Below are some suggestions to make your resume great.
You may also want to check out this free resume-writing resource for military veterans.
- 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@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org”
- 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.
- 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.
WORK EXPERIENCE (most important section!)
- 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 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 a 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.”
- 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 understand 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.
- 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!