So you’re looking to land your first Federal job and are just about to start working on your resume. Stop right there. Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keys), you should know that applying for Federal employment is different than the private sector.

Federal guidelines require that you provide very specific and detailed information to apply for a job by way of the OF-612 form or Federal resume (along with a KSA). Since the Federal resume carries the greatest influence of the two, let’s take a look at ways to create one that will help you get the job you want.

What You Need to Know

When applying for a Federal job, there are certain details that you must provide in order to be considered by a recruiter. They include job information (announcement number, title and grade), personal information (full name, address, phone, social security number, and country of citizenship), veteran’s preference or reinstatement eligibility (if applicable), education (chronological listing of high school and colleges with degree types, dates of acquisitions, major subjects, GPAs and total credits earned), and extensive work experience (with previous salaries included).

When detailing your work experience, you should keep the specific position you’re applying for in mind. The Federal government is strict about ensuring that applicants’ skills match the listed qualifications. So go into as much detail as possible regarding how you are qualified. This process will get you that much closer to getting hired.

Don’t Forget Your KSA

The KSA is also known as Knowledge, Skills and Abilities and is a series of statements written in a narrative format that you must include with your Federal resume. It is written in first person and is meant to showcase in greater detail how you are qualified for the job you’re applying for.

Jobs that require a KSA will usually list between three and five statements in the posting that you need to provide answers for. You want your answers to be as thorough as possible by disclosing your knowledge, skills or abilities that relate to each statement, as well as when, how and why you acquired them giving concrete examples. In other words, use up to a page to sell yourself for this position with each answer. Don’t make your KSA a carbon copy of your resume – make it original. And don’t forget to type your full name and sign it before sending it off.

Adding the Extras

As mentioned previously, acquiring a Federal job requires putting in some extra effort, which includes disclosing any information that will help showcase your ability to perform. If you have additional work experience that relates to the position, provide plenty of details (including salary info and who to contact to learn more about your work experience). Also, remember to list any software, training courses, certificates, professional memberships, or awards that might help tip the scale in your favor.

Knowing the rules of writing a Federal resume can get your foot in the door. But taking extra steps to focus specifically on the job position, and include a thorough KSA will get you one step closer to securing a great Federal job.

Author's Bio: 

Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and is passionate about providing working professionals with current, reliable and effective job search tools and information. Check out reviews of the top companies that can help with federal resume writing at