Sharpening a resume with purpose, relevance

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ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) — Writing a resume for federal employment consideration doesn’t have to be daunting.

In fact, it’s about providing an applicant’s best qualities when it comes to showcasing workplace responsibilities, education and career accomplishments.

Keeping a current resume has a purpose and several benefits, from being able to respond and apply for an immediate job posting, to staying abreast of job duties and highlighting ongoing significant activities.

“A resume is relevant information to give an employer an understanding of your duties and experience gained over a number of years,” said Angelia Solomon, the staffing section chief for the Air Force Personnel Center’s operating location at Robins Air Force Base. “It’s very important that an applicant be clear and precise with information provided on a resume.”

When writing a resume, there are several key pieces of information that should be included when describing work experience and education. There’s not a particular desired layout.

Personal information should detail your full name, mailing address and day and evening telephone numbers with area codes.

Social security numbers aren’t required, however when completing your total application package, an occupational questionnaire will ask for it, however, it’s used for verification purposes only.

On work experience, detailed information should include an employer’s name and address, employment dates (from month and year to month and year, or month and year to present) and job title.

This area should include thorough descriptions of all paid and nonpaid positions related to the job for which an applicant is applying as well as descriptions of all duties performed. Copies of job descriptions should not be included.

Other information to include: salary, number of hours worked per week, supervisor’s name and phone number, series and pay plan or grade if for a federal position and other accomplishments and related skills.

Education information should include the school or program name and address, type of degree or level attained, completion date with month and year, major field of study, total credits earned in semester or quarter hours, honors, relevant coursework, licensures and certifications.

Copies of transcripts will be requested as needed.

Other information: job-related training courses with title and year; job-related skills such as languages, computer software and hardware known, tools, machinery, typing speed, etc.; job-related certificates and licenses; and job honors, awards and special accomplishments, to include publications, professional memberships, leadership activities and performance awards.

If applicable, include other languages known, and volunteer experience. References are optional.

Unlike in the private sector, when writing a resume for a federal job, there’s no limit to the number of pages you can include. There’s also no limit when including work experience.

“There’s no one resume,” Solomon said. “People may think there’s one generic resume when there’s not. Each job is different with specialized duties, so you may have to alter your resume just to include what’s needed.”

All federal positions are posted on usajobs.gov, the federal government’s official, web-based job board. You can store up to five resumes and 10 candidate documents on the site so they’re ready to submit. It’s free and available to everyone. There’s also a helpful resume builder to take you through each step of the process.

One benefit to adding a current resume to the site is that recruiters can use it to help determine if there are qualified candidates for a job.

Always double check if a resume has been attached to specific job packages.

Also, keep it simple and easy to read, and focus on delivering the most current, best representation of yourself to prospective employers.