As a transitioning military professional, you've most likely never before been required to create a professional resume. A resume is a snapshot of your accomplishments, education and work experience. It should reflect your strengths in a concise and coherent manner. Through your resume you typically have about 30 seconds to convince a potential employer that you deserve an interview. In today's competitive job market, a well-written resume is an important tool to get your foot in the door and on your way to landing the perfect position.
It may seem a daunting task to effectively translate your military experience on your resume into a format from which a civilian hiring manager can easily extract your civilian qualifications and experience. Hiring managers receive so many resumes that it is imperative that your resume be targeted and concise, with clearly spelled out qualifications and experiences.
Civilian hiring managers can hardly be expected to effectively translate military skills they see on resumes when statistics show that 76% of service members do not know how to translate their own military skills. In fact, having too much military jargon and code on your resume can be the quickest way to ensure your resume is passed over. By translating your skills and experiences for them, you have eliminated the biggest obstacle to transitioning into the civilian workforce.
The first step in translating your resume into civilian terms is to list all positions with specific and quantifiable detail. Quantify how many people worked for you and the dollar amount of the equipment, budgets and programs for which you were responsible for. "Battery Commander" on a resume may not convey much to a civilian hiring manager, but quantifying with "As Battery Commander, I was overall in charge of 100 soldiers and responsible for five million dollars worth of equipment" will demonstrate the depth of your responsibility. Numbers are critical.
Quantifying your experience, however, is not enough. You must also translate your achievements. Treat your achievements and assignments as programs, and include details relevant to the position for which you are applying. Illustrate how you were able to map out a plan and achieve it. Use practical examples to show transferable skills, such as leadership, decision-making, and technical skills and certifications. By doing this, you can prove that your skill set is a match for that required.
When possible, try to use the civilian counterpart job title on your resume with your military position and rank in parenthesis. Hiring managers may not always know what a Staff Sergeant is or how many people they oversee. This position may best be described as a Manager or Leader. Keep in mind, though, that rank is often not an important factor on your resume. Many hiring managers know that service members' experience often exceeds their pay grade and that responsibility doesn't always come with rank.
You should typically use a chronological resume if you have less than 15 years total professional experience and your professional timeline is relatively easy to follow.
This format lists your professional experience in reverse chronological order, so a potential interviewer, military or non-military, can easily follow your professional timeline and very quickly get a good overall understanding of what you are qualified to do.
These resume samples are intended to give you an idea of what your resume may look like using the Chronological and Skills Based/Combination formats. Consult with your Candidate Recruiter for specific resume preparation assistance and advice.
Please remember to use Microsoft Word format, and do not use tables, headers, or footers.
The Chronological Resume format is the most widely used. Hiring Managers are used to seeing it, and this format makes it easy for them to scan your resume and see at a glance if you're a good fit for the position. A Chronological Resume is the best way to explain your background and skills.download: Chronological Format Sample Resume
Combination resumes list skills and qualifications first, followed by work history. They combine the most notable features of both your skills and your work history, with more of an emphasis on your skills and achievements first. If you have a limited work history, a Combination/Skills Based Resume format is good to use.
The Skills Based/Combination Resume format places equal emphasis both on your skills and work experience. It allows you to present a quick overview of your actual employment history and the areas that are transferable. If you have a limited work history, or the history you do have isn't directly related to the job you're applying for, a Skills Based/Combination Resume format is good to use.download: Skills Based/Combination Format Sample Resume
Functional resumes focus on skills and experience rather than on employment history. The purpose of a functional resume is to draw attention to your transferable abilities and skills. If you have a work history that is not directly related to the job you're applying for, a Functional Resume format is good to use.download:Functional Format Sample Resume
If you are a Junior Military Officer with limited to no civilian work experience, this resume helps to highlight your military experience and focus on your skill set. The best rule of thumb for this type of resume is to avoid military jargon and to include results and achievements during your time in the service.download: Junior Military Officer Sample Resume
For specialized positions like the Navy Machinist's Mate, the resume will look very similar to the Military Technician resume. You will want to draw attention to your areas of expertise within your military role. This will help to focus on the skills that you have obtained while in service. Be sure to also list out any certifications or additional education related to your field.download: Machinist Mate Sample Resume
If you are a Military Technician with limited to no civilian work experience, this resume helps to highlight your areas of expertise within your military experience while focusing on your skill set. For this resume, focus on your proficiencies and expound upon any troubleshooting experience and certifications that you have received.download: Technician Sample Resume
Position titles like Company Commander, Chief Machinist Mate, or Division Officer are acceptable, but be prepared to explain those terms. You must be able to quantify the number of people who worked for you, your level of technical expertise, and the dollar value of the equipment, program or budget you were responsible for.
You need to adequately cover all time periods specified on your resume.
Double and triple-check to make sure you have no grammatical or punctuation errors.
Use a standard US Word document. Times New Roman is the preferred font format. Black is the only acceptable font color. Pictures or icons are not acceptable on a professional resume. Margins should be no smaller than 1 inch.Resume paper should be a neutral color, preferably off-white.
The length of your resume is entirely dependent on your professional experience, and one page is ideal.
Accomplishments are much more important. Companies don't want the person responsible for things, they want the individual who gets things done.
By leaving off your personal information (including age, marital status, gender), you are protecting yourself from discrimination.
You will, of course, supply outstanding references when requested. Use the limited space available to showcase your status as a top performer.
When in doubt, consult with your Orion Candidate Recruiter. We will work with you to develop the strongest resume for you based on your background and experience.
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