Some Tips if Seeking a Government Position

Nancy Anderson
Posted by in Career Advice

Crafting a resume for a government job requires a different process than creating a resume for a position with a private company. While it's always important to make sure your resume looks professional and is free of spelling and grammar errors, there are some additional tips you must follow when developing a resume for a federal position.

Use a Traditional Resume Format

Some private employers enjoy viewing resumes with modern designs, unique fonts and glossy finishes, but if you're applying for a federal job, it's best to craft a traditional resume with a conservative look. Use a font that's easy to read and has a professional appearance, such as Times New Roman, Bookman Old Style or Garamond. Follow the standard resume format when creating a federal job resume, which presents your education and work experience in chronological order. Print your document on plain white paper or neutral-colored paper with a smooth, non-textured surface.

Include the Job Announcement Number

Each government job listing includes a job announcement number next to the job title. This number tracks your document directly to the open position. Print this number in bold letters on top of your federal job resume. If your resume is multiple pages long, print the announcement number on top of each page.

Tailor Your Resume to the Position

It's essential to tailor your resume to the specific job announcement when applying for a government job. Accomplish this by making sure language in your resume mirrors the language used in the job description. Thoroughly review the requirements for the position, and restate these requirements when explaining how you developed the skills that make you a prime candidate for the position. Emphasize the areas of your education or work history that match the job qualifications exactly.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Although many private companies have recently started using resume filtering software to gather pools of applicants, very few government agencies employ this strategy during the hiring process. Cover letters, resumes and applications for government jobs are usually read by humans, so it's important to use plain words that are easy to read and understand when crafting your resume. Stuffing your document with job-related keywords can disrupt the natural flow of your resume. Applicants should also avoid using military lingo that may confuse prospective employers.

List Your Full Employment History and Education

When applying for a government job, it's important to provide a comprehensive review of your employment history and education. Include information about all the institutions you've attended and job positions you've held, and attach a cover letter that explains any gaps in your employment history. Include detailed information about possible military experience as well. Unlike a number of traditional employers, federal employment recruiters expect to receive lengthy resumes and don't frown on them. Use three or more pages, if necessary, to ensure your resume is as comprehensive as possible.

Applicants willing to go the extra mile when applying for a government job greatly increase their chances for consideration. Your resume is a prospective federal employer's very first impression of you, so it's important to make sure it presents you in a positive, professional light.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Denise, the rule of thumb for most resumes is to include the last 10 years. If your education was completed 10 or more years ago, simply remove the date (if you can). This is the standard when you are applying for non-government positions. However, when you are seeking a government position, everything counts especially if a security clearance is going to be required. For a government position, follow the job posting requirements to the letter if you want your application to be reviewed! Hope this helps.

  • Denise R.
    Denise R.

    It's unreasonableto think that if you have a PhD that they need to see on a resume where you went to high school. To say that every school you graduated from needs to be documented on your resume is nonsense too - you shouldn't stray from the relevant things on your resume. You aren't writing your autobiography for heaven's sake! If the reader of your resume is distracted by all of the nonsense on your resume then it's not an effective resume.

  • Denise R.
    Denise R.

    I know they don't want to now qabout the firstjob you had at McDonalds 30 years ago or all of the summer or temp jobs you had since then. There has to be a time frame - a limit on how far back in time you gowhen listing your past employers.

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