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Federal Resume Writing

Federal Resumes: Ten Tips for Success

By Heather Eagar

Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources that promote job search success from beginning to end.

Applying for a federal job requires you to take a different approach and adhere to a different set of rules and techniques. Unlike private sector recruitment, the procedures followed in federal recruitment go by certain criteria and rules. The basic idea here is to provide every applicant an equal opportunity. Of late, the OF-612 form, or Federal Resume, is the accepted resume form for federal jobs.

Here are 10 key tips to writing a Federal Resume that works:

1. Don't forget to include information specific to the job as advertised. Information such as the job number, grade and title of the jobs you are interested in applying for.

2. Include personal information such as your full name, mailing address with ZIP code, any phone numbers, Social Security Number, reinstatement eligibility and civilian grade, including the job series and dates that you held the previous position.

3. Write your educational qualifications in chronological order, starting from high school to college. Include the name and city of each institution, and the type and year of diploma/degree received. Don't forget to highlight the grades that you received and any awards. Make detailed descriptions in the KSA.

4. You must specifically mention the major subjects and total credits you have earned. While writing these points, you may be tempted to make use of bullet points - however, while these work well for resumes targeting civilian positions, they may not be well received when applying for federal jobs.

5. You should explain things in great detail. The underlying reason for this is that education counts a lot more in federal recruitment than in the private sector. Therefore, you should use this format to show (read: market) how well you qualify for the job through your education.

6. Even if your education does not exactly match the qualifications as advertised, you can still qualify through equivalent experience. In this case, you can get over this hurdle by explicitly spelling out your previous experience and how it relates to the job at hand.

7. Federal resumes are not scanned by machines in most cases, which in itself must be a welcome relief. Since your resume will most likely be read by an actual, live human, make sure that you make the most of it by being as descriptive as possible.

8. If you have previous work experience having relevance to the job in question, include it with full details. Give the telephone numbers of employers, position(s) you held, numbers of hours per week and salary. Writing your accomplishments and duties (to a lesser extent) is important. You should also indicate whether it is OK to contact the previous employer.

9. Don't forget to write about any other qualifications that may be even slightly related to the job. Explain why you think they are similar by giving concrete examples such as software used, etc. Memberships, certificates or awards also count heavily in federal job applications.

10. Don't forget to enclose the KSA and mention it in the resume. Avoid the KSA becoming a verbatim copy of your resume. Write the KSA in your own style, without borrowing from samples and use lots of examples to justify your application. Always type your full name and sign it.

The bottom line here is that you cannot follow the same rules for federal resumes as for civilian ones. By following the tips above, and writing your KSA's descriptively and succinctly, you will be well on your way to landing that federal job.

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