Do I Need a Federal or Professional Resume?
When working with clients who are applying to positions within the federal government and/or private companies, it’s important to send the most appropriately formatted document to hiring managers. This article provides an overview of federal resumes, professional resumes, as well as advice on when each document is appropriate.
With a professional resume, your responsibilities and achievements are presented in bullet point form with a focus on brevity. The goal is to present an document that motivates the reader to contact you by communicating expertise, accomplishments, and skills. It is recommended that professional resumes be limited to a maximum length of 2 pages. However, 3-page resumes are a good fit as you approach the executive level or bring a lengthy of list of publications, research, technical expertise, or extensive consulting experience.
Professional & Federal Resumes differ in 1) length, 2) format and 3) content.
Federal resumes are comprehensive narratives that encompass your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) into a cohesive document. There are few (if any) bullet points contained within. Instead, you provide the reader with an in-depth overview of what you can bring to the table. Federal resumes also include specifics on salary, supervisors, addresses, federal work grades, references, and the number of hours worked on a regular basis. Professional resumes omit the aforementioned information.
It is perfectly acceptable for a federal resume grow into a 5-page document if you bring an extensive background. Entry-level personnel typically have a 2-page federal resume. We recommend prioritizing your relevant KSA’s at the expense of a brief document when submitting an application to a position posted on USAJobs.gov.
Federal vs. Professional Resumes
|Document Length||Up to 5 Pages||Up to 3 Pages|
|Avoids Bullet Points||–|
|Learn More||Learn More|
When is a Federal Resume Appropriate?
If you’re applying to a position within the US Government that is posted to USAJobs.gov, we recommend investing in a federal resume that geared to government jobs. It is possible to secure employment with a government agency with a professional (bullet point) resume. However, landing an interview will be easier if you present your experience in a format that government hiring managers are accustomed to receiving.
Landing an interview will be easier if you present your experience in a format that government hiring managers are accustomed to receiving.
When is a Professional Resumes Appropriate?
If you’re applying to a position that is not posted to USAJobs.gov, we recommend using a traditional resume that includes bullet points and is limited to between 1 and 3 pages. We do not, under any circumstances, recommend submitting a 5-page federal resume to a position at a private enterprise. Corporate hiring managers share an allergy to lengthy documents. They expect you to submit a streamlined document. When you send a lengthy resume to a private employer, you may inadvertently convey that you expect a hiring manager to review your resume after hours.
Corporate hiring managers expect you to submit a streamlined professional resume.
Don’t be surprised if you are complimented for submitting a streamlined document. Hiring managers appreciate the consideration. However, be careful not to leave out relevant information or “cram” a 2-page resume into a single page.