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Federal Resume Tips

Writing a federal resume is a new undertaking in comparison to traditional resumes for civilian positions. Resumes for federal government positions extend well beyond one page and focus on detail and depth rather than the bullet points and brevity of ordinary resumes.

Our federal resume tips for preparing and writing federal resumes, as well as discovering positions on USAJOBS, make the process of writing a resume for a federal job easier— whether you’re a federal employee, a veteran or a civilian.


Tips on How to Write a Resume for a Federal Job

Tips for how to write a federal resume often focus on following the directions in a job announcement. Different tactics, however, like your writing style and resume organization can give you a competitive advantage when writing a federal resume.

Follow these 9 federal resume tips to boost your chances of an interview:

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  1. Read, review and print the job listing. Make sure you’re applying to federal jobs that match your skills and experience. Listings on USAJOBS include key information like the required skills and who may apply. Keywords you’ll want to use on your resume will also feature on the listing. Pay attention to these so you can start writing a successful federal resume.

    Every federal job announcement features a similar layout but includes different requirements. It’s easy to develop tunnel vision when you’re applying to multiple positions and forget their different requirements. Print a copy of the job listing for reference as you prepare your portfolio and write your resume — it’ll help you distinguish between multiple announcements.


  2. Create a resume and application checklist. Use your printed copy to create a checklist of what needs to be submitted with your application. Many applications are discarded because they forget to include requested information or documentation. Reference your checklist as you build your application and then again before you submit your application.
  3. Organize your resume in a way that makes sense. Plan your resume before you begin writing. Use an outline to compile experiences relevant to the job announcement. Arrange your experiences in reverse chronological order by sharing your most recent experiences first and your earlier ones last. Return to this outline throughout your job search to update it with new or previous experiences you now remember.
  4. Write to specific job announcements in a concise and active voice. Federal resumes extend from three to more than 10 pages. Use those pages to your full advantage by developing your USAJOBS resume by addressing the job vacancies where specialized experience is required, as well as key words and core competencies that demonstrate your skills. Your word choice and style should be clear and concise. Pretend you’re writing to someone unfamiliar with your field of work by omitting acronyms and clearly defining your experience and accomplishments.
  5. Utilize our signature Headline Format. Hiring managers typically decide within 10 to 15 seconds if they’re going to continue reading a resume or discard it. Hiring Officials within federal agencies cover the scope of your resume. We recommend keeping your employment history within a 10-year time-frame. By using our signature Headline Format that addresses the keywords, specialized experience and core competencies, employers can quickly find information that matches their job vacancies.
  6. Demonstrate your accomplishments with numbers. Use numbers, from percentages to dollar amounts, to highlight your accomplishments. Numbers are persuasive and powerful because they measure your success in a way any reader can understand. They also prove your point that, yes, you did lead a successful fundraising campaign because it raised X number of dollars, for example.
  7. Contact references before you submit your application. USAJOBS allows you to include five references. Set yourself apart from the competition by contacting your references in advance. Discuss your past projects with them or even how those projects relate to your application. Refresh their memory so they can provide accurate and honest information about your skills, character and work ethic.
  8. Review and edit your resume. First drafts always have room for revisions. Print out your resume and read it aloud, noting where to make edits. Share your resume with friends or family for another opportunity to catch and fix mistakes. Applicants often brush this step over, but grammatical or spelling errors often result in immediate disqualification from the hiring pool.
  9. Submit your resume on time. Applicants can miss a federal job announcement deadline because they overlook the time zone listed by the deadline. Job announcements often close at midnight, Eastern Standard Time. If you live in another time zone, convert the time to your zone and set a reminder to guarantee you submit your resume on time. The closing date and time is listed on the first page of the job vacancy.

Tips for Federal Resume Writing

One of the most important USAJOBS resume tips is following the job announcement and providing what the hiring agency is asking for. It’s a step that many qualified applicants overlook because they’re using a template resume instead of developing a resume for each application.

CareerPro Global always advises that you write to the position you are applying. In other words, it’s not about what you want to write, as it’s important to include the information the hiring official wants to see and how they wish to see it.

Writing a federal resume is like a cover letter for civilian positions in that you need to make it relevant to the job announcement. The USAJOBS system first asks a series of questions in relation to the job vacancy for which you are applying. If you do not choose that you are highly qualified and experienced in “all” responses, there is a good possibility your resume will not make it to the hiring official.

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Write Your Federal Resume With CareerProPlus

How to write a successful federal government resume focuses on time, commitment and hard work. It’s not an easy challenge, but it’s certainly rewarding when you’re preparing for your job interview. For many, though, time is a limited resource or writing isn’t a strong suit.

CareerProPlus helps veterans, federal employees and private sector professionals apply for government positions by writing federal resumes. Our premier, multi-certified writing team has written more than 60,000 military, corporate and federal resumes with a 99.6% customer satisfaction rate. Our signature Headline Format makes our candidates stand out.

Learn more about writing a resume for a federal job and get started with CareerPro Plus by contacting us today.