What is a Federal Resume and How To Write One

The federal resume is one of three documents required for official applications for jobs within the federal government. The other two are the OF-612 and the traditional SF-171 – and it’s hard sometimes to figure out which agency wants what document, because some offices prefer one over the other So your best bet is to submit a federal resume – it’s considered the most current type of resume for government employment and, even if the department in question would prefer a different style, you’ll still look like you know what you’re doing!

A federal resume should be developed in the “chronological” resume format, listing your work history in reverse order of when you were employed. It must also include some additional information that’s not usually requested by civilian employers. You’ll need to include:

Job Information (job/listing number, title, series and grade of job)

Personal Information (full name and address, day and evening phone numbers, social security number, country of citizenship, veteran’s preference, reinstatement eligibility, highest federal civilian grade held)

Education (high school, including name, city, and state, date of diploma or GED, colleges or universities, including name, city and state, majors, type and year of any degrees received)

Work Experience (job title, duties and accomplishments, employer’s name and address, supervisor’s name and phone number, starting and ending dates, hours per week, salary, references)

Additional Qualifications (job-related training courses, skills, certificates and licenses, honors, awards and special accomplishments; for example, publications, memberships in professional or honor societies, leadership activities, public speaking and performance awards)

It may seem odd to provide so much information before you even get an interview, but keep in mind that applying for government jobs is very different than applying for private ones. The purpose of the federal resume in the private sector is to get an interview, after which an employer will ask for more information. In the government, the purpose of the resume is to present your qualifications, proving that you meet eligibility requirements, so that you can be approved by the Human Resources office. Your federal resume, therefore, needs to include similar language to that in the job announcement, because the HR specialist will be looking for applicants with experience that meets the requirements of the open position.

Your federal resume should cover about ten years of employment, with details describing your accomplishments. Focus on highlighting skills that are compatible with the the position for which you are applying. The resume should be no more than three to five pages long, plus pages outlining your knowledge, skills and, where applicable, performance ratings. Start with three pages as a goal. If you don’t have the work experiences to fill three pages, that’s okay – just make your on to two pages the best they can be.

If you are looking for additional information on federal resumes, KSA and ECQ documents, and Resumix applications, check the other articles we have published here.

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