Tips for Writing a Federal Resume in 2023

If you are considering applying for a position with a federal agency, you would have to consider the type of resume you would submit. A specialized resume for federal agencies contains certain elements that won’t be required if applying for a position in the private sector.

In this article, I would be showing the components of a federal resume and sharing tips on how best to write it to give you the edge you need when applying. 

What is a federal resume? 

A federal resume is a well detailed and comprehensive document used when applying for a position or job in a federal agency or within the federal government.

The details you would need to provide differs from that which you provide in a resume meant for a private agency or company.

In federal resume, you would need to provide more detailed information about yourself and your previous work experiences, much more than you would have in a regular resume. A federal resume is strictly for federal hiring managers and human resources personnel.

It also contains details like academic qualifications, background and certain other personal details that could be seen in a regular resume.  

Below we will discuss the federal resume tips for jobs.

What are the contents of a federal resume? 

If you are considering writing a federal resume, you must first find out what belongs in a federal resume. A federal resume typically contains details about your background and experiences for vetting purposes.

A federal resume can be four to six pages long unlike the typical resumes that can be one or two pages long. It contains details about your citizenship status, federal salary grade, security clearance and a whole other detail.

These details aid the human resource personnel or manager grade and assess you for the position in which you are vying for.

Here, I would be listing few of the central elements of a federal resume and giving you some insight on how to write them correctly.

The central elements of a federal resume are: 

  • Provide your personal contact information 
  • Provide your citizenship status
  • List your work experience  
  • Provide your highest GS grade 
  • Mention veterans’ preference 
  • Describe your education 
  • Consider other optional details 

1. Provide your personal contact information 

In this area of the federal resume, you are meant to include your full name, telephone number and email address. This is same as the format of a regular resume.

You should also include your postal address which is also required in a federal resume. 

2. Provide your citizenship status 

This is the area in the federal resume where you give details of your citizenship. Whether you are a citizen or not, you have to provide details of your citizenship to aid vetting and identification.

Some countries require you be a citizen of the country to be able to apply for positions in the federal agencies while some other countries don’t mind.

If you are an immigrant, be sure to specify and provide details to this effect. 

3. Provide your highest GS grade 

If you have worked within the federal government, you would be aware that every job is graded within the general schedule (GS) to determine pay rate and job responsibility.

The GS grade ranges from 1 to 15 with 10 steps within each grade that has a predetermined pay which increases with each level up.

If you are currently employed in a federal agency, it is important to input your highest GS grade and current salary range. 

4. Mention veterans’ preference 

If you happen to be a veteran, it might be an advantage to disclose your veteran status.

As a veteran, you qualify for certain benefits based on several factors including the length of service and discharge status.  

Read: How Far Back Should A Resume Go? Find Out Here

5. List your work experience 

When writing a federal resume, it is required you provide a detailed account of your work experience over the last 10 years.

It is preferable to begin with professional experiences especially in positions similar to the one you are applying for.

To provide a detailed account of your qualification and work experience, you should provide the following details: 

  • Employer’s name and location 
  • Job title 
  • Start and end date 
  • Average number of hours worked per week 
  • Detailed description of daily responsibilities 
  • Awards or special recognition 
  • Supervisor’s name and contact information 

6. Describe your education 

You should also provide detailed information about your education history in your federal resume. For each school, you should provide 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 honors designations 
  • Membership to professional or educational organization, including professional societies 
  • Relevant coursework, projects, presentations or papers 

7. Consider other optional details 

There are a couple of additional information that might be needed in your resume which may include: 

  • Security clearance 
  • Desired location 
  • Additional training 
  • Volunteer work 
  • References 
  • Languages 
  • Affiliations 
  • Publications 
  • Additional skills 

Jobs that require a Federal Resume 

As earlier mentioned, it only applies in cases where you are applying for a position in the federal sector. In the federal government a wide range of jobs require you to apply using resume.

