USAJOBS: Should you leave your experience off your resume?

by | Federal Resumes, USAJOBS Resumes


Should you leave your experience off your federal or USAJOBS resume?

I recently read an inquiry from a federal applicant who was wondering if he needed to list his experience on his federal resume when applying for a job on USAJOBS because his education met the educational requirements. The applicant felt that the experience from his two jobs were not relevant to what he was applying for. The two jobs included working at a grocery store and time spent as active-duty military.

My initial reaction was excitement because I wanted to show him how working at a grocery store IS relevant…not to mention active-duty military service that he could transfer to federal service!

This made me wonder how many people have left off crucial information that could boost their federal resume score because of misinterpreting requirements.

Have you been excluding important information from your federal resume because you don’t think it’s relevant or important? This doesn’t just mean work experience. It could also mean trainings, certifications, education, publications, or even references.

Let’s clear this up…

You should not exclude your work experience from your federal resume or USAJOBS application! Typically, you should include the past 10 years of experience.

First, even if education is being used as your primary qualifier, you still need a strong resume! You need a strong resume that scores as high as possible to get selected. And remember, education requirements are helpful but not a guarantee of selection.

Second, leaving out any (or all!) of your work experience will most likely be seen as a red flag, perhaps by each one of the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers will do their jobs and uncover your background. So even if you are not trying to hide anything, it could certainly be perceived that you might be hiding something. Or they might think that you don’t want to make the effort…and that is the LAST thing you want when it comes to the federal—or really ANY—hiring process.

Federal jobs require some sort of security clearance. So, you’ll want to be sure to make it EASY for the gatekeepers to do their jobs. If you make it easy for them, they might select you to interview!

MAGNETIC TIP: As was the case with the inquiry previously mentioned, if you have military experience, you would not want to exclude that experience and service. Not only is it valuable work experience, but it also shows your dedication to public service and you can include your veterans’ preference to your application.

Be specific on your USAJOBS resume!

It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t just include past jobs that you’ve had. For each work experience, list your start and end dates, including the month and year, the number of hours you worked per week, the level and amount of experience (i.e., were you a project manager or a team member?), as well as examples of relevant accomplishments that show you can perform the tasks for the job you are applying for—AND at the level that is required for the job, as it is stated in the job announcement.

When you pay attention to, and include, these details, you will boost your resume score, make it easy for the gatekeepers do their job, and speed up the process in hiring you!

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Camille Roberts
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