Best Tips On How To Write A Federal Resume In 2022

Creating a federal resume is a lot trickier than a conventional one. For starters, you need to make it way more comprehensive.

You also have to add precise details, such as your GS rating, clearance, and more. If you’re applying for a position with a federal government agency, you may have to submit a specialized resume that includes several unique elements, in addition to traditional elements like education, work experience and contact information.

In this article, we explore how to write a federal resume, what information to include, and provide an example federal resume to help you write your own.

What is a Federal Resume?

A federal resume is a comprehensive document used when applying for a job within a federal government. You need to provide more specific information both about yourself and your work experience than you would in a regular resume. 

It is similar to a conventional resume in the way you describe your experiences. You include all the must-have sections in your resume, and describe your skills and past experiences.

The federal resume is tailored for federal hiring managers and human resources personnel and, like traditional resumes, still includes your qualifications, background and personal details.

Federal Resume vs Conventional Resume: Key Differences

Private industry resumes are usually 2 pages and federal resumes are more often 3 to 5 pages in length. The federal resumes are longer because the federal Human Resources specialists want your Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (and duties and accomplishments) spelt out.

Federal ResumeConventional Resume
Resume Length3-6 pagesMaximum of 2 pages
Level of DetailHighly detailed. Should capture every basic aspect of your background, past roles and a lot of other vital information.Doesn’t capture any specific detail. Similar to other resumes, this only adopts the most notable achievements you’ve gotten from past roles you’ve held. 
DocumentationYou would need to submit additional documentation such as your transcripts, military service documents, contacts of former supervisors, and a lot more.You don’t need to submit a lot of documentation. A few occasions can demand that you use references, but if that’s not the case, then you need to greatly avoid using them. 
RequirementsMeeting 50%-98% of the requirements for federal roles will not give you the job you desire. Instead, you will need to meet 100% of all listed requirements on the job advertisement to get hired for this roleIf you’re applying for any other role, you don’t need to fulfil all the requirements. You only need to attain a credible part of the requirements to get a great fighting chance for the job.

What Jobs Do You Need a Federal Resume For?

The federal government offers a wide range of federal jobs that require a comprehensive federal resume, including:

Technology: With the right education and experience, you can find work within a variety of government agencies in areas such as programming, networking, and other IT specialities.

Engineering: Whether it is electrical, civil or general engineering, various government departments hire engineers for these specialities, including the energy and transport sectors.

Law enforcement: Often, federal resumes are required for positions in police, criminal investigations, border security, or national security.

Legal: If you have legal training, you could consider a position as a public attorney, paralegal or judge.

International relations: Interpreting, foreign affairs, and diplomacy are some of the roles that you could pursue with your language skills.

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Business: Accounting, finance, and management skills can be applied to work in commerce or treasury.

In public health, research, and healthcare policy, the government often hires doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and medical technicians.

How to Write a Federal Resume

When you apply for federal jobs, you must include additional information about your background and experience. Federal resumes usually range from four to six pages, whereas a typical resume is one or two pages long. Additionally, it displays information about security clearances in addition to citizenship and salary. Your qualifications will be evaluated by the employer and the government agency based on these elements.

You can also use the job description to describe your qualifications, skills, and job responsibilities. 

To write an effective federal resume, it is important to include these elements:

  • Input your contact information.
  • Add your citizenship status.
  • Identify your highest GS grade.
  • Outline veterans’ preferences.
  • Detail work experience.
  • Discuss your education.
  • Consider other optional items.

1. Input your contact information

Your full name, telephone number, and email address should go here as they would on a regular resume. Your postal address is another necessary element that makes federal resumes different because it assists with the vetting process.

2. Add your citizenship status

Please include your citizenship status, even if you are not a citizen of the nation. That will assist the vetting and identification process. There are many federal positions that don’t require U.S. citizenship. However, there are some other positions that may require citizenship of another country. Be sure to check whether you qualify for the position’s required status in the job description.

3. Identify your highest GS grade

According to the General Schedule (GS), all jobs within the federal government are graded according to pay rate and job responsibility. Within each grade, there are 10 steps with a predetermined pay increase at each level. Include the highest GS grade you hold and your current salary range, if you are currently employed by the federal government. 

