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Resume Reviewer: Robin Schlinger
January 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm #119220
I am a Certified Federal Resume Writer – and can review, but will not edit resumes from folks – since I believe it takes more than a simple edit to improve Federal resumes for applications. What I will provide are insightful comments to improve the approach for folks who post resumes to this site (1 to 3 per month).
Based on my experience in helping folks apply for Federal jobs for nearly 10 years, Federal resumes need to be targeted to individual positions. Common mistakes I see folks make:
1. Applying for jobs they are not qualified for – or are not at the right level based on their experience.
2. Not showing how you meet all the requirements for a given position.
3. Not including information required or requested for in an announcement.
4. Not showing your accomplishments (just puting in a list of duties you did.
For me to review your submissions, not only will I need to see a copy of your resume – I will also need to see the position you wrote the resume for. Until I have that, I cannot do a great review of your resume submission.
January 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm #119256
Thank you so much for you advice and information.
January 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm #119254
Robin, again than you. Could you please review my resume and let me know what is missing? Also, I have a federal resume that I know needs a lot of format and structure. Could you possible help as well?
Thanks in advance.
January 5, 2011 at 1:15 am #119252
Thank you very much for your insight and advice. I have indicated the positions I’m targeting which are primarily 1102’s. Please review my resume and advise.
January 5, 2011 at 2:02 am #119250
A job series alone is not enough for me to review a resume. I need specific announcements – since the 1102 series itself can be broad.
I cannot review everyone’s resume in depth, but can give advice on resumes as a group. What I will review resumes for on this board is the following IF you have a resume and job announcement is for:
1. Does your resume indicate you are targeting the right position?
2. General information on how the resume can be improved.
If you have not selected a position to apply for (for a Federal job) I cannot do this.
If you want me to review a resume, please post both your reume (by uploading a file) and the job announcement number.
January 5, 2011 at 2:21 am #119248
One of the position I have selected to apply for is a Contract Specialist. The announcement number is NC-10-420831-708287-kk. It is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer.
January 5, 2011 at 3:37 am #119246
INTRODUCTIOIN: I found your resume. It would have been easier for you to upload it here. In reviewing your resume, I find a lot of key words and duties – but in most of the resume, this does not have specfic examples of what you did to use these skills. You probably meet the requirements for the announcement since it is for a trainee, but I cannot tell for sure the level you qualify at – since you are missing the information I would need to really know your skill level and educational experiences.
MISSING INFORMATION IN THE RESUME: However, your resume is missing organization (to easily find information), critical information required for Fedeal resumes (such as supervisor names, salaries, addresses). For a Contract Specialist trainee position, they will emphasize superior academic performance (as part of the announcement) and a list of coursework with credit hours is also needed. You must indicate your GPA, course hours and any honors from your coursework. This is critical.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION NEEDED TO MAKE YOUR RESUME STAND OUT: Your resume on the bottom indicates, using the first person, how you are being mentored in Federal contracting. You need to take the various phases of contract management and apply them to the positions you were in – and indicate what contracts you handled (including the contract names, types, who you negotiated them with, what phases of contracting you handled, how you administered the contracts, any accounting you did for the contracts, what the contracts were for, and how you closed out the contracts). This cannot be general – you should use the actual contracts to describe this. Just putting together a list of keywords that are in the announcement without actual examples may get you referred, but not selected for a position – since once the resume is forwarded to the hiring manager – it is actually read. You must show that you really did the duties and are not just “gaming” the system to get selected.
DOES YOUR BACKGROUND MATCH THE JOB (ARE YOU THE BEST FIT?): Note that this announcement is for the Army Corps of Engineers – so it may not be an ideal announcement for you to apply for. The types of contracts they will be dealing with will be for construction and maintenance, so if you were dealing with insurance contracts – your experience may not be exactly what they are looking for. In addition, if you apply for jobs in the Military, it is likely you will be competing against folks who have the requisite military experience and preference. In those cases, sometimes, even if you qualify – the hiring manager must take a veteran above a more qualified non-veteran. Also, for construction type positions in contracting, the competition these days is strict – there are many contractors on the street who have spent years in construction who have MBA degrees. They may qualify above you for this position.
FILLING IN YOUR GAPS: Since you have been out of work since 2009, you may want to volunteer and handle contracts if this is where you want to go. You can list this as a position if you spend significant time per week on this. In this way, you can begin to overcome a gap of 2 years and show how your skills are current. We also may want to list your education first on your resume, if you are attending school full time.
GRAMMAR AND PROOFING YOUR RESUME: In addition to having the right format and information, it is important to use proper grammar and tense when you write a resume. For instance, even though you are no longer at your last position, you write the position as if it is in the present tense. You need to write it in the past tense.
