Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

What Is a Federal Resume?

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

What Is a Federal Resume?

Article excerpt

This is a two-part article which covers teaching job seekers to write a federal resume in the best format. Converting the big block format into the popular new outline format with Key Words. Part 1 covers what a federal resume is. Part 2 shows how to help clients write a federal resume.

Part 1. What Is a Federal Resume?

A federal resume is a resume written to apply for a job with the federal government. The federal resume is usually three to five pages in length, which is longer than a typical business resume. The reason for the additional length is that federal human resources specialists require that you prove in writing the skills that you have. Each generalized and specialized skill that you have developed in your career has to be written into the document.

Your Federal Resume Is Your Federal Application and Examination (and Sometimes the Interview, Too)

The federal resume is your application for a federal job. The federal resume is also an examination of sorts. Your federal resume will be assessed for your qualifications and skills; and possibly will be graded by the human resources specialist to determine the level of your qualifications. The federal resume could even be your job interview. On some occasions, supervisors make hiring decisions based on the resume.

A Federal Resume Is Not an OF-612 or SF-171 [Federal Employment Application Form]

The federal resume is a resume, not a form. If you read instructions on vacancy announcements stating that you can submit an OF-612 form or a resume, it would be best to use a resume to apply for this position. The agencies that will accept only an OF-612 obviously are not accepting resumes online because the OF-612 is not a form that you can copy and paste or browse and pick up online.

Are You Qualified or Best Qualified?

Prove it in your federal resume. Your resume will be reviewed by the human resources specialist to see whether you have the qualifications for the position and a certain grade level. See What is Important in your Federal Resume for a list of what the HR specialist will be looking at when determining which candidates are best qualified. The time, research, writing, and editing you put into your federal resume should demonstrate your qualifications in a way that makes the human resources specialist rate your resume Qualified or Best Qualified.

From a Vacancy Announcement: How You Will Be Evaluated

"Resumes will be evaluated for basic qualifications requirements and for the skills needed to perform the duties of the position, as described in this vacancy announcement and identified by the Selecting Official for the position."

The Office of Personnel Management has published a Qualifications Standard (search for this at which states the years of experience, specialized experience, generalized experience, education, and certification that are required for certain jobs at certain salaries. The human resources specialist will review your resume to see whether you are Minimally Qualified with the basics, and then Best Qualified with excellent experience that is proven with examples and specifics. You can refer to the Qualifications Standard to make sure you cover all of the job elements in your federal resume.

Federal Human Resources List of What's Important in Your Federal Resume

The human resources staffing specialist will determine your qualifications for the position by looking at the following items in your federal resume. Qualification determinations are based on me following areas of your resume and experience:


Major field of study. Number of years completed or number of semester hours completed. Grade-point average (GPA)

Training. Related to job only. Number of days or hours

Experience. Quality of experience. Directly related to the job or general nature of work. Complexity of assignments (what, for whom, why) Decision-making authority or span of control. …

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