4. Outline veterans’ preference

The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) does not require veterans to disclose their protected veteran status before they can apply for a job. However, the U.S. government gives veterans preference to promote fair hiring practices. There are a number of factors that determine the number of points a veteran earns, including the length of service and discharge status. Veterans’ families who qualify also receive preference.

5. Detail your work experience

Resumes for federal jobs must detail every job you’ve held over the past ten years. Similar to a regular resume, it is best to begin the federal resume by mentioning your professional experience, particularly in positions relevant to the job you are applying for. Then, if you lack significant professional experience, you should list your education first and choose positions that show you are qualified for the job.

When describing each of your work experiences, please include the following information:

Employer’s name and location: If the job is located in a different country than the federal government entity you are applying to, please list the city, region or state in addition to the country.

Job title: When verifying your job title, make sure you use the one assigned by that employer.

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Dates: This information is useful to hiring personnel in determining your qualifications and suitability for a specific role based on how long you have been at each position. If you are currently employed, use “present” to indicate that you still work there.

Detailed description of deliverables: Incorporate relevant keywords from the job description to emphasize your relevant skills and experience.

Awards or special recognition: Include any awards or recognition you’ve received as part of the job profile. Quantify your accomplishments if applicable.

Supervisor’s name and contact information: Your former employer can be contacted to verify your employment, job title, and other details necessary for vetting purposes.

6. Discuss your education

If you have attended any school and received a degree or certification, make sure to mention that. You can include homeschool curriculums, study abroad experiences, and completed courses and degrees. Depending on the school, include the following information:

  • Years attended
  • Degree or qualification earned, including minors
  • GPA
  • Number of credit hours earned
  • Completion date
  • Any awards or special recognition received, including honours designations
  • Membership to professional or educational organizations, including professional societies
  • Relevant coursework, projects, presentations or papers

7. Consider other optional items

You may also want to include the following:

Security clearance: If you are employed by a government agency, please note your level of security clearance.

Desired location: Multiple locations may be listed in the job posting. If you have a preference for a particular location, inform the hiring manager.

Additional training: Describe any relevant coursework or special skills outside of work experience or education.

Volunteer work: Demonstrating another skill or interest, as well as showing dedication to the community, can enhance your resume.

References: These references will be in addition to the employers you listed above. Please provide a brief description of each reference, including name, contact information, and relationship. References from former coworkers or mentors can be professional or personal.

Languages: Fluency in languages other than the native language of the government entity you are applying for is an important qualification in many federal jobs.

Affiliations: Describe any organizations you are a member of, whether professional or otherwise. It can be a fraternity, sorority, charity organization, or trade guild.

Publications: Describe the titles, publication dates, and topics of any articles you have written on topics related to the job.

Additional skills: Include technical skills outside of your previous work experience but relevant to your current position.

Federal Resume Sample

In this section, you will find a sample of a Federal resume drawn from Indeed.com.

IT Specialist (Customer Support) – GS-2210

HANNAH BROWN

1721 Pilots Lane

Chicago, IL 60616

Cell Phone: (555) 555-1234

Email: hbrown@email.com

Citizenship: U.S. Citizen

Veterans’ Preference: No

Highest GS Grade: N/A

Security Clearance: N/A

Desired Location: US-IL-Cook County-Chicago

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

Motivated Information Technology professional with skills in application development and support. Proven experience with application upgrades, computer maintenance, troubleshooting and help desk support across a variety of environments including Windows and Linux. Works well in a team, able to take and give direction and used to high-pressure situations. Self-motivated and determined to see a task through to the end. Good time management skills, able to handle multiple projects. Excellent communicator, both orally and written. Twice recognized for outstanding customer support.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

SYSTEM SUPPORT SPECIALIST, 40 hrs/week—04/23/2015 to Present

First American Bank, 123 Cherry Harvest Lane, Chicago, IL 60616

Manager: Brian Briggs (773) 555-5656. May contact.

