Many job seekers don't think there is any difference between applying for the private sector and government jobs. Most of them just send out their resume and cover letter to as many companies as they possibly can. Despite the popularity of such approach it doesn't prove to be effective at all, especially if compared to the opposed method of tailoring application documents to every job opening. It will also unlikely help you get hired if you send your one and only resume to private companies and state agencies alike. The thing is that applying for government jobs is different from applying for private sector jobs.
Landing a Public Sector Job
When applying for government jobs one of the most important things is following the process. If you should know anything about how hiring managers work in this sector it is how they narrow down the search. They usually don't want to look at a candidate's resume if he/she didn't care enough to follow the job application guidelines. So be careful to read all of the instructions on how to apply for a job. Jot down the things you have to comply with in order to make sure you don't forget anything important. Background checks, different kinds of forms to fill in, deadlines - all of these things matter more when you want to land a public sector job.
It is important to ensure you complete every step of the application process correctly. Missing details on this stage will send your resume right to the discard pile. Going through a job posting will also help you match the right words in your resume and cover letter. It may become a proof that you are a good fit for the company. If the agency you are applying for is using an applicant tracking software then it will also help get past through it. Government agencies often use different terminology than private sector companies and it will be a good thing if you could adjust your resume to the needs of the company. Pay special attention to the job titles as they are sometimes different in the private sector. It is all about being relevant to your employer. And if you made your mind to apply for a government job you will need to adjust.
Stick with traditional format and layout of your resume. Don't experiment with the design and fancy paper (if you are sending a printed version of resume). Government agencies prefer a traditional look. Even though you might want to show yourself as a creative person trying to tone it down. That doesn't mean that you have to use all of those cliches that everybody uses on a resume. Instead, use simple words to describe what you accomplished and how you did it. We recommend using brief sentences and statements as they are easier to understand and process.