Federal Resume

By Kathryn Troutman

Blog archive

Who are you?

If I told you that I heard of someone who runs about 5 miles a day, you probably wouldn’t be super impressed.

But if I told you that this person ran 58,282 miles over the last 31 years, a mile for each of the fallen Vietnam veterans, you would likely look up from your cup of Joe and pay attention.

Duties are what you do every day (for example, run 5 miles).

Accomplishments, on the other hand, tell people how extraordinary you are, and why they should hire you.

For example, all administrative specialist resumes will list experience with word processing, scheduling meetings, handling time-keeping, coordinating correspondence and answering phones.  How then, will the HR person know which applicant to pick?

The answer is accomplishments.

Duties are absolutely necessary in your resume, but accomplishments will make you stand out. They show your unique capabilities, your drive and determination, your career passions, your ability to get things done, and your reasons for being the best candidate.

Here are some examples to show you the difference between duties and accomplishments. Notice how anyone in same position would claim the same duties, but the accomplishments make the individual remarkable and recognizable.


Duties: Serve as chief executive of the federal government and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Enforce laws, treaties, and court rulings. Prepare the national budget. Propose new laws and approve or veto acts of Congress. Negotiate foreign policy and oversee international relations. Manage federal workforce. Appoint officials, judges, and ambassadors. Pardon criminals.

Accomplishments: Elected as the first President of the United States. Was the only president to be elected unanimously, and was elected unanimously two times. Key player in developing the U.S. Constitution and the first person to sign the Constitution. Founded the United States Navy, created the nation’s first currency, and established the State Department and Supreme Court. Agricultural leader and pioneer in improving many aspects of farming with his advancements in crop rotations, fertilizers, and farm equipment.


Duties: Create annual operating plans to support strategic direction set by the board and correlate with annual operating budgets. Collaborate with the board to define and articulate the organization’s vision and to develop strategies for achieving that vision. Hire, manage, and fire the human resources of the organization according to authorized personnel policies and procedures. Oversee the operations of organization and manage its compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Serve as the primary spokesperson and representative for the organization.

Accomplishments: Co-founder and former CEO of the world’s largest computer software company. Ranked by Forbes as the wealthiest individual in America for the past 20 years. Funds and manages extensive charitable foundation which distributes billions of dollars each year towards education, health, and global development. Received honorary knighthood from the Queen of England.


Duties: Develop subject ideas for book publications. Research background information, market potential, and publishing opportunities. Draft publication. Submit material for review. Adhere to deadlines. Rewrite material as many times as needed.

Accomplishments: Wrote the bestselling Harry Potter series, which also turned into blockbuster movies. The sixth edition of the book sold 6.9 million copies in the U.S. in the first 24 hours, the biggest opening in publishing history, and the seventh and final installment was the largest pre-ordered book ever.


Duties: Train five to six hours a day, six times a week. Additionally, complete weightlifting regimen three times a week for muscular strength and endurance. Determine appropriate diet to meet caloric needs, promote muscle development, optimize energy consumption, and facilitate muscle recovery.

Accomplishments: Most decorated Olympian of all time, with 22 medals. Most successful athlete at the Olympic games for three games in a row. Only swimmer to break seven world records at one meet.

So the common sense tip for your federal resume is…

Add accomplishments to STAND OUT and be recognized for WHO YOU ARE!

Posted on Nov 19, 2013 at 4:02 PM

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