How To Write a Federal Resume

Federal resumes follow a unique structure that differs significantly from resumes in the private sector. To create an impactful federal resume, you need to create an accomplishment-driven document that highlights your career achievements while maintaining compliance with government requirements. Understanding these requirements is essential for obtaining a federal job. Throughout this guide, we’ll walk you through the unique aspects of federal resumes and provide expert tips to help you land your next big opportunity.

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level
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1. Summarize your federal qualifications in a dynamic profile

Unlike a typical resume, your federal resume must include an eligibility section that provides key information for government agencies. When applying for a federal job, provide important details such as veterans’ benefits, eligibility under the VEOA, preferred location, citizenship status, desired job type, work schedule, and availability. Failing to include this information in your federal resume could result in your job application being rejected without further consideration of your qualifications.

Eligibility Section Example


Eligibility

Country of Citizenship: United States of America

Veterans’ Preference: 5-point Preference

VEOA Eligibility: Yes

Availability: December 1st, 2022

Job Type: Permanent

Work Schedule: Full Time

Target Location: Philadelphia, PA

2. Outline your federal experience in a compelling list

When applying for jobs in the private sector, you may opt to leave off older jobs and experiences that aren’t aligned with your current career goals. On a federal resume, you need to provide a comprehensive timeline of your professional experience. Government agencies typically run very thorough background checks on candidates, and it’s important to understand that all of this information will likely be verified. You also aren’t subject to length constraints on a federal resume, so including older positions won’t impact your ability to highlight your most recent experience and achievements.

Federal Resume Professional Experience Example


Professional Experience

General Manager, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA

July 2017 – Present

  • Oversee daily operations for a high-traffic airport with over 5K passengers, manage over $150M in annual P&L, and ensure the safety of passengers, flight crews, and personnel
  • Manage over 200+ personnel across 15 departments, oversee $5M in monthly payroll, and identify opportunities to streamline operations and reduce labor costs by 10%
  • Coordinate the delivery of cultural awareness and racial sensitivity to all personnel to promote diversity and prevent discrimination

Operations Manager, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA

June 2014 – July 2017

  • Coordinated with the general manager and operations team to ensure compliance with safety regulations, import regulations, and export regulations across the airport
  • Managed inventory valued at $1.5M, scheduled maintenance for aircraft, and ensured optimal staffing levels based on flight forecasts and foot traffic

Warehouse Manager, Comcast, Philadelphia, PA

May 2012 – July 2014

  • Managed operations for seven warehouses across the Greater Philadelphia area and identified opportunities to enhance driver utilization, optimize route planning, and reduce outbound freight costs by 25% over two years

3. List any education and certifications relevant to federal roles

You’ll want to include all of your education on a federal resume, including your high school diploma. You should also include your GPA, even if it’s below 3.0. Certifications and credentials should be featured prominently, as these may be requirements for certain types of positions. Showcasing certifications is also a good strategy for highlighting your industry expertise and qualifications for government agencies.

Certifications

Template

  • [Certification Name], [Awarding Organization], [Completion Year]

Example

  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), 2017
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), 2015

Education

Template

  • [Degree Name]
  • [School Name], [City, State Abbreviation] [Dates Enrolled]

Example

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Supply Chain Management
  • UNIVERSITY OF SYRACUSE, Syracuse, NY September 2010 – June 2014
  • High School Diploma
  • BROOKLYN CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, New York, NY September 2006 – June 2010

4. Outline your most useful federal skills and proficiencies

Government agencies utilize Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) just as much as companies in the private sector. You’ll want to incorporate keywords from the job announcement into your federal resume to achieve ATS compliance. It’s also important to provide specific examples of you using these skill sets and industry knowledge rather than only listing them in your skills section. Below, you’ll find a list of potential keywords across a broad range of industries:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Accounting Business Intelligence
Corporate Intelligence Continuous Improvement
Cross-Functional Collaboration Data Analytics
Engineering Financial Analysis
Financial Reporting Healthcare Management
Information Technology Operations Management
Political Risk Analysis Process Improvement
Project Management Quality Assurance
Risk Management Security
Supply Chain Management Team Management

5. Feature volunteerism and community service

On a standard resume for the private sector, you would typically prioritize your industry experience over volunteerism in most instances. Federal resumes are different, however, as community service is important to highlight while applying for government jobs.

