15 Tips for Your Resume
Resumes should not rehash your past career history or list what you have done over the years. Instead, they should be more about writing to the future to the career path you want to pursue.
Resume writing is a very important phase when conducting your job search. This is the stage where you define your career objectives, skills, and qualifications.
Less than 1 percent of the total population in the U.S. have served in the military. This means that 99 percent of the population are less familiar with what veterans bring to the civilian workforce. Writing a strong resume that translates your military experience into civilian professional skills is vital when transitioning into a post-service career.
Therefore, if you are leaving the service and don’t know how to develop a good resume, here are some resume tips for drafting a high-impact resume that will show how your experience in the military is transferable to a civilian career.
After-Service Resume Tips That Will Land You the Job
1. Put Your Best Stuff “Above the Fold”
In marketing, “above the fold” is what you see before you scroll down on a site or the front half of a newspaper. It is basically your first impression of the content in a particular document.
2. Connect the Dots
The clearer you make the connections between your skills and experience and a company’s needs, the better your chances of getting the job. Most people, civilian or military, write more about themselves and forget about the needs of their audience.
3. Define Your Specific Job Objective
You cannot effectively market your skills for a job if you don’t have a well-defined objective. Since most military members have very diverse professional backgrounds, they often make the mistake of writing resumes that are rather general, hence, not effective.
4. Keep Your Resume Chronological
There are different ways to organize your resume, however, the good ol’ reverse chronological format should be your best bet. It puts your most recent work experiences first, and earliest works last.
5. Demilitarize the Language in Your Resume
When you list your military rank and title in your resume, be sure to provide some information about what the specific position entails without resorting to too much military jargon.
It is best you assume that your potential employers aren’t veterans. So, avoid military acronyms and terms that they may not understand. Instead, identify and use the terms and titles used in the civilian workforce sector to write your resume. This will help them clearly understand your work potential and make them feel less intimidated.
You can also include an equivalent civilian title to your ranks. For example, if you were a commanding general, you can list a chief executive officer (CEO) as an equivalent. There are a number of online sources that offer such translation services.
6. Do Not Just Tell, Show
Vividly describe the skills and experience you garnered from your military career.
7. Proudly Display Your Military Experience
Military members are known to be very disciplined, dedicated, and hardworking. These are some of the major attributes that employers are looking for. Therefore, proudly list how you served your country.
8. Highlight Your Educational Background
Many service members have some sort of educational background outside what they have learned in the military. So if you attended university, vocational training, or a technical school before or after service, ensure you include it in your resume.
9. Supplement Your Resumes with a Personal Website
If you find it hard to cover everything in your resume, include the most relevant things only, and then add a link to your personal website. A personal website will allow you to tell your whole story, include some visuals, and more.
10. Highlight Keywords in Your Resume
Keywords are now crucial components of a resume. In most cases, companies will use keywords to search their resume database.
11. Use Power Words
Literature may seem like it was made for our great-grandparents, but the power of words is still relevant today, especially on formal writing like resumes.
12. Don’t Forget the Basics
It’s easy to forget to include basic information like your phone number, email, and postal address. Recruiters won’t waste time trying to contact applicants. If they can’t get hold of you, you miss the opportunity.
13. Highlight Your Security Clearance
A security clearance is a status granted to a service member allowing him/her access to restricted areas or classified information (organizational or state secrets) after a thorough background check.
14. Don’t Use Outdated Resume Writing Techniques
When sending your resume, make sure that it is current. There are some things that you may leave in your resume that will tell the employers that you are outdated and this may jeopardize your chances.
15. Proofread and Double Check the Mechanics of Your Resume
The number one rule before entering a combat is rechecking the condition and functionality of your firearm, supply of ammo, and fuel in the vehicle. Similarly, you can’t send your resume without reviewing it.
Take some time and check your military-to-civilian resume for simple linguistic mechanics like spelling, format, accuracy, and dates. With a perfect resume, you will be confident that your potential employer is looking at exactly what you want them to know about you and your work experience.
Before the hiring manager meets you, they will meet a resume that’s supposed to represent the quality of work you can reproduce. Submitting a resume with errors will certainly eliminate you from consideration.
What Will Make Your Resume Stand Out?
A good resume should be brief, honest, and written in an easily digestible way. Unless you are sending applications to be a designer, your resume should not be flashy. Rather, it should focus on showing your best and most relevant work in an easy-to-read format.
It is fine to have two pages if you can’t fit all the information in a page (as long as you are not too wordy and repetitive). Nonetheless, a hiring manager is likely to lose interest after the second page.
For your resume to stand out, it should be concise and clear. Usually, a technical employer will want to swiftly read through your resume and decide if you have what it takes to add value to the company. That’s why it’s not recommended to write too much or include a lot of irrelevant information (information that is not related to the job you are applying for.
Also, go for lists and bullets over paragraphs. You want your experience and skills to be noticeable with just one glance, don’t you?
Adding some flair to your resume is not a bad idea as long as it remains professional. A flash of mild color and attractive (but easily readable) font can go a long way.
Finally, do not forget your social media presence. It may not be in your actual resume, but it will be something your recruiter will want to look at. Make sure your social media accounts like LinkedIn are updated and look professional.
With these awesome resume tips, you are on your way to landing your dream job!