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Job Applications

A professional resume and cover letter are vital in preparing for a job, as they provide a concise yet comprehensive overview of your skills, qualifications and experience. A well-crafted resume showcases your suitability for the role and helps the hiring team see that you’re a good fit, while a cover letter helps you make a strong first impression and increases your chances of having an interview.

Traditional resumes are more concise and focused on skills, and federal resumes include the comprehensive information needed to obtain federal jobs. A Military Affiliated Career Specialist is here to guide you through everything you need to know about both as you prepare to transition into your career.


Federal Resume

A federal resume details the specialized skills and qualifications for a targeted federal job. Federal jobs require a more detailed and extensive resume than private sector jobs because federal resumes serve as the job application. A subject matter specialist for the job posting assesses and grades your federal resume to determine your level of qualifications for the position. Be sure to:

  • Provide as much information as possible on the federal resume; otherwise, it may be considered an incomplete application.
  • Highlight your Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) that align with the job announcement.

Traditional Resume

A resume is a document that quickly shows an employer your relevant skills and experience. It is often the first contact you have with a potential employer. An employer will form their first impression of you based on your resume. The number one purpose of a resume is to effectively summarize and highlight your qualifications to make the employer want to contact you for an interview.

Why is writing a resume vital if you are filling out applications?

A resume highlights and outlines your work history, allowing you to add measurable accomplishments. A resume will enable you to quickly identify your knowledge, skills, abilities (KSAs), and education. You can often take your most attractive KSAs from your resume and target them in an application.

Cover Letter

A cover letter may be submitted with your resume. Once again, ensure you follow the instructions in the job application. The cover letter helps you introduce yourself in a memorable, personal way and expands on the information in your resume. An engaging cover letter will spark the hiring manager’s interest and get them to read your resume. Your cover letter offers an opportunity to represent your skills and achievements narratively. Select a story from your career that gives the reader a clear idea of who you are and how you can add value to their company. Don’t try to fit your whole career and life into the space of a cover letter; focus on critical aspects. Your cover letter should not duplicate or restate your resume.

Your cover letter should show the following:

  • How your work experience meets job requirements.
  • How your skills meet job requirements.
  • Why you want to work at the organization.