Government Resume Mistakes to Avoid

    Government resumes are much different than private sector resumes, especially when considering format, and information given. Certainly, private sector and government resumes will have information that crosses over, but there are items that would normally go on a private sector resume that simply do not belong or are inappropriate on a government one. Below are five things to avoid on government resumes.

    #1 – Too Much Spacing

    A private sector resume demands formatting with a great deal of “white space” to make it more pleasing to the eye. However, a government resume should follow a specific format that has a bit less “white space” on it. A government supervisor will receive resumes that are typically two to three pages long, so he or she will require a consistent format with proper headers, job number, and be easy to scan to find the most pertinent information regarding the applicant. If it is too “out of whack” with the others, chances are it will stand out in a negative way, and be trashed. Avoid this by researching standard government resume formats, and fill in accordingly.

    #2 – Hobbies and Activities
    Although this is good to highlight strengths in a private sector resume, government resumes ask for plenty of other details about the applicant; so much so that hobbies and extra-curricular activities are not necessary. If the hobby or activity is relevant to snagging the position, however, place it in a brief sentence in the “Objective” area. Otherwise, it should be avoided altogether.

    #3 – Don't Skip Volunteer Experience

    This doesn't count as an “activity.” Volunteer experience can be as important as work experience, and the applicant will want to demonstrate his or her experience outside of the workforce. Formatting volunteer experience should be done in the same way as the work experience section.

    #4 – Summary of Skills

    Unless the job posting specifically states a summary of knowledge and skills will be necessary, avoid putting this section on government resumes. If the posting does require a summary, make it a short list of about five relevant points.

    #5 – Poor Spelling and Grammar
    Admittedly, poor spelling, grammar, and mixing verb tenses is not appropriate on any resume. However, on a government resume, it will not be overlooked in favor of qualifications. Mistakes will get trashed. Use proper grammar, check spelling manually as well as with the computer, and make sure that a consistent tense is used throughout the resume. Either present or past tense is fine, just as long as it is the same throughout the resume.

    While some of these items do cross over onto private sector resumes, it's important to appreciate the unique format of government resumes. Tailor the government resume specifically to the requirements outlined in the job posting, in the appropriate format. Then follow these five tips to get that resume noticed, and into the next level of candidate consideration.

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