Private industry and federal workers often need different types of resumes. While some federal agencies accept regular resumes, most (that use USAJobs.gov) prefer or require a federal-style resume. YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services is the nation’s top-rated USAJobs-style federal resume writer.
When applying for a position with the federal government, you’re expected to provide more detail about each job. In fact, repetition is encouraged, as you must show that you have at least 12 months experience at the next-lower grade doing each thing that the new job requires. You may show that experience in multiple positions or even volunteer work. Additionally, your resume must match the position requirements as closely as possible.
Human resource and hiring managers seek out the candidates with the best qualifications, which include education, training, experience, and communication skills. Your resume is the first proof you meet all these needs. The more you quantify your knowledge and experience, the better.
When applying for Senior Executive Service (SES) positions, you must provide more detail about your responsibilities, achievements, and leadership skills. Executive core qualifications (ECQs) must appear in the resume itself, and additional essays are often required to flesh them out, in addition to technical qualifications.
Good federal resumes use matter-of-fact disclosure and are written without overreliance on acronyms so that a person from another agency can easily understand them. Your resume must demonstrate your knowledge and sense of team play. Every claim you make must be verifiable and—if possible—quantifiable to fairly represent your qualifications.
Senior Executive Service (SES) Positions Require More Than a Resume
Effective leaders know how to communicate and get people on board with change. They must lead teams or agencies and ensure every member understands what is expected of him or her. Applicants to federal SES positions usually have 10–15 years of relevant work experience in a similar role.
You will be interviewed by peer review boards and write several essays—sometimes including technical qualification (TQ) essays that explain how the applicant matches the job’s requirements.
SES ECQ essays cover 5 topics: Building Coalitions, Business Acumen, Leading Change, Leading People, and Results Driven. These essays represent your strategies for leadership.
An SES essay is 1–2 pages long and must concisely explain your relevant points in the four-part Context, Challenge, Actions, and Results (CCAR) format the federal government prefers. YES is available to write these essays for you. We have helped numerous federal employees get accepted into the SES.
What Your Federal Resume Must Include
Whereas a private sector resume may be 1–2 pages, federal workers should list everything relevant to the position they seek, including the following:
Personal information (name, contact information, citizenship status, eligibility to work, and veterans’ preference)
Work experience (past positions with government agencies and work with contractors or other private organizations, including job duties and accomplishments)
Exact amount of time spent working in relevant positions
Demonstrable levels of knowledge
Education and training
Other Information You Should Include on a Federal Resume
You may have secondary skills, experience, or affiliations that help qualify you for a position. Such items include the following:
Languages spoken and written (required section, even if only English)
Training and certifications for specific jobs
Professional publications relating to your past or preferred field of work
Professional or personal references (at least 3 professional references are required)
Professional or charitable organizations, especially where you’ve done relevant work that counts as experience
Provide Clear, Explicit Data About Past Work Experience
For each position you list, either as a professional or volunteer, use concise language to describe the responsibilities you held, such as “Oversaw planning of $10M budget” and “Supervised staff of 12.”
Highlight special accomplishments, such as reducing waste, improving efficiency, meeting important deadlines, etc.
Call out anything in your experience and training that fulfills a specific need or requirement in the vacancy announcement.
Include dates when you held positions by month and year, as well as the number of hours you worked per week for all positions. If you were out of work for more than six months, list that as an entry with an explanation of what you were doing, such as Full-time Parent, Job Seeker, or Graduate Student.
A Well-Organized Resume Tells a Perfect Story
The people who read your federal resume should feel they know who you are and why you are relevant to their search.
Getting your resume into the hands of the right person is only the beginning of your journey. You’ll face other challenges in applying for a federal government position. Be confident in what you’ve learned and achieved and let your resume convey that confidence for you.
Maybe you’ve never applied for a federal or SES position before, or you haven’t experienced the hiring process for a long time. You may feel your skills are rusty, and the process can be daunting. But hopefully you’re up for the challenge with the support of YES.
Our coaching program is based on years of working with federal employees at all levels. Whether you are transitioning from military to civilian service, changing agencies, transitioning from contracting to direct federal service, or just wanting the security and benefits of a federal government job, we can help you.
Go to Resume and Job Services to review all packages that include federal resumes.
If you are uncertain of which package is the best fit for your goal: