Private Industry vs. Federal Job Resumes: Apples and Oranges

Private Industry vs. Federal Job Resumes: Apples and Oranges


The Apples and Oranges Difference Between Federal and Private Job Resumes

When it comes to explaining the difference between a Federal and Private job resume, an orange and an apple is what makes my explaining job easy. When comparing an apple to an orange, their only similarity is that they are both fruits. Their shape, color, and taste are completely different from each other. That’s the case with a Federal and Private job resume as well. Even though they are both types of resumes, they are completely different from each other.

Many veterans make the mistake of using the same type of resume for every type of job application. Whether they are applying for a Federal government job or at a private company, they mistakenly use the same resume.

Often, this is the reason why it may take a veteran years to get hired. The resume they are using is not appropriate for the type of job they’ve applied to. Though, they might be great candidates for the job, their resumes do not do justice to their qualifications, skills, or experience.

Let’s have a look at four major differences between a private and federal job resumes-


Federal job resumes are commonly 3 to 5 pages in length, whereas a private job resume is generally around 2 pages long. The reason for the federal resumes being long is the fact that the federal HR departments want to know your Skills, Knowledge and Abilities in detail. Whereas a private job recruiter doesn’t want to the complete details of all the work you’ve done in the past. For example, a Federal HR specialist would like to know the number of people you used to supervise, and what kind of work they used to perform under your supervision.


A federal job resume has small paragraphs with each paragraph talking about a different skill, but a private job resume is generally written with the help of bullet points. A federal job resume should consist of at least 3 to 4 sentences about all your major skills. But a private job resume only has about 8-10 words in every bullet, that talk about your different skills.


Federal resumes will feature keywords more than Private company job resumes will. The reason being the bullet-style resumes for private jobs generally have these keywords combined into the bulleted statements, whereas in Federal resumes the recruiters receive a large number of resumes, and thus, the keywords are mentioned at the start of every paragraph.


In Federal resumes it is necessary to include a section about your Accomplishments in order to improve the chances of getting selected for the job. However, in private resumes the Accomplishments part is often ignored or not featured in a separate Accomplishments section. The inclusion of the Accomplishment section is another reason Federal resumes are much longer than private resumes.

The lesson is, do not use a federal resume when applying for a private job. Creating a Federal resume will take more time than a Private resume, but going through the samples available online will make the process easier for you.

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