How to Apply for a Municipal Job

The conventional wisdom when applying for a job is to keep your resume short, sweet, and to the point. While you want to outline your experience, you don't want to overwhelm a busy hiring manager with an excessively detailed list of accomplishments. 

However, that rule gets turned on its head somewhat when talking about applying for municipal jobs. Most municipalities—local governments—have to adhere to many rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. Job applicants often have to have very specific qualifications to be considered for an opening, such as licenses or certifications. 

One thing to bear in mind: As with most government jobs, most of the time, internal candidates are given priority consideration for openings within municipalities. This doesn't mean you shouldn't apply, but don't expect to hear back immediately. Internal candidates get dibs, and even in the best-case scenario, the application process is unlikely to move quickly. 

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Include Exact Dates

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The month, date, and year of start and end dates are not necessary; however, the month and year allow the reviewer to ascertain a more precise time an applicant spent in a position. It's very likely that a public sector employer is going to check these dates, so be sure they are accurate.

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Separate by Position, Not Employer

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If an individual has worked in multiple positions within the same company, each position should be documented separately. This gives a better view of the duties that were performed for each position. Even if the positions are similar, point out the differences; which could include an increase in responsibility or promotion to a new pay grade.

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Be Specific!

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The experience listed in a resume should include detailed statements of duties, such as, "Created curriculum for training courses; produced handouts, slideshows, and exercises; introduced trainees to the policies and procedures for giving performance evaluations."

You want to be as clear as possible about exactly how much and what kind of work you did.

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Include Details About Employers

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By listing a description of each past employer on your resume, a future employer can get an idea of the environment in which you performed previous duties.

Some details you'll probably want to include are the size of the organization, whether it was private or public sector, and how working there qualified you for the job for which you are applying. Just be sure that if you don't want your current employer to be contacted that you make it clear in your application.

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Include Volunteer and Internship Information

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Especially within the public sector, employers that are able to count volunteer experience and unpaid internships as qualifying work experience. Even for those who are unable to count unpaid experience as qualifying, it allows them to get an entire picture of an applicant's acquired knowledge, skills, and abilities.

When detailing volunteer or internship experience, include the same information you would for a paid position. This gives a deeper picture of what you accomplished and learned from these experiences.