Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Four Main Differences between Federal Resumes and Private Sector Resumes

According to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board’s 7/2007 Issues of Merit, in September 2006, 40% of permanent full-time federal employees were 50 years of age or older and about 60% of the federal government’s white collar employees were due to be eligible for retirement in the upcoming 10 years. There is no doubt that there are, and will continue to be, opportunities for employment with the federal government.

However many opportunities there may be, the federal employment process can be intimidating because it so different from the private sector. Here are some of the key differences between federal resumes and the standard resume format.

The standard private sector resume is generally no longer than 2 pages, and is often a single-page document. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a typical federal resume is usually 4 to 7 pages long. I have even seen 12 to 15 page documents for some agencies. This is a direct result of the next difference, the amount of detail that is required in the federal resume.

In a standard resume, your focus is to be concise, focused, and get straight to the point. Alternatively, the federal resume requires much more detail for each position. Your federal resume must clearly communicate your experience utilizing the required knowledge, skills, and abilities for each position.

Required Content
The list of required content on a federal resume is far too long to detail here. For example, each job you have listed on your resume must contain the following information: job title, company name, location city, state, and zip, your hours worked per week, salary (annual or hourly), starting and ending month and year, supervisor name and contact phone number, permission to contact the supervisor, and of course, your accomplishments, details, and key works that demonstrate the required skills.

Lack of Formatting
When writing a standard resume, we often use formatting to make the resume more attractive to the eye and lead the reader through the entire document. However, the federal resume does not use standard formatting such as bullet points, italics, and borders.

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