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Federal Resume Writing

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

The purpose of the federal resume is to prove in writing, every general and specialized skill that you have developed in your career. This is why the federal resume is so much longer than a traditional resume. It is typically three to five pages in length. USAJOBS Resume Builder is a tool that will create a uniform resume that provides all of the information required by government agencies.

Most federal applications are composed of two or three parts:

  1. The federal resume (usually in electronic format)
  2. Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) narratives
  3. Self-Assessment Questions and Essay Answers (faxed additional information)

Your resume should sell as well as tell – show how you can contribute to the employer’s operation. Stress accomplishments, achievements, assets, and strong selling points relevant to your career objective. Be 100% honest.

  • Use keywords: You could get lost in a sea of applicants without the right keywords. Keywords have tremendous power because a single keyword can communicate multiple skills and qualifications.
  • Thoroughly review the job announcements: The idea is to find skills, experience, education and other credentials important in your field. Emphasize how you meet the “requirements,” “skills” and “qualifications” sections of job ads.
  • Get straight to the point: Your key selling points need to be prominently displayed at the top of the first page of the resume and directly address each question asked in the KSA section. Hiring Managers will scan your resume to determine if you have the qualifications to be considered.
  • Remember the three C’s — Clear, Consistent and Concise. Clear: Identify key positive points in seconds. Consistent: Keep the style, grammar, punctuation, numbers/dates, capital letters, verb tenses, and format consistent and parallel. Concise: Keep your resume to one or two pages. If your  federal resume is just a little over one page, adjust margins and font size to get it to one page. If you must use two pages, evenly space the information to fill the page so the copy looks well-balanced with uniform margins.