A federal resume is different from a civilian or a corporate resume - it is longer, more detailed and includes specific job-related terminology. Most federal agencies accept resumes online through specific resume-building websites but some may require hard copies sent by mail or fax. The following tips will help you build your resume:
- Get organized - Before you sit down to write your resume, you'll want to gather some important information, including:
- Contact information for former supervisors
- Performance appraisal
- Awards or letters of recommendation
- Military documentation (if you have prior military experience) such as your
DD214, ACE transcripts, and Verification of Military Experience and Training
- Any additional information relevant to your position
- Create a master resume - By creating a master resume, you'll have a comprehensive worksheet including work history, skills, accomplishments, volunteer work and training. You can copy and paste from this worksheet as you build your resume in an online resume builder or create a hard copy resume.
- Use key words - In many cases, a Human Resources staff member - or a computer - will screen your resume for predetermined key words or phrases. Incorporating these words in the "Work History" portion of your resume will help ensure it will be pulled for review. You can find key words in the actual job announcement, particularly in the "Duties" or "Qualifications" sections.
- Focus on your accomplishments - Instead of simply listing job duties, take a look at your successes. If possible, use numbers to legitimize them. For example, "Managed budget of $100K" or "Reduced training time from 26 weeks to 24 weeks."
- Get a second opinion - Have a trusted friend with federal employment experience or human resource management experience review and provide feedback on your federal resume. Even without that background knowledge, it is always helpful to have someone else look at what you have written.
- Follow up - Once your resume is submitted, follow up with the agency to make sure it has received your resume. In some cases, you may receive an email indicating that your resume has been received and whether you are being considered for the position.
- Keep looking - As you wait to hear about an open position, be sure to continue to search and apply for other jobs.