Three Insider Tips for Writing a Strong Federal Resume

From the Managing Editor’s Desk:

1. Be concise. A decade ago, a federal resume could easily be 8, 10, or 12 pages long. Today, more and more federal agencies are moving toward more concise resumes. In fact, we recommend to all of our clients that they keep the resume within five pages. This can be a challenge because you still need to address everything the job announcement calls for, and you still need to focus on the last decade or so. Still, limiting yourself to five pages forces you to do so in a more concise and reader-friendly way.

2. Avoid listing overly personal information. Obviously, you will need to list your name, address, email, phone numbers—that’s not what we mean by “overly” personal information. However, religious and political affiliations, family status, country club memberships, and hobbies have no in a federal resume.

3. Emphasize relevant and quantifiable accomplishments. Don’t just list verbiage from your position descriptions or overarching duties. While some basic job description is appropriate, your resume should be accomplishment-driven, and you should utilize the Challenge-Context-Action-Result (CCAR) format. Every bullet or sentence has the potential to include some or all of these components, and the most important ones are actions and results.

Hiring managers may receive dozens of application packages and typically, only a few of the top applicants will even be interviewed. Your resume is the first part of your materials that will be reviewed, so use the tips above to ensure it is comprehensive, compelling, and relevant all at the same time.

As always, we are here to help if you’d like expert coaching and writing support.


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