Prev Next

Step 1 – Build a Basic Resume

This is the resume you will use as a foundation for all of your applications. You will then duplicate it and customize it for every job application you send.

You will need to use the Resume Builder if you want to apply for a federal job. Uploaded resumes are not accepted by most agencies at this time. If at any time you have questions, please email me at and I will be happy to try to clarify.

Create an account on and sign in. You will need to create a one-time account to sign into USAJOBS. It’s pretty simple, but you need a very strong password, so have one ready.

Enter your email address. Don't use an unprofessional address, (like Get an email just for employment purposes ( They will then email you a Personal Key, which you will need to print and keep for signing in in the future. You will also need to enter a phone number so they can text you a one-time security code. Write down the email and password you use to create this account, in case you forget your user ID or password. Then log in to (it only took me 5 tries and 3 password resets, so be patient!

Start by creating your Profile:

Name - Click on “Guest” and it takes you to the Legal Name field. Use the name you would like hiring officials to see. Remember if you use nicknames, that is what they will see. I prefer full first name (formal) middle name, full last name.

Address - Enter your full address, with official abbreviation of street codes (ST, AV, DR Enter the Zip code, city and state (state from dropdown).

Telephone – You may enter up to 2 phone numbers. Be sure to enter your cell phone number if you have one. It is very frustrating to a hiring official to speak to a family member who knows nothing about your job search or when to expect you back. Cell phones eliminate the problem.

Click on “Save Contact Information” to go to the next step.

CitizenshipAnswer citizenship question. If you are a male born on or after January 1, 1960 you probably registered for the selective service in 11th grade so click “Registered” or the correct exempt choice.

Click “Save Citizenship” to continue.

Hiring paths – This information is important to narrow down job searches that apply to you. Click on all that pertain to you. IMPORTANT: If you are a Veteran, you will receive 5 to 10 extra points on your eligibility rating and will be placed at the top of the list if you include your DD-214 with your application package.

Experience - List your federal, military, and professional experience here. If you make your profile searchable, agencies can find you based on your experience. If you have federal experience, enter the type and Series and the highest grade achieved. Then enter the pay scale and your federal occupation (title.) Create a Biography by listing the federal jobs you had.

(ADVICE: write it in a word document and copy it onto the form. They often sign you out before you can save anything.)
For example, here’s mine:

Federal Service: US Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau.
1998-2000 ACE Team Supervisor, Philadelphia
2005-2008 Field Representative/Senior Field Representative Los Angeles Regional Office
2008-2011 Regional Technician/Area Manager Census 2000, Los Angeles Regional Census Center
2014-2015 Government Contractor/Sabre Systems/Technical Writer

You don’t need to go into detail at this time, when you enter work experience, you have space to enter duties, accomplishments, etc.
At this point they signed me out and I had to sign in again. And re-enter the Biography, good thing I saved it!

Military Service – if you have ever served in the US Military, you can claim Veteran’s Preference. This is very important because if you are a Veteran, you will receive 5 to 10 extra points on your eligibility rating and will be placed at the top of the list if you include your DD-214 with your application package. Have your D-214 ready to answer the questions in this section.
Skip to Demographics – You may choose to answer the questions or decline by clicking in the first box.

At this point, save and go directly to Documents and click on “Upload or Build Resume”, then select “Build Resume.” Your profile information should carry over, since experience does not, no need to enter it twice, enter it only in the Resume Builder.

Name and date the resume. Example: Basic Resume 8/2018

Work Experience

This is one of the most critical sections in your resume.

Although this resume will be used for all of your applications, you will customize it differently for each one.
You may enter it 3 different ways.

1. If you had only one position in a company, you will enter the company name and the position you held, most recent first.

2. If you had several positions in the company, enter the company name once, enter the dates employment began and ended, and list each position and dates you held each job, within the narrative. Enter them in reverse chronological order (most recent first.). This gives the hiring official the details of your term with the employer, and lets them know that you were promoted.

