Resume Guidelines and Tips

The following information will assist you in developing your resume for applying for jobs with Fairfax County.

What the county's Recruiters look for when reviewing your resume

Your resume will be reviewed against the job you applied for, based on the information in the job announcement:

Minimum Qualifications: It is mandatory that you meet or exceed the Minimum Qualifications in order to be considered for the job.

Special Requirements: Some job announcements will include requirements for licenses, bilingual ability, certificates, physical strength, etc. It is mandatory that you meet these Special Requirements in order to be considered for the job.

Preferred Qualifications: Applicants who meet the Preferred Qualifications--in addition to the Minimum Qualifications--are a closer match for the job and are considered stronger candidates.

The reviewer will carefully assess the resumes that have met all the Minimum Qualifications, all the Special Requirements (if applicable), and most of the Preferred Qualifications. From this group, the 10-15 resumes that are the closest match to the job announcement will be considered for interviews.

Tip: Read the job announcement thoroughly! Match it against your resume before you apply. Carefully read the Minimum Qualifications and Special Requirements, and if you do not meet them, understand that you cannot be considered for this job.

The building blocks to a good resume

Summary of Qualifications; or Objective

This section should clearly state the job (or type of work) you are applying for, the relevant experience and education you have to offer, and summarize your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Describe your best/strongest qualifications and how they relate to the job. Be specific about the number of years of experience you have. Stick to the facts; don’t overload with personality traits.


Completing this section completely and accurately will make it easier for the reviewer to confirm whether you meet the educational requirements for the job. Include credits earned and anticipated completion date if college degree has not been completed. For each school/degree you should include the following:

  • Name of school
  • Type of school (for example, high school; vocational school; military training; 2- or 4-year college)
  • Degree achieved (BA; BS; AA; MD; MS; GED; HS diploma; PHD)

Employment History

List the following information for each job, starting with your most recent job and working backward through past jobs.

  • Dates employed (month/year -to- month/year)
  • Job title
  • Employer name and location
  • Description of work performed (duties)


  • The dates of employment are critical for your resume to be reviewed properly. These dates will help the reviewer determine the number of years of work experience for which you should receive credit. Don't skip these!
  • Begin each job description with an opening statement about your primary responsibilities. Then highlight your major accomplishments after the responsibilities.
  • Use strong verbs.
  • Be brief; edit/rewrite sentences using concise statements.

Additional Information

Include a section that lists any additional relevant skills, certifications, or professional memberships. Some suggestions are provided below:

  • Language skills
  • Professional licenses/certifications (examples: CDL, RN, PE)
  • Computer software proficiencies
  • Professional memberships (examples, ALA, SHRM, ASCE)
  • Equipment operated/driven
  • Volunteer work

Links for additional assistance

List of action-oriented verbs and phrases

Fairfax County SkillSource Centers (general job hunting resources & assistance)

The Department of Human Resources Application Center is located at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 270, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. Directions to the Government Center.


24 Plumb Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 555-4567 (home)
(301) 555-4321 (work)


Professional project manager with over eight years of experience developing and implementing training strategies that provide the basis for total quality management. Proven track record of completing difficult projects on schedule and within budget. Excellent interpersonal skills, a professional attitude, and outgoing personality to see tough jobs through independently or as a team member. Computer skills include expert-level proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase III.  


State Polytechnic Institute, College Town, Texas
4-year college
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, 1993

Course Work
Total Quality Management, PDCA, Public Speaking, Education, Grammar for Publications, Desktop Publishing in Corporate America and Course Development Strategies   


Curriculum Developer, $35,000/year . . . 10/1998-Present
Some Large Company, Inc., Some Town, Virginia
Wrote training preparation guidelines for conducting training programs. Developed and taught classes on project management for programmers, designing effective presentation materials and using Aldus Persuasion for technical presentations. Developed and conducted Total Quality Management classes including Introduction to Total Quality Management, Statistical Process Control, Reward and Recognition in the 90s and How to Apply for the Malcolm Baldrige Award.

Software Project Leader, $22,000/year . . . 7/1993-1/1998
Any Corporation, Anywhere, Virginia
Enhanced mainframe operating system to set job-printing priority based on pages and priority. Provided mainframe operating system failure analysis from memory dumps. Implemented remote batch communications handler in assembly language in a one month period to meet contractual obligations with customer. Provided graphics and system software support for an IC layout and verification system on Apollo, Sun and DEC Ultrix systems.


- Macintosh, IBM PC and PC clones, Sun Microsystems and Apollo workstations

- Microsoft Excel, Adobe PageMaker, MacDraw Pro, Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase III

- Fluent in Spanish

- C.I.S.A., Certified teacher of: Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase III

Professional Organizations
- IEEE, American Society of Teachers and Women in Business 

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