Writing Your First Government Resume

    Many job seekers are applying to the U.S. government for posted positions. Government employment is coveted because of job security, competitive salaries, and generous benefits. To apply for a government job, it is important to have a clear idea of the position you want and the required skills, education, and experience. You will need an organized job resume to showcase your strengths and demonstrate your suitability for the target position. Here are some helpful tips for preparing your government job resume.

    The header, or center top of the resume, should include the applicant’s name and personal information, such as current job title (if any), mailing address, home and cell telephone numbers, email address, and website if you have one, as well as links to any sites that reference your job experience, skills, or related features.

    Below the header, you should indicate the government job number (taken from the job posting catalogue or list), and/or career objectives that fit with the mission of the hiring agency.

    The next category is “Government Experience.” In this section, list any previous government job experience, even if it is not directly related to the position currently being sought. Below that, list other types of non-government work experience. For prior jobs, list dates of employment, company name, job title, duties, and perhaps salary. You may want to add a brief comment about why you left, but never say anything negative about the company.

    Following the work section is the education area. List college degree(s), including dates of attendance, institution name and address, degree received (and date) or number of credits completed, major field of study, and GPA (grade point average).

    Volunteer experience, civic duties, and community service should be included in the next part of the government job resume.  Awards, certifications, and special skills (such as a foreign language or computer certification) may be added below this category.

    In the references section, list the names, titles, addresses, and contact information for people who have agreed to provide professional references. These may be former employers, colleagues, or instructors, among others.

    Avoid creating a flashy resume with bright colors, large font, or graphic images. Conventional white or tan paper with black print in medium font size (Times New Roman, for example) is preferred.

    Proofread the resume for accuracy. Misspelling and grammar mistakes will make your resume stand out – in the wrong way. Include a cover letter that is brief and polite, addressed to the proper office or person, taking care to correctly spell names and addresses. The cover letter can highlight some of your stronger points, but it should not restate all the main facts of your resume.

    The overall impact of a resume should be to convey important information clearly. Readers should be able to learn quite a bit about you at a glance. Your resume, in effect, becomes your calling card. Make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date.  A professional looking government resume can show prospective employers that you know how to communicate in business.


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