resume length for government job

Last Updated on 12/12/2019

Now that you’re exploring jobs at the U.S. federal government, you’ve probably heard that your resume needs to be long. This is true in the sense that it will probably need to be longer than a typical 1-page civilian resume. Many factors, however, influence federal resume length. 

Need Help to Craft Professionally Written Federal Resume

If you’re new to the workforce, then you might not have very much to include on a resume. It’s important not to pad your resume with falsehoods or exaggerations for the sake of length. Hiring managers value quality content that conveys your qualifications for the job over filler. 

Every word on the resume really needs to communicate pertinent information. Each sentence should build upon the information presented in the previous sentence. Use as many facts and figures as possible when describing your work experience. 

Orient your language around your skills and accomplishments:

Bad: “Work duties included testing and quality control.”

Good: “Achieved a 10% reduction in defects performing quality control on 23 products.”

Although you need to make every sentence count, a federal resume grants you the freedom to explain your qualifications fully. You don’t have to feel constricted by space limitations. If you have experiences to share relevant to the job, then don’t hold back. A highly detailed work experience section could set you above other job candidates. 

Pro Tip: Invest time in preparing your resume. It’s tempting to start typing into a resume builder and get it done quickly. Successful candidates start offline. You should begin by studying resume templates specific to the federal agency where you’re applying. Then, write your work history and save it into a master document. This improves your ability to proofread effectively.

How Many Pages Should a Federal Resume Be?

Government jobs vary considerably in the amount of experience and skills needed. The federal government ranks its positions into 15 General Schedule grades. A GS-1 job that requires very little training or experience would naturally involve a short resume. A highly technical GS-15 job would need a much longer resume. 

As a result, an acceptable federal resume could be anywhere from 1 to 10 pages. Because most positions fall somewhere in between, your ideal resume will likely be 4 to 6 pages. 

You can get an idea of how long should a federal resume be by examining the job description. You’ll want to address every job requirement described in the posting.

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Make a list of them and then identify your experience and education that applies to the requirements. A long list could produce a long resume. 

If several of your previous jobs included applicable experience, then you’ll want to mention them all. This would generate a longer resume compared to someone with a limited work history relevant to the position.

Advice: Don’t miss opportunities in a resume’s education section. After mentioning basics like institution and degree, provide some detail about course work. Describe classes relevant to the job. Explain how research projects or lab activities built your skills.

Finding a federal job may not happen quickly, but the search has its rewards. All federal resumes should include verifiable references. Application supplements and forms should be filled out completely and should match the attached resume. This may seem redundant, but those submissions may go to different agencies for review. Be clear, concise, and accurate. 

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Professional resume writer Daniella HendersonDaniella Henderson

Daniella knows all ins and outs of the federal hiring process. She is excellent at job hunting strategies, starting from federal resume writing to the final stage of interview conduction.

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