Dear PoP – Anyone Know Someone Who Can Help Fix a Resume?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Sanjay Suchak

“Dear PoP,

Could you ask if there is anyone out there who has hired a government resume specialist to review and update your resume for government jobs? And if they know what they charge?”

On a similar note has anyone applied for a government job since the KSAs have been removed? Is the process much easier? (Don’t worry I’m not going anywhere, I’m just curious.)

25 Comment

  • Most of the resume places I have checked out charge about 300-$350.00. A friend used on (middle management) and they did a good job. Don’t know if it was KSA specific though.

  • Silly question coming… Why do you need a government specific resume specialist? Can’t you look at your resume and tell if it looks appropriate or not? (legit questions, not being snarky.) I always have my dad look it over since he’s the one who would hire people like me at his job.

    I tend to be a formatting/grammar-nazi, and I let my experience speak for itself, but I’m also only 3 years out of college with internships, first job, and volunteer experience on my resume.

    • Yeah, I was told by someone in HR at DOJ that they screen your resume by looking for certan “key” words that aren’t necessarily pulled from the job listing itself. Has nothing to do with format, etc. BS if you ask me.

  • Government work is unlike most anything you’ll find in the private sector. It’s not a bad idea to shape your resume for government HR folks and program managers.

    • So true. When I was applying for jobs in the private sector I was frequently told that my government experience didn’t count for anything. My college internships were more relevant.

    • I’ve found the greatest skill needed for government work is an ability to attend endless parties with tons of fattening food and not gain weight.

  • In this economy, what’s the point?

  • I work in federal HR – the KSA’s are still around until the new hiring reform rules go into effect November 1. Some agencies can voluntarily be using the new rules before then, but given how most are struggling to meet the deadline, you’ll probably find a lot of KSA boxes still on USAJobs.

    • Why are they being phased out? This is the first I’m hearing about this.

      • President Obama issues an order in May to simplify the federal hiring process, and the elimination of KSA’s became part of the order. You’ll also be able to submit a resume in any format you want, although you’ll want to be sure it includes the appropriate info discussed in the job vacancy announcement.

        In the end, the ideal goal is that the hiring process will take 80 calendar days – from the moment the hiring manager approved the job vacancy to the moment the person arrives for the first day of work. How successful this will be? We’ll find out…

        • I looked at a decent job but each KSA said “under 4000 words” for 4 different KSAs. That’s a “limit” of 16,000 words for this one GS 15 job. uhhh, no thanks!

        • Applying for federal jobs is complete BS. I’ve been a fed for a while, and regardless, it’s BS. The KSA’s don’t say anything about experience. The whole system is set up for managers to hire a contractor or someone they know in to the position they’ve posted.

          My fiance has applied for countless federal jobs. As a veterans and current reservist, a federal job is the most secure given his military obligations. Even for him, it’s the most frustrating thing in the world. Managers should be able to post classifieds, read through resumes/cover letters, and go from there. A one-size-fits-all system is inefficient and burns out those that would be good employees.

          Oh, and veteran’s hiring preference doesn’t do anything, either, if you ever wanted to know that. The government, like the private sector, don’t want to spend any effort to hire military beyond those that are retiring and want to keep their current jobs once they’re out of uniform.

  • You can try the crowdsourced route…

  • sharp741 is right on track… I’m a Fed HR person as well… also, a lot of agencies are simply shifting the WAY they ask you for that information, as we’re still required to have a fair way to measure applicants against one another. Some agencies will ask you for KSA type info in your cover letter now.
    My main advice is not even that you need to pay someone to fix your resume as much as it is to R.E.A.D. every single vacancy you apply against carefully. Seriously. Do exactly what they tell you to, and if something is optional, do it. I toss apps every day for basic things missing that were clearly stated in the vacancy. Oh and please don’t write your cover letter/resume in the third person. I can’t stand that. Good luck!

    • yes, but you do understand what you wrote is a terrible way to recruit for employees, right? It guarantees that you will find the wrong person for the job by focusing only on those with the free time to write separate letters for each job. Obama knows the system you suggest is garbage and that’s why he’s changing it.

      I posted my resume on Monster last year and just let recruiters come to me with jobs they want me to interview for. I barely bother applying for anything- no one does that anymore- and who has the time?

    • “a fair way to measure applications against one another?” my experience (and all the advice that I’ve gotten from anyone who has gotten through the fed. hiring process) is that if you don’t answer the multiple choice questions in a certain way (ie, all Es) that you won’t even get past the computerized scoring in the first round. So, the system favors people who inflate or lie about their competencies. Doesn’t seem fair to me to be a fair way to measure applications at all actually and I imagine that most fed employees are actually those that are the best at navigating the vagaries of the application processes, not necessarily the best for the job.

  • I’d also love to get a referral for a trusted source for this sort of resume service, too.
    My boyfriend is out of work and used to hold a secret clearance about 10 years ago during the tail-end of the Clinton administration. We find government job postings that he is qualified for all the time, but they always require a currently active clearance, which I understand you cannot get unless you already have a government job (or, they’ll hire you and go through the process). It’s frustrating to see all these great positions you have no way to crack into. I realize this is a separate issue than having a resume consultant, but perhaps someone who works with a lot of Gov resumes could also provide some info on getting to the other side of the fence. If there was a way to pay to have yourself investigated to obtain a clearance, we’d be all over it. Fooey.

    • Depending on what kind of work you are looking for –

      I was hired for a gov position that was contingent on getting a security clearance – they started the paperwork for getting a clearance after I was hired.

      I’ve also gotten a security clearance through government contract work – once you have the clearance, it can transfer to other work.

  • When he had the clearance way back when, that’s how it worked- he was hired and they started the filing afterward.
    But now, it seems, that they want you to already hold an active clearance to even bother applying.
    Good point though…there’s a contract job that he’s meeting a recruiter about, but it’s only a 4 month contract. I wonder if he’ll get one for that. That *would* be great.

  • once you leave the private sector your clearance is no longer active. also, clearances do not transfer from agency to agency. I held a DOD secret which I had to reapply for when I switched over to DHS. This is because DHS does not have OPM doing their clearances, whereas DOD does. I also had a DOD secret through a contractor which I was no longer sponsored for once I left the company.

  • There was an article about someone who specialized in job preparation (resume updates, pointers, etc.) for Fed job applicants. It was in the Post (I believe the Fed page) a few months ago – if you can search for that, that would be a good place to start.

  • I highly recommend Resumes That Jump. Ask for John Nicholson (202) 556-1110.

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