Free Federal Resume Templates (+ Writing Tips)

If you need help writing a resume for a federal job, we have resources to aid you in this step-by-step guide. From examples and resume templates to writing tips and even our resume-writing tool, you will be ready to create your resume. And if you want a fast, easy and impactful federal resume, go into our Resume Builder, answer a few basic questions and let us do the heavy lifting.

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: January 06, 2023
Resume Federal Template

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Premium federal resume templates

To get a better idea of what goes into a federal resume, start with these federal resume examples. For a fast, easy and impactful federal resume, go into our Resume Builder and let us do the heavy lifting.

Law enforcement or military background

This federal resume template has a strong design without being too loud. It is ideal for applicants with a law enforcement or military background, it’ll showcase your safety your safety compliance, counter-surveillance skills and knowledge and use of firearms.

Education or teaching background

Opt for this classic one-column federal resume template if you’re applying for a job in the Department of Education or any federal position that requires you to have a background in education. It’s crucial you outline your teaching experience as detailed as possible since it’ll be the bulk of your resume.

Accounting or finance background

Accountants or finance professionals applying for a job in the federal government will lean toward the traditional feel of this federal job resume template. Make sure to list your data analysis skills and your proficiency using various accounting software. Also, remember to include your CPA license.

STEM background

Apply to a federal STEM job with this government resume template. Gain the recruiter’s attention by listing your laboratory experience, research skills and a list of publications on your federal resume.

Linguistics or foreign language background

Academics in linguistics or foreign language experts can opt for this simple and sleek federal job resume template when applying for a government position. Make a note in your federal resume of all the languages you speak and outline your work as a translator or court interpreter.

Law or legal background

This is an excellent resume template for lawyers applying to positions in a district attorney’s office or any job that requires a legal background. List your entire education history on your federal resume, as well as your legal research skills and a thorough overview of your career accomplishments.

Psychology or counseling background

Counselors or psychologists can use this federal government resume template when applying to jobs in Child Protective Services or as a correctional counselor in the Department of Justice. The essential information to highlight on your federal resume will be previous jobs or internships as counselors, a strong knowledge of various treatment and therapy theories, as well as volunteer or pro bono counseling work.

Cybersecurity or technology background

Getting a federal job in cybersecurity will require an expertly made federal resume that showcases your problem-solving skills, computer forensics skills and an understanding of hacking. A federal government resume template that can seamlessly organize all your information, such as this one, is a must.

Health care services or medical background

Health care professionals and medics can use this clean and contemporary federal resume template to apply for a government job. Spotlight your empathy and communication skills along with your knowledge of HIPAA, health care computer systems and databases in your federal resume.

Customize

Download free federal resume templates

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, check out these free federal resume templates. Simply download and edit them on your preferred word processor.

Qualified

This simple black and white federal resume template is an excellent option for any job in the federal government.

Knowledgeable

This federal resume template brings in more color with shaded section headings which you can customize with your favorite shade in our Resume Builder.

Executive

A strong choice for federal applicants in a more traditional field, this federal resume template is characterized by sleek black lines as section divisions.

Modern

The bold font and understated layout of this one-column modern resume template makes it a perfect choice for your federal resume.

Centered

A bold centered line on the resume header and dotted lines bring attention to your professional summary in this eye-catching federal resume template.

Deluxe

The forest green of the section headings and dotted line divisions give enough design dynamism to this otherwise classic federal resume template.

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How to write a federal resume

Federal Teacher Resume Example

Federal jobs have a particular application process and resume style, yet the federal resume still includes the five main resume sections: contact information, professional summary, work history, skills and education. The main difference between federal resumes and private sector resumes is the amount of detail that goes into writing each section.

Before starting the process, save the USAJobs announcement. This invaluable information will show exactly what you need to include and help you craft every single section of your resume. And this step-by-step guide will show you how to properly include all your essential information in a federal resume:

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  • Choose the right resume format.

    If you’ve researched how to write a resume before,  you’ve heard about the three resume formats you can use: chronological, functional and combination. Out of these three, we recommend the chronological format since, for federal applications, this is considered the standard and accepted format.

