Three Keys for Federal Resume Writing


Fed Fact – 31.1 percent of federal jobs are filled by veterans.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, the Executive Branch of the Federal Government hired 57,062 veterans, representing a veteran new hire percentage rate of 28.1 percent. Veterans currently represent 31.1 percent of the Federal workforce compared to 25.8 percent in FY 2009, the year the initiative started.

Related: Search for government jobs.

How to Get Best Qualified!

Landing a federal job takes an on-target federal resume. 

There are three ways to improve your federal resume to land a federal job. The feds are hiring veterans, but the resume still has to get you MINIMALLY QUALIFIED, at the very least (and hopefully Best Qualified!). 

If you meet the minimum qualifications, you will be placed in one of the following categories:

**Best Qualified: Applicants possessing a background that demonstrates a superior level of all evaluation criteria. This is the best category!

Well-Qualified: Applicants possessing a background that demonstrates a satisfactory level of the evaluation criteria.

Qualified: Applicants possessing the basic qualifications, with general knowledge, skills, and abilities.

1. Keywords are important to get your federal resume Best Qualified!  

You can find keywords for your resume from the USAJOBS Announcement Duties and Specialized Experience sections. Add these words into your resume. Here is an example of a Duties section of a FEMA Logistics Management Specialist position:

  • In this position, you will become a key member of a team of logistics professionals in a pivotal analytical role from day one. You will collaborate closely with others throughout the federal Logistics community. Typical work assignments include:
  • Develops, implements and coordinates plans and exercises for the Logistics Management Directorate. 
  • Performs in-depth analyses of disaster logistics activities and funding, including analyzing data, developing formats to report the results of studies, and recommending alternative courses of action based on knowledge of disaster response operations and logistics functions.
  • Conducts comprehensive analytical evaluations to facilitate program improvements and increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of logistics planning.
  • Coordinates logistical actions with field elements and other Federal agencies.
  • Develops PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and executive level summaries/reports that provide analyses of various logistics operations.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

2. Be sure to demonstrate that you have "one-year specialized experience" in your resume:

For example, take Announcement Instructions for a Program Analyst, GS-12, FEMA: To qualify at the GS-12, you must have at least one year of specialized experience applying analytical and evaluative methods and techniques to issues or studies concerning the efficiency and effectiveness of program operations. This position is ideal for an analytical professional looking for an opportunity designing and implementing logistics plans and exercises. 

Federal Resume Solution:

Do you have one-year work specialized experience similar to this announcement? If so, just make sure you prove it on paper. Read the duties carefully and tailor your work experience to match the responsibilities. You want to ensure that the HR specialist can clearly see the one-year specialized work experience that's close to the announcement.

3. Add accomplishments to demonstrate your Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Many of the vacancy announcements will include the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the position. If you add an accomplishment that proves you meet the requirements for the position, that can help you get Best Qualified with your application.

For example, to illustrate Knowledge of the principles of emergency planning and exercise development, and the ability to conduct cost-benefit or economic evaluations of programs:

  • Add an accomplishment about you how developed an emergency plan and an exercise. If you can show the cost-benefit of the emergency plan, that would be great too. Give details about the numbers of people involved in the plan and exercise.

Related: To apply for jobs that match your skills, visit the Military Skills Translator.

Skill in applying fact-finding and analytical techniques and methods used to gather and evaluate information and draw conclusions.

  • Give an example of a time when you analyzed and evaluated information and drew conclusions . Give details about what you analyzed and how you used an excel spreadsheet to manage the data. If you also made recommendations from your conclusions, add these to the summary.

Ability to conduct briefings that communicate facts and ideas for organizational improvement of programs and/or policies.

  • Give another example of how you conducted briefings to present facts and ideas to improve the program or policy. Describe the situation for the briefing as well.

Note: If you would like to see a sample of a federal resume that includes keywords, accomplishments and One Year Specialized Experience, go to There is a free sample at this website that would demonstrate Best Qualified content for a specific target position.

Related Articles:

Related: For the latest veteran jobs postings around the country, including jobs related to government, visit the Job Search section.

The Next Step: Get Your Resume Out There

Get your resume seen by companies that are seeking veterans like you. Post your resume with

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