IMPROVE YOUR RESUME
MAKE YOUR RESUME GREAT!
The average hiring manager spends just seven seconds skimming a resume before determining if the application goes in the Reject pile or Consideration pile.
So if you’ve got one shot to make a great impression with your resume, let’s make the most of it.
Here are some suggestions to make sure your resume is easy on the eyes and user-friendly.
Just make sure to communicate immediately with your 7E Manager if you want him or her to hold off submitting your resume while you take these suggestions to revise it.
Open up the layout with more white space.
Don’t cram everything onto one page and make it hard to read.
Multiple pages are fine as long as the content is applicable.
Use tabs to line-up your columns. Don’t manually move text with the space bar.
Use at least an 11 point size standard web-based font like Arial, Helvetica, or Times.
Avoid fancy script fonts.
Don’t mix fonts and sizes.
Use the same uniform style throughout.
Take a quick look at these resumes.
Do these look inviting to read?
Of course not!
You don’t have to even read a word to know that it’s going to be a strain on your eyes and a chore to find the information you want.
Now compare those with some examples of resumes that are easy on the eyes.
After a quick glance, you know it’ll be easy to evaluate it.
Use title case — never all caps.
No typos — ask a friend to proofread your resume to remove any spelling errors, grammatical or punctuation errors.
Also download a free app called Grammarly if you need help catching mistakes.
Use bullets instead of complete sentences for the body copy so it’s easier to read.
Put your recent work experiences in chronological order — most recent jobs at the top.
It must be obvious to the hiring manager that you’re an appropriate candidate because your recent experience is from a similar industry or a similar job function.
If you have a variety of experiences, include just the most appropriate ones that relate to the position — don’t make the hiring manager dig for the relevant information.
Consider removing some of your experiences that will not help you get the job…i.e. if you’re going for a Mechanical Engineer position, you can leave off the busboy you held in high school.
When you’re done with your resume, convert it to PDF so the format stays intact.
Some candidates make the mistake of including as many jobs as they can cram on their resume — regardless of how long they stayed employed at each.
They feel the extensive variety of experiences makes them look more attractive — huge red flag!
Resumes that scream you’re a “Job Hopper” is probably the number one pitfall we see Vets make.
Their resume has too many jobs for the amount of time.
It really scares the hiring managers because the last thing they want is to hire someone who they feel cannot hold down a job.
These candidates are considered risky and rarely granted interviews.
Hiring managers automatically assume the worse — that the Vet constantly gets fired or quit jobs shortly after taking them.
Their resume shows no staying power.
Companies want employees who have track records of staying long-term at every job they hold.
If your most recent 1-2 jobs are at least 5 years, you’re safe.
If not, we strongly recommend that you consider some clarification to explain why you had such short stints and previous positions.
Of course, there are going to be circumstances beyond your control that may have required you to leave jobs shortly after taking them. That’s okay.
Don’t ever lie or mislead on your resume, just be smart how you present those experiences.
Perception is everything.
If the average job on your resume lasted only for month, not years — than we strongly recommend you take another stab at presenting your experiences.
A vet we recently helped had 6 jobs on his resume, not one of which lasted for more than seven months.
He had been out of work for almost a year and was struggling to land interviews.
Turns out, 4 of the 6 were contract positions and he was laid off at the other two because the company was doing poorly.
Yet, his resume didn’t explain that.
So we had him regroup the 4 positions under one title called “Contract Positions” and then put a sentence next to the other two explaining why the jobs ended prematurely.
The result….he landed an interview two days later and got hired immediately.
Some other suggestions if you have an excessive amount of jobs on your resume:
Leave off the months — instead of writing Nov., 2016 – August, 2018 for the time you spend at a company, write it with just the years — 2016 to 2018.
Write a brief explanation next to each position — i.e., laid off because company lost big customer, contract position, left because passively recruited for a much better opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, needed to leave to care F/T for a terminally ill parent.
If you have two part-time jobs during the same time period, just include the better experience and remove the second one.
If you were taking classes full-time and also working part time, you might want to leave off the job — especially if it’s in an unrelated field — to give the resume a cleaner appearance.
