- Federal Jobs Blog - https://www.federaljobs.net/blog -


Writing a private sector or federal style resume [1] using civilian terminology is an important strategy in the job hunting process, especially for veterans. However, it has received too much emphasis from resume writing gurus who are all over the internet. Job-hunting is not a one-step deal, like writing a resume. It is a process in which you define the objective and then devise strategies to accomplish the mission. It is similar to a military operation that all veterans experienced. Objective + Strategies = Operation.

Resume [2]

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of resume writing, here are some general rubrics to guide you through the process.


  1. PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION. Begin the resume with your personal identification; name, address, phone number and email address. This goes at the top of the first page with your name in upper case bold. The rest can go in lower case regular type.
  2. SUMMARY OR OBJECTIVE. This is a brief statement of your skills and how they can help the company going forward. It should run no more than ten lines and be written in paragraph format. Think of it as an advertisement for you. When submitting your resume for a specific job use OBJECTIVE. State that you are seeking the job referenced for a specific company as stated on a job description, an internet job board or on a career page. Couch your language in terms that relate to the job requirements. Use SUMMARY if you are submitting your resume to a human resources director for a non-specific job.
  3. MILITARY WORK EXPERIENCE. State your military jobs in civilian terms along with the job location and time period. Itemize your specific responsibilities in bullet point format and quantify as much as possible.
  4. CIVILIAN WORK EXPERIENCE. Use this major heading for any pre or post military civilian job experience. Use the same rubrics you used for Military Work Experience.
  5. AWARDS, RECOGNITION, COMMUNITY SERVICE. List all awards and citations you received for performance or honors going back to high school. List all charitable work you have done in both civilian life and the military.
  6. TECHNOLOGY SKILLS. List all of your technology skills including personal productivity, business and social apps.
  7. TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS CERTIFICATIONS. In this section, list in bullet point format all military and civilian online or resident certifications. Include apprenticeship programs, too. Job candidates frequently forget that certifications are an important part of their education history. Potential employers will give you positive marks for earning certifications in areas like web design, accounting, truck and driving and for working in a trade like carpentry.
  8. EDUCATION. Use one line for each school experience dating back to high school. After listing your high school and college experiences, list all professional development courses. Include bricks-and-mortar education and online education as well. And, be sure to include any bilingual training you might have had

These are the components of a clean, succinct resume that will make the hiring manager stop and take a good look at your candidacy. You need not add other major headings like “Hobbies” or “References.” You can work these items into the personal interview.


A digital profile is an outline of your experiences posted online. There will be online resources that require writing a digital profile. One that comes to mind is LinkedIn, which all job hunters should use. LinkedIn will ask you to provide a digital profile, which is nothing more than an abbreviated resume. Have your resume handy when you write your digital profile and follow it closely. The digital profile should be a reflection of your resume. Both must work in harmony because hiring managers and human resources directors will review both. If there is a discrepancy, they might ask, “Will the real Mike Jones please stand up?”


When seeking a civilian job, we frequently limit our horizon to the private sector. There is an alternate job market to explore that is so huge that we refer to it as an industry unto itself.

The Federal, State, Local Government Workplace

There are approximately 22,000,000 (read, 22 million) workers employed by federal, state and local governments, making it the largest “industry” in the USA. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the federal government employs approximately 2.5 million workers in a variety of jobs at multiple locations throughout the USA and abroad. State governments employ approximately 5,500,000 workers, and local governments employ 14,500,000 workers. Federal government workers make the highest annual average salary, $81,000. The job hunting rubrics are the same for seeking government jobs. However, there are usually strict application procedures that you must follow or risk elimination. These requirements are clearly stated in the application instructions for each government jobs. Follow them to the letter.

Your most valuable guide for job hunting at the federal government level is unquestionably this website, www.federaljobs.net [8] and the book titled “The Book of U.S. Government Jobs: Where They Are, What’s Available and How To Complete a Federal Resume [9]. This book is in its 11th edition and was authored by Dennis Damp a former federal government employee, Air Force veteran and founder of this website.


Your resume will act as a door opener if you follow our directions carefully. Our advice is based on our experience as an executive recruiter working with hiring managers and human resources directors. For details about writing your resume, an important strategy in the job hunting process, please refer to Chapters 23, 24, 25 in my book, OPERATION JOB SEARCH, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers [10]. In addition, we suggest that you go to www.military.com [5] to view sample resumes written for military veterans. When you go to the site, click on Veteran Jobs and then click on Transition Center. Next click on Get an Expert Resume. Then click on Sample Resumes, where you will find several well-crafted resumes that will serve as a model for your own resume. While you are on the Sample Resume section, review the samples for cover letters as well.

In our September blog, we will discuss these job hunting skills; how and where to find potential employers. Our Industry Spotlight will focus on the Medical and Education Industries.



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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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