Tag Archives: Military

Resumes: First Impressions Matter

I review hundreds of resumes and Linkedin profiles every week and most are very poorly written.  How someone can expect to get contacted for a position when their resume looks horrible, doesn’t paint a picture of what they’ve done in the past and what they are capable of in the future?  Most job seekers don’t spend the required time to get their resume to where sourcing specialists, recruiters or HR managers would want to look at it…it winds up in the shred box or just passed up.  Putting a good resume together is pretty simple, it just takes time and effort to get it that way.  Here are some things to look at when developing your resume:

Contact Information is correct…simple right, some forget to keep this updated.  Your address is important because recruiters may be looking for a local candidate or may be searching for a specific location and if it’s not on your resume, you won’t come up in the search.  Some job seekers have been advised not to put their address on their resumes for security reasons.  I can understand that, but at minimum, put the city and state that you live so you can come up in a search.  Additionally, keep your telephone number updated and your voice mailbox cleaned out.

Summary of Qualifications:  This should be an overview of your experience and skillset both hard skills, if you are technical, and soft skills, to show of your leadership/management.  It should cover areas listed in the job description using similar key words that jump off the page to the reader.  This is where most people have problems ultimately resulting in it heading to the shred box.

Key Skills:  If you have key skills through training, certifications and experience, you want to make sure those are highlighted.  I recommend inserting them just after the Summary to catch the readers attention.

Professional Experience:  This section can be pretty fluid.  It can me chronological, functional or a mixture of both.  I recommend chronological unless you have a serious gap in your employment history that needs to be delt with.  Remember employment history is the #1 area used for screening out candidates and showing a consistent employment history serves you well.  This is also the section where you highlight your accomplishements, not your responsibilities.  You can be responsible for much and do very little.  We want to see hard core accomplishments.  Start with an action verb, then the situation or task, the action taken and the result.  If you do this for all your accomplishments, your resume will stand out from others.

Education and Training:  List significant education, degrees, certifications and training in this section.  Be sure to review the job description for requirements.  If your education is significantly more than required, this could screen you out.  Some ask why?  Employers fear that you have more education than needed and that you will always be looking for a bigger better deal more comensurate with your education and leave at first opportunity.  So handle this one with care.

Some other things to consider.  Spelling and Grammar; always run the checker and get additional eyes on it.  Read it aloud.  Format and Design; consistent, simple and clean is always better unless you are a graphic designer showing off your work.  No more than 2 pages, no more than 10 years experience.  If there are areas you want to show off that are more than 10 years old, be careful, age discrimination can happen without you knowing it based on years and numbers in the resume.

The bottom line; your resume is your calling card, it is your first impression to a company and reflects your level of effort and professionalism.  If it looks horrible and is poorly written this will define you to the company and most likely wind up in the shred box.

No one cares more about your career than you do, so take the time to put together a solid resume and continue to refine it throughout your career.


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Culture Shock: Making a smooth Military Transition

There have been many articles written on how to make a smooth transition from the military.  Advice on how to develop a well written resume, how to apply for positions, how to approach and answer questions during  the interview and the list goes on.  What is not written about or discussed is once you receive and offer and start a new career, the CULTURE SHOCK that occurs during your first year out of the military.

I transitioned from the military back in 2012 and thought I was ready.  I attended T-GPS, worked with Military and Family Readiness and even had a mentor to assist in the process. What I discovered was getting the job was easy, dealing with the culture differences was the most difficult for me.   I went to work  for a DoD contractor, but worked in a department where there was no former military members in it and there was definitely a difference in the work environment.  Here are some of the differences that I noticed.

  1. Work Ethic – The pace of work was much slower than what I was use to.  Most military professionals know one speed and that is GO. When given a task, we take it on, complete it and are on to the next.  I was told several times to slow down that it wasn’t necessary to complete things so quickly.  Coming in early and staying late to get work down was not the norm.  When I showed up 30 minutes early, I was the only one there.  At the end of the day, it was a mass exodus to get out the door.  My norms were not the same as my teammates and this caused tension in the office.
  2. Individualism versus Teamwork – My TEAMMATES tended to work as individuals and had a hard time being a part of a team. Because they have been operating as individuals for so long, the suggestion of teams to accomplished tasks seemed to present a threat to how things are which leads to the last difference.
  3. Change – This was the hardest thing for me to adapt to when making my transition.  The resistance to change and the dismissal of new ideas was discouraging.  I felt that I because I was new I could bring fresh ideas to the table and we could improve our processes.  This was met with much resistance.   In the service, change happens all the time as we know.  Presenting new ideas to improve processes and make things better is always encouraged.  This was not my experience and ultimately led to my decision to move on.

The differences I’ve listed above are not necessarily bad, they are just different.  I prepared for the resume writing, applying for jobs, the interview and the follow-up but not prepared for the life in the civilian work force.  No matter where you go to work, there are going to be some cultural differences to what you are use to.  My suggestion is you find a mentor who has been in the civilian workforce for some time to discuss and prepare you for what you might face.  These were my challenges that I had to work through.  Your may be the same of maybe different, the key is to be prepared with the knowledge and understanding that there are going to be areas that you are not use to and what you’re going to do to overcome them.  Best of Luck!

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