How to write a federal cover letter?

If you are trying to apply for a government job, you probably have come across this question several times.

Federal government jobs are very lucrative. According to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, federal job opportunities will grow by 6 million by 2029.

However, with these immense growth opportunities, there is enormous competition for federal jobs in the market.

To secure a federal job for yourself, you need to set yourself apart from the crowd.

And a cover letter for federal job can help you do that.

Writing a cover letter is already tricky for some of you!

But writing a federal resume cover letter can be a whole other story.

You need to keep a lot in mind when writing a cover letter for a federal government job.

Would you like to know how?

In this article, we show you:

What is a Federal cover letter?

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A federal cover letter is a professional one-page letter that you need to create when applying for a US federal government job.

Your federal job cover letter will allow you to highlight your skills, experience, and accomplishments to the federal government employer and show them that you are the perfect fit for the job.

A federal government cover letter should not contain all the information on your resume, but it should elaborate the most relevant information about you succinctly.

Why do you need a federal cover letter?

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Most federal resumes are one to two pages long and can not address the hiring manager directly. A recruiter only gets 7.4 seconds to look at your application.

A tailored federal cover letter can pique the recruiter’s attention and highlight your most relevant skills and accomplishments to the recruiter. A cover letter for federal job also is a tool to sell your skills to the organization and emphasize how you can benefit the organization.

Federal Cover Letter Sample

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Here's a federal cover letter example for you:

David Johnson
Administrative Clerk
Covering Letter
10th April 2021

Ms. Carrie Woods
Hiring Manager
Federal Agency
81, Metro Lane,
Colorado Springs, CO

RE: Administrative Clerk

Dear Ms. Woods,

As 3 years experienced Administrative Clerk with a track record of successfully supporting 50+ projects with 10+ staff members, I am adept at conceptualizing and implementing optimum process efficiency strategies. Additionally, I’m highly skilled at managing both digital and analog administrative documents. I am proficient in attending calls, arranging meetings, and following up with clients as needed.

With a focus on deploying an in-depth understanding of federal administrative work, I am incredibly interested in the Administrative Clerk’s profile at the Federal Agency.

In my last stint at the Federal Milk Distribution Department, I have successfully attended 100+ phone calls per month. Additionally, I have converted 300+ analog documents into digital prints and created catalogs by deploying Oracle systems. Apart from that, I was responsible for managing and scheduling meetings for 10+ staff members with 100% efficiency.

I thoroughly believe that my 3 years of experience in meeting scheduling, document preparation, and call handling can bring your organization success. Inspired by its collaborative working style that emphasizes teamwork, trust & tolerance, I consider the Federal Agency to be my most preferred employer.

Enclosed for your consideration is my resume. I’d appreciate the opportunity to further discuss my suitability and qualifications with you on call or in person.

Sincerely,
David Johnson

Enclosures: Resume

Federal Cover Letter - Starting

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Your cover letter for federal job is a professional letter. So it needs to follow the rules of a professional cover letter. These rules are :
Start with a proper heading
Ensure that your federal cover letter heading is appropriately formatted. Make sure this information are on the cover letter heading:

  • Name
  • Email ID
  • Contact Number
  • Residential location
  • Linkedin Profile Link (If you have)
  • Job title you are applying for
  • Date
  • Name of the hiring manager
  • Title of the hiring manager
  • Organization name
  • Organization address
    Here is a federal cover letter example - header section:
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    header

Use professional salutation

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Your federal job cover letter is a professional letter. So make sure you are addressing the hiring manager professionally. For example:

  • Dear Mr. Shaw,
  • Dear Dr. Hobbs,
  • Dear Ms Moore,

If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager, then you can simply address by,

  • Dear Hiring Manager,

But do not use “To whomever it may concern,” It’s old school and does not pique the recruiter’s attention.

To know more, you can follow the “How to address a cover letter” guide.

Federal cover letter - Introduction

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Hiring managers are already frustrated sorting and reading resumes and cover letters all day. Do not bore them further by writing a dull introduction to your federal resume cover letter.

Here are three powerful ways to start your federal cover letter with a bang:

  • Start your cover letter mentioning your years of experience.
  • Start your cover letter highlighting your professional accomplishments.
  • If you are an entry-level professional, start your cover letter with academic achievements, referrals, awards, or anything relevant to the position.

