I’m attending a webinar on writing a resume for a U.S. federal job application (USAJobs) and want to share what I’ve learned. Here are some tips for clearing the HR hurdle and writing a successful resume. #PostdocAppreciationWeek #postdocjobs
Your resume IS your federal application because it conveys that you meet the basic qualifications AND provides the first impression to make the HR cut.
Make everything CLEAR. Use plain language because HR won’t be familiar with jargon and acronyms. Explain WHAT you did, HOW you did it, and IF it made a difference so it demonstrates that you have the knowledge, skills, and ability for the job.
It’s useful to have several versions of your resume that focuses on different experiences you’ve had. This way you’re ready to go when you apply for different positions where there might be an emphasis on different skills (management vs research vs data analysis, etc)
Take advantage of the federal resume builder so that you have the optimal format and information included. You don’t have to use the online resume builder, but it’s a good guide. usajobs.gov/help/how-to/ac…
Include details on resume such as month/ date and hours per week worked to show that you DO meet minimum years of experience qualifications. Include specifics of accomplishments to avoid being vague (ex. Developed training plan for 20 employees which increase productivity by 15%)
Cover letters are optional. Should be ~1 page and used to highlight skills and experience that make you a great fit for the job.
Federal resumes can be longer than 2 pages. Use as many pages as you need to appropriately show you meet minimum qualifications, have additional experience, and describe skills.
List experience in reverse chronological order. Meaning, list your most recent relevant experience first and work backwards. Also include unpaid/ volunteer experiences too!
Many jobs have an additional Occupational/ Application Questionnaire/ Vacancy Questions with specific questions on skills. Backup your answers on the questionnaire with evidence on your resume.
Clarification on jargon/ technical terms- use the EXACT terms used in the job description in your resume. For example, if the job duties state “computational algorithms using R”, you should use that term. Thanks to those who pointed this out!
It’s also useful to list out which of your courses/credits fulfill the specific credit requirements because HR won’t know that. If the job requires a biology degree, and you have a B.S. in marine science that meets the same requirements, list out the courses that count.