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The Resume Format and Keywords

By Kathryn Troutman

These instructions were written principally for the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) at this point. New application instructions may be created when the new Homeland Security Department is further planned.

  1. Federal "compliance details" belong at the top of the resume. These include your Social Security Number, Citizenship, Veteran's Info, Previous Federal Experience listed that will demonstrate your Federal employment status.
  2. Objective: Give the name of the position, series, grade, announcement number, agency, and the location of this job.
  3. Work Experience: List in Reverse Chronology (most recent position first).
  4. Important Certifications (listed clearly)
  5. Important, relevant training (listed near Qualifications List)
  6. Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (stated clearly within the text of the resume)
  7. Education
  8. Overall, the resume should be easy to read for the busy human resource recruiters/reviewers.
  9. Keep the length to 2-4 pages. (The announcements do not specify the length of the resumes.)
  10. Write the resume for "paper" presentation to be read by people. At some point, the Homeland Security Department may require electronic resumes to be submitted by email or a resume builder. Continue to read the "how to apply" instructions.
  11. Federal resume samples are available in publications by The Resume Place, Inc. and Kathryn Troutman: Federal Resume Guidebook and Electronic Federal Resume Guidebook. Editing and consulting services on Homeland Security Resumes.

Keywords for FSA (and other Homeland Security) Resumes

The keyword and phrase list below was taken from several TSA vacancy announcements. You would not have to include all of these keywords and skills in your resume, but this new industry language can help you match your resume to the keywords that the hiring professionals will recognize and be looking for. The homeland security positions will net thousands of resumes, so you should take the time to fit industry language into your resume.

  • Administer laws, regulations, and policies pertaining to TSA's aviation security program
  • Agency coordination with airport and airline management, other Federal, state, and local government and law enforcement organizations, and appropriate private sector entities
  • Airport security risk assessments
  • Aviation security
  • Checkpoint and workforce management
  • Communicate risk, opportunity, and cost to the airport operator and to the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security
  • Coordination of Federal, state, and local emergency services and law enforcement
  • Corporate security
  • Crisis management
  • Data and communications network protection and recovery
  • Efficient implementation, performance, and enhancement of security and screening standards for airport employees and passengers
  • Establish organizational structure and management systems required for threat identification, risk management, crisis management, employee accountability, and security of the facility, including all aircraft
  • Event recovery
  • Federal protective services
  • Federal security
  • Federal Security Crisis Management Response Plan
  • Field experience
  • Highly-measured and complex field operations
  • Law enforcement
  • Leadership and coordination of security activities
  • Make major recommendations concerning significant internal and external program policy issues including: selections and process control; and develop performance criteria
  • Operational field intelligence
  • Oversight for passenger, baggage, and air cargo security screening, and for all TSA personnel
  • Professional asset protection
  • Resource Management, including personnel, funds, equipment, and information
  • Risk avoidance
  • Risk detection and classification
  • Security awareness training
  • Security technology implementation and maintenance
  • Supervise staff in a 24/7 environment
  • Supervision of Federal law enforcement activity
  • Tactical planning, execution, and operating management for coordinated security services and other duties as prescribed for the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security

Create your own list of keywords and skills by analyzing vacancy announcements for positions you are seeking. Match your list of keywords to your own experiences and include these words in your resume. The personnel reviewers will appreciate your time, research, and careful writing of your resume to fit the needs of the homeland security operation.



Feel free to forward this Career Corner column to friends and colleagues. You may use this column for training in career classes with recognition of the author and website. You may not link this column to other websites without permission. For information about licensing this content write to Kathryn at

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