Federal cover letter example - introduction:

Right:

10th January 2020
Ms. Carrie Woods
Hiring Manager
ABC LLC
81, Metro Lane, Colorado Springs, CO

RE: Market Administrator

Dear Ms. Woods,
As 3 years experienced Market Administrator with a track record of successfully managing multiple projects with 100+ workers, I am adept at conceptualizing and implementing optimum process efficiency strategies. With a focus on deploying an in-depth understanding of project planning to Improve process efficiency, I am incredibly interested in the profile of Market Administrator at the Federal Agency Department

Note: This is a perfect example of a federal cover letter example. It starts with a powerful statement about your experience. Also, it successfully quantified your accomplishments.

Wrong:

Dear Hiring Manager,
I have 3 years of experience in project management. I previously worked as a market administrator in the Federal Milk Distribution department, where I managed multiple projects successfully.

And I am incredibly interested in working with the Federal Agency Department.

Federal cover letter with no experience - example:

10th January 2020
Ms. Carrie Woods
Hiring Manager
ABC LLC
81, Metro Lane, Colorado Springs, CO

RE: Market Administrator

Dear Ms. Woods,
I am an enterprising ocean conservation advocate pursuing a law degree from Loyola University, adept at legal research and legal writing. I have an excellent understanding of federal laws, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. I'm also skilled at the legislative process and advocating for policy changes.

Federal cover letter - Second paragraph

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Your federal cover letter second paragraph should highlight your relevant professional experience. Also, do not use vague language to describe your accomplishments.

Be specific with your work experience and quantify your achievements wherever possible.

Furthermore, tailor your cover letter to the federal job you are applying for.

This process is easier than you think.

  • Read the job description thoroughly.
  • Highlight the responsibilities required for the federal job
  • Match the skills and responsibilities with your current skills and experience in the cover letter

It shows the hiring manager that you have done your research and are interested in the job.

Additionally, if you have any career gap in the resume, a cover letter is the perfect opportunity to justify your career gap.

Federal Cover Letter Example- Second paragraph:
Right:

In my last stint at the Federal Milk Distribution Department, I have successfully attended 100+ phone calls per month. Additionally, I have converted 300+ analog documents into digital prints and created catalogs by deploying Oracle systems. Apart from that, I was responsible for managing and scheduling meetings for 10+ staff members with 100% efficiency.

Note: Notice that this second paragraph successfully highlights the candidate's key accomplishments and entice recruiters to read the resume.

Wrong:

In my last job, I was responsible for attending calls, managing documents, and scheduling staff members’ meetings.I also have experience in Microsoft Excel and Oracle systems for document management.

Note: This example does not have anything that might pique the hiring manager’s interest to read your cover letter further.

Federal Cover Letter - Ending

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You have successfully hooked the hiring manager till the end. Now it’s time to show the recruiter how much you want to work for the organization and end the letter with a powerful CTA.

All federal jobs are most glorious. It takes the right kind of professionals to excel in some jobs. So, you need to project your enthusiasm for the job at the end of your resume and let the recuriter know how much you love working.

Not only that, It's better to directly ask the recuriter for an interview.

However, do not be pushy or needy why asking for an interview like this:

  • Please accept my candidature for an interview
  • It would be great if you consider me for an interview.

Instead, write this:

  • I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss my suitability and qualifications with you on call or in person.

Federal cover letter Example - Ending:

Right:
I thoroughly believe that my 3 years of experience in meeting scheduling, document preparation, and call handling can bring your organization success. Inspired by its collaborative working style that emphasizes teamwork, trust & tolerance, I consider the Federal Agency to be my most preferred employer.

Enclosed for your consideration is my resume. I’d appreciate the opportunity to further discuss my suitability and qualifications with you on call or in person.
Sincerely,

David Johnson

Enclosures: Resume

Wrong:
I think my 3 years of experience in meeting scheduling, document management, and call handling will bring success to your organization.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Best,
David Johnson

Note: This is not a proper ending for a federal cover letter. Firstly, you should not use a casual ending salutation in your federal cover letter. Secondly, it does not have a clear CTA to encourage the recruiter to take action. Refer to our federal government cover letter samples above to understand better.

Federal Cover Letter - Formatting

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Writing the perfect federal cover letter is not all. To get noticed, you need to make sure that the cover letter is presented to the hiring manager properly.

So, make sure to format your federal cover letter well and proofread it before sending it to the hiring manager.

