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How to Write a Federal Resume

Some federal job postings will refer to a "federal resume" even though there is no mandated form. This is simply a resume that contains all the information required to apply for a federal job, including your qualifications.

Your Resume's Ingredients

  • Job information from the job vacancy announcement, including the vacancy announcement number and the position's title.


  • Personal information, including your name and address, Social Security number, country of citizenship and whether you are eligible for veterans' preference.


  • Education, including from where and when you graduated high school or college.


  • Work experience specifically related to the position for which you are applying. You will also be asked to indicate salary earned.


  • Other qualifications, including job-related training and certificates, skills, and special accomplishments such as published works or awards for on-the-job performance
Proving You're the Right Candidate

In some cases, showing how you're qualified on your resume is a no-brainer. If one of the qualifications is a college degree and you have one, you will put that in the education section and move on to the next. Unfortunately, it's rarely that easy. First, read the vacancy or job announcement carefully and be sure you supply all the information requested.

Secondly, be aware that KSAs -- the knowledge, skills and abilities an applicant needs to be qualified for a particular job -- may come into play. In addition to submitting your resume, you may be asked to write a short supplemental essay describing specific KSAs that match those desired for the position. Think of each as a mini cover letter that would accompany a resume if you were applying for a private sector position. Describe your responsibilities and accomplishments that show why you're qualified for the position. In doing so, assume that more information is better, as long as it's written concisely, and describe your experiences using words found in the vacancy announcement that match your experience.

Write Your Resume Online

If you prefer working online, visit USAJOBS, a Web site administered by OPM. The site offers a Resume Builder tool that will walk you through the process, ensuring that you have everything in your resume that needs to be there. You can copy and paste pieces of your existing resume into the tool -- keeping in mind what you've learned here. Last but not least, it's up to you to print and send your resume, application and all supporting materials to the mailing address, email address or fax number on the individual job announcement.

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