We talk to a lot of amazing men and women who have recently separated from the armed forces and many struggle with how to translate their experience into terms employers and hiring managers will understand. How you market yourself on your resume is so important! It’s critical that you know how to break down the skills and training you’ve had in the military and put these experiences into words that demonstrate value and paint a picture of what you can do for potential employers. We’ve created a short list of suggestions to help you do just that! With a little updating and some creativity, these tips will help you make sure that your resume stands out.
Less is More
When we say “less is more” we mean that literally: use fewer words. Recruiters and hiring managers spend seconds looking at a resume and you want to make it easy for them. This means not hiding your core skills among lots of wordy text. It won’t be read. Streamline your resume as much as possible. 1-page and 2-page resumes are ideal; very few people should have a 3-page resume.
Avoid Using Military Terms
We know that certain words are ingrained in your brain, but you want to be careful about peppering your resume with military jargon. If you worked on a certain system or managed a military-specific project, try to explain your responsibilities in words that a civilian would understand.
Make Core Skills Marketable and Obvious
Take a step back and think about your core skills—make a list. Subjective terms like “responsible,” “reliable”, “trustworthy,” and “goal oriented” won’t get you hired. Results and hard skills will get you hired so focus on measurable, tangible skills. Examples can include project management, data analysis, leadership, computer skills, and customer/client management.
Use Bullet Points
Formatting makes such a difference! Keep your resume simple, straightforward, and easy to read. Bullet points are a great way to highlight your core strengths and help a hiring manager quickly tell what you can do. Instead of a paragraph at the top that outlines your background and goals, we recommend a bulleted overview of your marketable skills. Your work experience will outline your background and your goal is always the same: to get their attention.
Find a Civilian Proofreader
Once you’ve updated your resume and feel that it reflects what you can do, enlist the help of a civilian outside of your immediate circle. Ask this person to read your resume to see if they can easily understand your strengths and value as an employee. If they have questions or are confused by what you’ve said, there is a strong chance someone from human resources will be too.
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