The Power of Keeping a Good Resume

Your resume will be the first impression that a potential employer has of you. First impressions are important and can make the difference between catching an employer’s attention or being tossed aside into a pool of candidates that they do not wish to pursue.

Things like format, structure, and language are key in ensuring that your first impression is a great one!

Resume Structure

The length of your resume and important ‘staples’ to include are things to remember while you’re building your resume. If you are applying for an entry-level position, one page is, in most cases, all you’ll need. Don’t include any irrelevant experience or information. If you are applying for a higher level position, or a position that requires a lot of experience, special certifications, or training, try to keep your resume under three pages in length. Make sure you keep your sentences simple and leave plenty of white space.

Resume ‘staples’ to include are contact information, including your full name, phone number, a professional sounding email address, relevant job experience, certifications, training, and job history, your educational background, special skills that pertain to your search, and an objective/summary that outlines your career goals.

Choosing a Layout that Works for You

The two primary resume layouts are Chronological and Functional. However, some choose to create a hybrid of the two for their resume.

Individuals that choose a Chronological layout usually have:
• Stable work history with no long gaps in employment
• Have worked consistently in one field or industry and plan to continue on that path
• Have job titles that show increased responsibility and growth within an industry

Individuals that choose a Functional layout:
• Might be seeking a drastic career change into a brand new industry or type of position
• Might have a lot of special skills that they want to highlight or emphasize
• Are trying to re-enter the job market after a gap in employment
• Have experience that isn’t directly related to the jobs they are applying for

Hybrid layouts can be beneficial for someone:
• Lacking partial experience required for the jobs they are applying for
• That wants to emphasize achievements and growth

Other things to Consider when formatting your Resume-

Steer clear of tables – Many companies use programs that will scan resumes for things like key words, experience, and education. Text in tables on your resume is often completely missed by these automated systems. In order to avoid being accidentally overlooked for a position, don’t include tables in your resume, just use plain text.

Choose an appropriate font and opt for black text – Select a standard and non-decorative font and avoid using colored text. This makes your resume easier to read and looks professional.

Choose a common file type – Be sure to save your resume as a common file type such as .pdf or .docx. This ensures that whoever is receiving your resume will be able to open the document with out distorting your format or layout.

Translating Veteran Skills

Many veterans acquire useful skills during their service that apply very well to different corporate career fields. However, there is a communication barrier between corporate America and veterans coming out of their service. Knowing how to translate your relevant and valuable skills onto a resume will help veterans get noticed by employers.

If your MOS has a direct civilian equivalent and you want to continue in that occupation, be sure that you highlight that information on your resume. If your MOS does not have a direct equivalent or you do not want to continue in that occupation, it’s important to showcase your potential and highlight accomplishments.

Many veterans use acronyms for almost everything. When writing a resume, it’s better to spell things out or paraphrase the meaning so that civilian hiring managers can understand all of the content on your resume.

Common Military to Civilian Translations:

NCOIC – Supervisor, Manager, Coordinator
Commander, Chief – Director, Senior Manager
OER/NCOER – Performance Evaluation
Mission – Responsibility, Task, Objective, Job
Subordinates/Soldiers – Employees, Co-Workers
TDA/MTOE– Organizational Structure
Reconnaissance – Data Collection, Survey, Analysis
Squad Leader – Team Leader
Warrior/Advanced/Senior Leaders Course – Basic/Intermediate/Advances Leadership and Management Development Course

Choosing Key Words

Customize your resume with key words that are common in your field or industry of interest. Researching the industry will help you find commonly used key words. Choosing the right key words for your resume will optimize your resume and increase your chances of receiving an interview.

• Key words are terms commonly used by hiring managers and recruiters to create job posts and to find resumes with matching skillsets and qualifications
• Most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) automatically filter resumes by their usage of key words
• Check job descriptions for common words used in job postings in your industry
• Add any software relevant to your occupation such as HRIS, Office Suite, Excel, etc.
• Avoid using cliché words and phrases if possible, such as ‘self-starter’ or ‘team player’

Final Tips:

Don’t ‘spam’ your resume – avoid applying for multiple jobs at one company at one time and only select jobs that are an appropriate fit for your experience and level.

Write a compelling cover letter – if given the opportunity, write a captivating cover letter. This will give you another opportunity to utilize some more industry key words and really express your interest in a position.

Follow up on applications – if possible, send an email to a hiring manager to check on your application’s status. This further expresses your interest and seriousness for a position that you applied for.

For more information on resume building or translating veteran skills, please email us at [email protected] and our knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have!