Here are a couple of tips to professionally format your federal cover letter:

The Length

No professional letter should stretch beyond one page. And you need to follow the same rule for your federal cover letter.

Fonts

Use simple or clear fonts in your federal cover letter. It improves the readability and looks clean.

Some professional fonts are:

  • Arial
  • Calibre
  • Georgia
  • Lato
  • Times New Roman
  • Roboto
  • Verdana

Note: Make sure to use a font size between 11-14 points

Margins

Make sure to have at least 1” margins on all sides of your federal cover letter. If the cover letter exceeds one page, you can shrink the margins to ½* or ¾*, not more than that.

Whitespace

Ensure that your federal cover letter has plenty of whitespaces. It improves readability and helps the cover letter get past the ATS system.

File format

Always send your cover letter in PDF format, not in JPEG, or PNG. Not even DOCS format.

Hiration Pro Tip: Save your cover letter with the job title, like this: "Project Manager - John Doe.pdf."

It will help the hiring manager to sort your cover letter effortlessly.

Federal cover letter - Checklist

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This checklist will help you write a federal cover letter for yourself.

  • Your name, contact information, and location on the header
  • Cover letter title
  • Date
  • Hiring manager's name
  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Salutation
  • First paragraph - better to start with your years of experience
  • The second paragraph - Highlight your relevant key skills and achievements
  • Third paragraph - Why you think this job is right for you
  • Fifth paragraph - Call to action for an interview
  • Closing salutation
  • Enclosure - resume

Federal cover letter - Additional Tips

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Here are some additional tips to help you write a stellar federal cover letter.

Read the job description thoroughly

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Usually, the job description contains all the information about the skills and responsibilities of a federal job. So, always read the job description carefully before writing the cover letter. It will Help you sort out the jobs to find the perfect fit job for you.

You can pick from the skills mentioned in the job descriptions and highlight them throughout your cover letter.

Also, many job descriptions have specific instructions for resumes and cover letters. If you do not read the job description, you will miss these essential instructions, and your resume will never get past the ATS system.

Research the Government agency

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Every job is different, and each job takes the right mindset and love to excel in it. Your cover letter allows you to showcase that your skills and passion for the job lies with the government agency’s vision and mission.

For example, if you apply for an Environmental Specialist position, you can showcase your passion for the environment by mentioning some volunteer work you have done in the past.

Create specific cover letters for each job

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Many candidates create generic cover letters for each job profile. But for a federal job, you need to tailor each cover letter for the specific job you are applying for. You can easily do this by creating a master cover letter. Whenever you need to apply for a job, tweak the master cover letter concerning the job description skills and responsibilities.

Keep your Federal Cover Letter to-the-point

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The hiring manager only has a couple of seconds to look at your cover letter. So, make sure to keep your federal cover letter concise and to the point. Do not exceed one page, and try to wrap up your cover letter within 3-4 paragraphs.

Proofread your cover letters

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Do not send your cover letter to the recruiter right away. Always proofread your cover letters and do a proper grammar and spelling check before sending it to the recruiters. It’s best to take expert opinion to create your federal cover letter before sending it to the recruiter.

Hiration Online Resume Builder Service can help you do that.

Online Resume Builder

These are the features of Online Resume Builder:

  • Option to save unlimited resumes
  • Intuitive next text suggestion
  • Auto bold feature
  • 20+ Cover letter designs
  • LIVE resume score
  • JD-resume matcher
  • Full rich-text editor
  • Unlimited PDF downloads
  • 1-click design change
  • A sharable link
  • LIVE editor
    Go to our Online Resume Builder and choose from 20+ federal cover letter templates to create a professional cover letter for yourself!

Key Takeaways

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With that, we have come to the end of this blog. Let’s see some of the key takeaways from the blog:

  • Always format your federal cover letter professionally. Keep it on a single page, and ensure to have 1” margins on all sides.
  • Start your cover letter introduction with a powerful statement such as your years of experience.
  • Highlight your best achievements relevant to the job on the second paragraph of the cover letter and include keywords in this section
  • Explain why you are the right fit for the job in the third paragraph
  • Do some research on the organization and write something that matches your personality with the company mission in the last paragraph.
  • End your cover letter for federal job with a CTA for an interview
  • Do not forget to enclose your resume in the federal government cover letter.

If you want to create a federal cover letter, go to Hiration Resume Builder tool and choose from 20+ cover letter templates to create a professional federal cover letter for you.