    The chronological resume format prioritizes the work history section as the main section of your resume. The work history section of your federal resume should consist of a list of all your jobs organized in reverse-chronological order, beginning with your current or most recent position first and working backward to your first job.

  • Prepare your applicant information.

    A resume for a federal job needs a more elaborate contact information section. Besides your full name, phone number, email and address, you need to inform the federal government of:

    • Citizenship status: Are you a citizen or not? Do you need a work visa or permit to work in the United States?
    • General Schedule (GS) score: The GS score is a number that classifies you based on your education and experience level. For example, if you have an associate degree or two years of full-time study after high school, you have a GS-4 score.
    • Veteran status and preference: If you are a veteran, you need to share your preference (0, 5 or 10). Find yours here.
    • Disability status: Inform if you’re a veteran with a disability or a regular citizen with a schedule A appointment. Learn more here.

    Clearance: If you’ve previously worked in the federal government, you have a certain level of clearance that gives you access to classified information. Share your clearance level and inform if it is currently active.

  • Open with a strong professional summary.

    Your federal resume’s content officially begins with an opening summary statement, a few sentences explaining your desire for the job and your top skills and qualifications. You can format this section as a few phrases in a bulleted list and include the following in your federal resume summary:

    • Desired job (official job title)
    • Announcement number (if applicable, it should appear on the job advertisement)
    • Two or three of your top job-relevant skills
    • Two or three key accomplishments from your career
    • Any qualifications such as specialized training, areas of expertise, certifications or licenses

    Federal resume summary example:

     

    Motivated professional seeking a full-time position as an accountant (22-OC-00088-11520258-DE) in the Department of Energy. Expert at maintaining accurate, compliant records and controls to ensure seamless and efficient operations. Resourceful and cost driven with a well-organized approach and excellent project management skills. Great collaborator with excellent mathematical skills, GAAP expertise and IFRS knowledge.

  • Outline your work history.

    On a federal resume, you have to approach the work history section with greater detail. Thoroughly describe your job as well as your accomplishments and results. Employment details you need to list for each position include:

    • Job title
    • Employer
    • GS Level
    • Salary
    • Employment duration dates
    • City and state
    • Average hours worked per week
    • Supervisor’s name and contact information
    • Whether recruiters can or cannot contact previous supervisor for a reference

    Check out this federal resume work history entry as an example:

    Attorney                    01/2014 – Present

    Secretary of the Navy Offices (SECNAV)

    Washington, D.C.

    Pay scale and grade: GS 11-15

    Salary: $135,700

    Hours per week: 40

    Clearance: Secret

    Supervisor: Lorne Meisel (555-555-5555)

    Yes, you may contact the supervisor.

    In addition to this list of details, you will include between four and six bullet points describing your role, your regular tasks and key accomplishments. Make sure these bullet points are tailored to the position by including requirements and keywords taken from the job description.

    Use quantifiable metrics to illustrate the reach of your impact, whether that be numbers, percentages or dollar amounts. Use our guide on how to write a work history to learn more. 

  • Compile a list of your professional skills.

    Build a dedicated skills section to highlight between six and eight job-relevant abilities on your federal resume.  In some cases, you can create a section titled “Job Relevant Skills” and list the skills that directly relate to the role. Then include an additional section to list the rest of your skills. This way employers can identify you possess all the required skills for the role.

  • Showcase your education.

    The education section of your federal resume should consist of a list of all your academic degrees and achievements. If you have more than one degree, you should list them in reverse-chronological order. For each degree, mention:

    • Name of the school you attended
    • City and state of the institution
    • Graduation date
    • Major and minor (if applicable)
    • GPA

Customize your federal resume with these additional sections

Once you’ve got your five main sections completed, you can continue building upon your federal resume with custom sections that showcase your various achievements and qualifications. Here are some additional sections commonly found in federal resumes:

Honors and Awards

Mention any academic awards or professional recognitions you’ve received during your academic or professional career.

Example:

  • The National Medal of Science, National Science Foundation — 2012
  • ASM Award for Applied and Biotechnical Research, American Society of Microbiologists — 2009

Professional Affiliations

If you belong to any professional organization, list them as well as any leadership positions you’ve held.