3. If you did freelance, consulting or volunteer work, or had gaps in your employment, you will enter it differently. In the "Company" field, enter the type of work you did (example: Administrative Consultant, Volunteer Work, Set Designer, Actor). In the field for "position", enter the company you worked for and the dates. These dates do not have to be chronological, perhaps you had several consulting jobs at the same time.

Here is an example of the three different types of entries:

Work History Example 1:

Adelphia Cable Positions Held:
Title: Metro Area Sales Manager
From: 08/2000 To: 03/2002
Salary: $90,000/year
Supervisor: Phone Number

Work History Example 2:

US Census Bureau Positions Held:
Title: Area Manager

Then, in the narrative, enter:

Title: Area Manager
From: 09/09 To: Present Salary: $65,000/year
Title: Regional Technician
From: 03/08 To: 09/09
Salary: Grade 12
Title: Senior Field Representative

From: 02/2006 To: 03/2008
Salary: Grade 6
Title: Field Representative

From: 01/2005 To: 02/2006
Salary: Grade 5
Title: Team Supervisor

From: 10/1998 To: 05/2000
Salary: Grade 12
Supervisor: Assistant Regional Census Manager Phone Number

Work History Example 3:

Self-Employed Positions Held:
Title: Truly Unique Web Administrative Consultant
From: 3/2002 To: 3/2004
Salary: Volunteer
Title: Benefits Plus Administrative Consultant From: 03/2002 To: 03/2006
Salary: Commission
Title: Say Cheese Photography Administrative Consultant
From: 03/2004 To: 03/2006
Salary: Commission
Supervisor: Phone Number

Have the addresses of your employers ready to enter. If you worked in more than one place, enter the mail address of the company, or the most recent address.

When you enter the dates worked, if you are still employed by that company, select “present”.

When you enter the salary information, use "$" and commas, and enter the annual rate if possible (ex: $40,000/year – do not abbreviate.)

Enter the most recent supervisor as a reference. If you were self-employed, you may enter a client or supplier. If the company is no longer in existence, enter the supervisor's name and title, and enter "unknown" for the phone number, but try to give a reference with a good phone number if possible under “References.)

At this time you can briefly enter duties, accomplishments, and related skills but the most important information won’t be entered until you are ready to apply for a job, so don't write a book - a few sentences describing your job is perfect. You will need to customize this section according to each vacancy announcement you select.

Salary – You may enter your highest salary here, and label as yearly, monthly, or hourly under salary rate.
Average hours per week - Enter your average weekly hours worked.

May we contact your supervisor – If at all possible, answer yes. You will be prompted to enter the supervisor name and phone #.

Is this a federal Civilian position– if you worked for the federal government, enter yes. Otherwise, enter no. If you enter yes, you will be prompted to select the Department & Agency, Series, Pay Scale and Grade Level. Also, you can select the Employment Type.

Save your work experience! Then click on “Add work experience” to add the next job you held. Continue until you have listed your work history in reverse chronological order.


It is optional to enter your educational history, unless the selected vacancy announcement requires a specific educational level. Start with the High School from which you graduated. Then, enter your degrees, most recent first.

Example: High School; Doctorate; Masters; Bachelors; Associates. Enter any certifications, licenses, additional coursework in the fields under education. Click on “Save Education" for additional fields.

References - You will be asked to list name, phone number, Email, reference type (professional or personal), the employer and the title of the reference.

Job Related Training
List the titles and completion dates of training courses you have attended.

LanguagesIf you are bilingual, answer these questions. It is always helpful to speak more than one language, and it is a requirement for some jobs.

Organizations and AffiliationsList any professional organizations to which you belong.

Professional Publications - Enter any professional publications in the space provided.

Additional Information

– This section will be customized for each job application. This is where you will add:

Specialized Experience required in the job announcement.

Knowledge Skills and Abilities required in the job announcement.

Any continuation of work experience.

Anything else you haven’t entered but want them to see.

At this point you are ready to start looking for a government job!

Next Step 2 - Reading the Vacancy Announcement.