The classic mistake a lot of vets make is that they assume the person reading their resume is also a Vet and clearly understands all the jargon, titles, ranks, acronyms, and nuances of the military experience.
No doubt you have some incredible and valuable experiences that you absolutely must convey on your resume.
Just make sure that that everything you write makes perfect sense to a civilian.
Here are some other suggestions:
Inventory the skills you acquired during your service.
Whether you were a sharpshooter in the Army, or a diver in the Navy, or worked security in the Marines — the skills you developed while carrying out these takes should definitely be included on your resume.
They just need to be presented in a broader civilian context.
For example, saying you supervised and led 12 personnel is probably a better play than saying you were the field artillery officer.
The former presents an image of a leader which civilian hiring managers can easily relate to. The latter presents the image of an Army guy shooting stuff, which makes it hard for some civilians to connect the dots and realize you did much more than that.
Think beyond the specific function you carried out and identify the core value, skill or expertise you brought to the table.
Very few civilians can come close to your skill set. Include your leadership skills, ability to carry out work with minimal supervision, integrity, attention to detail, “can-do” attitude, grit, coachability, communication skills, ability to achieve your goals and meet strict deadlines.
You were trained by some of the best leaders in the world.
This is your competitive edge — very few civilians will be able to compete with you on these skillsets so make sure to promote them.
Here are some suggestions of how you can start your bullet points.
Fill in the blanks.
- Led and was responsible for a group of____
- Developed a new___
- Improved ___
- Reduced costs of ___
- Responsible for a budget of ___
- Responsibilities included___
- Received major commendations and awards for ___
- Promoted __ times within ___ years for extraordinary performance
- Represented ___ at a nationwide conference
- Presented conference presentations at ___
On another note, if you have a service-related disability, and unsure about whether or not to include it, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, “Can I do the job?”
If the answer is “yes” and the disability doesn’t affect job performance, then don’t mention it on your resume.
If you do, there’s the possibility of discrimination or preconceived, inaccurate notions about your disability.
The law is on your side. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you don’t have to say anything.
Only reveal a disability on a resume if you knew that it would increase your chances of getting the job.
This is the most important section of your resume and where hiring managers will spend the most time….so make yours great!
The biggest problem we see with vets’ resumes is that there’s way too much focus on what they did at the job instead of the results they achieved.
Flip this emphasis and you’ll have a resume that stands out from the pack and proves you’re a superstar worker.
It will also trigger good questions and answers about your strengths during the interview.
Here’s a quick overview.
Use bullets, not complete sentences, so it’s easy to skim.
Eliminate personal pronouns like “I” and “me” and reduce articles like “a,” “an,” and “the.”
Start each bullet with a strong verb like “Generated,” “Managed,” “Developed,” or “Supervised” — use past tense for former jobs.
Paint a Picture.
The person reading your resume does not have the luxury of asking you clarifying questions.
So, make it easy for them by using descriptive words so the hiring manager has a good idea of exactly what you did at your different work experiences.
If you worked a recognizable company like Lockheed Martin, there’s no need to explain that they an industry-leading aerospace company.
Working at Tomacore Industries on the other hand requires a brief description so the reader can envision your work environment.
Include colorful details in your work experience bullets.
Instead of a boring line like“Prepared sales kits,” write, “Prepared 12-page sales kits for marketing directors at Fortune 500 companies including Quaker Oats, Nike, and General Electric.
Companies are and always will be concerned about money.
List the ways you’ve saved, earned or managed money.
All accomplishments should be quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts or other concrete measures of success.
“Acquired new customers,” is not as effective as “Acquired three new construction clients that generated $137,000 in profit — at 27% increase from my predecessor.”
Demonstrating how you save time, make time or manage time will grab the hiring manager’s attention.
Example: “Implement 14 new processes that decreased average production time per unit from seven minutes to five minutes.”
Make each sentence count.
Every sentence you include should explain a benefit about you.
Don’t waste space just to fill the page.
Solve a problem.
Did you help make something better?
Mention the problem and what you did to help the company.
Here’s an example:
“Devised a new email marketing campaign that generated 127 hot leads in Year 1 for a new division that was failing — closed 17% of them to generate $78,000 that was straight to company’s bottom line.”
Does your resume have a long gap of more than a couple of months when you didn’t work?
