By Xavier Morett, Career Development Peer, ASU Career and Professional Development Services
Applying for a state government job is a unique process in comparison to other industries. Just as with most jobs, however, the first step is creating a resume. With state jobs there are some distinct considerations and expectations to keep in mind when doing so. Here are some tips on how to craft an exceptional resume for state government opportunities.
Start by visiting the official website of the state government you are interested in. Each state will have its own process and expectations regarding the format and submission of application materials. The state of Nevada, for example, does not request resume submissions for most jobs but instead asks you to create an online portfolio that includes many of the same sections as a resume. States such as New York and California, meanwhile, require you to pass an exam or assessment before you can apply for any state positions.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with your desired state’s expectations. Often, the state website offers a step-by-step guide on completing the application process. When you apply for a specific position, read the job description carefully. For government jobs, be sure to follow instructions carefully. Pay attention to the details such as how to format dates and what information to include. Failure to properly follow instructions could result in your application being dismissed entirely regardless of your qualifications.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the expectations, you can begin creating or tailoring your resume. Your resume for state government should include the same sections you are likely already familiar with such as education, work experience, and relevant skills. Where state resumes differ is that they often look for much more detail. Instructions for state government resumes may ask you to list every job you’ve held to aid them in their background investigation. Stick to any page or length limits explicitly mentioned in the job posting, but otherwise, state government resumes should be focused more on content than length.
Finally, here are some general notes to keep in mind when drafting your resume. Avoid fancy or colorful fonts, styles, and formatting. Organize your sections in a way that makes sense. Generally, you want to highlight the most important information first with less relevant information placed towards the end. Lastly, mirror the wording provided in the job description while highlighting the skills and experience they are seeking.
Applying for a career in state government can be an intimidating feat, but with these tips and tricks, completing those first few steps of preparing for and drafting a resume should be much easier to accomplish.