Example:

  • Treasurer, APA Division 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women), American Psychology Association — 2015 – Present
  • Member, American Board of Professional Psychologists — 1999 – Present

Certifications

Provide a list of any professional certificates you possess that relate to the desired federal job.

Example:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Volunteer Work

Community outreach is an excellent way to show federal employers you are committed to public service and the betterment of our society. List all experiences you’ve had as a volunteer in a separate section of your federal resume.

Example:

  • Community outreach coordinator, Greater Boston Food Bank (2015 – Present)
  • Volunteer, Greater Boston Food Bank (2007 – 2015)
  • Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity — New Orleans, LA (2005)

Training

If you’ve taken on two or more training courses to acquire new skills for your career, your federal resume is the place to showcase them.

Example:

  • Project Management Training specializing in large scale software development projects. Training was imparted by the Project Management Institute from 2012 to 2016 (120 hours).

Languages

List all the languages you’re proficient in or have some level of expertise. If you’ve taken testing for languages, such as the CEFR, mention your highest level of proficiency.

Example:

  • Spanish (C2)
  • French (C2)
  • German (C1)

Additional Skills

As we mentioned above, you can have a main skills section where you list your job-relevant skills and an additional skills section for other areas of expertise.

Example:

Programming languages

  • Python
  • R
  • Java

How to apply for a federal job

  1. Go to USAJOBS.gov to find all federal jobs open to the public. On this website you can filter your job search to suit your area of expertise and desired salary range.
  2. Carefully study the job description to understand the requirements and identify sections such as “How to Apply” and “How You Will be Evaluated.” These are common in federal job descriptions and can help you prepare for your federal resume and interview.
  3. Gather details such as: citizen status, veteran status, GS, disability, number of hours worked per job so you can easily match your resume to the specific opening.
  4. Use our user-friendly, completely customizable Resume Builder to create a thorough federal resume or use the USAJOBS resume-writing tool.
  5. Check if you can submit your resume to your desired federal role through USAJOBS or if you need to email your potential employer directly.

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Documents you need for your federal job application

Most federal job openings will have a section titled “Required Documents” where you include relevant documentation required by the employer. If you don’t submit them correctly, you will be immediately disqualified for the role.

Some documents federal jobs may require of you are:

Do you need a cover letter to apply for a federal job?

If your job opening requires it, yes. A cover letter is a great way for you to expand upon your federal resume by adding even more detail and context to your accomplishments. The cover letter also allows you to create an “elevator pitch” of why you’re the ideal candidate to fill that position. Take advantage of our Cover Letter Builder to get a personalized full-page cover letter in record time.

Federal resume vs private sector resume

  • Federal Resume
  • Page Length: 2-6 pages
  • Requirements:
    Requirements are strictly followed by recruiters. You must possess the exact level of education, skills and experience displayed on the job description to be considered for the role.
  • Detail of Resume Sections:
    Be very detailed and descriptive of your qualifications and experiences such as daily tasks and duties.
  • Additional Documents:
    You’ll need to include military service documents, school transcripts, references and their contacts on your resume.
  • Private Sector Resume
  • Page Length: 1-2 pages
  • Requirements:
    Recruiters are more lax with candidates that don’t meet all criteria. Job requirements are usually more extensive so as to have a broader applicant pool.
  • Detail of Resume Sections:
    Only showcase the most job-relevant qualifications and focus on your unique achievements.
  • Additional Documents:
    You don’t need to add a document to your resume, except for an optional cover letter.

Additional resources for your federal resume

Advantages of using My Perfect Resume

1

Stand out with My Perfect Resume’s eye-catching templates! Building an impressive resume has never been easier or faster.

2

Don’t get stuck writing about your work experience. Our Resume Builder has pre-written, industry-specific bullet points to create an impressive resume.

3

Need your resume in PDF, word, or an image file? You’re in control with multiple export and download options.

4

With resume score and resume check, we’ll rate the strength of your resume and guide you through actionable steps to create a resume that showcases your best professional self!

5

Copy and paste a job description from any listing and get a job-specific resume match score. We’ll guide you through tailoring your resume for the job!

6

With Smart Apply, we’ll help you find an opportunity, customize your resume, create a matching cover letter, and download your documents. We’ll even send you to the web page where you can apply!

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