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The Federal Resume Profile Debate

The Federal Resume Profile Debate

Posted in Federal Resume Writing
by Kathryn Troutman on April 30th, 2013 |

Most private industry resumes include a profile or summary of qualifications, outlining skills that an applicant can offer a potential employer.  The profile can be changed for each application to feature the skills and accomplishments that are most relevant for the position. Profiles range in size from the very short (e.g., 5 lines) to the very long (e.g., 40 lines).

A typical profile looks something like the following:

PROFILE: Results-oriented manager with 25+ years of leadership experience in operations, administration, and budgeting. Pioneer with a proven ability to lead large-scale undertakings in highly sensitive and publicly visible contexts.  Recognized for financial stewardship, I possess a record of strategic planning, improving business processes, increasing productivity, and achieving significant cost savings. Strong interpersonal and communication ability with a record of proactively conveying operational needs to senior executives.

But what role do profiles play in Federal Resumes, if any?

This question is regularly debated among jobseekers – some arguing that profiles play a key role in helping their resumes stand out and get rated more highly, while others are not so sure.  The reality is more complicated – there are pros and cons to including a profile in your resume.

PRO: The federal supervisor may read your profile to get a "snapshot" of your background. This may help you stand out once your application is on the hiring manager's desk.  But a profile, in this context, is an eye-catcher, not the selling point.  If the profile is interesting enough, the remainder of your work experience, education, and competencies – as demonstrated throughout the rest of your resume – will determine whether you are called for an interview.

CON: Including a profile on your resume does NOT help initially qualify you for the position.  The profile does not count toward establishing qualifications, category ratings, or points toward your application during the evaluation process.  If the information in the profile is not anchored to a specific position and corresponding set of dates, the Human Resources Specialist will not know how long you have possessed your claimed skills and abilities.

So what's the best solution?

Establish your "One-Year Specialized Experience" by moving the profile content into the Work Experience sections. Profiles make for nice reading, but ultimately don't help qualify you (i.e., increase your score) for target federal positions.  Hiring managers will review your entire resume regardless of whether your resume sports a profile.  The best approach is for you to demonstrate your experience and qualifications in the "meat" of the federal resume.  Doing so will help you get qualified and help you get full consideration by the hiring manager.