If so, fix it immediately!
Otherwise it’s an instant red flag in the hiring manager’s mind.
Just like the Job Hopper scenario, a gap causes questions to arise in the hiring manager’s mind as to what you were doing during this time period.
And unfortunately, it’s usually the bad stuff that comes to mind.
If you do not clarify, the hiring manager will assume the worst scenario.
There’s got to be something wrong with this guy.
Why hasn’t anyone hired him?
Was he in prison, living in his parents’ basement playing video games, partying with his friends?
If you have a gap, don’t sweat it! Patching it.
Is there something positive you did during the time you were not working?
Were you taking online classes, caring for an elderly parent, working part-time or contract jobs, volunteering, taking a once-in-a lifetime trip around the world?
Don’t add to their confusion…be transparent, but highlight some interesting content instead of leaving the time period blank.
And if you truly have nothing to show for your time gap, sign up right now for a free online class to learn a new skill in your professional area of interest — there are literally hundreds of great ones that will impress any hiring manager.
If possible, you should also volunteer at a nonprofit or company where you can do a similar job to the one you’re applying to.
For example, if you want to be a sales rep for an aerospace company, you could volunteer to help generate donations for your local animal shelter.
Imagine how impressed the hiring manger will be when you say something like this, “Since I’m in between jobs right now, I have a lot of free time. I wanted to keep my sales skills sharp so I hooked up with my local animal shelter and told them I could bring in some new revenue to help fund their programs. Even though I’ve only been there two weeks, I’ve already raised $12,000 in new donations for the animal shelter.”
If the job you’re going for comes down to you and one other guy, who do you think the hiring manager is going to choose? Of course, the go-getter who never stops learning and knows how to get it done.
While you’re waiting to see if you’re going to be granted an interview, you can improve your chances of getting hired, by doing two simple things right now.
Plus, it’ll provide additional conversation topics when you are being interviewed.
First, think of a skillset you lack that the the job you are applying to requires? Maybe there’s a “Nice-to-Have” requirement you spotted on the Job Description that you’re missing, but if you had it, you would be so much more attractive to the hiring manager.
For example, would it be helpful to learn Spanish, become proficient in Excel, video editing, or HTML coding.
What about if you obtained an OSHA safety certification, or improved your sales or leadership skills?
If you really think about it, I’m sure you can come up with dozens of skills that you begin to learn and ones that would be extremely beneficial to you (and your new boss) when you’re hired.
Let’s plan on success!
Now here’s the best part.
You can learn practically anything you want for free.
There are thousands of great resources to help you.
Go to Youtube and search “how to learn the skill.”
You’ll find numerous vides that you can watch right now.
Imagine how impressive it would be to say something like this during an interview.
When I heard about the position last week from 7 Eagle Group, I was so excited. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I noticed the job description mentioned that Photoshop wasn’t required, but that you would like the candidate to be proficient to help design some marketing materials. Well, I had some time this weekend so I decided to teach myself the program. I just completed a 12-hour course that was led by a top college art teacher. It was super easy. I even designed a logo and direct mail flyer for my buddy’s lawn mowing business which he’s already loaded to his webpage. I’m not an expert yet, but I’m getting there!
If you want to do more in depth training, there are also numerous free online college classes you take at the country’s top colleges like Harvard, MIT, and Stamford.
Never tell a hiring manager, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do that. No one ever taught me.” Your answer should always be, “Hire me and I will learn that skill in my free time. I’ll take an online course, watch Youtube videos, and learn from the experts. Just give me a chance…I’ll get it done!”
The Federal Government incentivizes businesses to hire eligible military Veterans with generous tax credits.
These credits range from $2,400 – $9,600 per hire.
It’s not the reason our clients hire a Veteran, but it’s a really nice perk for them nonetheless and it may give you a huge advantage over your competitors.
If you are currently unemployed (not receiving a w2 paycheck), working part-time, or transitioning from the military, please go here to take a quick 5-minute online survey to determine if you are eligible.
Here are the screenshots.
If your survey result says a hiring company will receive a tax credit, please immediately to your 7 Eagle Group manager so we can share it with the hiring company.
It won’t be the main reason you get hired, but it will definitely be a nice incentive for them to have you on their team.
