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.

When it comes to resume writing, you should make sure that you put your best skills, accomplishments, and experiences on the top-half of your resume because this is where the recruiter will look first and focus on. Good first impressions will go a long way.

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.

Create a resume that will showcase how your capabilities will deliver value to the company. Apart from the roles you played in the military, you can also showcase the training, qualities, and skills you developed to get there. Military experience in your resume will help you to stand out from other applicants.

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.

Before you start writing your resume, it’s recommended to do some soul searching, research on relevant occupations, and narrow down on a specific career path.

Resumes with a wide array of work experience make it difficult for hiring managers to know what job you are applying for. Tailor your resume accordingly so that employers can easily know what you are qualified for. Including a career objective in your resume will be beneficial if you have hopes of changing careers in future.

To get help with this step, you can seek the services of a career coach or visit your local transition office. If you cannot decide between two or more career goals, set up different resumes for each.

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.

Keep in mind that employers are more interested in your current self than your past.

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.

For example, if you were an infantry member who engaged in combat and patrolled the base, make sure you demonstrate how that particular experience will be relevant to the civilian world. Therefore, do not say that you simply patrolled a base. Say that you created a safe working environment for your team.

Do not say that you engaged in firearm battles. Instead, talk about how good you are working under pressure and assessing situations.

Instead of saying that you simply managed military vehicles, you can say that you managed 10 top-grade military vehicles and achieved 100% operational readiness scores for three years.

Do not position yourself as someone who simply wants to be a marketing professional – instead, position yourself as someone who is well-versed and qualified to sell products with exceptional skills in negotiating, planning incentives, delivering presentations, and more.

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.

Military careers offer service members opportunities for advancements and commendations. So be sure you mention these advances in your resume as they will show that you successfully performed your assigned duties and eventually got promoted.

For a stronger impact, you can quantify these achievements in numerical terms. For example, you can list the daily number of patrols, number of soldiers that were under your supervision, or the number of medals you earned. These will show employers that you go above and beyond what’s expected of you.

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.

Do not forget to include the period, institution, majors, and any other certifications you may have earned. While it’s not necessary to list your specific GPA, don’t be afraid to mention that you were in Honors College at your institution.

If applicable, also include continuing education, online courses, and professional development coursework. These light educational programs will show that you are motivated and determined to improve your professional career.

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.

For instance, a company might be looking for somebody with a strong background in logistics. If you studied supply chain management, you will be an ideal candidate. However, if you do not put keywords such as “supply chain management” and “logistics” in your resume, then you are likely to be passed over.

Take time and learn the necessary keywords in your career path and incorporate them in your resume.

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.

It is simply not enough to write that you worked for a particular company or project. If possible, include power words like “executed”, “initiated”, and “implemented”.

Such words will show the hiring manager that you are intelligent and professional. It will also help to showcase your level of conviction and decisiveness on the resume. Power words will separate a good resume from a superb resume.

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.

So make sure that you provide usable and reliable contact information. If you are using a family member’s postal address, make sure they are aware of the job application so that they can notify you of any mails from the employer.

Also, do not include irrelevant information. This will only raise more questions than answers, and reduce your chances of landing the job.

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.

A security clearance can be valuable to recruiters, so it should be highlighted on a military-to-civilian resume. It would cost a private company a considerable amount of money to pay for a thorough background investigation of an employee.

Any military security clearance may save your potential employer money and time and offer proof of your accountability and responsibility.

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.

If you are using things like Hotmail and AOL, it’s time to change to something like Outlook or Gmail. Moreover, do not include things like an objective statement, hobbies and personal interests, as well as “reference upon request” page.

Also, in a tech-savvy world, it’s quite unnecessary to write that you are proficient with the Microsoft Suite.

If a company needs more information about you, they will contact you. So, don’t waste time and space writing these things. Don’t be an old-timer!

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?

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!

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