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Sell Yourself Better when Applying for Jobs in the Federal Government. Like hundreds of thousands of others, the faltering economy is making the task of getting that new job a lot harder, so why not turn to a institution who is actively hiring civilian personnel right now? The federal government is always recruiting, and with a very broad range of vacancies across all education levels you’ll be sure to find a perfect role for you. When you do find some of those perfect jobs in the federal government you have to ensure that you give yourself the best chance at getting through the screening stage and into an interview, and if you follow these great tips, hopefully you will be able to land yourself a great new job with the military as civilian personnel.
Jobs in the Federal Government – Are they Really for Me?
The first thing you need to do is be honest with yourself, read the job announcement carefully, consider what the Federal agency is going to be looking for in an applicant and ensure that you are a good fit for the position. Once you are happy you can apply for the vacancy, you will need to begin to target your resume so that it clearly identifies the skills and abilities (KSA‘s) that this role requires. Unlike the old Resumix system, the new USAJOBS system is manually reviewed by a Human Resources person, so the easier you can make their job, the higher the chances you have of successfully applying.
1. Choose Your Word Wisely
You will want to ensure that the person reviewing your resume understands you have the skills and abilities to do the job. Look at the language used in the vacancy announcement and mirror the language and terms used when describing your previous experience and positions.
2. Be Succinct
Don’t waffle on your resume. Clearly articulate your point, but try to keep it as succinct as possible. You want to boil your resume down to the facts so that the person reading it can quickly gain an understanding of your history, and see that you have appropriate experiences for the position that you applying for. Being succinct doesn’t mean you can’t write your resume eloquently, but try to trim out all unnecessary fluff.
3. Ensure you Highlight your Message
No-one wants to read two or three pages of solid text, and that includes the person who has to read your resume; so ensure that your resume is clearly broken down with the use of sentences, paragraphs and most importantly headings. If your resume is going to give someone a headache to read all of it, then they probably won’t bother and will just move onto the next persons application form.
4. Talk About Successes
Remember your resume is about selling yourself. No-one wants to hire someone who is unsuccessful so highlight successes within your current role. Instead of talking about the fact that you were responsible for writing some code or a spreadsheet, talk about how much time or money (quantify it) you saved your previous employer. Focus on the bottom line, the successful outcome of each and every task.
5. Sell Your Recent Positions
Got promoted? Remember to mention it. Responsible for a team of people? Remember to mention it. Saved the company money by choosing a more cost effective supplier where you had to build a relationship? Yup – remember to mention it.
6. Timing is Everything
Reviewers are looking to build up a clear picture of your work experience and history, your resume should be chronologically ordered (most recent first), dated and continuous. Try to avoid gaps between positions, if you took a year out to work with the homeless, then briefly detail that with dates, on your resume. It shows that you are not trying to hide anything, and it means that the human resources employee looking at your resume can build up a full picture about you.
7. Experience is Important
As you tailor each resume for the role you are applying, highlight experience in your most recent positions that match or are similar to requirements of the job that you are applying for. Don’t forget that any extra curricular activities, as well as any academic studies (such as a summer internship) you have completed may help to sway the selection committee in your favor.
8. Use Examples
Instead of just stating facts in your resume (which can make it read very badly) try to adopt a more ‘show and tell’ stance. i.e. This is what I did, and this is how I did it.
9. Be Brief
Similar to Tip #2 but more related to addition extra’s such as photographs of yourself, training certificates, written personal recommendations etc – don’t include them in your application unless specifically asked. Your resume and the completed application form is all that is usually required.
10. Target your Resume
You can store up to FIVE separate resume’s in your USAJOBS account, so ensure that you target the role that you are applying for carefully. If you have been employed for many years, then the fact that you worked at a grocery store while studying at college can probably be omitted. One point to remember as well, is you can also make your resume searchable or index-able to allow agencies to find you, a point worth noting.
Next Stage: Interviewing for your Federal Government Job
Hopefully these tips will ensure that your resume is at the top of the pile, once you have applied for your new position, you will need to be patient while the application process is executed – hopefully if you have followed our ten tips above, you will be getting a phone call asking you to come in for a face to face interview.
Good luck with the federal government job search, and if you would like to add any tips of your own, then feel free to add them via the comments section directly below this article. Please let us know if you manage to land one of those highly paid jobs in the federal government!