A General Purpose Federal Resume?
One of the most common requests from clients is for me to compose a one-size-fits-all federal resume for them. While this may seem like a great option, in the end it will ruin your job search. Here are some thoughts to ponder when trying to weigh the benefits of a clearly targeted resume:
If it’s too broad, it won’t qualify you for anything!
A lot of clients think if they target their resume for a specific field they will be limiting themselves. Many folks, including military veterans, have had a great variety of experience in their careers. They may feel desperate when they enter the transition phase from active duty to civilian life. They are worried they will not get a job so they want to make their resumes as broad as possible in order to avoid limiting themselves or pigeon-holing themselves. Well, trying to write a resume that targets every possible field you might qualify for is actually going to work against you. You may end up being unqualified for anything because you haven’t specifically covered all of your qualifications or accomplishments in any category.
Application Tracking Systems are Popular with OPM.
I have actually heard that ATS began with OPM. It is important to remember that your resume will be scanned prior to anyone even setting eyes on it. This is why you must analyze the keywords, phrases, specialized experience, and KSA’s for every job announcement to make sure you have incorporated them.
Don’t worry! It’s not THAT difficult!
When you’ve finally faced the fact that you need a targeted federal resume, you’ll soon find that it’s not as overwhelming as it seemed. Most people only qualify for two, three at most, occupational series. Once you identify the series that suits you best, you can develop a resume targeted to that series pretty easily by finding a few different job announcements that interest you and pulling keywords and phrases from the announcement to incorporate into your resume. You will need to do that for each series you are trying to target, but like I said, most people really only qualify for a few different series.
Research the Series You are Targeting.
One thing most people don’t think about, is to check how many positions are open in the series you are interested in. If you are targeting your federal resume for a series that has little or infrequent vacancies, you may want to reconsider. Alternatively, if you are targeting a field that does not offer many opportunities at the GS 13/14/15 level, you may want to reconsider. It is not simple to change series once you are in. Sometimes, you find you may have to start over at a lower level in a different series just to get in.
There is only one time when a general resume works in your favor.
If you are planning to attend a job fair, it isn’t a bad idea to have a one-page summary of all of your experience in chronological format. In this case, and ONLY in this case, would I recommend a short a sweet bio of who you are and what you have done. HOWEVER, I would still recommend a few other versions of your targeted resume in your portfolio to pull out at the request of a recruiter.
It would be ridiculous to go to battle without a plan so , if are seeking a new position, you need to first identify your skills sets, begin researching specific new positions, and then figure out how to target your resume to qualify for that position.