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Federal Resume Writing Tips

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When applying for a federal job, you're required to adhere to a different set of criteria and rules than those followed by private sector recruitment. In an effort to provide every applicant with an equal opportunity for employment, federal jobs now require job seekers to use the OF-612 Federal Resume form when crafting their resumes.

To be seriously considered for a federal position, you'll need to complete your federal resume as accurately and thoroughly as possible. Here are some tips that will help you put your federal resume together.

  • Include specific information about the job posting. Make sure you list the job number and grade along with the job tile for any positions you're applying for.
  • Include your personal information. In addition to your contact information (name, mailing address, phone number), a federal resume also requires you to list your Social Security number. If you've held any federal positions previously, you'll also need to include your reinstatement eligibility, civilian grade, and a list (along with dates) of the job series.
  • List your educational qualifications in chronological order. Start with high school and continue all the way through college, including the name and city of each institution, along with the year and type of diploma/degree you received. Don't forget to highlight any awards or outstanding grades you received. If you need to include further details on your education, you can note them in your KSA (see below).
  • Mention specifically the major subjects and total credits you earned in college. However, refrain from using bullet points when doing so. Bullet points are fine for a private sector resume, but aren't appropriate for a federal resume.
  • Don't skimp on your educational details. Education counts a lot more for federal recruitment than it does when applying for civilian positions, so you should use the federal resume format to market yourself by demonstrating how your education qualifies you for the job.
  • Even if your educational qualifications don't quite match up with the job as posted, you may still qualify for employment if you can demonstrate equivalent experience. Again, detail is the key, so spell out explicitly how your previous experience relates to the job at hand.
  • Federal resumes are read by people, not scanned by machines. The best way to get your federal resume noticed is to be as descriptive as necessary while avoiding excessive padding.
  • If you have any previous work experience that relates to the job in question, be sure to include it on your federal resume. List the phone numbers of your previous employers, along with the positions you've held, the number of hours you worked each week, and your salaries. Make a note of your accomplishments and duties, but don't pad the list with unnecessary detail. You should also indicate whether or not it would be okay to contact each previous employer.
  • Make sure to list any other qualifications (aside from education and work experience) that might be even slightly related to the job. However, make sure you point out just why each item is applicable. Awards, certificates, and memberships are certainly worthwhile additions to any federal resume.
  • Don't forget to enclose your KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities), and make sure you mention it in your federal resume. The KSA is basically an overview of your skill set, so avoid making it a verbatim copy of your resume. Write it in your own style, and use as many examples as you can to justify your consideration for the position.

The bottom line is that you cannot expect to adhere to the same rules on your federal resume that you would for a civilian job. However, with a proper federal resume and a descriptive KSA, you will definitely stand a chance of landing that federal job.

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