How to Write Your Federal Resume (Plus Free Samples)

Public service is never a question of social status or fame. For job seekers to make the grade, they need to show off their skills and prove their qualifications for the vacant post. Anyone, of course, can try. But in the end, federal agencies will only choose the best. Hence, job hunters must endure an intense federal resume writing task and withstand the stern race to succeed.

There’s no other resume writing task that’s tougher than doing a federal resume. Many job seekers for a federal job post will agree that this task is tiring. With that, let’s look at what a federal resume is, what to put, and tips on how to write one; its difference from a civilian resume; and some resume samples to further guide you how to write your own.

What is a Federal Resume?

An in-depth tool, a federal resume is used when applying for a job within the federal sector. As compared to a regular resume, this needs more detailed info about yourself and your work experience. You must tailor your resume to federal hiring managers and HR experts while ensuring that your feats, background, and contact details are all clearly laid out.

Difference Between Federal Resume and Civilian Resume

The most common differences between these two are the amount of details you need to put and the length of the file. If you’re applying for federal jobs, you’ll be needing to write more details of your skills and experience history.

How long should a federal resume be?

Also, a federal resume is usually longer than a civilian resume. While most civilian resumes are 1 to 2 pages long, federal resumes can be at least 3 to 4 pages long.

Another difference is that a civilian resume is commonly used as a marketing tool to get a job interview, while a federal resume is used to gauge if you meet the needs for a certain job announcement.

What is USAJOBS?

As the US Federal Government’s official employment website, USAJOBS aims to connect job seekers with federal job opportunities across the US and around the world. Being part of the US Office of Personnel Management, this site is used by federal agencies and organizations to host job openings, with the goal of matching them with qualified applicants.

You can opt to create your federal resume using the resume builder found on their site.

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s now proceed to how you can write your compelling federal resume from scratch.

Female Job Seeker Filling Up Details On Her Federal Application

How to Write a Federal Resume

Before writing your own resume, you must know of the vital federal employment application facts. Unlike other job search tools, your federal resume must not be striking, in the sense that it must have hues and shades and other nice traits. Instead, make it plain and formal. Post your copy to USAJOBS. As for the length, make it at least 3 to 4 sheets long. As much as you can, don’t go beyond 7 pages.

Unlike in private sectors, certain rules and guidelines govern federal job applications. If you’re yet to acquaint yourself with these, then here are tips to help you write a federal job hunt tool that drives results.

1. Provide your contact details.

Put your full name, phone number, and email address. Make sure to add your postal address because it will help in the screening process.

2. State your citizenship status.

This is for ID purposes. For federal jobs in the US, you’re not required to be a US citizen. For others, certain citizenship statuses may be required. With these, make sure you check the job descriptions if you’re fit based on the required qualifications.

3. Find out your highest GS grade.

The General Schedule or GS is used to grade all jobs within the federal government to determine pay rates and job duties. The GS scale goes from 1 to 15, with 10 steps within each grade that have predetermined pay increase at each step. You need to include your highest GS grade and salary range if you’re currently employed with the federal government.

4. Be specific.

A federal resume is different from the usual job search tools. It needs a longer and more detailed listing of details. With this, you must include the job announcement details (e.g. job number, title, and grade) that we do not usually find in a civilian resume.

5. Make it complete yet concise.

As often required, your tool should not exceed 3 to 5 sheets. This does not include the cover letter, KSA statements, and other supplemental documents.

6. Use Situation-Action-Results (SAR) format to list achievements.

Present your feats using the SAR formula. This resume format explains the skills you can offer to the company when you’re hired. State the challenges you went through, the solutions you did to work them out, and the outcomes of your actions.

7. Highlight your education and work background.

Detail your work ventures. Expound on your educational background and state fitting experiences to tailor your resume to the job announcement.

8. Use relevant resume keywords.

These are action verbs that you can use to help a recruiter understand your qualifications and experience. Always refer to the job announcement to see which keywords were mentioned, and, if fitting, use them in your resume.

9. Keep it reader-friendly.

Make sure your file is clear and legible. Use only readable font style and size and apply needed margins on all sides. Put headings and sections, too, to set sections apart.

10. Tap someone to proofread your work.

To ensure you’re not missing anything crucial, seek the help of a friend or a career expert to check your work. Ask them to rate your work and see if it’s good to go.

11. Do not forget to enclose your KSA.

KSA stands for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. This measures how fit you are for the vacant job post. Once you’re done with your federal resume task, put enough time to do the required files and craft your KSA.

12. Add optional details.

To make your job application more tailored and effective, you may also want to put these:

  • Additional training
  • Volunteer work
  • Languages
  • Security clearance
  • Publications
  • Additional skills
Job Seeker Writing Her Federal Resume On Her Laptop

What to Put in Your Federal Resume

Remember to include these in your federal resume:

  • Job announcement number, job title, and job grade of the job you’re applying for
  • Your contact details – full name, mailing address, phone numbers, and email address
  • Social Security Number
  • Country of citizenship, if not from US
  • Veteran’s Preference
  • Education
  • Work experiences
  • Certificates and licenses
  • Volunteer work and activities
  • Honors and awards
  • Affiliations

For each work experience listed, make sure to include these:

  • Job title
  • Employer
  • Start and end dates of employment
  • Hours worked per week
  • Description of job duties, related skills, and responsibilities
  • Series and grade or equivalent

To guide you better, heed these further tips on what you must put in your federal resume.

1. Contact Details

The header part of your federal resume has your full name and contact data such as mailing address, phone numbers, and email address.

2. Goal

This part states your goal. Don’t forget to place the name of the federal agency and its sub-agency, if it has any. Write your desired job as well.

3. Profile

This part shows your skills and qualifications. You may put both your career profile in narrative form and your set of skills in list format.

4. Work History

List each job you had before and write them in proper order, from the most recent experience and work your way back. Place the names of the firms or agency, dates of employment, names of supervisors, number of hours worked per week, places of assignment, salary, and job titles. Further, list each of your tasks and key achievements per job you’ve held. Don’t fail to describe each task.

5. Training

Cite any training you joined and the number of hours you earned from each.

6. References

As part of your federal resume, give at least three references, as well as their contact details.

Best Federal Resume Examples per Industry

Want to see these writing tips in action? Check out these federal resume examples for various industries which you can use as your guide as you write your own.


Download the full finance federal resume sample now.


Download the full healthcare federal resume sample now.

Human Resources

Download the full HR federal resume sample now.

Information Technology

Download the full IT federal resume sample now.


Download the full military resume sample now.

Other jobs and fields that may need a federal resume include:

  • Business
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal
  • International Relations
  • Medicine

Let an Expert Take Charge of Writing Your Federal Resume

As writing a job search tool as complicated as a federal resume can get tedious, you need to devote your time, effort, and even resources to come up with an effective one. Federal job applications require a more careful process, so you wouldn’t want to waste your time for nothing. Let us help you address that by leaving the task of resume writing to us!

Team up with one of our top writers today to help you craft a federal resume fit for your federal job application needs. Hire our federal resume writing service now! You may also check out our wide range of job search tool add-ons to boost your hiring chances.

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