Resume Writing for Intelligence Analysts

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Writing a resume parallels writing an intelligence assessment: your resume is a well-supported articulation of a bottom line intended to inform the reader. “I am the most qualified person for this job, and here is why.” You must transform your daily tasks and accomplishments into evidence supporting the resume’s narrative that you are the best person for this specific position. Each resume is targeted to a specific audience: the person making the hiring decision. Thus, your resume is akin to an intelligence assessment that provides the reader with the information to make an informed decision.

Follow the same steps that intelligence analysts use to produce a finished assessment.

1. Collect Raw Data

When beginning your resume drafting, create a list of accomplishments and daily tasks as you would collect data points for an intelligence assessment. For each of your positions, compose two to three statements describing these accomplishments and/or tasks and how each one made an impact.

Examples of accomplishments/daily tasks:

  • Recognized for leadership of team of intelligence analysts. Monitored and guided team members from start to finish of the intelligence production process.
  • Honed and applied political, military, and social knowledge to judge value of reporting in formulating objective intelligence reports and papers.
  • Recognized by policy makers for insightful, well-supported, and clear intelligence reports and papers that enabled informed decision making.
  • Prepared and delivered presentations that explained and identified opportunities on top foreign policy priorities.
  • Analyzed and synthesized large volumes of disparate information to provide actionable intelligence.
  • Collaborated effectively and routinely with colleagues in all Intelligence Community components to produce timely and insightful analysis that identified intelligence gaps.
  • Developed and maintained communication networks between policy and Intelligence Community offices to ensure effective intelligence support to policy makers.

2. Organize and Evaluate Data

Define and describe the actions you took to accomplish these daily tasks and activities. Add facts and figures, when appropriate, to quantify this data. Check for accuracy and precision and talk to former colleagues to help gauge and identify the impact.

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills. Effective communication skills.
  • Superior research, writing, and analysis skills.
  • Insightful evaluation of raw intelligence to judge evidentiary value.
  • Delivered numerous detailed briefings to State Department, White House, and DOD customers.
  • Produced 18 reports for senior Intelligence Community officials to enable preparation for high-level executive meetings.
  • Developed and maintained communication networks.
  • Daily exchange of relevant information.

3. Formulate Actionable Intelligence

Now that you have your accomplishments and daily activities listed, match them to the key words and phrases in your target job announcement. Analyze and evaluate your raw data (the accomplishments and activities) and refine to show how they meet the specialized experience requested in the job announcement. Use the announcement’s language and write clearly and concisely as you would draft an intelligence assessment. By using the announcement’s specific language, you are connecting your skills and proficiencies to the target job so that the reader will easily understand how you are best qualified.

  • SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT IN INTELLIGENCE LIFECYCLE.
  • IDENTIFY AND COLLECT NEEDED INTELLIGENCE DATA.
  • BUILD PARTNERSHIPS WITH EXTERNAL COUNTERPARTS.
  • APPLY CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.
  • REPORT FINDINGS.

4. Disseminate Finished Intelligence

This is the last step. The delivery of the final copy of the resume and interview. As in an intelligence briefing, present your bottom line up front. The bottom line is “I am the best person for this job and this is why….” Summarize your superior grasp of the skills and knowledge required for this job. Identify and articulate how your skills and expertise meet the job’s criteria. These are your intelligence data points form step one—the evidence proving your assertion that you are most qualified for this job. Speak clearly and slowly and use words understandable to a general audience.

  • SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT IN INTELLIGENCE LIFECYCLE. Routinely execute all functions of the intelligence lifecycle to meet Intelligence Community mission needs. Use structured analytic techniques to organize research and develop bottom lines. Cull through large volumes of disparate information; organize and evaluate data; draft and produce actionable intelligence products. Apply political, military, and social knowledge to judge data and draw conclusions. Timely delivery of reports and papers to appropriate policy makers.
  • IDENTIFY AND COLLECT NEEDED INTELLIGENCE DATA using substantive knowledge, language skills, collaboration with policy makers, and cooperation with Intelligence Community components.
  • BUILD PARTNERSHIPS WITH EXTERNAL COUNTERPARTS. Responsible for communication networks between local and state authorities, DOD units, and executive agencies. Fortify networks and information sharing between military, policy, law enforcement, and intelligence components. Maintain routine access to policy makers to ensure effective and timely intelligence support.
  • APPLY CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS to identify and explain complex problems and interactions in highly dynamic environments. Work independently and expeditiously in delivering insightful, well-supported, and clear intelligence reports and papers that enables informed decision making.
  • REPORT FINDINGS using clear and concise language. Intelligence products drove decision making and solidified relationships. Wrote 18 critical documents pertaining to aerospace issues in support of senior air analysts. Delivered findings through articulate and detailed briefings to the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A resume is your intelligence product. Your objective is to convince the hiring authority that you are best qualified for this particular job. So, collect and refine as much data about your professional self as possible and then apply and exploit it as you would when producing an intelligence report or briefing. Communicating intelligence orally and in writing is the daily task of an intelligence analyst so you are ideally suited for executing this process and creating a superior work product about your professional capabilities and deliverables.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!

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The deadlines on vacancy announcements are getting shorter and shorter.

I was quoted in this Baltimore Sun article about the new shorter-than-ever USAJOBS announcement deadlines and low application limits. From the article: “Troutman, whose firm offers federal job coaching and resume-writing services, reviewed the federal government’s online job portal and found applicant limits ranging from 15 to 300. Most fell in the 50-to-100 range.”

The vacancy announcements with low application limits have been known to close within hours!

What Does This Mean for You?

If you are thinking about applying for federal jobs, you MUST get the resume written ahead of time. You will not have enough time to find the perfect announcement and then write your resume.

Instead, we recommend that you first draft your resume towards a particular job series. That way, when your ideal job announcement comes out, the resume can be quickly made read for submission by picking up the specific keywords from the announcement.

Federal Job Search Process, BEFORE:

  • Search USAJOBS for a perfect job announcement that usually closes 2 weeks out.
  • Write your federal resume (a 5 to 7 hour project for our professional resume writers) and submit your application.

Federal Job Search Process, NOW:

  • Write your federal resume towards a job series.
  • Find the perfect USAJOBS job announcement.
  • Include keywords from the resume into your base draft and submit your application (1-2 hours).

How Do You Write a Resume Towards a Job Series?

The OPM Classification Standards provide the basic job description for each federal job series. It is the baseline for USAJOBS announcements, so we first use the OPM Classification Standards as the guide for creating our basic resume draft. We can find the keywords and the basic required knowledge, skills, and abilities from these standards.

The standards are available on the OPM website:

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/classifying-general-schedule-positions/#url=Standards

Timing

If you are considering having the Resume Place assist you with preparing your best possible federal job application, please be aware that, due to a high volume of federal resume writing requests we are currently experiencing, you must allow 2 or 3 weeks for your service to be completed.  

If you are a Senior Executive Service candidate, please allow four weeks to complete your Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and/or executive federal resume.

How to Get Started With Federal Application Help

If you would like us to help you prepare your federal application, you can order our most popular services here:

We also offer our FREE and informative 7 TIPS WEBINARS. These webinars will help you get started on preparing your federal job application and are very well received by our attendees. Check times and register here.

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Kathryn Troutman is known as the Federal Resume Guru and is the developer of the Ten Steps to a Federal Job®. She teaches hundreds of career counselors each year about her highly acclaimed methods of federal job search and has published dozens of titles, including the recent award-winning Student’s Federal Career Guide 3rd Edition.