Photo Credit: kafka4prez, Creative Commons

 

Getting a Military To Civilian resume ready to send out to a prospective employer can be a difficult and time consuming process. You may only need a resume every couple of years or so, unlike sending out an email which most people do every day, you may have to re-learn how to create an effective resume.

There are so many different formatting considerations to address that most people forget the most important part of the resume which is strategy. As a job seeker you have an emotional connection to the content of your resume giving you a skewed perspective however you should always consider the reader when creating a resume.

1) Format

No matter how well written your resume is it will never get through the first reading if it is not formatted correctly.  A typical resume is scanned for about 25 seconds so the harder it is to read the more likely it is to get discarded.  Do the hiring managers work for them by using a logical format with wide margins and clear headings. Style-wise, simplicity is best with bullets points that are direct and on topic. Gimmicks like unusual fonts and colors do not impress recruiters. A good resume is no longer than two pages in an easy to read font no smaller than a 10.

2) Catalog your Accomplishments

Hiring managers want candidates that can help them solve a specific problem or satisfy or need within their company. You can’t be a solution to their problem without showing how you solved similar problems in other companies.  Focus on what you did at your previous jobs not what your job was. Start with one or two top line job descriptions then list the benefits having done what you did.  Your accomplishments should be unique to you not just a list of what is necessary to complete the job.  Never use generic descriptions of the job from the original posting. Remember always focus on what you did in the job not what your job was, there is a difference.

3) Market your Accomplishments

Making too many general claims as well as using too much industry jargon may just confuse someone who is looking for candidate who can provide solutions. Instead market your accomplishments in terms of efficiency, percentages, number of employees and money saved. Work backwards by stating if I had not done this then that would have happened.  Marketing your accomplishments helps create a sense of confidence in your abilities and lets the hiring manager know that you made a positive impact in your last position. (Read: How to Translate Your Extra Duties to the Civilian World)

4) Target your Resume

There is no general resume that will cover all the bases for every position.  Each job has specific requirements that need to be addressed in your accomplishments.  If the job you are applying for is in the customer service industry and you have customer service experience then highlight those skills first in your accomplishments.  Giving credence to those accomplishments in your resume that most effectively demonstrate your ability to excel in the position you are applying for is a great way set you aside as someone who is able to fulfill needs. 

5) Target Your Objective

The objective of your resume is usually one or two short sentences that summarize your goal. Most objectives sound similar: Looking for a challenge where I can use my skills in position X to help with the bottom line.  This statement says nothing about you and tells the hiring manager nothing. If you have only 25 seconds to grab someone’s attention then use it let him know what you really want.  Use the actual title of the position you are applying for in your objective and maybe one or two statements about how you plan on helping the bottom line by producing results in that position.  This lets a prospective employer know that you are not just looking for a job but rather a long term career with them.

6) Network

If you are unemployed then getting your resume out there should be a full time job. Calling everyone you know including personal business contacts and recruiters should be at the top of your list.  Setting your social media accounts to take maximum advantage of any opportunities for on-line recruiting should be accomplished prior to handing out your resume. Getting involved with on-line focus groups and blogs that deal with the industry you are trying to break into can get you valuable information and may even reveal the hiring manages name for the company that you are applying to. With a well-crafted resume in hand networking can greatly increase your odds of getting an interview

 

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