Federal Resume (United States)

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In the United States of America, a federal resume is a type of résumé constructed specifically to apply for Federal government jobs. Like a private sector resume, it contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. A Federal resume is one of three documents accepted as an official application for position vacancies within the Federal government. The other two are the OF-612 and the traditional SF-171. The SF–171 is considered obsolete, no longer accepted by most government agencies.

A standard private-sector resume should not be used to apply for Federal positions. Not only is the format different in terms of structure, length and content, but a Federal resume must include all the information required by a job announcement — not following these guidelines will irremediably get you eliminated. Federal resumes are written in chronological resume format. Specific information is required to be included on federal resumes so that applicants can be rated uniformly. This additional information is not typically requested on private sector resumes, and resumes that do not include it will likely be rejected. This information includes:

Job Information (Announcement number, title, series and grade of job for which applying)
Personal Information (Full name, mailing address w/ zip code, day and evening phone numbers w/ area code, social security #, country of citizenship, veteran’s preference, reinstatement eligibility, highest Federal civilian grade held)
Education (High school: name, city, and state, date of diploma or GED, Colleges or universities: name, city and state, majors, type and year of any degrees received)
Work Experience (Job title, duties and accomplishments, employer’s name and address, supervisor’s name and phone number, starting and ending dates, hours per week, salary, indicate whether we may contact your current supervisor)
Other Qualifications (Job-related training courses, skills, certificates and licenses, honors, awards and special accomplishments; for example, publications, memberships in professional or honor societies, leadership activities, public speaking and performance awards)

A federal resume should cover the last ten years of employment history and, with few exceptions, should be three to five pages long when printed. When applying to federal government positions, KSA statements are sometimes required in addition to a federal resume, but in most cases, should be included in the text of your resume. The commonly accepted Outline Format resume, developed by Kathryn Troutman in the 1990s,[1] uses short paragraphs to describe duties and bulleted lists of accomplishments to illustrate KSAs.

The USAJOBS website offers an online resume builder. Job counselors for the federal government recommend that you use the builder to create your online USAJOBS resume for two reasons: 1) the resume builder will help you ensure that all required content is included, and 2) your resume built through the system is "searchable" by HR specialists. It is recommended you build your blocks of text for each position you want to include in MS Word or a compatible text editor and to cut and paste it into the resume builder tool at the USAJOBS website. The site will allow you to have up to 5 resumes loaded as well as to upload other documents needed, such as a DD Form 214 for veterans, or non-official copies of college/university transcripts. {Read the announcement carefully to determine what documents to attach to your package.}

Many USAJOBS announcements are time-sensitive. The process of creating your federal resume for the first time and gaining access to the various elements of the USAJOBS application system and any companion systems can take upwards of 2 hours. Successful candidates get familiar with the system and its components and have a basic resume built in the system that they can they adjust when they see a vacancy announcement of interest.

Think of your federal resume as a "paper interview", this allows government HR specialists and hiring officials to get a detailed vision of your talents, skills and concrete examples of your past work.


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