Hiring agencies are drawn to candidates with a strong background in public service, so you’ll want to feature relevant volunteer experience on your resume.

How to Pick the Best Federal Resume Template

For federal resumes, you should select a well-organized, straightforward template that uses minimal color. Although modern templates may seem visually appealing, flashy colors and bulky graphics are often distracting for hiring agencies. This is especially true for federal resumes, as the hiring manager will be reviewing a larger amount of information in comparison to typical resumes.

Federal Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Example #1
  • Example #2
  • Example #3

Kevin Morrison
(123) 456-7890
[email protected]
LinkedIn | Portfolio
123 Carpenter Street, Philadelphia PA, 12345

Profile

An Operations Manager with nine years of experience specializing in cross-functional leadership, human resources, team management, and process improvement. A strong history of leading diverse teams to ensure operational excellence across high traffic airports.

Eligibility

Country of Citizenship: United States of America
Veterans’ Preference: 5-point Preference
VEOA Eligibility: Yes
Availability: December 1st, 2022
Job Type: Permanent
Work Schedule: Full Time
Target Location: Philadelphia, PA

Professional Experience

General Manager, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA
July 2017 – Present

  • Oversee daily operations for a high-traffic airport with over 5K passengers, manage over $150M in annual P&L, and ensure the safety of passengers, flight crews, and personnel
  • Manage over 200+ personnel across 15 departments, oversee $5M in monthly payroll, and identify opportunities to streamline operations and reduce labor costs by 10%
  • Coordinate the delivery of cultural awareness and racial sensitivity to all personnel to promote diversity and prevent discrimination

Operations Manager, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA
June 2014 – July 2017

  • Coordinated with the general manager and operations team to ensure compliance with safety regulations, import regulations, and export regulations across the airport
  • Managed inventory valued at $1.5M, scheduled maintenance for aircrafts, and ensured optimal staffing levels based on flight forecasts and foot traffic

Warehouse Manager, Comcast, Philadelphia, PA
May 2012 – July 2014

  • Managed operations for seven warehouses across the Greater Philadelphia area and identified opportunities to enhance driver utilization, optimize route planning, and reduce outbound freight costs by 25% over two years

Education

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Operations Management
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA September 2008 – May 2012

High School Diploma
North Philadelphia High School, Philadelphia, PA September 2003 – June 2008

Key Skills

  • Operations Management
  • Cross-Functional Leadership
  • P&L Management
  • Process Improvement
  • Organizational Development

Frequently Asked Questions: Federal Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for federal resumes?+

It’s easy to find yourself running short on action verbs as you build your resume. Often there’s only a limited number of verbs you can use to describe your professional experience and accomplishments accurately. Using the same verbs repeatedly may cause your bullet points to appear redundant. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of action verbs you can use to build your resume:

Action Verbs
Analyzed Built
Collaborated Conducted
Coordinated Created
Delivered Developed
Enhanced Evaluated
Executed Identified
Implemented Led
Managed Oversaw
Performed Planned
Supervised Supported

How do you align your resume with a job announcement?+

Federal jobs offer lucrative salaries and benefits, so you’ll need to carefully align your resume with the job announcement to differentiate yourself from the competition. Each announcement will have a detailed description on usajobs.gov, and you’ll want to include specific keywords and qualifications that match the posting.
 
It’s also important to remember that each job announcement will have a specific grade that varies depending on the level of experience required for the role. You’ll want to apply for an opportunity that matches your current grade. A higher-level position may require you to take additional measures to ensure that your resume is perfectly tailored to that particular job announcement.

What is the best federal resume format?+

Although federal resumes are unique in many aspects, you should still employ a reverse chronological approach as you build your document. This ensures that your most recent experience is featured toward the top of the resume. A functional resume format needs to be avoided in this instance, as a federal job application is expected to have much more detail than a standard resume.

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Expert Advice
Include a cover letter with your resume

Cover letters can be beneficial for federal job applications. It allows you to showcase other aspects of yourself as a professional that wouldn’t fit in your resume. In the middle paragraphs, you should mention the government agency and why you’re drawn to apply for the position. This will show hiring managers that you have a vested interest in government programs and initiatives, which may give you an edge over the competition during your job search. For more information, view our cover letter examples.

Frank Hackett headshot

Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

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