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Differences Between Federal & Corporate Resumes

23 Jul, 2018

Differences Between Federal & Corporate Resumes

The resumes used to apply for United States Federal jobs are different than those in the civilian (corporate) workplace. Some of the differences are outlined below.

1. Formats

Federal resumes have specific formats which differ depending on the announcement. These include specific information, order, character counts, page length requirements and fields. Many of these are online formats, which can be confusing, complicated, time consuming and difficult to comply with, due to space limitations and the number of fields which must be filled in.

2. Required Information

Federal resumes require specific information such as social security numbers; job start and end month and sometimes day; employer addresses; salary information; supervisor names and phone numbers; college GPA and graduation dates; high school education; all training, including course name, date and number of hours; and other information typically not included in corporate resumes. If this information is not included, an application may be rejected.

3. Length

Federal resumes (3-15 pages) are typically much longer than corporate resumes (1-2 pages in general). They require detailed descriptions of duties: repeated for each job you did them in. They also must specifically spell out how the client meets all requirements and has done most of the duties for the job they are applying for or the application will be rejected. Like corporate resumes, Federal resumes must detail accomplishments.

4. Additional Documentation

Many Federal announcements require additional essay questions. These questions are 1-2 page statements specifying specific examples from an applicant’s experience related to the job announcement. There may be several of these statements per application. Federal resume applications will often ask applicants to send, fax or upload additional information, including transcripts, evaluations, personnel information forms, demographic information forms and military service forms.

5. Additional Questions

Many Federal announcements have additional multiple choice questions for applicants to apply for jobs. If an applicant cannot answer in the affirmative to most of the questions with experience, it is not likely for an applicant to be selected for the job.

6. Who Can Apply

Many Federal announcements can only be applied for if a person has the right status: such as a current Federal employee or a Veteran. Most Federal announcements require an applicant to be a United States citizen.

7. How to Apply

Federal resumes specify in their announcements how to apply for each job: and an applicant must follow the directions exactly. If an applicant does not apply by the required closing date, the application will generally be rejected.

8. Must Meet All Requirements

If an applicant does not meet all requirements the announcement states is required for a job, by LAW the applicant will not get the position.

9. Veterans Preference

If an applicant is a Veteran, an applicant may get preference (5 or 10 points) depending on an applicant’s service and disability status. In additional disabled Veterans may get additional consideration based on their status.

10. Selection

Typically applications are scored based on the submission, if you meet the requirements. After adding Veteran’s points, applicants are deemed Best Qualified, Highly Qualified, Qualified or Not Qualified. Typically, the top 3 applicants are forwarded to the hiring manager – who can choose one of the 3 by interviewing or not interviewing the candidate.

If this steps are confusing to you—you may want help with your application. If so, a professional may be able to help you and you may want to seek a professional’s help.

Did you like this article? There’s more where that came from—here’s more!

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  1. That’s interesting that federal resumes require your social security number, job start and end month, employer addresses, salary information, supervisor names and phone numbers, college GPA and graduation dates, high school education, and all training you have. There’s a lot more put into that than there is for a normal resume, so it would be nice to have some help. It would be good to have someone who writes federal resumes as a job since they would help you remember all of this so you won’t forget any critical information you may need when you’re applying for the job.

    • Hazel, I’m glad you found value from our article post and yes, having a resume writer who specializes in writing federal resumes is a big help! Feel free to contact Robin who wrote this article. I’m sure she’ll be happy to help. Also, if you know anyone who needs career advice or looking for a resume writer or carer coach, send them our way – we’re happy to help. Here’s where they can search for writers and coaches: https://thecareerexperts.com/find-career-experts/

  2. Ailsa Greene

    Thank you, Robin, for this post. It’s great to have all the details on the federal resumes in one article. I’d like to share from my own experience that additional documentation gathering is one of the hardest parts of the federal job application process. I feel like it took me a whole life to be sure I have everything they needed. I’d like to give advice for every job seeker. Like with the corporate resume it’s important to note the keywords in the postings. As I’ve seen earlier, experts advise having the most important keyword in the first 6 lines of your work experience section.

    • Maria Hebda

      Thank you, Alisa for commenting on our post. We wish you the best in your job search! Reach out if you have any questions.

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