May 4, 2012

Resumes for Federal Job Applications

One of the most intimidating job applications is the one used by the federal government. It’s not that the process is so confusing – although it is somewhat – but that it has multiple parts.

First there’s the application itself. Of course you’ll be honest and accurate. Even so, there’s just more anxiety when you imagine being grilled by the feds over a mistake on your college coursework. Just kidding about being grilled. But the anxiety? That’s real.

The good news is that there is lots of help out there to strategize your application and find federal government jobs and related, helpful resources. And it’s worth looking, since the variety of jobs possible is breathtaking. Imagine one employer who has everything from jobs in the CIA to work as an archaeologist. That’s worth some effort.

One thing you’ll want to strategize, regardless of the federal job you want: The resume. Depending on the job you seek, you’ll probably encounter a form called the KSA – Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. Sometimes this is a series of essay questions designed to learn your strengths for the job, and sometimes it is a multiple choice ranking asking your level of ability in 10 or 20 key areas. In both cases, the KSA will ask where you learned the skill. And if your resume does not provide backup to your self-ranking, the person reading your document might lower your score, possibly knocking you out of the running.

The lesson? This is one of those cases where a longer resume is much better than a short one, since you need to provide the detail needed to convince the reader you can do the job.

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