How Long Should a Federal Resume Be
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Did you know the US federal government is among the largest US employers based on the economy? That’s right, around 2.87 million employees worked for the federal government in 2022 alone.
Now, the reason that so many employees thrive for positions in the public sector isn’t because they want to work for the greater good, but working as a federal government employee has its perks. From job security to meaningful work to retirement, it’s a job unlike any that the private sector would offer. So, why not go for a federal job yourself?
But before you send out your job application, we want to highlight a few pointers. Landing a federal position is more complicated than you think. And a federal resume is among the basic requirements to start your federal employment journey. “What’s a federal resume?” you might ask. It’s the same as a traditional resume but with a few key differences. And that’s specifically what we’re going to talk about.
The following blog will offer an in-depth guide for making a federal resume. We’ll discuss its key features, including how long a federal resume should be. As well as how to write each part of it step by step. So, if you’re aiming for a federal position, this is your guide for taking the first step. So, without further ado, let’s learn more about making one.
What’s a Federal Resume?
Before we go in-depth on how long a resume needs to be, let’s discuss the federal resume first. This is the type of resume you need to apply for a US federal job position. A federal resume isn’t much different from a traditional one, as it follows the same structure. However, a federal resume is a bit more complicated to write and requires much more focus. Here’s what you need to know about its length and differences from a traditional resume:
How Long Should a Federal Resume Be?
If you made a traditional resume for past job positions, chances are it was around 1-2 pages. Resumes focus on your work experience, educational history, and skills to highlight why you’re perfect for the company. But for a federal position, the resume length is a bit different. Federal resumes require a lot of additional documentation and requirements that would be impossible to cover on two sheets. They are more comprehensive than conventional resumes, so they go above and beyond the two-page length. So, how many pages should a federal resume be in 2023? It should cover around 4-6 pages.
Comparing Federal Resume Vs. Traditional Resume
Apart from page length, federal resumes have some other key differences, which are as follows:
Making a Federal Resume
Even though you can hire writing services for making a federal resume, learning how to make one will help you in the long run. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a federal resume.
1. Focusing on Format
To make your resume stand out from the competition, you need to ensure it’s simple to read and easy to follow. This is why, before writing a resume, you need to focus on the resume format. It refers to how you’ll structure the information in your resume. Although you’re free to choose how you want to write your resume, here are three popular formats that professionals recommend:
Reverse-chronological: This one is a standard format that most people go for. It helps highlight your past experience from recent to oldest.
Functional: This one focuses more on skill than on experience.
Hybrid: This is a combination of the above two formats.
A reverse-chronological resume is the best format to go for if you’re writing a federal resume. The resume format helps highlight your experience and is more common to other recruiters compared to other formats. If you’re unaware of what format to choose, there’s no harm in asking professional resume writers for federal officers.
2. Going Over Contact Information
Now that you’ve got your format in order, let’s learn how to create the first section of your resume, the header. This is the section where you put the most crucial information that allows the recruiter to contact you. That is your name and contact information. Now, there’s no rocket science when it comes to writing this section; you only need to include a few key details, which are as follows:
- Your Full Name
- Job Title You’re Applying for
- Cellphone Number
- Email Address
In the case of a federal resume, you might have to be more descriptive about your contact information. Here’s what else to include in a federal resume:
- Your Citizenship
- Residential Address
- Your Highest GS Score
- Veteran’s Preference
- Desired Location
3. Taking your Time on Resume Summary
Now, a federal resume is around 4-5 pages long, jam-packed with information, showing you’re the most capable candidate, but you’re not alone. Did you know that around 118 job applications are sent to the recruiter for any job advert? You can’t expect the recruiter to scan through them all. They have to filter out the irrelevant ones. And for that, your resume needs a resume summary.
What is a resume summary, you ask? Well, it’s a brief paragraph, around 3-5 sentences long, highlighting your most relevant skills and work experiences that make you the perfect fit for the company. Think of it as a quick snapshot of your application given to the hiring manager. If you do it well, the hiring manager will give your resume a read, regardless of how long a federal resume should be.
