Your resume is just like your picture on Facebook, people can view it but it really doesn’t tell the whole story unless you give a good description of who you are or in the Facebook example, what is really going on in the picture.
I can honestly say I have looked at thousands of resumes in my 14 plus years of recruiting and have yet to find that perfect resume that stands out to me. You would think I would have found that “perfect example” by now, but instead I have found a line here, a paragraph there, or an “objective” statement that really catches my eye which in-turn spurs me to contact the applicant.
I believe writing really good resumes is a two fold problem for our Military Members transitioning out for a couple reasons. The first reason is you didn’t really have to do a job interview to join the military. You had to take the ASVAB and get a qualifying score and you had to go to the Military Entrance Processing station and do a physical. Those two things together either got you in the military or for others disqualified them for entry. The second reason is because of how military members are taught to write memorandums. For example, in the Air Force we used the “Tongue and Quill” to learn how to write resumes. This was an outdated publication that really only taught you how to write documents and memorandums geared towards military protocol.
Applying for a position with a civilian company is a whole different ball game!
Here are some tips for putting your civilian resume together:
First, give me the facts…clear, concise and to the point and don’t go over two pages if possible. Recruiters are skimmers…we look for those key words or statements that makes us say WOW, this person would be a perfect fit for our company and then, we take the time to look at the whole resume!
Second, one of the most important items that people don’t do is gear their resume to what the employer is actually looking for. If you look carefully, the employer has already listed what they are looking for in an ideal candidate directly in their job description.
For example, if I am an employer and I write down I am looking for someone who is a leader, please don’t list all the great computer skills you have as the first items on your resume. Instead, list some of the group activities you have lead or projects you have supervised. Give some examples of how your leadership impacted the organization you worked for positively. I understand that people don’t like to talk about how great they are, however, when writing a resume that is exactly what you need to do!
Third, ALWAYS AWAYS ALWAYS adjust your resume to move key things you have done in your life to the top of the resume so I see a) you actually took the time to read what we are looking for and b) you actually have the skills we are looking for and are not just filling the local state unemployment requirements of three job interviews a week to stay on unemployment.
Another example might be if the job description says, “Must be willing to work long, irregular hours.” A good resume statement might be, “while working and overseeing the Aircraft Isolation Bay I met all aircraft maintenance required turn-around times, regardless of how long it took to fix the plane. I am no stranger to working long hours and thrive in that type of environment.” A bad resume statement might be, “reliable, always get the job done.” As a recruiter, I would ask myself when reading this…did it get done right, how long, what does reliable mean, etc….
Hopefully you will find what I have written useful and be able to apply it to your current resume. For those of you already doing this, kudos to you! Your future job is just around the corner!
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