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Resume Writing Tips for Veterans

Resume Writing Tips for Veterans

Veterans often face an uncertainty when writing a resume. How exactly can they market themselves using the experiences that they possess? A civilian is less likely to have difficulty due to their outlook, vocabulary and previous qualified experiences. Servicemen or women need to take a few extra steps to translate the career they had in to an eye-catching resume that will win the attention of a civilian employer.

While challenging, interpreting a military resume into a civilian resume is far from impossible. If anyone is up for the challenge, it is certainly a veteran. The job market today is a challenge and highly competitive, however the experience that can be brought to the table from a veteran is highly desirable when marketed correctly. Here are some tips that will assist in the process and help you become a step up from your competition.

1. Be specific to the job in which you are applying

One of the main reasons applicants are passed up for positions is their wording on their resume. Each position will require slightly different job skills, so altering your resume to fit that job description is imperitive. It's important not to generalize the information to fit everything in. Tailor your resume to be a master of what is being sought after by potential employers.

Include a Career Objective at the beginning of your resume, indicating to employers who you are and what you have to offer. This is also a pronounced way to show what position you are interested in applying for. You will not stand out if you are using a blanket career objective.

2. Match You Skillset

Applying to jobs you are qualified for. You are only wasting time and energy by applying for ones out of reach.  Focus your attention on jobs you stand a good chance at acquiring because of your experience and skills. For example, if your area of expertise is human resources, you will have a difficult time landing a mechanical job.  Instead, search for jobs using keywords such as “human resources,' “HR," “workforce planning," and the like.

If you still have your heart set on mechanical positions, find a technical school near you and enroll. Education will help with you qualify for what your passion is.

3. Cut out military lingo

Remember most civilians do not speak military. Acronyms or specific knowledge of military applications will liikely be lost to the person reviewing your resume. If you do use an acronym in order to keep your resume at a certain length, make sure you type out the full title of the acronym first. Then you can shorten it with the acronym in a later sentence. This may come as a challenge, but translation will be needed from military specific language. Resumes containing a lot of military terminology will cause human resource managers to overlook quality skills because they do not understand it. 

4. Sell Yourself

It's OK to brag here. No one knows you like you, so sell yourself! This is where you get to flaunt and even brag about accomplishments you have made, awards you have recieved ands skills you have mastered. But remember to make it easy for a civilian to understand, taking that extra step to translate military jargon. Also, add credentials by including military honors and any medals earnd as this is definitely be one area where civilians will not be able to compete with you. Display what you have to offer from your military skill by using HR-friendly words such as:

• Strategic Planning
• Performance Optimization
• Budget and Financing
• Corporate Administration
• World Class Organization
• Crisis Management
• Organizational Leadership
• Decision-Making

In many cases, having served in the military makes you a highly desired candidate. Critical thinking and problem solving skills are highly sought after skills. By complementing your military involvement with these skills you validate your titles, which is something that many civilian applicants will strive to do.

 5. Proofread, proofread and proofread again

When writing your resume it is essential to check for grammar and spelling errors. It is not enough to simply run your resume through a spell check; it requires proofreading. One of the best things you can do is step away from your resume for half an hour and then go back to it. It's amazing how many typos or grammatical errors you can miss the first or even second time you proofread. Also, hand your resume to a friend. A second set of eyes can catch errors that might make the difference in you getting the job.

Let us know your thoughts on resume building for vets using the hashtag #SVAatSC or at our LinkedIn Group: