Resume Tips

The following resume tips are courtesy of Dr. Robert C. Norris, Jr., who serves as Deputy Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Please note that these tips may be significantly different from what you have heard in academia, as the government understandably looks for different things in a resume than private industry does. These tips were given during the Tulsa Symposium and represent the opinions of a diverse group of leaders in Information Technology management within the federal government.

  1. The resume should be two pages in order to tell a good story.
  2. You should structure it this way:
    Objective; Security Clearance (if any); Experience; Projects; Education; Information Assurance Certifications; Honors and Awards; Technical Skills (programming languages, OS, etc.); Coursework; and References.
  3. You should explain either in the cover letter or the resume that your college is a NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.
  4. For Experience and Projects follow this format: Problem , Solution , and Results . In the Resume class Dr. Norris taught at the Symposium, he provided this example: The warehouse was inefficiently run. I designed a new layout that overcame the problem. The company saved $10,000 by improved efficiency.
  5. For the certifications that UNCC has, the correct names are either NSTISSI 4011, 4012, and 4014 or CNSS 4011, 4012, and 4014. You really should spell out what these certifications represent since many Federal agencies are not aware of them. Second, many people do not know that UNC Charlotte stands for University of North Carolina Charlotte --spell it out.
  6. Put your coursework toward the end of your resume so you can explain what coursework you took concerning programming and technical classes (i.e. saying 'Cisco' and 'Java' without explanation tells the potential employer nothing.)
  7. Try to avoid initials and acronyms in your writeups. Spell things out and make it easy for the reader to learn about you.
  8. Keep your objective short.
  9. Honors and Awards should focus on their relationship to your career goal. If they aren't readily understandable then don't use them.
  10. Try to place a dollar value on your scholarships. It impresses recruiters. Community service follows the same rule.
  11. For references, pick 3. It is better to have business references than academic references.
  12. Try to keep to a single font with no bolding or italics.

One last piece of advice... Also keep a plain text version of your resume (no special characters such as bullets and no visual formatting) ready, as some agencies may ask you to upload a text version. Please note that most of the potential employers who accept resumes this way will perform keyword searches electronically on it to fill particular needs, so while the professional resume above needs to be lengthy and explain Java or Oracle, here they may just be searching those keywords. In other words, it may be worth your while to list any and all technologies that you have used in your academic and professional career because if a technology gets a hit on a keyword search, your resume is much more likely to be looked at and considered. Good luck!