NETWORKING and TARGETING POSITIONS: I note that you are being mentored for Contract Specialist positions. I recommend you network for an agency that is doing contracts similar to the types of contracts you did prior to changing careers. You may want to see if organizations are negotiating insurance contracts – since it is less than a stretch than changing to contracts involving construction – where not only do you need to learn a different type of contracting – you also need to learn a new technology.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: My website, http://www.robinresumes.com indicates requirements for a Federal resume. In addition, it has information on the steps necessary to select a Federal position. You may want to refer to this website for more information.
January 5, 2011 at 4:00 am #119244
January 6, 2011 at 6:11 am #119242
Robin, you certainly gave me alot to figure out. I am making changes and reorganizing my resume. I didn’t include my course work, GPA, prior supervisors info, addresses, prior salaries, etc. in this resume, however, it is all included in my federal resume that I used to apply for positions. I have found that I am being referred for many positions from trainee to higher grade Contract positions, which has resulted in a few interviews, but not as many as I like. On some level my resume has worked but I will be utilizing the tips you have offered and your website. I believe there is always room for improvement. Thanks for your help. Anita
January 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm #119239
Thank you for offering resume advice on GovLoop.
I have been earnestly applying for positions in the federal government for over seven years, returned to school and completed a masters program with hopes of making myself more marketable and sharpening my skills.
I’ve worked in the private sector and am now volunteering in anticipation of reinstatement.
Although I have applied to many positions on usajobs.gov with a few interviews, no offer has come yet.
On the top of three lists recently and interviewed, I have yet to reach my goal of government re-employment.
Examples of jobs applied for are:
Health Science Specialist,
Science Assistant, Program Specialist (National Science Foundation)
Staff Assistant and
Program Support Assistant.
The following job is one to which I plan to submit before Monday (January 10, 2011).
Job Title: Administrative Staff Assistant
Department: Department Of Health And Human Services
Agency: Health Resources and Services Administration
Job Announcement Number: PH-11-CLW-420839
Any comments or tips on my resume would be appreciated.
Andrea D. Peagler
January 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm #119237
Unfortunately, the resume you uploaded is blank. Please upload it.
January 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm #119234
Thank you for the advise you have provided here. I appreciate your comments on tailoring a resume to a specific application, but based on your experience do you have any guidance on a resume which will be searched by multiple agencies? I am thinking specifically of my application to the Presidential Management Fellows Program, for which I am told that in addition to any applications I submit agency representatives will be searching the PMF database looking for candidates. I would like to make my resume as appealing as possible. I have uploaded my resume here and would appreciate any advice you might have. I am targeting the Department of State and USAID.
January 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm #119232
You will still need a Federal type resume for the PMF program and database. Your resume is a start – but it does not clearly indicate the direction you want to go and is confusing to me. You must target what you want – even in a search this is important. It is better to target what you want – at least fieldwise. Write the resume for the specific position you want – highlighting your skills.
Note, your resume is a start – but can be improved. You need much more detail on what you have done for research (spell things out). In addition, I do not have a feel for your research – your challenges, exactly what you did, the RESULTS of your research, and more detail on WHY THE RESEARCH WAS IMPORTANT. This is critical to be selected.
For a scholarly resume, I would like to see a list of publications (not just in the job itself) to further highlight your scholarship. You also may want to put in presentations.Since this is a scholarly CV and a Federal application, I would not worry about limiting to 2 pages. Having the critical information is much more important.
Note, I have seen statistics on the number of jobs agencies have selected folks from general databases. These are extremely small, less than 0.005% of the total jobs offered – I have seen comparisons to the odds of winning the lottery. It is supposed to change – however, the likelihood it will with intern-type / trainee jobs in the short term is low – especially since these programs will be undergoing major changes in the next few weeks or months due to a very recent executive order by Obama and additional lawsuit rulings requiring consideration of Veteran’s preference. I could be wrong, but it is rare for folks to be selected via a search – except for positions requiring specific skills.
I recommend you network into the PMF program and talk to the folks there for further advice. By networking, you can identify the best opportunities for you – so you can target the resume. I believe, based on my experience, the more you target (as long as there are positions available) and show how you are the expert and one to be hired for a position, the more likely you will be selected.
You cannot put in more than two (at maximum three) goals in a resume [if they are related – only one if not related] and have the resume be strong. After that, you dilute the message and your goals – and actually reduce the likelihood of selection since the agency will be able to select a resume from a candidate who has targeted their application and resume for the job the agancy is searching for.
Before you submit your resume, since you studied abroard, you will need to have your degree evaluated for equivalency to US degrees. Go to http://www.NACES.gov to find a suitable company to do this for you. It is important.
I have seen statistics
January 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm #119229
Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Robin.
This is the resume I posted from the Rock Your Resume! original discussion.
January 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm #119227
Your resume is not in a Federal format. You can read about requirements for Federal resumes at http://robinresumes.com/federal-resumes/. Unless your resume contains this information (see the second half of the page), your resume can be rejected from consideration.
