What is a federal-style resume, and how can you write one?
A federal-style resume is specifically written for federal administrative positions in the US.
Unlike a conventional resume that you send out for jobs in the private sector, federal government jobs require a comprehensive resume that is at least 4-5 pages long.
Every section of a government resume requires extensive details depending on the particular agency you are applying to.
And before you even consider sending your application, you need to ensure that you meet each and every criterion mentioned in the job listing.
Also, for the majority of federal agencies, sending out a federal-style resume is a mandatory requirement if you want to land these positions.
Overwhelmed much? Don’t be.
Once you understand the fundamentals of a federal resume, you’ll be able to draft it with ease.
Read on to learn more about a federal resume and the following related FAQs:
- What are the differences between a federal resume and a conventional resume?
- How do you write a federal resume?
- How do you show professional experience in a federal resume?
- What is a federal resume sample?
Federal Resume vs a Conventional Resume
While the biggest difference between a federal resume and a conventional resume is the length and detail that goes into writing these resumes, here are the details:
|FEDERAL RESUME||CONVENTIONAL RESUME|
|Has to be at least 4-5 pages long||Limited to 1-2 pages|
|Requires thorough details||Only notable achievements and relevant details are required|
|You must attach additional documents like transcripts, certificate of release, etc.||No additional documents required|
Also read: How to write a resume as a beginner?
How to Write a Federal Resume?
Just like a conventional resume, a federal resume has different sections that showcase your potential as a candidate.
The following are some general guidelines that you can follow to draft an impressive federal resume:
Choose the Correct Federal Resume Format
Although it’s not mandatory, it’s advisable to use a reverse-chronological format in your federal resume because it is recognized by all the federal recruiters and is a popular choice among job-seekers.
As for your federal resume template, simply ensure that the template checks out the following points:
- 1” margin on all sides
- Left-aligned margins
- Use of easy to read fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, etc.
- 10-12 font size (depending on the font type)
- Minimal use of colors
Provide a Detailed Personal Information
The personal details section of a federal resume needs more information than a conventional resume.
Here’s what you need to include in the personal information section of your federal resume:
|Your full name||A reachable contact number|
|An email address||A mailing address (current full address)|
|The details of the desired position & Availability||Citizenship status|
|The last 4 digits of your social security number||Physical disabilities (if any)|
|Highest General Schedule (GS) grade (in case you worked for a federal agency in the past)||Your veterans’ preference|
|Security clearance||Desired location|
Write an Impressive Federal Resume Summary
When recruiters receive thousands of applications for a single vacancy, be it in private or government sectors, recruiters don’t spend a lot of time going through a resume.
Most recruiters simply read the resume summary. Therefore, the need to make your federal resume summary a compelling one.
Highlight your most impressive skills and accomplishments in not more than 3-4 lines and showcase your potential.
You can begin your summary by mentioning the years of experience you possess, followed by your professional title.
Given below are two federal resume summary statement examples:
6+ years experienced accountant with a prolific track record in auditing & budget management. Proficient in preparing financial statements and publishing them on time while simultaneously handling monthly, quarterly, and annual closings. Highly skilled in computing taxes and preparing tax returns in compliance with financial policies and regulations.
Certified database administrator with 4+ years of experience in managing LAN and WAN infrastructure while ensuring 24x7 server uptime. Skilled at inspecting security vulnerabilities and suggesting improvement opportunities to ensure maximum data privacy. Adept at troubleshooting complex database problems to ensure maximum database performance.
Write an Extensive Professional Experience Section
The professional experience section of your federal resume can determine whether or not you’ll be shortlisted for the position.
Along with the regular details like the name of your previous employer, job title, and location, you need to include additional information like the following in your federal resume’s professional experience section:
- The full address of your previous company
- Your previous supervisor’s name and contact information (Also mention whether or not he/she may be contacted)
- The number of hours you worked per week
- Your salary
When you are describing your professional experience, ensure that you follow the given points:
- Use figures and data points to illustrate your work whenever possible
- Make use of power verbs
- Use a healthy balance between brief paragraphs and bullet points to enhance readability
- Frame your sentences using the cause and effect approach (the work that you did and the result you achieved)
In a regular resume, simply listing a couple of bullet points is enough to showcase your potential.
However, in your federal resume, you need to provide in-depth details of your past role and the responsibilities that came with it.
Ensure to read the “Qualifications & Evaluations” tab thoroughly while reading the job listing so you know exactly how you must tailor your resume and on what grounds your resume will be evaluated.
And unlike a regular resume, having a key skills section is not a must in a federal resume. Thus, if you choose not to keep a seperate skills section, you must demonstrate your skills through your past experiences.
The minimum qualification established by the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for job positions in the federal government requires candidates to have generalized and/or specialized experiences (depending on the role).
For some job positions, you can qualify solely based on your education. While for others, a combination of education and experience is a must.
Include the following details in your educational background:
- The name of the degree
- University name and location
- Relevant coursework and projects
- Number of credits earned
- GPA (mandatory)
- Date of commencement and completion
- Special awards and scholarships (if any)
In a federal resume, the additional section is intended for presenting your specialized technical skills, professional awards & recognitions, professional associations, and language skills.
Although this section is not compulsory, it can help you stand out from the crowd of applicants.
Here’s a federal resume example for an additional section:
Also read: How to write a great federal cover letter?
Federal Resume Example
Key Points from the Blog
- A federal resume is specifically written for federal government jobs in the US and is different from a conventional resume.
- While a conventional resume is only 1-2 pages long, a federal resume needs to be at least 4-5 pages with thorough details.
- Use the reverse chronological format and ensure that your federal resume template is formatted with appropriate margins, spaces, and fonts.
- Begin your federal resume summary with the years of experience and mention your professional title.
- Quantify your achievements and include data points wherever possible.
- Use power verbs and frame your sentences with a cause and effect relationship while describing your past experiences.
- Read the qualifications and evaluation tab thoroughly to get a better idea of what you need to highlight or skip in your federal resume.
- Add your specialized technical skills, languages you speak, and other details like professional associations (if any) in the additional information section of your federal resume.