Writing A Federal Resume
Tools for Your Federal Resume
Here you can read about threemajor tools developed by the Federal Government. They will be useful to you in preparing for a Federal Job.Using these tools will help you develop a resume that is highly searchable in our resume database. The three tools are
- KSA—Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- The Office of Personnel Management Federal Resume form. (Download OPM Resume Form of612.pdf 733 KB)
- Power Verbs for your resume. (Download Power Verbs For Resumes 41 KB)
KSA—Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
This is a series of narrative statements that are sometimes required when applying to many Federal government job openings. They do not replace resumes, but are used to determine, along with resumes, who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. Many times, we receive the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA's) necessary for the successful performance of a position in job orders. They are also used as:
- Evaluation Factors
- Rating Factors
- Quality Ranking Factors
- Knowledge, Abilities, skills and Other Characteristics
- Job Elements
Every agency has its own regulations but most of the time the each KSA factor should be 1/2 to 1 1/2 pages long.
How to Prepare a Federal Resume
This is introduction to the type of information the Federal Government is seeking. We use the same Federal Format that the Office of Personnel Management provides on the USAJOBS Website.
Before you prepare your Federal Resume, we also suggested that you use the KSA exercise. Completing a KSA will help you prepare a better resume.
We submit your resumes to the Federal Government in two ways:
- We use it in a formal proposal in our response to a Request for Proposal (RFP). You are submitted as part of our Key Personnel or Support Personnel team. We develop a biosketch, or summary of your experience and skills focusing on those items that are important to the government—they provide a list of requirements for Key Personnel. We also provide a two-page formatted resume that again focuses on your skills as they are relevant to the government’s requirements. Because we cannot tell in advance what is going to be important we have to tailor your information to the requirements when the RFP is released.
- We use your resume in response to a Task order or Work Order or other written request. In this case we can normally provide a skills summary in our response, and attached your resume without revising it. However, even without revising your resume it helps us and the government if your resume follows a specific format, that makes it easier to find the relevant information.
This is the environment of Federal Contracting, and the competition is heavy. If you are going to be successful you can help us be more effective by providing your information in a standard format. This format is taken from the Office of Personnel Management brochure called “OF-510: Applying for a Federal Job.”
In addition, we maintain about 50,000 resumes in our data base, and we use key word searches to find candidates for openings. If your resume has been formatted and if you have assigned keywords in the document your resume is more likely to be accessed during a search.
Here’s what your resume or application must contain (in addition to specific information requested in the job vacancy announcement)
Job Information Work Experience
Announcement number, and title and grade(s) of the job you are applying for. Ardelle provides this information for you.
Full name, mailing address (with ZIP Code)
Daytime telephone number
Evening phone number
Social Security Number
Country of Citizenship (Most Federal jobs require United States citizenship.)
Former Federal Employee Reinstatement Eligibility (Attach SF50 proof of your career or career-conditional status.)
Highest Federal civilian grade held (Also give job series and dates held.)
If you graduated from college, do not list your high school.
High School Name, city, and State, ZIP Code. Date of diploma or GED
Colleges or universities Name, city, and State, ZIP Code.
Type of Degrees Received
Date Degrees Received
If no degree, show total credits earned
If no degree show semester or quarter hours completed satisfactorily.
Be ready to provide a copy of your college transcript
Grade Point Average
Just as college students change their majors, people change their careers. While non-relevant college degrees (for example a degree in biology for someone who is now working in Information Technology) is relevant in that the individual obtained a degree. Non-relevant training is of no help in your resume. List only the training that is relevant for the position.
Type of training
Trainer or technical school
Number of days or hours of training
Here is what the government is seeking from your resume:
- Quality of experience - Directly related to the job or general nature of work
- Detail of assignments (what did you do, for whom, why it was important, how well did you do)
- The level of authority and decision-making.
- Knowledge, skills and abilities you used.
- Length of experience
- Identify whether part-time or full-time
- Duration, Number of hours per week, span of time
Keywords—One of the largest differences between private-industry resumes and federal resumes is the level of detail in the average sentence and the inclusion of keywords.
Job title (include series and grade if Federal job)
Duties and accomplishments
Employer’s name and address
Supervisor’s name and phone number
Starting and ending dates (month and year)
Hours per week
Indicate if we may contact your current supervisor.
Job-Related Training Courses
To Month Year
Current job-related certificates and licenses
Job-related honors, awards and special accomplishments (Provide dates)
memberships in professional or honor societies
Veterans’ Preference in Hiring
If you served on active duty in the United States Military and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veterans’ preference. This can involve a 5-point or a 10-point advantage over non-veterans.
If your service began after October 15, 1976, you must have a Campaign Badge, Expeditionary Medal, or a service-connected disability.
▪ for a 5 point advantage — attach a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other proof of eligibility.
▪ For a 10-point advantage, attach an SF 15, Application for 10-Point Veterans’ Preference, plus the proof required by that form. (This is basically is for veterans with service-connected disabilities or surviving spouses. Download the form if you want more information.)
Veterans’ preference is not a factor for Senior Executive Service, and competition may be limited to current or former Federal career employees.