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Making a good federal resume to get hired

Nothing is more harmful to your quest for a job than a shotgun approach to resume building. A resume is generally the first step in any screening process and carries immense importance in the entire process on selection and recruitment, especially so for government jobs. A resume created for a private sector job generally consists of a list of achievements, relevant work experience and formal education of the applicant, generally arranged in chronological order. In most of the cases, it is a balanced description of the professional life of the applicant. A resume for a government job, however, is a different ballgame and requires an entirely different orientation. The purpose served by a resume for a government job is quite different than that for a private job. A government job resume requires information to be highlighted to ensure that your qualification and experience dovetails with the requirement in hand. Following is a list of tips that you cannot do without while creating a compelling and result oriented resume for a government job. None of these tips are path-breaking rocket science stuff. But unfortunately, applicants do tend to overlook these basic fundamental points while creating their resume.

Submit all information: A government job, atypical to any government activity, requires the applicant to submit all specified documentation. Do ensure that all specified documents like SF 171, other forms and the resume are submitted. You might be the most suitable person for the job in hand, but submission of an incomplete resume is the surest way of eliminating your chances.

Importance of keywords
The first and foremost activity towards creating a perfect and effective for a government job is to identify the right set of keywords. Screening of resumes in government job openings is often done manually. And more often than not, resumes are screened not after detailed inspection of the resume, but by superficial skimming of the resume. The resume screener is generally provided with a list of qualifications required and possible list of relevant work experience. The resume screener generally adopts the black box approach of matching, that is, looks for occurrence of keywords as mentioned in his list.

This means that the accuracy of choice of words to convey applicants' professional eligibility becomes the differentiator between an eliminated and a selected applicant.

Identify the keywords: Government job notifications are not always entirely self explanatory. While some government job notifications contain detailed information like "requirements", "skills", "qualification", "work experience", quite a few miss out on mentioning these details. In these cases, an applicant needs to put in extra efforts in identifying proper key words. One of the easiest ways of identifying key words for this kind of government jobs is to search for similar jobs from other government agencies and retrieve information from those notifications. For example, the list of skills required for the position of Senior Accountant will most probably remain same across different agencies. So even if a given notification does not contain details about the skill-sets or qualification required, information can always be collected from notifications for the position of Senior Accountant from a different agency.

Articulation: While describing your relevant experience for a government job, or for any other job for that matter, it is advisable to use single keywords that convey an array of abilities. Keywords or phrases like "analyst", or "Subject Matter Expert" drive home a lot of points about the applicant. The recruiter will probably be spending very less time in skimming through your resume. The resume must be created with the sole motive of conveying the maximum information with minimal yet concise words.

Quantify: If the numbers are good and impressive, it is strongly advisable to quantify any possible plus point. Statements with numbers help the recruiter understand the degree of involvement or achievement of the applicant. Numbers are generally more successful in attracting due attention of the recruiter that the resume deserves.

Let us consider the following set of statements:
Case 1
Statement 1: "I was the editor of college magazine for one semester"
Statement 2: "I was the editor of the college magazine during which I was responsible for the entire editorial content of 6 college magazine issues and two special editions"

Case 2
Statement 1: "As the Area sales manager, I pioneered various methodologies which resulted in increased sales"
Statement 2: "As an Area manager, I introduced new training methodologies that increased sales by 22%, hit rate by 12% and decreased customer processing time by 22%"

It is all but obvious that the second sentences in both these two cases are much more forceful in conveying the information effectively.

Be concise
It is but obvious that resume writing requires an entirely differently approach than autobiography writing. The critical point about resume writing is to decide which activities / qualifications / experience are pertinent to the job in hand, and then listing them down in some order, preferably chronological. Filling up the resume with unrelated information does not in any way impress the recruiter. It only adds to the probability of your resume being discarded.

Most of the government job notifications attract huge number of applicants. Recruiters are required to screen through hundreds of resumes which means most resumes are just skimmed through. Rarely does the recruiter go into the details mentioned in the resume. The challenge lies in creating a resume that compels the recruiter to spend more time on the resume. It is widely believed that attention span of a human being is not more than 15 seconds. It is imperative that the resume should hold his attention within these15 seconds. This is achieved by using crisp, concise language while describing the relevant information. A resume that sells the candidature of the applicant within the 1st quarter of the resume is the dream resume everyone aims for.

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