Jumping from the military into a civilian role and vacancy is a huge change to make in your life and, of course, there's a lot of differences that need to be taken into account. To succeed in this unforgiving job-seekers world, you need to be prepared and you need to have the right mindset and drive.
Even for someone who wasn't in the military, finding a job can be stressful enough which is why it's, even more overwhelming for veterans.
So, to ensure things go as easy as possible and you have everything you need to succeed, here are eight essential things you need to put into your resume to make sure it stands out from the crowd and secures you that all-important interview.
This won't be necessary.
1. Define the Objective
One of the most important things to remember when creating your civilian resume is that you need a clear goal/objective to be defined. You need to know exactly what job you're applying for before you even start writing.
"If you already have a resume written, you'll need to edit it or every job application or vacancy that you apply for. Be sure to put the job clear in your mind, so you know exactly what kind of language to use and what style you need to be writing in," shares Paul Taylor, a resume editor for Paper Fellows.
2. What Can You Do For Me?
When writing your civilian resume, you need to make sure that you're speaking to the employer who is reading your resume and answering all the questions they asked, or slipped into, the job advertisement.
You need to be answering the questions and stating who are you and what you can bring to the table for this vacancy. Why are you the person they need for this job? For this, you'll need to research the company and the job description, but this can be done easily using the internet.
3. Assuming No Military Knowledge
Not everybody is going to understand military terminology, and it's important that you remember that when writing your resume. When it comes to listing out roles, individual titles, awards, training programs and anything else military-related, make sure that you put it all into layman's terms.
4. Highlight Your Experience
During your time in the military, chances are you've spent a lot of time building up your skills, having lots of experiences and completing many achievements. All these achievements, even if you've won any awards, need to be highlighted in your resume.
This is what your employer is looking out for so make sure you put it near the top, so it's the first aspect of you that they see.
5. Use Online Tools
When writing your resume, you need to make sure that it's free from errors and mistakes which could cost you the interview. Of course, not everybody is writer so here is a list of tools you can use to make things easier;
- To Vs Too - An online blog you can use to brush up on your knowledge of how to use grammar properly.
- State of Writing - An online blog that's full of resources on everything about writing professionally.
- Easy Word Count - A tool for actively tracking and monitoring the word count of your resume.
- Cite It In - An online tool you can use to manage and properly format your citations, quotes and references.
- Grammarix - An online tool for improving and enhancing your knowledge of grammar for your resume.
6. Never Downplay Your Military History
When it comes to the fact that you've been in the military, make sure you never play it down and highlight it throughout your resume; be proud of what you've done. There are a ton of employers out there who wholeheartedly recognize the benefits and skillsets that come with hiring veterans – so make sure you're clear about it.
7. Avoid Gory Details
If you're a veteran who found themselves in live and active combat situations, it's important you remember to leave out the details, such as accounts and experiences.
Of course you can state what roles you played – especially if you were managing a team – but a lot of what you could say might make your employer very squeamish.
8. Test & Improve Your Resume
Once you've written the perfect resume, try sending it out to a few places and see if you hear back from them. If you hear nothing back within a week or two, be sure to edit your resume and make changes before sending it off to other places.
Continue to edit and improve your resume, and you'll be amazed at how many interviews you can secure for yourself.
To summarise, these are the things you need to put in your resume right now;
- Defining your goal
- Answer the job description
- Rewrite resume in layman's terms
- Share your experience
- Use online tools for help
- Never shy away from your history
- Edit out the details
- Analyze and enhance
Mary Walton is a writer whose work on resume writing has appeared in the Huffington Post and elsewhere. She helps with resume editing and proofreading at Resumention. Mary contributes to online education by helping PhD students with dissertation writing, and she blogs at Simple Grad.