Applying for a job with the federal government requires an applicant to carefully tailor a resume to meet the criteria in the job opening. Positions in the federal government don’t ask for a job application; instead, the candidate’s resume serves as their application. For this reason, it’s crucial that a job seeker crafts the document so that it hits on all of the requirements listed in the opening. Candidates are reviewed based on experience, education, and training, so highlighting these components is important for success.
- About the formatting
While job seekers in other fields have a range of formats that they can use, federal job seekers should stick with a reverse chronological resume, listing their most recent job experience first and then working backward. This makes it easier for a potential employer to analyze whether the individual is a good fit for the job based on their employment history.
Though many job seekers are told to make their resume one to two pages, a federal resume doesn’t have a page limit. Hiring managers are more focused on the content of the document as well as the job seeker’s experience, not the length of the resume. Federal jobs often ask that those who fill the position have served in a particular role for a certain amount of time, so including the month and year that you started and ended a position is important. It’s also useful to include how many hours per week you worked.
- What to include
To make your resume stand out from other applicants, you’ll want to focus on including accomplishments that highlight your skills and abilities. If you served as a project manager or took on another type of leadership role, indicate this. Whenever possible, include numbers, percentages, dollars, and other facts that demonstrate your success. If you improved efficiency by 20 percent in a certain position, state this. If you increased revenue by 10 percent, make this known. These kinds of solid achievements help to show a hiring manager that you’ve had success in the past and can do it again.
Volunteer work and membership in community organizations should also get noted. This extra experience can enable a job seeker to develop skills that they’ll need for work, and also illustrates that the person feels a sense of connection to the community.
- What to avoid
Though you may be applying for several jobs that are similar in nature, avoid sending out the same resume for each opening. Hiring managers from the federal government ask that candidates carefully review job descriptions, and illustrate exactly why they can meet or exceed the requirements listed. A generic resume may fail to thoroughly touch on the skills or experience that would enable you to flourish in that specific role. When submitting a resume, go through the job description line by line and tailor the document accordingly.
A candidate should also avoid filling a resume with acronyms. The document must be easy to understand, and even acronyms that you believe are universal can confuse a hiring manager. Instead, spell out the names of organizations or awards.
Building a resume that shows exactly how your past experience can help you to thrive in a new opening will earn you a second look from hiring managers working for the federal government.
The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.