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Civilian Resume versus Federal Resume: What's The Main Difference?

Civilian Resume versus Federal Resume: What's The Main Difference?


A resume is so much more than a simple piece of paper containing your skill set; it is a piece of paper that can determine your future.  If you think you can simply find a job by finding free federal resume templates and filling in your information, you are gravely mistaken.  The job you are applying for is what dictates the appearance of your resume, and each position or each company is interested in something else.  So, your resume needs to impress them, and to be tailored to specifically target the needs of that company.  The purpose of this article is to give you some tips on how to write a federal resume, and help you understand the difference between a civilian resume and a federal resume.



There are several major differences between a professional federal resume and professional civilian resume.


Federal Resumes Writing:


Much like its name suggests, it is a federal resume tailored for USAJobs.gov to specifically get you a federal government job.  It is one of the most relevant documents needed in order to apply for this type of job.  Because of this, government job postings and announcements commonly list all the essential information you should mention, and if you omit any important information, you won’t even be considered for the position.  


Additionally, the information needs to be listed in the exact order as instructed in the application, because candidates are evaluated uniformly, so it’s important that all candidates use the same federal guideline format.  Here’s the information that is most commonly requested for federal resume writing jobs.


What Should Be Included In A Federal Resume:


Job Information:  This is usually provided by the hiring party and it consists of job title, job grade and job code. 


Personal Information:  Full name, phone numbers, address, security number, highest Federal position held and citizenship.


Education:  Secondary education, your undergraduate degree and your graduate degree.


Work Experience:  You start with your most recent job and then list down your duties and responsibilities, then you do the same for your previous jobs, as well.  You will need to write down the name of your employer or employers and provide their contact number, address and e-mail.


Other Qualifications:  Here you need to list all of the relevant job experiences for the position you are applying.  Write down the special courses you took, list all of the certificates you have, mention if you volunteered somewhere, also mention your honor awards and special compliments.


Page Length:  Since you list down all of the previous job experiences and accomplishments, Federal resumes tend to range from three to five pages in length.


What’s The Difference On A Civilian Resume Versus a Federal Resume:

You might think that there is no significant difference between these two, but the main difference is actually in writing.  You need to know how to write a resume for a corporate job and how to write a resume for a Federal government job.  If you are to download some professional resume samples, you can notice some differences immediately.  


Length Of Federal Resume vs. Civilian Resume:

For example, the length of a standard civilian resume is two pages at most, most commonly one or one and a half, whereas federal resumes can be three to five pages in length, as mentioned.


The main reason for this is difference in the evaluation process, and because there are much more applicants for corporate jobs.  Also, corporate jobs want people who specialize in one field whereas federal jobs are after those who have a wider scope of skills and have some experience in managing others. 


Should You Have Bullet Points On A Federal Resume:

Details are also displayed differently.  In a civilian resume, you provide details via bullet points, and in federal resumes, you have detailed paragraphs that elaborate on each skill you mentioned.  Also, for civilian resume keywords are somewhat melded into language, whereas Federal keywords are spelled out in capital letters and clearly visible.


Lastly, in standard resumes, there is no room for a list of achievements and awards; you can mention them, but it’s not mandatory.  


However, these elements are quite important for federal resumes and it is mandatory. The more achievements you have, the better the chances of actually being called in for an interview. 


As you can see, these are quite different, but it is important to remember what we stated at the beginning.  The type of job you are applying for is a major determiner of what you’ll put in your resume.  Still not sure how to write a federal resume, if not, hire a federal resume writing service in Portland OR for help.


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