How can I transform my resume into a federal resume?
April 4, 2011 11:38 AM   Subscribe

How can I transform my conventional resume into a federal resume?

I just was selected as a finalist for the Presidential Management Fellowship, and I need to re-write my resume into federal format for upcoming job interviews. I've found very little information on how to write a successful federal resume, other than that you should explicitly spell out skills.

Does anyone have any advice, or suggestions of resources I might use to transform my resume into the format that American federal government agencies would find suitable? Thanks!
posted by RachelSmith to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Congrats! This book may not be precisely what you need, but may help.
posted by jicinabox at 11:53 AM on April 4, 2011

I am a Federal employee and since the Hiring Reform has taken place we are now using USAJobs to apply for jobs. There you will be able to enter your resume into the required Federal format (and be able to print it out.)
posted by govtdrone at 11:55 AM on April 4, 2011

The manager tools podcast "Your Resume Stinks" has great general advice that should be incorporated into a resume. I'd recommend posting to the resumes section of the forums there; I'm pretty sure a few civil servants inhabit the forums.
posted by bfranklin at 11:56 AM on April 4, 2011

Congrats. PMF seems to be great!

In my understanding, given that 95% of my coworkers are or were PMFs, is that you need to translate your skill set into USAJobs categories/keywords. Also, don't underserve yourself to be humble.

So log onto USAJobs and start filling out an app until you get to the categories/skills portion. Print those out or whatever and tweak your resume to fit those keywords.
posted by k8t at 11:58 AM on April 4, 2011

It's good that you're asking about this; the requirements for a federal resume are very specific, and the people reviewing your submissions may assume you know about them even if they're not spelled out in the application (which apparently they weren't).

The rest of my comment after this paragraph is going to assume you have to write a resume from scratch. Of course, you should see if there's a guided online application; if so, you'll just fill in all the fields. I was applying for federal jobs last year, and I had to write many applications from scratch. (This was even after Obama's reform that was supposed to go into effect in November 2010.)

Also, don't take the tips in this thread, including mine, as the definitive right way to do it. If you haven't found any good advice by Googling, check out a book such as the one linked in the first comment. The chance to get a federal job is worth paying $20 for a book if it helps you feel confident that you're not missing some tiny little detail.

Your resume should generally include the following information:

- your Social Security number and the phrase "U.S. Citizen" (if you are one), right below your name and contact info

- the department/agency/etc. to which you're applying, the job title, and the vacancy announcement number (each on a separate line, e.g. "Department: Department of Justice," immediately the substance of your resume)

- the exact dates of each job

- the address of each job

- your salary and weekly hours at each job

- the name and phone number of your supervisor for each job

- the name and address of each educational institution you've attended, going back to high school (as well as other relevant info, of course; for high school, this might just be your diploma year)

Some people reviewing your application might not care about all those points, but you can't know whether you'll be lucky enough to get one of these more lenient folks reviewing your application. So it makes sense to assume the person making the decision will be a stickler.

I haven't even talked about the substance of your resume. As k8t says, you want to hit as many of the keywords as possible. A keyword is just language used in the job announcement to describe the qualifications they're looking for or the duties the job entails. For instance, if the announcement lists one qualification as experience "communicating complex issues to laypersons," use these exact words when describing a job where you've done that (assuming you have).
posted by John Cohen at 12:08 PM on April 4, 2011

If you want you can memail me and I will email you the exact format I use to apply for all of my Federal jobs, including the new job (with a promotion!) I start on Monday.
posted by govtdrone at 12:15 PM on April 4, 2011

It probably won't hurt to make sure you include all the information requested on the OF-612 form, which asks for some things not often included in a resume (such as details on the high school you've attended, regardless of whether you've got more degrees than a thermometer).

As mentioned above, include your social security number and citizenship.
posted by exogenous at 1:25 PM on April 4, 2011

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