- No typos! Ask a friend to read your resume to remove any spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or punctuation errors.
- Make it inviting to read so it’s easy on the eyes. Open it up with more white space. The average hiring manager will spend just 7 seconds glancing at this!
- Try to get everything on one page. If not, never more than two.
- Your resume is just a summary of your skills…it’s not a CV.
- Use tabs to line-up your columns. Don’t manually move text with the space bar.
- Use bullets…one line each. They’re much easier to read than complete multi-line sentences.
- Make your point size at least 11 point.
- Use a more standard web-based font like Arial, Helvetica, or Times.
- Don’t change fonts or sizes. Use the same style throughout.
- Use a standard chronological flow…most recent experiences at the top.
- It should be obvious to the hiring manager the industry and type of job you want.
- Make your name stand out. Use a large color font that conveys your personality so your name pops!
- Get a professional Gmail address to use for job correspondence if your current email address is inappropriate…i.e. “[email protected]” or “[email protected]”
- Avoid formalities. Go with the actual name your friends call you…ditch the middle name too.
- Include complete contact information including your cell, email, and physical address.
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
- Delete Objective statements…they’re not used anymore.
- Add a Summary of Qualifications — no more than three lines of describing why you’re the best prospect for the job you want.
- You can discuss your experience, credentials, expertise, personal values, work ethic, background, or anything that qualifies you for the job. Do your best to entice the reader to finish reading the resume. Remember, all claims must be substantiated, so be honest.
- Imagine your best friend is talking to the hiring person for the job you want. What would your friend say about you that would make the employer want to call you for an interview? What personal passions do you have that would be valued by the employer?
- Load up on job-specific keywords related to the job you want to ensure your resume gets seen by a human. Many companies now use keyword software to narrow down the stack of applicants.
- Don’t overdo it with buzzwords or vague statement that have little meaning or relevance. Be real!
- Remember your strengths and what you have to offer…your enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, great attitude etc. Be careful making yourself out to be an expert or super experienced in this field if you are not…it sounds fake.
- Focus less on what you did at the job and more on the results you achieved. If you can master this one writing technique, you’ll have a resume that stands out from the pack.
- This will demonstrate you’re good at what you do and take pride in and enjoy your work. Plus, it will trigger good questions and answers about your strengths during the interview.
- Eliminate personal pronouns and minimize the use of articles (i.e. a, an, the).
- Use Measurable Data. All accomplishments should be quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, or other concrete measures of success. “Sold service to three customers,” is not as effective as “Sold service to three customers that generated $3,700 in new revenue.”
- Think Money. Companies are and always will be concerned about money. Think about ways you’ve saved, earned, or managed money. Examples: “Identified, researched, and recommended a new ISP, cutting the company’s online costs by 15%,” “Wrote prospect letter that brought in more than $25,000 in donations,” or “Effectively managed a budget of $77,500.”
- Think Time. Companies constantly look for ways to save time and do things more efficiently. Demonstrating how you save time, make time or manage time will grab your reader’s immediate attention. Examples: “Assisted with twice-monthly payroll activities, ensuring employees were paid as expected and on time,” or “Suggested procedures that decreased average order-processing time from 10 to five minutes.”
- Think Amounts. Replace “Wrote news releases” with “Wrote 25 news releases in a three-week period under daily deadlines.” Replace “Membership director of new environment organization,” with “Recruited 37 members for a new environmental organization.” If you won an award, how many people did you beat out?
- Use Action Verbs. Start each bullet with past tense action verbs like “Developed,” “Planned,” Generated,” “Hired,” “Supervised,” etc.
- Paint a story. Assume that you are never in the room to answer questions for the person reading your resume. Use descriptive words so the reader has a good idea of exactly what you did at your different work experiences. Instead of “Prepared media kits for top clients,” write, “Prepared 12-page media kits for marketing directors at Fortune 500 companies like Quaker Oats, Nike, and General Electric.
- Briefly describe the company. Don’t assume anyone knows what the company does. If you worked at McDonalds, there’s no need to explain that they are a fast food hamburger restaurant. Working at Tomacore Industries on the other hand requires a a brief description.
