top of page

Common Federal Resume Mistakes

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

hands typing on a laptop

A federal resume is the only application for a federal job, and different from a private industry resume. The federal resume must aim at a precise position in the government. Here are 3 common mistakes seen when reviewing resumes for federal jobs. How many of the problems below do you have on your federal resume? Are you getting Best Qualified and Referred? Resume mistakes, at best, give a bad first impression; at worst, they cost you the job.

Take a look at this list by a Federal Resume expert to find out which of these common mistakes need to be fixed.

Top 3 Common Federal Resume Mistakes

1. Not writing Enough Verbiage

If a random stranger reviewed the top third of your resume for half a minute, could they easily identify your job targets and qualifications? If so, your resume is on the right track. If not, then your resume still needs some work. To make sure that a recruiter can easily recognize your skills, qualifications, and job intentions, you need to format your resume in a way that lays out those details from the beginning.

Resumes can also be too short and missing important information, such as months and years; hours per week; supervisor names and phones; training and other important information for HR to review.

You also need to study the job announcement carefully for keywords and highlight the parts of your work experience that are equivalent to the qualifications listed. Take into account that Human Resources might not be familiar with your career field; make sure that you describe your experience in non-jargan terms to help them understand how your experience matches the vacancy. Describe job responsibilities and achievements in a way that shows how you are qualified and matches the language of the posting. Include your skills; do not be shy, be truthful. Make sure you're highlighting the results you've accomplished, rather than just the tasks you've been assigned. Most importantly, focus on the mission of the business when transcribing your knowledge.

2. Not Matching the Resume to the Questionnaire

Most resumes do not match the questionnaire at all. The questionnaire is a test, and your resume must verify your answers. Keywords from the vacancy publication also need to be used in the resume. Keywords are words that are repeated from the announcement and represent critical skills needed for high performance on the job. Read the qualifications section and show that experience in your resume. The questionnaire is typically always based on the qualification.

3. Not Hiring a Professional Resume Writer

If you're applying to jobs you're qualified for and rarely receive a response, then your resume may need some professional help. Writing a federal resume that brings your qualifications to life and demonstrates that you are perfect for the position can be difficult. You need to make sure you prove how your education, training, experience, and skills match what the employer is looking for.

A federal resume needs to match the formatting and information that government agencies want to see. Knowing how to put the information together in a way that appeals to the hiring board can be an intimidating task. Our experts are here to help.

Avoid bad grammar and misspelled words. Review your resume before you apply. Check it for spelling and grammatical errors and have someone else review your resume looking at every detail. Hiring professional resume writers is recommended and makes this process a lot easier.

How to Write a Federal Resume

You need to prepare before starting to write your federal resume. Take into account what positions interest you and go over what qualifications or experiences are needed by viewing different types of jobs and job opportunity publications on USAJOBS. Get information together and start to make out a representation of your experience, knowledge, and skills to add to your resume.

How you submit your experience and skills in your resume will determine if you are interviewed for a job or not. Reduce, or even avoid, the use of technical slang or specialized terminology like military abbreviations in your resume. Above all, make sure your resume formatting meets the standards for agencies on USAJobs.

Resumes are normally prepared in one of three formats: chronological, functional or a combination of both. Chronological resumes list experience according to date. Different from resumes used in the corporate sector, federal resumes need more information. For each past job your federal resume should include:

  • Job announcement number, job title, and job grade of the job you are applying for

  • Your full name, mailing address, day and evening phone numbers and home e-mail.

  • Country of citizenship

  • Special Hiring Authorities will need to attach supporting documentation specific to each case.

  • Education - Include college name, city, state, zip code, majors, type and year of degrees held or number of semester hours completed, as well as high school name, city, state, zip code, and date of your diploma or GED, if requested.

  • Work experience – Make sure to include all relevant experience. Federal resumes are longer than usual, do not leave out important details to try to fit your resume to one to two pages. A well written federal resume should highlight your key work, volunteer experiences, academic accomplishments as well as extra-curricular activities and unique skills that set you apart and make you qualified for the position.

    1. Start with your current position and list all other positions you’ve had in chronological order.

    2. State the job title, starting and ending dates (month and year), employer's name and address, and major roles and talents.

    3. Indicate the number of hours worked per week or simply state "full-time"; salary; and supervisor's name, address and telephone number.

    4. Include the occupational series numbers and the starting and ending grades of the federal government positions held. Include any relevant volunteer or National Service experience.

  • Job-related training courses (title and year).

  • Job-related knowledge or skills, including self-management skills, functional skills, and technical skills.

  • Current job-related certificates and licenses.

  • Job-related publications, memberships, special honors, awards, special abilities, or leadership activities.

Spell check your resume and take a good look at its general appearance. Have the headings, font and formatting style been used efficiently? Are the margins appropriate? Is there enough white space? Is it easy to read and attractive? Your resume is an employer's first impression of you, make sure it is the best one possible.

Do Professional Resume Writers Really Help?

Writing a strong resume is important, and it’s also difficult. Because there’s a lot of competition out there, you want your resume to stand out and use all the help you can get. Is it a good idea to have your resume written by a professional? The short answer is yes, it can certainly be favorable to your job search. Hiring a professional resume writer is a good idea if you’re looking for a higher title, more responsibilities, and a better income.

A good resume writer will help your resume stand out the right way. If you're overwhelmed, stumped, or don't have the time or energy to involve yourself in the nuances of resume practices, a professional resume writer might be the right choice. Looking for help to write the best possible resume for yourself so you can focus your energy on other aspects of a job search is a great option. El Paso Professional Resumes has rendered excellent resume writing services at rates job seekers can afford. Using the tips above together with help from a professional resume writer, will make sure that your resume gets you to the next round.

23 views0 comments


bottom of page