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.
This simple black and white federal resume template is an excellent option for any job in the federal government.
This federal resume template brings in more color with shaded section headings which you can customize with your favorite shade in our Resume Builder.
A strong choice for federal applicants in a more traditional field, this federal resume template is characterized by sleek black lines as section divisions.
The bold font and understated layout of this one-column modern resume template makes it a perfect choice for your federal resume.
A bold centered line on the resume header and dotted lines bring attention to your professional summary in this eye-catching federal resume template.
How to write a federal resume
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
- GS Level
- 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)
Pay scale and grade: GS 11-15
Hours per week: 40
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)
How to apply for a federal job
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use our user-friendly, completely customizable Resume Builder to create a thorough federal resume or use the USAJOBS resume-writing tool.
- Check if you can submit your resume to your desired federal role through USAJOBS or if you need to email your potential employer directly.
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:
- Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50)
- Veteran’s Preference Documentation (SF-15, DD-124 orCertificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty)
- Academic transcripts
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||Private Sector Resume|
|Page Length||Up to 10 pages||1-2 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.||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||Be very detailed and descriptive of your qualifications and experiences such as daily tasks and duties.||Only showcase the most job-relevant qualifications and focus on your unique achievements.|
|Additional Documents||You’ll need to include military service documents, school transcripts, references and their contacts on your resume.||You don’t need to add a document to your resume, except for an optional cover letter.|
- Federal Resume
- Page Length: 2-6 pages
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
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
- Government & Military Service in the U.S.: Plan out your career and fine tune your job search for federal or military employment with this guide.
- FBI Agent Resume Example + Salaries, Writing Tips and Information: Want to be a federal agent? Check out our writing guide and federal resume examples before applying to a job.
- Government Accountant Interview Questions & Answers: Check out these five common interview questions for government accountants and study them before your big interview.
- Government Auditor Interview Questions & Answers: Prepare for your government auditor interview with these five common questions asked by recruiters.
Advantages of using My Perfect Resume
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Don’t get stuck writing about your work experience. Our Resume Builder has pre-written, industry-specific bullet points to create an impressive resume.
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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!
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!
How we reviewed this article
Since 2013, we have helped more than 15 million job seekers. We want to make your career journey accessible and manageable through our services and Career Center’s how-to guides and tips. In our commitment to bring you a transparent process, we present our Editorial Process.
Military.com. “General Schedule (GS) score”
Feds Hire Vets. “Veteran status and preference”
Feds Hire Vets Disability status
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Standard Form 50 (SF-50)
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Veteran’s Preference Documentation SF-15
U.S. Archives Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ)
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