En Route: A Career Blog

Why a Standard Resume Won’t have a Chance with the Federal Government

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: , , , , ,
POSTED: March 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

Government jobs are plentiful even in a down economy. They are also good career-oriented positions with advancement opportunities. Landing a government job is a complex process, but it is well worth the effort if you desire to work in the public sector. Many private-industry job applicants use a standard resume thinking it is the same or just as effective as a Federal resume when applying for a government job. This is not the case. There is certain information that needs to appear on a Federal resume that you would not include on a private-sector resume. The human resource professionals need to see certain information in your application materials in order for you to be considered for further review as an applicant.

Federal Resumes Require More Personal Information

The information you need to provide for a government application (often called a vacancy announcement) includes your full name, complete mailing address, social security number, and your country of citizenship. Vacancy announcements contain a list of what to include in your resume. If you leave any information out such as your social security number, you might not be considered for the job.

Federal Resumes Need to Align with the Job Announcement

With a standard resume, you might use a qualifications summary to outline your skills and experience that relate to the job you are applying for. With a federal resume, you use an objective statement that needs to include the job title and department, the position’s grade level (the job’s level of difficulty), and the job announcement reference number. Following the objective statement you include a list of your qualifications that apply to the requirements listed in the job description.

Adhere to all Application Guidelines

Each vacancy announcement includes a “How to Apply” section that tells exactly what application process you need to follow and what information you need to include. It is critical that you provide information for every category in this section because most resumes are electronically scanned before a hiring manager reviews them. The required information often includes your past supervisor’s name and phone number and if that person can be contacted. This section often asks for your highest employment grade level whether you are a veteran or a civilian employee. You won’t be able to provide this information if you are transitioning from the private sector so you could enter N/A. Do not leave any categories blank.

Standard resumes are commonly one-to-two pages. Federal resumes can range from two-to-six pages and must comply with the guidelines required by the government personnel offices. Federal employment can be a good career opportunity if you are prepared and willing to produce a Federal resume package that promotes you as the “best qualified” candidate for your selected government position.