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Federal Resume Tips and Tricks


Federal Agency Week here at the Mount is fast approaching and will be held from Monday, November 13 to Friday, November 17. Writing a federal resume can be a challenge – here are a few tips and tricks to help you write a successful and professional federal resume.

First, you must be aware that your federal resume is the job application. For most job opportunities, you fill out an application and submit your resume in addition. Federal job openings only require you to submit a resume, making it all the more important. There are no page limits to the federal resume and you can choose from various formats. These include the chronological, functional, combination, targeted and USAJobs formats. Let us briefly examine each one in detail.

  • Chronological – A chronological resume lists your work experience, education and volunteer activities in reverse chronological order. This means that you list your most recent job first and your oldest one at the bottom.
  • Functional – A functional resume may also be called a competency-based resume. Its main focus is on the skills and competencies you have gained from your various experiences.
  • Combination – A combination resume has elements of both the chronological and functional resumes. The only difference is that it lists your experience in chronological order from oldest to newest. A targeted resume can be a chronological, functional or combination resume that is targeted to a specific job.
  • USAJobs – The USAJobs Resume Builder allows you to automatically build and format your resume on
The job requirements for each federal job are listed on the Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA). A JOA lists the level and amount of experience, education, and training that are required for each open position. Your resume must indicate that you meet all the JOA requirements for the open position in order to be considered further in the hiring process.

List all relevant work experience including paid, unpaid and volunteer activities. Omit work experience that is not important. For each work experience listed on your resume, provide beginning and end dates, weekly hours and your supervisor’s name and contact information. Detail your duties and responsibilities, tailoring them to the JOA requirements. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the hiring manager to understand exactly what experience you have under your belt.

One of the easiest ways to create a federal resume is by using the USAJobs Resume Builder. First, create an account with USAJobs – it is easy to set up and takes about five minutes. Once you have activated your account, find the Resume Builder and enter the requested information about your education, work experience, job-related training, language skills, organizations and affiliations, professional publications and any other additional information. After entering all the data, USAJobs will create a resume for you which you can use to apply for federal jobs.

Once your resume is good to go, it is time to start searching and applying for federal jobs. The Pathways for Students and Recent Graduates to Federal Careers Program run by USA Jobs offers federal internship and employment opportunities for current students and recent graduates. The Pathways Program includes an internship program, a recent graduates program, and a presidential management fellows program. These programs may have the ability to be converted to full-time jobs – more information about each program can be found on

If you are having trouble writing your federal resume, there are numerous resources including articles, videos, and guides that can assist you with this process. Stop by the Career Center and meet with a professional who will assist you in writing a federal resume. Also, consider attending the Federal Agency Week Preparation Event from 3-4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8. It may seem daunting at first but, with the right guidance, you can create a successful federal resume.