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Book Review: Federal Resume Guidebook

Resume Questions

Since leaving active duty in 2011, I have helped with the Transition Program (TAP) at NAS Patuxent River.  TAP is held for the active-duty military before they separate or retire from the service, to help them navigate the transition they face. As part of what was then called “Executive TAP,” the Fleet and Family Service Center (FFSC) at Pax River held an Industry Panel.  The monthly panel comprised HR reps, recruiters, and program managers from the Patuxent River area.  Most of us were from small businesses, but there were a few reps from larger, national companies.  All represented Contract Support Service companies that served DoD in general, and NAVAIR specifically.

The transition from military to civilian life brings many questions.

The industry panel covered topics such as finding and applying for jobs, the interviewing process, salary negotiation, and job offers.  We talked about networking, attire, attitude, resumes, and the essential marketing of oneself. The TAP students were a mix of those eager to strike out in a direction away from the military, those who desired to work as CSS, and those who wanted to seek a government position. That last group always asked us about the federal resume, and we had few answers for them.


Thus, when I met Kathryn Troutman and learned of her work helping federal employment seekers, I wanted to know more.  I had never considered applying for a government position after my navy service – the idea of small business had captured my heart.  But I know many who were (and are) interested in building their federal resume.

Federal Resume Guidebook, 7th Edition
Federal Resume Guidebook Provides Answers

Enter Kathryn’s book, the Federal Resume Guidebook.  When I expressed interest in it, she quickly offered to send one to me (autographed, nonetheless). As soon as it arrived in the mail, I read it all, cover-to-cover, in one sitting.  Fabulous job, Kathryn!  This book gives an excellent overview and understanding of the process.  Then, with actionable steps and helpful hints, walks the applicant through the job of writing and presenting the interview.  I loved the examples, the different scenarios, and the case studies contained in the book.

Resume Communication

The resume plays an interesting role in a job search. Depending on which industry you are searching for, that role changes. I learned from Kathryn how the federal resume is different than a civilian or private business resume. The length, depth, and purpose are dramatically more for a federal resume. It is longer, more thorough, and substantiates the hiring decision for the federal job. For a non-federal job, the resume primarily opens the door. The federal resume, however, not only opens the door but provides a tour of every room of the house.

Without Kathryn’s guidance in the Federal Resume Guidebook, I am not sure how anyone would navigate the process! It reinforces my belief that communication is the key to all of your other priorities. If you want a federal job, you need to know how to communicate that properly in your resume.

A Job Search is a Communication Task – Federal Resume Guidebook Gives the Task Directions


I look forward to the next time someone asks me about getting a government job.  Although I have no first-hand experience, I have a great resource that I can whole-heartedly recommend – the Federal Resume Guidebook.  See Kathryn’s work and other resources at The Resume Place.  Her mission is to train and support job seekers! Her success demonstrates her clear understanding of Know, Grow, and Sow.

One more thing – the Industry Panel that I have been part of has morphed over the years into a non-profit:  The AVA Group.  Check out their Linked In page. Although the panel is no longer formally held and organized by the FFSC, they support The AVA Group’s efforts.

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