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Rock My Resume: Ryan McQuighan
August 12, 2011 at 1:44 am #138213
- Why do you want your resume reviewed? I am looking for other work. I have been interested in serving in the federal government/public service since law school, interned with Dept. of Energy, but have not had any success finding a spot with an agency. I hope having someone else look at my resume will give me a better shot at the career I want.
- What is your current situation (employed, seeking, etc.)? Self-employed, seeking other work.
- Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)? Submitting/Applying, I was networking a lot, but have slowed down recently, no interviews in the last few months.
- What’s the main issue you’re encountering? Not getting in for an interview. I believe I have the qualities sought for work as an entry level attorney (GS-11 or 12).
Link to job (via attachment)
September 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm #138215
Ryan, thanks for participating in the Rock Your Resume Group.
Before I go through some of the suggestions I have for your resume, I have to admit two things: first, legal positions within the federal government are considered excepted service positions, which means they are hired through a different process than most other competitive positions. I have not had any experience working with these excepted service legal positions. Second, I assume the legal profession demands a kind of resume for which I do not have experience.
What I can do for you is give some suggestions on how to make your resume more appealing when you use the USAJobs Resume Builder. I did a little digging and found the following website that gives information on legal positions: http://www.usajobs.gov/ei/attorneys.asp. This leads me to believe that writing a strong federal resume for legal positions is not that much different than for all the other positions.
(As you probably know already, attorneys’ positions are posted under the 0905 series. If you haven’t already, you should search USAJobs for that series number (the DoT position you sent is in that series).)
With that in mind, I think it would be a very good idea for you to use the USAJobs Resume Builder for your resume for those positions that require you to use USAJobs, and that you use a “traditional” legal resume for those positions that require you to send information directly to the hiring manager, as does the DoT position you sent. My sense is that those offices that don’t require you to use USAJobs probably do not want to see a long federal resume, and that they prefer a traditional legal resume, whatever that may be.
For those positions that do require you to use USAJobs, though, you need to have a much longer, more comprehensive resume, and the USAJobs Resume Builder will help you format your resume in such a way that the HR professionals are used to.
The non-legal resume I teach others to write includes a LOT more information than what you have included on your current resume. In fact, it would be a good idea for you to use a different format than what you have now. My suggestion is that you use a “modified chronological” format. This is a hybrid version of the functional and chronological that is organized in reverse chronological order, but has subsections focused on the skills sets the employer has said they need.
Each description, then, has longer bullet points that are focused on specific skill sets determined by the job announcement. For example, a recent client of mine was applying to a position at a university that had a number of distinctive requirements. He had a number of shorter bullet points that weren’t cohesive or understandable, so I suggested something like this:
- Recruitment and Marketing ‑ Develop employer outreach strategy and marketing plan, requiring relationship and network building in all sectors and publication of the first brochure sent to over 5,000 contacts around the world. The number of employers holding on-campus recruiting events almost doubled in this timeframe and the number of employers participating in the annual Employer Site Visit program increased 50%.
- Communications – Customize and administer, in conjunction with director, the web-based career management system, which gives student and alumni 24-hour access to job and internship announcements, an event calendar, employer contacts, and career-related documents.
- Project Evaluation ‑ Create and administer electronic surveys and evaluations for students and alumni in order to organize relevant and timely workshops, seminars, and career fairs. Attendance at events increased over the past four years including twice as many employers participating in the Elliott School career fair from 35 (2001) to 74 (2005).
- Training ‑ Advise students and alumni on career plans, job search strategy, organizational research, professional development opportunities, resume writing, informational interviewing, salary negotiation, and networking techniques. Review 200-250 resumes and cover letters per year.
That kind of bullet point pulls together the skill sets he used (developing, implementing, creating), what/who/how/why he did these things, and his accomplishments. And it focuses the employer’s attention on those skills sets the employ said it needed. It also gives much more context to the employer and the sense that my student’s work had a much broader impact.
You don’t want to have massive bullet points for every skill set, just those that highlight the things that mean the most to the employer.
Another way of laying this out is to have several bullet points under one sub heading like:
Strategic Planning and Policy Development
- Develop strategic plan for new one-person career development office, monitor program budget, and serve on Executive Committee for school that has grown by 80% in 3 years.
- Identify career development needs of 450 MPA, MPP, and PhD students, implement appropriate programs and services, and offer support to 3200 alumni. Approximately 95% of all alumni are employed six months after graduation.
- Establish systems to ensure seamless coordination with Student Disability Services, Counseling Services, and International Services Office to help clients with special physical, mental, emotional, and legal needs.
- Evaluate financial aid process for graduate students and collaborate with upper management to review and develop process to decrease waiting time to receive confirmation with purpose of increasing student recruitment and retention.
- Assess personnel needs of school according to mission and present reclassifications and proposals for new staff members to director and faculty.
Finally, I would HIGHLY encourage you to network with other lawyers in the federal government to find out if you should be writing your resume as I’m suggesting. If not, then don’t do it…and let me know. A good place to start is to track down alumni of UB’s law school either through UB’s Law School career office and/or on LinkedIn (or GovLoop for that matter).
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