To Use Resume Builder or To Upload
That is the question for any federal job seeker. USAJobs provides the option to upload your Word resume or to create a resume in their resume builder. I always recommend using the builder. Yes, it’s true, your Word version is much more attractive. You can use formatting that the resume builder does not allow such as some bullets, lines, charts, and columns. However, there are some risks you take by uploading your resume.
The biggest risk is leaving out vital information. There are many details required within the resume builder that you would never typically use in your private industry resume. Details such as specific dates of employment, street addresses for employers, supervisors’ names and contact information, etc. would be easy to leave out of a typical private industry resume. These are required for the resume builder and often compared later to your security clearance paperwork so they must be accurate.
Other information such as trainings, education, courses, awards, and references are typically not examined in detail on a private industry resume. The resume builder prompts you for all of this information and gives you the opportunity to provide details. In some cases, human resource personnel may not consider a resume without these details provided. Since their job is to eliminate as many applicants as possible in order to reduce the number of applications to a more manageable amount, they are looking for applicant mistakes or missing information.
The disadvantages of using the builder are that you have no control over which information comes first or the order of your employment history. It must be chronological, and education must always follow professional history. There is no room for a professional profile until the additional information section at the end. These may not seem like important qualities, but in the private industry resume, formatting for these details are essential.
Even though I recommend using the resume builder, it is always good to have a Word version available in case the agency you are applying to does not accept the builder. More often I have seen the converse, with agencies only accepting the resume builder, but just recently I encountered a situations with the Border Patrol where they only accepted an uploaded resume. This just reemphasizes the fact that when applying for federal employment, one must constantly remember to remain flexible.