Due to these benefits, finding a federal career can be very competitive. According to labor statistics in the US, an annual salary in the federal sector can reach as high as $200,000, but can be as low as $30,000.
The variety of federal career paths results in a huge amount of federal job positions, but the benefits are desirable and thus employment is still competitive. This can make the process of looking for your next job daunting and stressful!
We’ll be breaking down everything you need to include, in addition to providing a sample federal resume, a general federal resume template and other essential resources to aid your job search. Read on to find out more!
Additional Information About Federal Resumes
Getting a job in the federal sector can concern all manner of different things. This results in a large range of experience levels required, and thus massive differences between minimum and maximum average salaries. Here are a few examples of annual salaries for federal workers:
- Government Mail Handler $40,000
- Police Officer $55,000
- City Treasurer: $80,000
- County Treasurer $200,000
- Mail Carrier for U.S. Postal Service (USPS) – $38,000
- Veteran Spouse at Department of Veteran’s Affairs – $42,556
- Police Officer at NYPD – $79,700
- Treasurer for Volt Information Sciences, Inc – $170,000
Example of a Federal Resume Template
This federal resume template should provide everything you need to know to get started, but if you need some further assistance then check out our resume examples written by career experts!
How to make a Federal Government Resume
With federal career paths being highly competitive, you will need to do everything you can to demonstrate passion and relevant experience for the federal job you are applying for. You will also want to ensure that every resume you write is personalized and not generalized in any way.
- Your federal resume should include all of your skills that are relevant to the job title
- Never submit a generalized resume – this will be a serious red flag to a hiring manager
- Always write strong cover letters to ensure that you inform your potential employer of everything that they need to know about you
The layout of the Federal Resume
There are several different ways to approach your federal resume, but easily the best method is named ‘reverse chronological order’. This means that you will include your most recent and thus relevant experience first, leaving your earliest experience and training until last.
The structure of the Federal Resume
Unlike normal resumes, you should consider writing three to four pages for your federal resume as there is a lot more to cover. You will want to demonstrate your experience as a federal employee, your education, your skills in addition to any other information you consider to be relevant.
The reverse chronological format is always the best way to structure your resume, so ensure you begin with your most recent experience. However, if you do not yet have any experience and this is your first job application as a potential federal employee, it may be better to begin by noting your qualifications and training before mentioning your lack of experience.
Start with the Header of the Federal Resume
The first thing that potential employers will notice about your federal resume is your resume header. Always ensure that this is strong and concise, as a weak header could set off red flags to the person reading. You should include basic personal information such as your full name, in addition to your most recent job and contact information.
Example of an excellent header for a federal resume
Example of a bad header for a federal resume
Take notes on these good and bad headers – they should keep you on the right track. However, if you feel like you need another example then feel free to check out a federal resume template on our website. We’re happy to provide our resume writing services!
Is a photo required in the Federal Resume?
It is almost always a bad idea to include a photograph on your federal resume. Approximately 80% of US federal government agencies say they would never consider an applicant who had a photo on their resume. This is due to the fact that it can look unprofessional as appearance is not an important factor to be considered by hiring managers.
Choosing your Federal Title
Writing your federal resume title is very important – it gives you a chance to provide an overview of your experience and skill sets. You should ensure that you personalize this section and never include general details as this could leave a negative first impression!
Professional summary for Federal Positions
Work Experience in the Federal Resume
Most federal jobs in the US will require some form of work experience, so it is essential that you pay close attention to this section. It’s a great opportunity to show off your hard work throughout your career to prospective employers!
Introduction of the Professional Experience section
Before you get into the education section of your federal resume, you should first focus on providing an overview of your professional experience. Here you can write about your past jobs, voluntary experience or any other professional experience that you feel is worth noting.
Describe your professional experiences on your Federal Resume
When writing your professional experience section, you should include any information regarding past employers related to federal or government work. This should include the agency name for past federal jobs, the start and end date and the skills required for the job. For each employer, remember to include 3 to 5 bullet-points describing your job duties for the job.
Examples of professional experiences for Federal junior worker
Examples of work experience for Senior Federal worker
Education in the Federal job resume
Federal careers involve working closely with the federal government, so a strong educational history is essential. Different job positions will require different levels of education, so consider the job title you are applying for and what level of education is required.
Always ensure that you use the reverse-chronological format to focus on your highest education. It’s going to look bad if the first thing hiring managers see is your elementary school education!
Should you start with education or work experience in a Federal Resume?
Generally speaking it is always best to start writing about your work experience before you discuss your educational history. This is due to the fact that most federal jobs require work experience, and this is more important than the educational organizations you have attended.
However, if you do not yet have experience with a similar job and think you should use the functional federal resume format, this is fine. Focus on your education, qualifications and training first, and then you can list any volunteer work or other experience you may have.
How to properly list your education in a Federal job resume?
When listing your education history, you will want to include the university or school that you attended, the year of graduation and the major that you studied. Furthermore, it is usually worth noting your GPA to demonstrate that you succeeded in your studies.
However, if your GPA is below average then this is probably worth leaving out. Furthermore, you can leave this section out if your qualification is simply a pass or a fail (such as in a police academy)
Example of the education section of a Federal Resume
Hopefully this federal resume example has helped you structure your education section, but if you need a bit more assistance then feel free to check out our examples for guidance!
Skills to put in the Federal Resume
Federal jobs in the US require a vast range of skills depending on the job that you are applying for. It is essential that you list all relevant skills and abilities to ensure that you optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems.