Some of these jobs that require a federal resume include: 

Law enforcement:

If you have plans of joining the federal law enforcement then you would definitely be needing one.

If it is positions for police, criminal investigation, border security or national security, you would be required to present a federal resume. 

If you have acquired the required legal education and requirements and wish to apply for positions of a public attorney, paralegal or judge, then you would need to apply using federal resumes. 

Read: How To Write an Engineering Resume + Free Templates and Skills

International relations:

For a position in the department of international relations, be it as an interpreter or a position in the foreign affairs department, you would need a federal resume to apply. 


If you are educated in the IT sphere with good experience, and you want to apply for a position in programming, network and other IT sectors in a federal government agency. You would require one.


Whichever branch of engineering you might be a part of or vying for in the various government departments like energy, transport or construction, you would need a federal resume. 


If you would like the position of Accountancy, management or marketing in the department of commerce or treasury in a federal agency, you would be needing this resume. 


The positions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical technician are also required by the government and in a case, you wish to apply for these positions, you would need a federal resume. 

Read: How To Write A Resume: Step-By-Step Guide

Tips for writing a federal resume 

As regards writing a beautifully orchestrated federal resume, I would be dropping few detailed tips to help you achieve this. Hopefully, sticking to these tips would help get your resume at the top of the pile.

So here are few exceptional tips you would need to know while writing it: 

1. Always thoroughly review details about the job opening.

Pay close attention to the announcement details and important criteria that was stated in the announcement, qualifications and duties required of you if you are to apply for the position.

Also ensure you meet up to these requirements before proceeding to apply. 

2. Work around the stated requirements and qualifications required for the position.

Put forward your experience surrounding these specific requirements and reinforce them with your unique skill set and abilities. 

3. Make significant examples by incorporating personal success stories into your resume.

Give examples for each of the duty areas required by the current position you are vying for. Make use of numbers and statistics where necessary. 

4. Don’t stick strictly to the employment highlights.

Add things that make you seem interesting like hobbies and volunteer skills that are applicable to the post you are vying for or maybe a skill gotten while working a part-time career. 

5. Make sure you input all your educational qualifications.

Also include additional degrees and even certifications or degrees you are currently pursuing. 

6. If you have acquired any rewards or bagged accolades for certain achievements, don’t forget to include them as well. 

7. If you have, in your past employments, had special tasks or unique responsibilities.

It is a great idea to include them as well in your federal resume. 

8. Make your federal resume as personal and as unique as you possibly can.

Don’t make it a text book federal resume which would be boring to review. Get personal with it. Customize it to show your personality. However, avoid using acronyms that might be hard to understand. 

Read: How To Write A Police Officer Resume | Full Guide + Template

9. Proofread your resume a couple of times before you submit.

If possible, get a second better per of eyes to review and go through it. There might be some mistakes that you might skip that would be obvious to someone else.

Pay close attention to your formatting, tone and tense. 

10. Use legible font and font size when typing your federal resume.

Use bold where applicable, as well as bullet format, reverse chronological order etc. 

11. If you are tech savvy, don’t leave it out from your resume.

Do well to also list application you are proficient in like MS Word, Project, Excel, Access, Adobe suite, amongst others. 

12. Use vocabulary that captivates the reader.

Don’t try to use vocabulary that might require a dictionary to figure out what you are trying to say. Stick to the simple but refreshing vocabulary.

Using vocabulary like spearheaded, streamlined, steadfast, fostered, implemented etc. 

Frequently asked questions 

What should I put in a resume?

A good resume should include details about your work experience, volunteer experience, education background and academic achievements. 

How long should a federal resume be?

A federal resume can be as long as four or six pages 

When should I write a federal resume?

You need a federal resume when applying for a position in a federal agency 


With the above tips, you can take your federal resume from being merely ordinary to outstanding and unique. You would
be assured to get a chance if you follow the above tips. 



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