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How Long Should a Federal Resume Be?

All Things Federal Resumes

Federal resumes are meant to be used for applying to any Federal position within the United States of America.  However, unlike a resume meant for the private market or sector, Federal resumes typically contain more information and can be upwards of three-pages long.

Federal resumes are one of three documents which are accepted within an application to the Federal government.  Along with a Federal resume, applicants can include the OF-612 and the SF-171.  However, the SF-171 is typically no longer accepted by most Federal agencies.

When applying to a Federal position, you should not use a traditional, private sector resume.  Those traditional resumes do not have the depth or full level of information needed to fulfill the application correctly.  If an applicant utilizes a traditional resume for a Federal position, their application will not be considered.

How Are Federal Resumes Structured?

Every applicant is unique and will have a different format for their resume.  Although there are certain guidelines which should be followed, you can structure your resume how you see fir.  This is mostly dependent on what your experience and education levels are and what format will help you stand out.

  • Chronological – typically the most common format, chronological order will list your work experience, your education, and any volunteer or community service activities. In addition, there is typically room left for awards and recognitions.  Chronologically ordered resumes will go in reverse order, with your most recent experience listed first.
  • Functional – these resumes do not focus on your job title, opting to focus on your skills, abilities, and accomplishments
  • Combination – these resumes are a mix of chronological and functional resumes. They typically list your functional experience first and then move onto your work experience in reverse chronological order.
  • Targeted – this is used when applying to a position that is not advertised. Usually reserved for internal moves, the targeted resume focuses on a specific company or position you have held.

What Are The Formats For Federal Resumes?

Most formatting styles remain uniform across Federal and traditional resume styles.  However, as a reminder for our readers, we’ve listed the general formatting rules below.

  • Margins – the margins surrounding your resume should be set at 1” around. Anything shorter than 1” looks too condensed.
  • Font Type – the type of font you choose should be clean and modern. Stick with Calibri, Times New Roman, or Arial.
  • Font Size – the font size should also be uniform across the page. You will want to choose a font size between 10-12.
  • Color – we recommend veering clear of differing colors and recommend sticking with black as the color of choice.

What Information Should I Include On My Resume?

You will want to list enough information to provide a clear and better picture of who you are as an applicant and an individual.  Whether you opt to go for a chronological or functional resume, you should include all of the information specified below.

  • Personal Information
  • Your full name
  • Your full mailing address, including zip-code. Do not use a P.O. Box.
  • Your phone number, including area code
  • Your email address. Make sure it is a professional email addressand one that you would not be embarrassed to use.
  • Last 4-digits of your social security number
  • Country of citizenship
  • If applicable, your eligibility for Veteran’s Preference.
  • Objective Statement
  • Your objective statement should be the purpose of your applying. You should state what your career goals are and why you are looking to apply to this position.  Within your objective statement, you should include what you have to offer and what your skills are.  Lastly, you should tie in how your current skills will help the company or employer accomplish the goals they are looking to reach.
  • Education
  • You should list your education and the years you attended. For Federal resumes, you should also list your grade point average or GPA.
  • Work Experience
  • Typically, you will want to list in reverse chronological order. List your most recent employer and what tasks, responsibilities, and accomplishments you had.  These should be listed as bullet points beneath the employer.  Be sure to list major accomplishments and projects completed to stand-out.
  • Skills and Awards
  • You can also have a section for skills and awards. This should be any skill that you’re particularly fluent in.  in addition, you can list any certifications or awards you received here.

How Far Back Should My Experience Go?

 This is highly dependent on your experience level and which role you are applying to.  Generally, most employers expect to see relevant experience within the previous ten-years.  However, if you have a multitude of experience that is relevant and pertinent to the position being applied to, then you can include any experience over ten-years.

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