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Laureen Dupree, left, hosts a federal resume workshop at ACS, Feb. 6. Another Employment Readiness workshop on March 5 is in preparation for the spouses-only Job Fair with DHS in April.

Fort Belvoir hosts a spouse-only job fair on April 8, and Army Community Service is helping spouses craft a compelling federal resume, in preparation for the job fair, according to the manager of ACS’ Employment Readiness Program.

Laureen DuPree conducted a federal resume class at ACS, Feb. 6, to a capacity crowd of interested spouses. She explained there are numerous steps to successfully land a federal job, and many people’s biggest hurdle may be making sure their resume rises above others and makes it to the ‘best-qualified’ group of applicants.

DuPree stressed that, when examining the duties involved, you shouldn’t just think to yourself, “I can do that.” To qualify for most positions beyond entry level, hiring agencies want to interview someone who can say, “I have done that, and I’m the subject matter expert, with others coming to me for guidance.” She said that applicants must be well-versed in the specific, job tasks listed.

Critical self-assessment

The self-assessment part of federal applications, said DuPree, is “no time to be humble. If you have trained others in that issue or policy, or if you evaluate others doing that, then that gives you a level of knowledge you can take comfort in.

“For the majority of the assessment questions, if you can say ‘expert’ or ‘near expert,’ when relevant, then go ahead and apply. Remember you then have to substantiate that expert level of skills in your resume,” she said.

For spouses who have worked in the corporate world, DuPree said one and two-page resumes are not suited for the level of detail required in federal applications. She suggested creating a ‘master’ resume that contains every skill you have learned, in as much detail as possible, then, use relevant sections from the master document to generate job-specific resumes for each job you’re interested in.

DOs and DON’Ts

• Submit your application well before the posted deadline

• Follow all procedures exactly

• Read every part of the vacancy announcement before you start

• Don’t put hours worked or volunteered as a range; use an average instead

• Don’t use full sentences, but start a phrase with a verb

DuPree suggests applicants examine numerous jobs in the occupations you’re seeking, and see which key competencies are most-mentioned, as those are the ones you need to emphasize in your narrative summary.

Spouse preference

Military spouses no longer need to register with Human Resources to attain spousal preference. Your claim to be considered is done by uploading relevant documents to the USAJOBS application. DuPree urged spouses to keep an eye out for vacancies that have interlocking wedding rings on the site, as that means spouses are given an additional benefit.

Professional resume guidance

In preparation for the April 8 Spouses-only Job Fair with the Department of Homeland Security at the Community Center, Employment Readiness offers one-on-one resume help throughout March. Employment Readiness also has 20 slots for virtual interviews with a coach, who can help those unable to schedule an appointment at ACS. DuPree said there will also be extended hours for the individual sessions March 25.

Military spouses eligible to attend include spouse of an active-duty Service member; spouse of a Service member who is 100% disabled from a service-connected disability and unable to work; or an unremarried spouse of a Service member killed while on active duty.

DuPree said the job fair allows people to explore career opportunities in law enforcement, immigration, travel security, prevention and response, cybersecurity, information technology, intelligence, emergency management, business operations, financial and mission support.

To register for the preparation workshop, March 5, and personalized federal resume reviews, email laureen.t.DuPree.civ@mail.mil.