FEDERAL RESUME WRITING TIPS

TAILOR YOUR RESUME TO THE JOB ANNOUNCEMENT

All resumes submitted for Federal positions should be tailored to the job announcement. Failing to do so can result in a low rating and non-qualification of the position. However, if you tailor your resume to a specific job description, your chances of moving to the next stage in the application process will drastically increase.

To customize your resume, carefully review the position description. Focus on the duties, qualifications and requirements section and include keywords and phrases in your tailored resume. Make sure that you demonstrate how you have developed the specific skills required by the agency. Your final resume should be tailored so that it mirrors the language used to describe the position. Emphasize and re-emphasize areas where your previous experience or education overlaps with the duties and qualifications listed in the job opportunity announcement.

Numbers impress hiring managers

Use the duties and accomplishments section of your Federal resume to highlight your performance metrics. Percentages, numbers and data can be a great way to describe the specific impact you had in a particular job. Listing actual measures will go a long way with hiring officials. Be sure they are accurate and that you can back them up in an interview. Describe the impact, cost savings for example and goals achieved as a result of implementing your plan.

Sell yourself and your achievements

Brag on yourself. Don't be shy about talking about expressing your knowledge, skills and accomplishments in your Federal resume. Give the agency representative a reason to make you one of his or her top candidates.

Include the skills and achievements that go beyond your work experience and education. Think about all of your activities that might qualify you for a job, such as: involvement in social or religious organizations, volunteer experiences, unique projects or interests, awards or certificates and subjects mastered.

These items may set your resume above the rest, especially if they correspond to the qualifications for the position.

Check your spelling and grammar

One of the biggest complaints from Federal agencies is that applicants frequently do not edit their work and often have spelling and/or grammatical errors in their Federal resumes. This can leave a negative impression on the selecting official. They may consider you to be too lazy to spell check. Or perhaps not able to convey your thoughts in writing. Use a word processor or ask a peer or professional to check your spelling and grammar. Doing so may help you avoid being overlooked when it comes time for an agency to select candidates for an interview.

Keep a copy of your private-sector resume

Some agencies use third-party application systems that are not USAJOBS.gov and may require a different kind of resume. If you have any questions about what documents to send, contact the agency’s human resources representative for clarification.

Be concise

Provide as much detail as possible, but be concise. Wordy or irrelevant information will only confuse the reader. When tailoring your resume, be clear and articulate.  Do not assume the reviewer is familiar with the job(s) you have performed in the past that are on your resume. Provide context when appropriate, and avoid acronyms. Omit unnecessary details. You should provide enough information to demonstrate your qualifications, without overwhelming the reader. Remember: the quality of the information is more important than the quantity.

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