Any resume that includes irrelevant skills or does not provide evidence of the necessary skills is at risk of being filtered out by the ATS. Analyze the job description of the position that you are applying for and make sure you tick all the boxes to get your resume to the top of the pile!
What are the main skills sought for in a Federal Resume.
As mentioned, the skills that you should include in this section will vary greatly depending on the job that you are applying for. Rigorously study the job announcement and ensure that you concisely list any relevant skills!
You will want to include a balance of hard skills and soft skills, as both of these will be required for many federal jobs. However, some jobs will only require one or the other, so use your initiative here.
Hard Skills Federal Resume
- Weapons training
- Arresting suspects
- Evidence preservation
- Undercover decoy work
- First Aid training
- Crime prevention
- Defensive tactics
Soft Skills Federal Resume
- Criminal law knowledge
- Statement Billings
- Natural leader
- Computer Proficiency
- International relations
What skills for a junior Federal worker
- Criminal law knowledge
- Computer Proficient
- Arresting suspects
- Active participation
- Report writing
- Logging help desk tickets
- Volunteering experience
What skills for a qualified senior Federal worker
- Expense Control
- Accounting investigations
- Lead Development
- Natural leader
- Multi-Task Management
- Investigations expert
- Experience liaising with federal agencies
These lists of skills are generalized and not specific to all government job roles. If you want further assistance for the skills section of a specific federal resume, check out our resume sample website for further information.
Write the Ideal Resume Hook for a Federal Resume.
Resumes should always have a concise and informative hook – this can reel a hiring manager in and provide an excellent first impression. Let’s take a look at a federal resume example.
Example of a tagline for a junior Federal employee
Adept City Administrator with knowledge of all aspects of financial management. Able to write compelling grant applications. Special skills in budgeting and accounting procedures.
Sample tagline for a senior level Federal employee
Police Lieutenant with experience in law enforcement. Excellent skills in leadership, decision-making, and record management. Excels at providing courtroom testimonies.
Additional Headings for your Federal Resume
Due to their involvement with the private sector and government, federal resumes will usually require additional headings to outline important information regarding federal work. This could concern basic contact information for background checks, veteran’s preference details or employee relocation preferences.
For example, it will often be necessary to provide detailed information regarding citizenship status, your mailing address and personal address in order to liaise with prospective employers and aid the vetting process.
- Your general schedule
- Professional associations
- Information regarding military spouse
- Citizen veterans preference
- Highest GS Grade
- Requests to be relocated to a specific agency
- Professional contact information
- Evidence of DD Form and additional documents
- Evidence of special recognition and key accomplishments in the field
- References of current supervisor’s contact information
Background checks and security clearance is almost always required, so any existing evidence of this in your career will deserve its own heading. Furthermore, you should state your desired location in this heading considering that federal jobs often involve relocation.
Computer skills and certifications in a Federal Resume
Many federal career paths will require a vast range of skills and certifications when it comes to computer software. This could range from general data management packages to specific accountancy software. Here are a few examples of relevant computer skills you may need to make note of:
- Digital report generation and analysis of electronic spreadsheets
- Fluent in using Microsoft word
- Storage of criminal data in private sector computer systems
- Accountancy software literacy
- Awareness of digital data laws
- Police e-learning software
Interests in a Federal Resume
It is almost always a bad idea to include a section on your interests outside of the workplace. This is due to the fact that this can seem irrelevant and jarring to prospective employers. ATS software will often pick up these interests and result in the automatic deletion of your resume – you do not want this to happen!
Languages in a Federal Resume
Being fluent in English will always be important when it comes to a government job in the US. Due to the importance of paperwork and awareness of law, literacy tests will almost always be necessary, particularly for jobs requiring a large amount of experience.
In these cases, you will need to provide evidence of your language fluency in the form of qualifications. For English, IELTS or TOEFL are both acceptable (with a 30-point or higher score).
Summary: Key Points for Writing a Federal Resume
Let’s take a minute to summarise everything that we have gone through so far. Read through these tips and make sure you tick them off when writing your federal resume!
- Always ensure that you follow a proper federal resume format and double-check to ensure everything is looking clean and concise.
- Don’t forget to optimize your keyword usage for ATS when it comes to your skills section.
- Always personalize your resume for each job you apply for.
- Never rush a resume – this will be very noticeable to your employer!
Most importantly, if you find yourself continuing to struggle with writing your resume, don’t forget to check out a federal resume sample on our website to gain some further insight
Write a Cover Letter That Goes With Your Federal Resume
Writing an excellent cover letter is a great way to demonstrate your passion for the job you are applying for, making you stand out from the crowd. This should consist of around one page of writing, and paragraphs should be short and to the point.
Frequently Asked Questions for an Federal Resume
We’ve covered a lot throughout this guide, so let’s finish things off with an FAQ. Hopefully we can answer any final questions that you may have.
How do I write a federal resume for 2020?
You should word-process your federal resume consisting of two to three pages. Make sure that you research any new requirements that may have arisen in 2020!
How do you write a federal resume?
In general, you should write your federal resume in a concise and to-the-point manner. Don’t include any irrelevant information, and make sure you stick to the formats and structures detailed in this guide!
What is a federal style resume?
A federal style resume is a professional resume that is more detailed and complex than a standard resume in order to cover the extensive information required for a federal job.
What size font should a federal resume be?
The font size used in a word processor for a federal resume should never exceed 12-point. Headings can be larger, but the bulk of the text and cover letter should be size 12.