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Problem: a federal resume is no day at the beach. Those 4–6 pages are trickier than an SEC filing.
That resume has to show GS ratings, clearance, and more details than a Homeland Security bill. It has to tell the employers, “I’m not afraid to dig in and do things right.” Worse, it also needs to stand out like Ben Franklin at the IRS. It’s not just proof of work, it is work.
Solution: you just found the best federal resume example this side of the DoD!
This guide will show you:
A federal resume example better than 9 out of 10 others.
How to write a federal resume that gets more interviews.
Tips and examples of how to put skills and achievements on a resume for federal jobs.
How to describe your experience on a resume for federal positions to get any job you want.
Here's a federal resume template made with our online resume builder.
The next two sample federal resume objectives show the detail.
Federal Resume Examples [Resume Objectives]
Where’s the violation in the first of our senior federal resume samples?
Dependable office automation clerk with 8 years of experience and skills in word processing, electronic spreadsheets, and document management. Seeking a new office automation clerk position.
That’s not a capital offense, but it won’t get the interview.
Follow the next of our federal resume examples instead:
Dependable office automation clerk with 8 years of experience and proven skills in word processing, electronic spreadsheets, and document management. Seeking to support the Office of U.S. Attorneys with high-level clerical skills. Have demonstrated automation support at Federal Milk Market Administrator's office by resolving issues 50% faster than previous office assistant, and by noticing a recurring supplier problem that saved the office $7,000 per year.
Grade A. The hiring manager just dropped her Book of Answers.
See how the first example goes generic? The second uses the agency name and measurable achievements.
Pro Tip: You can use bullet points in a federal resume objective. Doing that can make employers want to call you in the middle of the night.
Need more tips on how to write the best federal job resume objective you can? See our guides:
How do you show work history on a resume for federal jobs?
But there’s a clear path to the interview.
The experience section on a federal style resume does more jobs than an air traffic controller.
It has to:
Tell crucial information about past employers, pay, and supervisors.
Use keywords from the federal job announcement.
Describe your past job.
Show you fit the new job like Orrin Hatch’s tie.
Share key accomplishments that make employers’ hearts speed up.
The federal resume examples below provide the basic service.
List Work History Details
For each job, show:
Year and Month of Employment
Employer Name, City, and State
GS Rating (if applicable)
Hours Worked Per Week
Supervisor’s Phone Number
Whether It’s Okay to Contact Him/Her
Federal Resume Example—Work History Details
Office Automation Assistant
Federal Milk Market Administration, Boston, MA
Salary: $33,629 Hours/Week: 40 GS-0326-4
Supervisor: Harold Pope, 617-927-1160, may contact
Write Federal Job Descriptions
Describe each of your past federal jobs with keywords. Make them fit the job announcement like a ballot in a box.
Pretend you’re going for an (1) office and automation support job.
It wants skills (2) storing, retrieving, editing, and printing documents, and (3) answering telephones and referring callers.
Let the next of our federal resume examples be your safety net.
Federal Resume Example—Job Description
(1) OFFICE CLERICAL AND AUTOMATION SUPPORT: Support 10 staff and over 100 projects. Use word processing, electronic spreadsheet, and database management software to produce a variety of documents. Manage staff calendars and use advanced word processing software functions to collaborate with staff.
(2) STORING, RETRIEVING, EDITING, AND PRINTING DOCUMENTS: Manage over 300 documents each month, including documents in both electronic and paper filing formats. Retrieve, edit, and print thousands of copies per month of documents in complex formats such as text with embedded tables and graphics.
(3) ANSWERING TELEPHONES AND REFERRING CALLERS: Answer over 200 phone calls per month and refer callers to staff members or voicemail. Take written messages as appropriate. Make outgoing calls as requested by staff. Remind staff of calls not yet returned via project management software system.
See how you used resume keywords from the job announcement?
USAJobs.gov is the government’s website for searching federal jobs.
Here’s why it’s so cool.
Search a job on the site like project manager. You’ll get every project manager job description in the federal government.