Your resume also must indicate how you MATCH the requirements of the job you are applying for. In general, the Federal government is good to apply for IF you have been doing the duties of a position recently (last 10 years most – last 5 years better – last 3 years BEST) in a similar position you are applying for. The position you are applying for is as a Secretary – it is that type of position. There will be many people applying for that position that have secretarial experience in a healthcare setting (this is quite a common job). To score high enough in the position (90 out of 100 points – just qualifying alone based on experience [not high enough] is 70 point) – you must have experience in the job. You will be competing against folks with Veteran’s Preference (especially for a VA position) and they like to hire disabled vets due to their mission. They tend to forward only the top 3 of the applicants. Your experience is in research – not as a secretary. It will be difficult for you to be one of the top 3 qualified.
Your resume must show – with examples – how you have done the following:
Provide a full range of administrative support services to program.
Research and prepare reports.
Prepare special records, such as attendance, travel and training requests, etc
Establish and maintain filing systems
To apply successfully for the job, you must indicate you have the highest level of experience in the online application questionnaire – AND indicate examples of this experience in your resume (accomplishments). This means you must indicate a D (or better an E) for each answer. This is critical, since many applicants will have this, along with 5 to 10 points additional scoring due to their Veteran’s preference. These questions are all SECRETARIAL related duties – which are not the same as doing research alone.
For each task in the following group, choose the statement from the list below that best describes your experience and/or training. Darken the oval corresponding to that statement in Section 25 of the Qualifications and Availability Form C. Please select only one response for each item.
A- I have not had education, training or experience in performing this task.
B- I have had education or training in performing the task, but have not yet performed it on the job.
C- I have performed this task on the job. My work on this task was monitored closely by a supervisor or senior employee to ensure compliance with proper procedures.
D- I have performed this task as a regular part of a job. I have performed it independently and normally without review by a supervisor or senior employee.
E- I am considered an expert in performing this task. I have supervised performance of this task or am normally the person who is consulted by other workers to assist them in doing this task because of my expertise.
2. Compose letters, inter-office memos, and transmittals.
3. Writes letters from supervisor’s incomplete notes.
4. Develop standard or form letters to respond to inquiries or requests for information.
5. Use automated software such as Microsoft Office programs to copy, edit and print a variety of documents.
6. Prepare personal mailing lists, set up tables, create formulas in spreadsheets, and merge various documents from different sources in a final product.
7. Reviews outgoing correspondence for clarity, coherence, grammar and spelling and returns material to originator for correction.
8. Process incoming and outgoing materials.
9. Review correspondence for accuracy, completeness and consistency.
10. Review correspondence to determine conformance with policies or regulations.
11. Research material in order to answer questions raised by the public.
12. Review office procedures in order to recommend modification or improvement.
13. Maintain time and attendance records.
14. Maintain filing system in which materials are filed by content.
15. Communicate orally with others in order to exchange substantive information regarding such matters as rules, procedures, regulations, programs or benefits.
16. Screen calls and visitors to determine nature of visit or inquiry.
17. Identify problems , suggest solutions and have suggestions implemented..
18. Recommend changes in policies and procedures within area of responsibility.
19. Organize filing systems to ensure the access and storage of office documents.
20. Schedule appointments for manager which includes establishing, rescheduling or refusing appointments, and accepting or declining invitations to meetings.
21. Coordinate meetings and briefings and ensure that all participants are provided the agenda, background material, and other necessary information.
22. Schedule conferences to include space time, contacting people, and sending out notices.
23. Track training requests of staff and complete necessary documentation..
24. Make travel arrangements including the planning of itineraries, selecting travel modes and carriers, routing to final destination, and purchasing tickets.
25. Independently research, consolidate and prepare technical and administrative reports in final form.
26. Assist others by preparing work plans and ordering of completion of work assignments. documents.
27. Cover for the absence of another staff in completing work assignments while also meeting requirements of own workload.
28. Integrate last minute assignments into ongoing workload and meet necessary deadlines.
Even though you want to get back into the agency you worked in – it may be difficult in light of the number of Veteran’s applying for jobs. If you want to be a success, I suggest you network back to where you used to work – and they post an announcement with requirements unique to your skills. You then will need to develop a properly written – fully detailed resume which highlights how you are uniquely qualified for the job so you can score high enough to be referred to the hiring official. You also may want to see if you still have status – and can apply for merit promotion announcements – where Veteran preference may not be considered.
January 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm #119225
Thank you for your detailed comments. I particularly appreciate your thoughts on stating goals and will incorporate this into my resume. Thank you for your time.
January 12, 2011 at 2:04 am #119223
Thank you for doing a thorough job on my resume critique. I already completed some of the items you mentioned (such as networking with my previous federal employer; this resource could be an avenue for further follow up).
Your resume link was also very informative and helpful. I will proceed with your suggestions, make amendments and hope to report being hired again with the federal government.
I appreciate your time.
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