Is Your Resume Not Working for You?

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Applying to federal jobs can be frustrating. If you’re racking your brain about why you’re not getting referred, Best Qualified, or interviewed for federal jobs, it’s time to rethink your resume.

Resume writing problems fall under three categories: Format, Style, and Content.

Format Issues

  1. Your resume is in a bullet format. Is your resume a laundry list of bullets that are unrelated and not targeted to a job announcement or job series? This format will not help the human resources specialists to determine your qualifications for the vacancy announcement.
  2. Wrong length. A federal resume should be 3 to 5 pages in length. Many people try to apply for a federal job with a 1 to 2-page resume that would not have enough details about your experience to determine your qualifications. Some people apply with a much longer resume that gives too much information for the human resources specialist to weed through to find your skills and abilities.
  3. The profile/summary section at the top of your resume is too long and/or generic. A profile or “summary of skills” does NOT increase your application score. Your work experience, skills, and accomplishments must be anchored to dates in your Work Experience section, and all verbiage should be tailored to your target job. Do not include a list of generic skills that could apply to anyone.

Style Issues

  1. Use of passive voice. Are you using passive phrases in your resume, such as: responsible for, duties include, assisted with, performed, provide, helped with, tasked with, recruited for, participated in, in addition to? These passive verbs create wordiness in your resume and show hiring officials that you are a merely a helper at work.
  2. Overuse of acronyms and technical jargon. No one but you, your supervisor, and your coworkers will understand your resume, even if the hiring officials are in your field. Too much discipline-specific acronyms and language creates an unreadable resume that gets disqualified.
  3. Overuse of “I.” This creates wordiness in your resume and distracts hiring officials from your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments.

Content Issues

  1. Your work experience section simply does not match the target position. Read your target job announcement from beginning to end. Make sure that you’re actually qualified for the job. Contact the hiring manager (listed towards the bottom of the announcement) if you’re not sure.
  2. The resume has no accomplishments in the work experience section. Hiring officials want to read about your unique contributions to your job. Including a list of accomplishments can demonstrate to hiring officials that you are a star performer and not just an average one.
  3. Training lists do not include classroom hours, the certification, and go back too far. Remove trainings that you took more than 10 years ago.

It’s pretty easy for a federal resume to go awry. Check out more tips that can help guide you in creating a resume that gets you good results at Resume Place.

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