The USAJobs listing will tell you:
The GS rating and salary
Keywords, duties, and responsibilities
Additional documents to attach to your federal job resume
How to apply for the job
How to Use USAJobs to Make Your Federal Resume Turn Heads
First, pull your skills and keywords from the federal job announcement.
Then, tailor your experience to fit those skills and keywords.
The federal resume example below shows the best practices.
Federal Resume Example: How to Use USAJobs
Imagine you’re writing an information receptionist federal resume.
In the USAJobs announcement, it says you’ll need to (1) answer phones and (2) respond to questions and inquiries.
So, you write your job description like this:
HHS Administration for Children and Families, Boston, MA
Salary: $18,785 Hours/Week: 40 GS-0304-1
Supervisor: Jennifer Soto, 857-728-5474, may contact
ANSWER PHONES: Answer 100+ phone calls per day. Maintain polite and professional manner. Give advice to callers regarding the best staff member to talk to. Refer calls to appropriate staff members and take phone messages. Forward calls to voicemail when appropriate. Refer misdirected calls to proper resource or agency.
RESPOND TO QUESTIONS AND INQUIRIES: Answer low-level questions and inquiries without consulting superiors. Greet in-person visitors with questions and answer simple requests to save time for senior staff. Respond to voicemail messages by phone when possible. Answer simple email requests in written form.
Assisted with rewriting automated phone menu, resulting in a 35% reduction in office calls, since more calls were now referred to our website.
Saved 20% more staff time than previous information receptionist by learning answers to frequently asked questions and having a binder of resources ready.
Do that with your federal government resume, and the hiring manager will save your contact info to her phone.
Pro Tip: Want free expert help to write your federal resume? The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) holds free briefings every few days. See the schedule here.
More than half the hiring managers don’t read cover letters.
Almost half require them.
But don’t be boring or generic.
Use the hiring manager’s name. It’s in the USAJobs announcement.
Show you understand the job by citing the requirements.
Prove you’ll get it done like a SEAL team with a couple fitting achievements.
This short example federal cover letter shows the finished product:
When a process improvement I developed realized a $1.5 million savings for my office, I was gratified. I believe I can find similar efficiencies at the General Services Administration. You’re looking for someone who can handle all levels of design, development, and delivery of large-scale applications. When I led my team to the successful development of a full-stack Microservices solution, on time and 35% under budget...
Always end a cover letter with an offer. Try, “I’d value the opportunity to discuss how I slashed development costs 30% without sacrificing quality."
Pro Tip: Need material for a cover letter for federal jobs? Talk about why you were promoted or how you improved quality, cost, or efficiency.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
The USAJobs builder asks a series of questions about your work history. Based on your answers, it creates your resume.
The US Government developed it to make federal job resumes.
Some resume experts say it doesn’t make the best federal resumes.
I'm not a fan of the USAJobs resume builder. It doesn't provide any direction and easily leads the writer into the ‘Big Block’ format which is not the most effective way to present your skills and abilities.
Professional Federal Resume Writer
Writing a Master Federal Resume
When you’re applying for a specific job, a tailored government resume works best.
The federal resume template in this guide will help you do that.
What if you’re enrolled in the Priority Placement Program?
That program hunts for matching federal jobs while you sleep.
In that case, you’ll need a master federal resume.
That’s a mega-resume that includesall your work experience, education, training, awards, and other doo-dads. It’s not tailored to any job. It might be 20 pages long.
The PPP needs all that info to conduct its never-ending computer hunt.
Pro Tip: Are you a military spouse writing a resume for federal jobs? Use the USAJobs Military Spouse filter in your job search. It’s in the Hiring Path section of the site.
Tom Gerencer is a career expert and Certified Professional Resume Writer who has published over 200 in-depth articles on Zety. Since 2016, he has been sharing advice on all things recruitment from writing winning resumes and cover letters to getting a promotion.
A summary of qualifications sells your best points before the manager even reads your resume. Learn how to write a qualifications summary for your resume and boost your chances of getting an interview. This guide will give you actionable tips and the best examples sure to make your qualifications on a resume shine!