and vacancy number. The job description should provide all of that information. It should look something like this:
QUALITY ASSURANCE SPECIALIST (Title), GS-1910-09/15 (Grade)
Job Announcement Number: DON1910-HQ (Vacancy Number)
Like a regular resume, a federal resume should be customized for the position using appropriate keywords and highlighting any relevant experience and accomplishments.
On a regular resume you may be advised to leave off graduation dates, in order to not date yourself, but on your federal resume you will need to include the year you graduated. This doesn’t apply only to college but to your high school graduation as well.
Another significant difference is that a federal resume is written in first person. For example:
In this position I collaborated in the planning, development, training and coordination of an emergency preparedness and business continuity program and was integral in the development of a computer based training program for all personnel.
Like a regular resume you should include any specials skills, training, and certifications on your federal resume. Additionally, any rewards, recognitions, associations, and professional development should also be listed.
The application process for a federal position has been streamlined recently but the process can still be complicated and overwhelming. The best thing you can do is to read the job description carefully and make sure to follow the requirements exactly so as not to disqualify yourself.
by Megan Koehler