What a Federal Resume IS and IS NOT

At the Resume Place, when we give you a Free Project Review, we evaluate your resume to determine whether or not your current draft has all of the required components of a federal resume. Almost all of the resumes we review are NOT federal resumes. Below is my short list for you to use to determine if you have a federal resume or not.

A Federal Resume Is NOT:

  • A life history of all of your jobs
  • Two-page private sector resume with bullets
  • Functional resume
  • Old school “Resumix” big block resume
  • Combination functional and chronological
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • One-page resume

Federal Resumes Should NOT Include:

  • Two columns of text at the top of the resume with generic skills
  • Long summary narratives at the top of the resume with generic skill statements
  • Passive voice verbs such as: responsible for, duties include, assisted with, helped with, served as, and participated in
  • Positions from 1960, 1970 or even 1980 (which will imply that you are older than 50 or 60 years old). LEAVE OFF THESE DATES!

Federal Resumes – Required Features:

  • FORMAT: Reverse chronological resume
  • 3 to 5 pages in length
  • Includes ONLY recent and relevant positions
  • Targets a specific USAJOBS announcement and includes the keywords from the announcement
  • Includes ALL required information from the USAJOBS Builder:
    • Month and year for employers
    • Street address and zip code for address
    • Classroom hours for education

A federal resume is the REQUIRED format for a federal application. If your resume is not the right format, you may lose consideration for a federal job.  Don’t be creative or clever with your federal resume, and you will give yourself the best chance to get Best Qualified for the position.

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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.
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