- Make each sentence count. Every sentence you include should explain a benefit about you. Don’t waste space just to fill the page.
- Solve a problem. Did you help make something better? Mention the problem and what you did to help the company. Here’s an example: “Convinced company owner to let me build a database of 70 competitors that made it easier to keep track of industry trends.”
- Put your Education below Work Experience. Work experiences and military positions should get top billing.
- Include your start and end dates. Employers like to know your rough age…don’t be secretive.
- Avoid listing your high school…it doesn’t carry any weight with employers and it makes you sound young.
- No need to list the classes you’ve taken at college. It’s not that impressive unless they’re really technical ones appropriate to the job.
- Include your volunteer work, community service, groups or clubs you belong to, skill sets not mentioned yet, papers and presentations, and awards, to give employers a good feel for you as a person.
- Only include computer skills if they are highly important to your next job. Your list may include hardware, software, languages, systems, and networks. No need to state the obvious and say you are proficient with Microsoft Office or surfing the internet.
- Only include personal interests like travel, sports, and hobbies if you feel they say something about your character and add to your qualifications as a job candidate.
The skills you developed as a service member are truly valuable and in high demand, but describing those skills to a prospective employer can be difficult. The trick is to communicate them without using military jargon so a hiring manager clearly understands your value.
- Inventory the skills you used during your service. Whether you were a sharpshooter in the Army, a diver in the Navy, or had another profession in the military, there are marketable skills you developed in your career that apply to the civilian workplace.
- Think beyond the specific function you carried out and identify the core value, skill, or expertise you brought to the table. For example, a sharpshooter would have led small teams to carry out high-priority objectives with minimal room for failure in high pressure situations.
Some core values, skills and/or expertise displayed above are leadership, ability to carry out work with minimal supervision, attention to detail and ability to work under strict deadlines. Example:
- Military Experience: An infantryman with 23 years in the Army (E-9/command sergeant major). He operated tanks, weapons and dug ditches, and is having difficulty identifying skills or direct experience to bring to the civilian workforce. Example:
- Experience to Market to Civilian Employers: Supervised, trained and evaluated 40 personnel, supporting more than 2,000 troops in four countries, with an inventory list of 1,500 line items, and material assets valued at $65M.
- Functional Areas of Expertise or Core Competencies: Personnel management, logistics, and operations. Later on in his career, he also demonstrated strategic planning and tactical application.
- Be sure to include examples of the following types of skills:
- Technical Skills: Military careers such as a telecommunication technician, financial management technician, mechanic or health care specialist all have closely related civilian careers. The technical skills you developed in your military career should be included in your resume.
- Interpersonal Skills: Working in the military requires working with a variety of personalities, from high-ranking officers to unit commanders, teammates, and subordinates. Often, service members must master the art of interacting with supervisors, peers, and subordinates to complete a task.
- Interpersonal skills are valued in the civilian workplace and should be detailed in your resume to reflect your ability to work with many different kinds of colleagues to get the job done.
- Leadership Skills: Any leadership experience or training that you acquired in the military is also highly valued by civilian employers. Overseeing subcontractors is a leadership skill that can be valuable in the civilian world.
Your resume is not what is going to get you hired. It merely gets in you in the door for an interview.
Here are much more important tasks that you should be working on right now to improve your chances of getting hired:
- Improve your experiences and skills so you are a more attractive candidate. You can learn any skill you need for free by searching the internet for “How to…” i.e. learn Spanish, Excel, Photoshop, code in HTML, etc. You should also listen to self-help audio programs to build your confidence. Use your free time wisely!
- Build a massive network of people who will help you get hired. Go on informational interviews with relatives, friends, and friends of friends. Meet the person for coffee (don’t ask for a job!). Instead, ask for career advice and suggestions. 98% of all job seekers are hired as a result of networking.
- Don’t be an unemployed job seeker. It makes you look desperate. Volunteer or intern so you are constantly developing your skills. Let us know if you want to work with us at 7 Eagle until we help you find something full-time. We could definitely use your help!
- Get a mentor or two. Don’t go at this alone. There are so many people who would be more than happy to help you navigate the confusing job-seeking process. Ask for help!
- Submit your resume to [email protected] and we will be happy to provide a free critique.