Responsibilities:

  • Managing and maintaining software and applications used by the Auto Services line of business 
  • Liaising with vendor support to troubleshoot and fix third-party software issues 
  • Installing server and operating system updates 
  • Monitoring for potential malware or other server attacks. Managing software upgrades 
  • Managing, maintaining and repairing hardware (PCs, printers, and servers) used by the Auto Services line of business. Working with vendors to troubleshoot printer issues.
  • Designing and developing small productivity applications for the business using C# and Access 
  • Interfacing with business partners, providing telephone and face-to-face assistance with their needs

Accomplishments:

  • Received corporate recognition award for customer service in February, 2018
  • Developed an application for performing special billing functionality not supported by the business’s third-party software
  • Kept business going when the servers went down during peak hours. Re-routed traffic to back-up servers, traced the fault, fixed it and restored production servers within two hours

SYSTEM SUPPORT ANALYST, 40 hrs/week—1/10/2013 to 04/23/2015

First American Bank, 123 Cherry Harvest Lane, Chicago, IL 60616

Manager: Brian Briggs (773) 555-5656. May contact.

Responsibilities:

  • Maintaining software and applications used by the Auto Services line of business. Installing operating system updates. 
  • Maintaining and repairing hardware (PCs, printers, and servers) used by the Auto Services line of business 
  • Providing telephone and face-to-face assistance to our business partners
  • Creating reports for management using Microsoft Word and Excel. Developing PowerPoint presentations for the monthly IT team meeting

Accomplishments:

  • Received corporate recognition for customer service, 09/21/2014
  • Consistently completed federal regulatory reporting ahead of schedule every month between 2013 and 2015
  • Received MCSE Certification (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert), March 2015

HELP DESK SUPPORT, 40 hrs/week—07/03/2011 to 11/10/2013

First American Bank, 123 Cherry Harvest Lane, Chicago, IL 60616

Manager: Julie-Ann Glover (773) 555-0902. May contact.

Responsibilities:

  • Providing level 3 technology phone support
  • Assisting employees with software and hardware issues. Using screen-sharing technology to access employee workstations for enhanced support.
  • Logging help desk tickets and working through assigned tickets
  • Maintaining and updating the help desk internal wiki page
  • Creating weekly reports for management using Crystal Reports

Accomplishments:

  • Successfully mentored 12 new hires to the help desk between 2011 and 2013
  • Completed training in C# and advanced server maintenance

TECH SUPPORT ASSISTANT, 40 hrs/week—06/22/2008 to 07/03/2011

FirstCare Hospital, 903 Surgery Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Manager: Terry Flynn (773) 555-8398. May contact.

Responsibilities:

  • Providing level 1 and 2 technology phone support
  • Assessing and redirecting support calls for further assistance
  • Helping employees with basic computer and software issues
  • Logging support tickets into the help desk management system
  • Generating reports from the help desk management system using Crystal Reports and Access

Accomplishments:

  • Completed training in software support and computer maintenance
  • Received the IT “Star Help” award for excellence in tech support

EDUCATION

University of Illinois, IL 61820

Bachelor of Arts, Business, magna cum laude—2008

Concentration: Business technology; 128 semester hours

GPA: 3.6/4.0

Terrence B. Outhwaite High School, Chicago, IL 60007

High School Diploma—2004

GPA: 3.9/4.0

ADDITIONAL TRAINING

  • Visual Basic for Applications, Chicago Community College, 06/2004
  • UNIX Essentials, Chicago Technical College, 10/2013
  • Linux for UNIX Users, Chicago Technical College, 02/2014

PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES

  • C# (Proficient)
  • JavaScript (Proficient)
  • HTML/CSS (Proficient)

VOLUNTEER WORK

  • Animal Rescue Center, Downtown Chicago, IL
  • Tech4All, a community initiative to train disadvantaged kids to use and maintain computers, Chicago, IL

AFFILIATIONS

  • Phi Sigma Rho, 2004-2008

Conclusion

It’s vital to reiterate that one of the notable differences between a federal resume and a conventional resume is that the federal resume is about 4-6 pages long. The detailing and additional essential information also deepen the line between these two resume types.

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If you don’t know how to write a federal resume, you can get all the help you need from this article.

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