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Looking for a federal employment opportunity? Here’s what you need to know:

1) They are different from civilian/business resumes and must be written for specific job announcements that are posted on, or agency websites (e.g., Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, etc.).

2) Positions are described as open to U.S. citizens, legal residents, those currently employed by the federal government or those federal employees that will be or have already been displaced.

3) Most positions are open for a limited time period, which is always mentioned in the job announcement. If there is a short open period, chances are good that a current, well-qualified government employee has a good chance of being hired. 

4) Federal resumes must be written in a way that addresses all the qualifications required for a specific announcement. Don’t overlook questionnaires, which are often used to cull candidates that don’t have the level of experience sought.

5) If you’re overqualified, go ahead and apply; the federal government is one of the few employers that eagerly hires over-qualified candidates.

6) Many employers will hire a candidate that meets 75% to 80% of a job’s qualifications, particularly in a tight labor market. Not so with the federal government. Thinking/believing you can do the job isn’t going to win you an interview. If you haven’t already done most of what is required or meet the educational/experience requirements, save your time, effort and money on hiring a professional writer. 

7) Watch time deadlines. Announcements generally close at midnight Eastern Standard Time. 

8) Apply as early as possible. The application process is time-consuming and can be very stressful if you have to fax required documents at the last minute – good luck connecting with government fax machines anywhere near announcement closing deadlines.

9) Some agencies have age restrictions (like the FBI and DEA).

10) The federal government hires candidates who are 65+ with the right experience.11) Read application instructions carefully and follow them to the letter!