Part Two: Resume Builder (Read Part 1 Here)
After becoming knowledgeable with using the usajobs.gov website as a search engine and finding an appealing position in the first post of this series, it is time to create a strong resume with the Resume Builder. The resume you submit using USAJobs is your sales pitch to sell why you are the most qualified candidate for the position. Every job post will list the max number of characters you can use to communicate your worthiness. Some job applications allow up to 35,000 characters which equates to 250 Tweets! I will talk about ways to highlight your skills in each section of the resume.
Build a Resume
To create a resume on USAJobs sign into your account. On you “My Account” page click on the “Resumes” button on the left hand side. On the “Resumes” page click the “Build New Resume” and name it.
After naming your resume you will see that there are four sections in the resume; Experience, Education, References, and Other.
In the first section “Experience” you click the “Add Work Experience” button to describe previous jobs you have had or applicable positions you have held in the US Armed Forces. The best place to communicate your role during an experience is in the “Duties, Accomplishments, and Related Skills” section. You have 5000 characters (about 35 tweets) which you can use to tell a story about how you contributed to a project, demonstrated leadership in the workplace, or solved a challenging problem. I suggest first writing four sentences summarizing your work so a hiring manager can understand your duties in a quick glance. Below those four sentences I suggest diving into a narrative illustrating your work that a hiring manager may read if they want to see more detail in your position. Paint a picture so the reader can imagine things like- “What your work environment was like?”, “What sort of team of people were you collaborating with?”, “How did you go about problem solving?”, “How is your work significant and who was effected?” Don’t worry about using all 5000 characters, just know that you have plenty of space to strut your stuff.
In the “Education”section you click the “Add Education” button to add where you attended High School and share accredited Post Secondary Education. To check if your education is accredited click here. The “Relevant Coursework, Licensures, and Certifications” section is a great place to expand on what courses you have taken for your major, projects you have worked on in class you feel is relevant to your prospective job, or a senior design project. Share why your education is unique and why it makes you such a good candidate.
When you list a reference be sure that you are on good terms and have permission from the individual you list as a reference. This is a good opportunity to reconnect with folks from your previous experience and catch up. It would be kinda scary to get a call out of the blue from the government and be asked about a past co-worker. Click the “Add Reference” button to enter information about a reference.
The other section is the most powerful section where you can talk about any missing details from the previous sections. The “Additional Information” section is especially important because you can answer questions like, “I want to work for ____ agency because….”, “I am the most qualified candidate because…” or share a personal story that reflects your qualifications but didn’t fit in previous sections.
Throughout the resume you should include the desired qualifications listed in the posted position if they pertain to you. Some agencies use keyword search to select the first batch of candidates.
You may notice that instead of using the resume builder that on the Resume page you have an option of attaching a resume you made. Some agencies let you do that while others want you to use the Resume Builder so read through the position posting carefully.
When using the Resume Builder highlight your qualifications in the Experience, Education, and Other sections. Be sure to take advantage of the ample word count the Resume Builder and the positions allow. In the next post I will share what government opportunities are available to college students.
Of Possible Interest:
- Score a Career with the US Government, Part 1 (USA Jobs)
- Resume & Cover Letter (all blog posts we’ve written on the topic)
- Create Your Federal Resume (from Go Government)