Corporate Resumes vs. Federal Resumes: What’s the Difference?




  • — August 5, 2019

    If you’ve ever applied for a federal job, you may have noticed that the requirements are very specific. They’re not vague openings that leave you guessing. And if your resume doesn’t contain everything they’re looking for, it’s likely to be rejected right from the start. That’s why using your corporate resume isn’t going to cut it. You need a separate resume specifically for federal job opportunities.

    Length

    Corporate or private sector resumes are typically 2-3 pages long. You want to keep them short and to the point.

    Federal resumes tend to be much longer. They could be 3-5 pages or more depending on your career history and experience. A federal resume we recently wrote clocked in at 13 pages!

    Company Listing

    For a corporate resume, you list the company, location, your job title, and the years you worked there.

    For a federal resume, you need a lot more details. You’ll want to include the company/agency name, full address, exact dates of employment (or at least months and years), your job title, your supervisor’s name and telephone number, how many hours per week you worked, your salary, and the federal grade if applicable. Make sure you’re keeping detailed records.

    Responsibilities/Experience

    On a private sector resume, you’ll often have a short summary overviewing your position, then a few concise bullet points highlighting what you achieved.

    On a federal resume, they’re looking for the nitty-gritty. Instead of bullet points, you’ll want to start by defining the skill or qualification (such as PROJECT MANAGEMENT or PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION or TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT – yes, all in capitals) and then write 3 to 4 detailed sentences regarding your experience. Instead of using bullet points to follow, you’ll use dashes, and, once again, you’ll want them to be clear and detailed. Include whatever metrics you have to quantify results, the size of the team you led, or the amount of money managed.

    Education

    Standard education information for a corporate resume is the degree earned, the institution attended (including location), and any minors. If you’re a recent graduate, you can add the year.

    For your federal resume, you’ll want to include not just the degree and institution, but also the month and year you graduated, your GPA, and how many semester hours you completed. In addition, you’ll need a separate section for any licenses, certifications, clearances, or professional development that you have completed (which you would also include on a corporate resume).

    Qualifications

    Whereas you’ll want to start off your private sector resume with a strong summary of qualifications and a solid list of core competencies at the top, these sections typically appear later on in a federal resume.

    On a federal resume, you’ll want to carefully read the job opening and create a section that details your specific qualifications as they relate to that job. This will include a variety of keyword competencies and come after your work experience.

    Accomplishments

    For both corporate and federal resumes, you’ll want to include awards earned, presentations made, and publications written. However, for your corporate resume, you’ll only include what is most relevant, not necessarily everything you’ve done.

    Additional Information

    A few other details that are often included on both corporate and federal resumes are any other languages that you speak, whether you have U.S. citizenship/residency if you were born outside of the United States, a detailed list of professional references, and any security clearances that you hold.

    If you’ve ever applied for a federal job, you may have noticed that the requirements are very specific. They’re not vague openings that leave you guessing. And if your resume doesn’t contain everything they’re looking for, it’s likely to be rejected right from the start. That’s why using your corporate resume isn’t going to cut it. You need a separate resume specifically for federal job opportunities.

    Length

    Corporate or private sector resumes are typically 2-3 pages long. You want to keep them short and to the point.

    Federal resumes tend to be much longer. They could be 3-5 pages or more depending on your career history and experience. A federal resume we recently wrote clocked in at 13 pages!

    Company Listing

    For a corporate resume, you list the company, location, your job title, and the years you worked there.

    For a federal resume, you need a lot more details. You’ll want to include the company/agency name, full address, exact dates of employment (or at least months and years), your job title, your supervisor’s name and telephone number, how many hours per week you worked, your salary, and the federal grade if applicable. Make sure you’re keeping detailed records.

    Responsibilities/Experience

    On a private sector resume, you’ll often have a short summary overviewing your position, then a few concise bullet points highlighting what you achieved.

    On a federal resume, they’re looking for the nitty-gritty. Instead of bullet points, you’ll want to start by defining the skill or qualification (such as PROJECT MANAGEMENT or PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION or TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT – yes, all in capitals) and then write 3 to 4 detailed sentences regarding your experience. Instead of using bullet points to follow, you’ll use dashes, and, once again, you’ll want them to be clear and detailed. Include whatever metrics you have to quantify results, the size of the team you led, or the amount of money managed.

    Education

    Standard education information for a corporate resume is the degree earned, the institution attended (including location), and any minors. If you’re a recent graduate, you can add the year.

    For your federal resume, you’ll want to include not just the degree and institution, but also the month and year you graduated, your GPA, and how many semester hours you completed. In addition, you’ll need a separate section for any licenses, certifications, clearances, or professional development that you have completed (which you would also include on a corporate resume).

    Qualifications

    Whereas you’ll want to start off your private sector resume with a strong summary of qualifications and a solid list of core competencies at the top, these sections typically appear later on in a federal resume.

    On a federal resume, you’ll want to carefully read the job opening and create a section that details your specific qualifications as they relate to that job. This will include a variety of keyword competencies and come after your work experience.

    Accomplishments

    For both corporate and federal resumes, you’ll want to include awards earned, presentations made, and publications written. However, for your corporate resume, you’ll only include what is most relevant, not necessarily everything you’ve done.

    Additional Information

    A few other details that are often included on both corporate and federal resumes are any other languages that you speak, whether you have U.S. citizenship/residency if you were born outside of the United States, a detailed list of professional references, and any security clearances that you hold.

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    Author: Amanda Clark

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