A federal job offers wide-ranging opportunities, from working for the national government, military, or a specific legislator, to roles in criminal justice, scientific research, food safety, or emergency services. Whatever your path, having a strong resume will increase your chances of getting hired. Using our resume example and guide will help you take your federal career to the next level.
If you’re looking for a federal job, you’ll need a well-crafted resume that showcases your key work, academic achievements, volunteer, and extracurricular activities, combined with your unique skill set relevant to the job opening. Federal resumes are more in-depth than traditional resumes with specific criteria, so ensuring you tick all your boxes is key to making a great first impression.
With this federal resume example and writing guide, we’ll demonstrate how to highlight your skills and background in the best light. Our resume opens with clear contact information, citizenship status, and veterans’ preference details (if applicable). This is closely followed by a strong professional summary that communicates your core skills and experience - essentially telling federal recruiters why you’re the perfect person for the job opening.
Federal resumes can range from two to six pages, so it can be tricky to balance the amount of information required with a resume that is clear, concise, and easy to read (for both humans and applicant tracking systems). Our work experience section ticks all these boxes, by balancing paragraphs with bullet-pointed achievements, so recruiters can clearly see what you have done and what you have achieved. Subsequent sections are similarly formatted and placed in a strategic order to ensure you meet the requirements of the vetting process.
The job description is the best reference point for keywords for your federal resume. Look out for terms that are repeated or emphasized as important skills and experience. Many federal agencies use ATS to screen resumes, so being diligent in this process will help you pass the first initial hurdle of the hiring process.
While the specific keywords will depend on the job posting, here are examples of the types of skills you should highlight:
Technical / I.T. skills
Highly motivated and results-focused with Master of Science in Health and the Public Interest, excellent analytical skills, and strong knowledge of healthcare policy at the state and federal levels. Known for approaching complex challenges methodically, identifying innovative solutions, and providing sound advice to key stakeholders. Experience in preparing and presenting testimony to federal committees regarding pharmaceutical product approval decisions. Adept at collaborating and communicating effectively with colleagues, senior executives, scientists, and healthcare professionals. Exceptional leadership skills developed during three years with the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
Employment history example
Graduate Student Researcher at Georgetown Washington, DC University 12/2020 - Present
Oversee qualitative research project analyzing Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study data to identify the role of subjective age in depression among men with and without HIV.
Play a key role in preparing manuscript for publication in Summer 2021 issue of Georgetown Medical Review.
Project is first-ever research into topic in the HIV field.
Supervisor: Dr. Michael Plankey, Clinical Infectious Disease & Nutritional Epidemiologist, 202-288-3077. May Contact.
Hours per week: 15-20.
Georgetown University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), Master of Science in Health and the Public Interest Washington, DC
Mississippi State University, Shackouls Honors College, Honors Bachelor of Science in Microbiology Mississippi State, MS
Helen is an experienced freelance writer with a strong background in job search and career advice, in particular resume best practices, interviewing, and personal and professional development. Before Career.io, Helen worked for high-profile recruitment firms and in the field of HR management, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in a potential employee as well as experience in supporting career growth and development.