Here’s a breakdown of what your resume summary should contain:
- Your past job objective
- 2-3 job responsibilities that you want the employer to know
- 2-3 relevant top skills
- Your area of expertise
4. Working on Work Experience
Your work experience is what truly matters in your resume. It’s what the recruiters evaluate to decide if they should go for the next step and call you in for an interview or look elsewhere. Think of it as the deal breaker. Your work experience section has to do two things:
- First, it needs to showcase your relevant work experience
- Second, it needs to convince the recruiter through achievements and responsibilities.
Only then can you expect to get a response from the recruiter? Let’s go through each aspect one by one so you can craft a compelling work experience section:
How to Showcase Your Work Experience?
As we follow the reverse chronological format, you’ll make an entry for each past job position you had in the order of most recent to oldest. For each entry, include the following essential information:
- Past Employer Name
- Job Position there
- Employment Dates (From recruitment to resignation)
- The Employer City and State
- Your Salary
- Hours Worked Each Week
- GS Rating
- Your Supervisor’s Name
- Your Supervisor’s Contact Info
- Whether the recruiter can call them or not.
Apart from the information mentioned above, you also need to highlight your achievements and responsibilities in your past role. Use 4-5 bullet points to indicate these achievements and responsibilities.
How to Make Your Work Experience Convincing?
To sound more convincing, here’s what resume writers for federal resumes recommend.
- Rather than focusing on responsibilities, talk about your past remarkable achievements while working there.
- Use hard numbers to back up your claims and make them more relevant and believable.
- Use the bullet points to focus on where you excelled in that specific job role.
5. Explaining your Educational History:
Now that we’re done with work experience, you also need to discuss your academic qualifications. This is a pretty straightforward section where you need to mention the following:
- Institute Name
- State Zipcode
- Degree Type
- Year Attended
Please Note: Only mention your Grade Point Average or Grade if it is mentioned or it’s higher than 3. Otherwise, don’t address it.
6. What to Add if You Have Space Left?
Now, chances are you’re still left with some space after documenting all that. If that’s the case, then you can add some additional information to reinforce your federal resume. “What additional section can you include in a federal resume?” You ask, here are some sections to make your resume stand out:
- Your Hard and Soft Skills
- Relevant Certificates
- Relevant Training
Tips to Consider While Making a Federal Resume
With this information, your federal resume is just about ready. Here are some pointers to remember to give your resume its finishing touches:
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Apart from tips to improve your resume’s impact, here are some common federal resume pitfalls to avoid:
In conclusion, a federal resume is quite different from a traditional one. If you’re applying for a job position in the US federal government, you would require a federal resume to apply for it. Apart from the documentation and requirements needed with a federal resume, it’s also more comprehensive. If you’re wondering how long a federal resume should be, ensure the resume length is around 4-6 pages. The federal resume offers more detail compared to traditional ones. Ensure that you do your research about the job position and tailor the resume sections accordingly. Take the time to construct each resume section, including the header, summary, work experience, and educational history. If you’re left with additional space, cover it with additional sections to make it stand out. With the steps, tips, and mistakes provided, you’re on your way to making a compelling federal resume.
Federal resumes are more comprehensive and detailed compared to your traditional resume. They offer more insight into the candidate’s skills and experience, which is why they have a greater length than traditional resumes. So, how long should a federal resume be? It should be around 4-6 pages and not more than that.
If you’re applying through USAJOBS, your resume should be longer than two pages long. Ensure that you include your educational history and work experience. Furthermore, your work experience must mention job titles, salary, employment dates, accomplishments, and duties.
No, six pages is a standard length for your federal resume. Keep your federal resume around 4-6 pages.
Your federal resume should ensure it showcases all the requirements mentioned in the job advert. It would include any additional information or documentation. Furthermore, the federal resume should extensively discuss your work experience, with each entry discussing your job title, employer, years worked, salary, accomplishments, and duties.