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Preparing your resume

Your resume may need revision to ensure you’re positioning yourself to make it through the initial steps of the government hiring process.

There is no such thing as too much information when preparing your resume, which may be several pages long and should include detailed information about the jobs you’ve held, your responsibilities, and what you accomplished.

General Recommendations

  • When you’re preparing your application, be sure to reference the Qualifications & Evaluation sections of the job post to help you best frame your experience.
  • Don’t get hung up on trying to match specific formatting; do make sure you’ve included the information relevant to each section.
  • Be as detailed as possible. Length is not an issue as long as the information you’re including is relevant.
  • For your most relevant, recent, or longest held position, list eight-10 bullet points about your responsibilities and accomplishments. For each prior position, you can list fewer points focusing on the information that is most relevant to the job for which you are applying.
  • Don’t be afraid to use technical terminology if it’s relevant to your current or past roles or to the role for which you are applying. Do avoid acronyms and abbreviations.
  • We don’t use automated screening tools, so your application will be evaluated by people who have varying levels of familiarity with your professional experience. It’s better to be explicit and not assume the reader has expert domain knowledge or context.
  • Quantify as applicable.

Key Information for Each Position

This is the information that you should include for each position on your resume.

  • Company/organization name
  • Size of organization (number of employees)
  • Location (City, State)
  • Dates of employment (MM/YYYY)
  • Hours per week (e.g. 15, 20, 40. If “full time” list 40 hours)
  • Job/position title
  • GS Level (Only relevant to current or past federal employees)
  • Brief description of the organization (one-two sentences)
  • Brief description of the product/project/team you worked on or supported (one-two sentences, if applicable)
  • List of relevant skills, tools, technologies used
  • Specific duties, responsibilities, accomplishments of the position

Detailed Description of Sections

Brief description of the organization and brief description of the product/project/team you worked on or supported (if applicable)

This should provide a context for your work and accomplishments which helps us understand how they’re applicable to our work and the role for which you’re applying. Include the following information:

  • Clients/customers type: public facing, end-users, internal, B2B, civic tech, etc.
  • Impact/performance metrics and scope: users, clients, datasets, uptime, cycle time, etc.
  • Team size/composition
Relevant skills, tools, technologies used

Describing the skills, methodologies, techniques, and tools you used in a position is important, but they can’t simply be a list. If the skills, tools and technologies is just a list, it will not be able to be used to help you meet the minimum qualifications required for the role. You need to provide the context of how and why those skilled were used in that position.

Here is an example of the WRONG way to do it:

Technical Skills Used: Ruby on Rails, Postgres, PostGIS SQL, JSON, Redis, Heroku, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Relational Database Services (RDS), Elastic Search environments

Here is an example of the CORRECT way to do it:

Developed new features and provided technical support solutions utilizing the Ruby on Rails framework, Postgres/PostGIS SQL, JSON and Redis while maintaining and deploying to Heroku, Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud technologies including Relational Database Services (RDS) and Elastic Search environments

Example Resume Excerpt

This is an example of what you resume might look like for a position with TTS:

Technology Transformation Services - Washington, DC - (300 employees)

The Technology Transformation Services’ (TTS) mission is to lead the digital transformation of the federal government by helping agencies build, buy, and share technology that allows them to provide more accessible, efficient, and effective products and services to the American people.

Software Engineer - 07/2015 to Present** - Hours per week: 40

Developer for USAJobs, a job posting and application collection portal used by more than 500 offices/agencies posting 320k jobs and with more than 10M applicant accounts.

  • Led and managed backend web development
  • Supported USAJobs providing metrics and analytics dashboards
  • Developed new features and provided technical support solutions utilizing the Ruby on Rails framework, Postgres/PostGIS SQL, JSON and Redis while maintaining and deploying to Heroku, Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud technologies including Relational Database Services (RDS) and Elastic Search environments
  • Partnered with departments gathering requirements to develop a joint implementation strategy, obtain access relevant agency internal data systems and data definitions and extract departmental datasets via RESTful APIs
  • Met with agency stakeholders weekly to iterate using an Agile development approach to achieve a user centric design experience
  • Managed codebase in GitHub repository for source control, scoping technical requirements into developmental milestones, releases tagging, issue tracking and source control
  • Worked with sales team, database administrators, product managers, data scientists, executive leadership, enterprise architects on cross-functional, multidisciplinary teams to develop a user focused analytics dashboard delivering an insightful analytics dashboard enabling government officials to make data driven decisions
  • Automated testing of codebase using Rspec and CircleCi for continuous integration
  • Guided team members on data infrastructure to implement front end solutions and peer review code commits for potential refactorization to ensure quality

Other Sections to Include, as Applicable

  • Volunteer work (include the organization’s name, years of participation, and a one-line description of your role)
  • Relevant awards (include awarding organization, title of award, year received, and any relevant details, such as chosen as award winner out of 300 contenders)
  • Relevant public speaking engagements and presentations (include title of presentation, name of conference/event, month and year of presentation, along with any other relevant details)
  • Certifications held (name of certificate, institution issuing the certificate, year issued)
  • Relevant professional affiliations (organization name, years of participation)
  • Published work, including personal blog posts (title of published work, publication, month and year of publication)
  • Training (name of training or course, organization providing the training, MM/YYYY completed)