If you’re applying for a job with the federal government, you’ve made a great decision. You’ll be working for a large, well-respected employer, and enjoy good benefits. However, you should know that your resume will need to be a bit different to earn the attention of hiring managers at government organizations. The requirements to resume formatting are more rigid, and yet you will still need to make a strong impression if you want to get considered for the position.
Below we’ll share some quick resume writing tips, then provide you with a sample federal resume.
Include a Complete and Accurate List of References
If you’ve never applied for a government job, your resume may not have a references section. If it does, there’s a good chance that it just has a little blurb about references being available upon request. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make some updates. Your federal resume should contain a dedicated references section with professional and personal references.
Each entry should contain a name, address, phone number, email address, employer, and job title. Personal and professional references should be kept separate. Before you include a reference, be sure to notify that person. You’ll want to let them know somebody will be in contact with them, and to ensure that their information is accurate.
References will go at the bottom of your resume in a section titled ‘Additional Information’.
Know What Else to Include in The Additional Information Section
Your references are just one part of the Additional Information section. You’ll also want to include any other information about your qualifications. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever held a leadership position in the community?
- Are you fluent in other languages?
- Have you written something that’s been published?
- Do you have expertise in any technologies that haven’t been mentioned elsewhere in your resume?
- What about any awards or certificates of achievement?
Attention former scouts! If you’ve earned your Eagle or Life Scout, include this information! The same is true for a Gold Award for Girl Scouts. Feel free to include any ROTC awards here as well.
So, you aren’t sure if you started that job in October of 2015 or September. Does it really matter? Maybe you’ll just guess. After all, what difference does one month make?
For government jobs, it makes a big difference. Employers in the private sector may not worry about this, but these are the kind of inaccuracies that can get your application removed from consideration. There are strict auditing practices in place, and ‘fudging’ something even a little bit is strictly forbidden. Check your records, and get all of your information correct.
Lead Off With Relevant Data About Hireability
There may be certain things about you that make you more desirable to the federal government. For example, if you are a veteran that puts you at the front of the line for many government jobs. The same applies if you are a citizen, or have a valid work visa.
Did you get a particularly high score on your civil service exam? Include that information too! Have you ever had a security clearance? Include the level, and whether or not it’s still active. All of this information should go at the very top of your resume below your contact information.
Don’t Worry About Resume Length
A standard resume is usually two pages at most. In fact, if yours isn’t you should definitely do some editing. A federal resume is going to be longer. If you have a lot of experience it could be exceptionally longer. Don’t worry if your resume is up to five pages long. You’re simply expected to provide information on your governmental resume that you would normally save for your job interview.
Resume Sample for Federal Jobs (Word version)
Download resume example (.docx)
A Federal Resume Example (text version)
225 White Oak Drive
Saint Joseph, MO 64501
Security Clearance: Confidential, Current
Federal Govt. Experience: Census Taker, US Census Bureau 2014; FEMA Corps 2012 – 2013
Veterans Status: United States Coast Guard Reservist 2013 – Present
Citizenship: United States Citizen
To obtain a full-time position in public service at the United States Department of the Interior, Fish And Wildlife Service as a fish and wildlife biologist.
Summary of Skills
I have five years of experience in monitoring plant and aquatic species in fresh and ocean waterways. This includes collecting samples, photographing species, tagging, removal of invasive species, and observing behaviors of various aquatic species. I have five years of experience operating various types of aquatic watercraft, and enforcing environmental laws.
Other skills include:
Bio Tracker 2000
Use of Basic Handtools
United States Coast Guard (Nov. 2013 – Present)
Title: Marine Science Technician
Rank: Petty Officer First Class
Pay Grade: E6
Duties: Ensured that boats occupying waterways, citizens, and businesses operated within the bounds of environmental laws. Observed local aquatic life. Conducted soil and water tests. Created reports and submitted recommendations based upon evidence collected.
University of Southern California (May 2014)
Bachelor of Science in Biology
- Fluent in Spanish
- Audubon Society Aquatic Fowl Management Certification
- Treasurer, National Marine Bioligist’s Association
Captain Earl Williams, United States Coast Guard
Aircraft Mechanic Specialist
This was a brief sample resume for someone seeking a mid-level job with a federal agency. The candidate does not have a lengthy career history, but has instead placed his skills and achievements in the limelight, as well as past federal government experience.
If you are struggling to get your personal credentials organized, be sure to also check resume examples for other careers. You can leverage additional writing tips for your work experience and education section from those. As well, work on lining up solid personal and professional references to back up all the information you provide!