How to Write a Resume That Gets You a Federal Government Job


After leaving the military or while trying to land a national security job, you may be weighing your options to join a defense contractor or apply for a federal job. With both, having a well-written resume in place is essential.

Lisa Harris joins the Security Clearance Careers podcast to discuss mastering your federal resume. She is a veteran and has her own YouTube channel, Easy Federal Resumes and More, where she shares information that will enable and support individual efforts to get their foot in the door with the federal government. It offers information on creating a highly qualified federal resume, preparing for the security clearance process, and much more.

We’ve written in the past about whether working directly for the government is better or whether supporting as a government contractor is more attractive. Really, it depends on each candidate as there are pros and cons to each. What are the benefits of joining the workforce as a federal employee? Harris notes that the pay is better and it can offer you mobility, especially having a federal job under your belt for your future resume. If there are downsides to federal work, it’s definitely the bureaucracy of paperwork.

Harris is a veteran, and through her own transition, and supporting others through their transition while working for the Department of Labor, has put together tips if you’re leaving the military and want to work in national security. as a federal employee. She advises getting right back into it, whether as a short- or long-term entrepreneur, or directly working for the federal government. Maintaining your job is essential to maintaining your security clearance.

Quick Tips for Federal Resumes

What are the notorious things that people do wrong? Not having the resume built or not fully explaining what you bring to the table is the main reason for rejection. Have a federal resume handy — and she says your federal resume should be at least four pages long if you’ve had a significant career. The thing is, if you’re thorough to get into the federal government, you’ll have a detailed resume to use the full character limit. Be concise but fully describe your knowledge, skills and abilities.

What’s different for federal resumes is that you’re encouraged to use all the space, where in the world of contracts, longer resumes are frowned upon by recruiters (as long as they retain all the keywords required).

If you’re not in the field, Harris has some advice for those joining the federal workforce. Patience, attention to detail, thoroughness, and leaving your assumptions aside will help you through the process. She also says, “Having all the information at your fingertips is essential for the enormity of the paperwork.” Follow Lisa Harris on YouTube, via her channel: Easy Federal Resumes and More.

Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic who loves all things digital, communications, promotions and events. She has over 8 years with the DoD, supporting multiple contractors with recruiting strategy, staff augmentation, marketing and communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Favorite Hike: The Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Favorite social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸

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