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

  1. KSA—Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
  2. The Office of Personnel Management Federal Resume form. (Download OPM Resume Form of612.pdf 733 KB)
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Personal Information

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.)


Miscellaneous Information

Veterans’ Preference

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:

  1. Quality of experience  - Directly related to the job or general nature of work
  2. Detail of assignments (what did you do, for whom, why it was important, how well did you do)
  3. The level of authority and decision-making.
  4. Knowledge, skills and abilities you used.
  5. Length of experience
  6. Identify whether part-time or full-time
  7. 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.

Other Qualifications

Job-Related Training Courses

Job title

From Month/Year

To Month Year

Job-related skills

other languages

computer software/hardware


typing speed

Current job-related certificates and licenses

Job-related honors, awards and special accomplishments (Provide dates)


memberships in professional or honor societies

leadership activities

public speaking

performance awards

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.


  • Hot Jobs

Ardelle Associates has an immediate requirement for the following positions:

  1. Administrative Assistant
  2. Attorneys (Multiple Openings)
  3. Newspaper Copy Editor
  4. Executive Administrative Assistant
  5. Newspaper Pre-Press Technician


    You can submit your resume right on the job description.