Judgment – Your Resume’s Secret Sauce

Making tabloids and mainstream news a few years ago, a group of Japanese tourists boneheadedly elevated the wisdom of their in-car GPS above their own and followed its directions right into the Pacific Ocean. They ultimately emerged unscathed, but their rented Hyundai and their pride will remain forever waterlogged. Judgment is what they lacked – read more to find out how highlighting this critical core competency can be the secret sauce to an effective federal resume.

The widely circulated car-dunking story highlighted the over reliance on technology and the widespread ceding of judgment to devices and systems. The event took place in 2012…before Siri, Uber, or the rapid rise of autonomous cars. Hopefully any similar future headlines will be as benign and chuckleworthy as the Japanese in Australia!

Set Yourself Apart – With Your Judgment

The anecdote here is apt to the job search and federal employment. The tourists were incompetent vacationers. To rise above the rest and land your next federal job, you must highlight core competencies. Professional judgment is the secret sauce to many federal positions; especially mid and senior level jobs in many popular occupational series. It can sometimes be difficult for hiring managers to articulate the competency they seek in the frequently-bland, overly standardized language of job announcements. But like other things that are hard to pin down, they know it when they see it. On the flip side, it can be equally difficult for you, the applicant, to effectively communicate the judgment experience and related core competencies you possess.

With the tenacity and speed with which the federal government automates and integrates judgment-robbing systems, the competency is a rarer quality these days. The various systems of the federal government today are analogous to GPS and Siri: efficient for plugged-in folks to leverage but also crutches which do not, in and of themselves, demonstrate personal usefulness, discretion, or judgment. The masses know Siri. And WAWF. And DAI. And a host of other specialized streamlining systems for work or play. What can set you apart–and mean the difference between job offer and no job offer–is that nebulous concept of occupational judgment.

Including the Secret Sauce

You’re confident you have it. You’re reasonably sure your next employer values it. Yet you swim in a sea of systems and processes, of which you have “experience with.” How do you clearly and effectively pitch your higher-level judgment? Here are some ways to include the secret sauce in your resume.

The Outline Format

Judgment cannot be communicated in even the best-written bullet point. To show your occupational judgment on paper, The Resume Place’s Outline Format is key. With tight, punchy paragraphs highlighting key skills, you will be much more effective at detailing hard skills required by the job alongside the competency of workplace judgment. The former will get your resume through objective HR scorers scanning your resume for basic qualifications; the latter will move you to the top of the hiring manager’s stack. He/she is searching for qualified candidates, but also competence, prudence, and good judgment.

The CCAR Method

Because instances of judgment usually need explanatory context, a Key Accomplishments section can be a great place to elaborate on your good workplace judgment. The Resume Place recommends and uses (in its professionally prepared resumes) the CCAR method for developing effective Key Accomplishment stories for inclusion in your resume. More info for can be found here. It is a great way to get your competency described and considered by your next boss.

Consultations, Skill Matching, and Targeting


Of course a large part of an effective federal resume involves clear demonstration of your “hard” skills and experience with important enterprise systems. But an effective portrayal of the more elusive soft skill/competency of judgment can give you a critical edge. In crafting your federal resume, you must use your experience and judgment to most effectively portray it on paper.

There’s an ocean of not-referred, less-than-qualified applicants out there–don’t steer yourself into it! For more information and to contact us for assistance, go here: http://vetfedjobs.org/writing-services/

Jeremy Mott
Jeremy Mott is an experienced technical writer with significant analytical and organizational expertise, ideally suited for federal resume writing. Jeremy’s experience currently working for the government overseas in Germany and after relocating and finding a Program Analyst position from his DOD position gives him the background to understand the movement of a career from US to overseas and vice versa.
Posted in Blog, Federal Job Search, Federal Resume Writing, USAJOBS, Veteran Federal Jobs

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