An effective résumé is your foot-in-the-door calling card to landing that first interview, which could pave the way to scoring your dream job. A polished one-page — or two-page, at most — résumé can be your golden ticket.
Here’s how to grab an employer’s attention.
1. Highlight your veteran status
Add an executive summary to the top of your résumé that clearly indicates you’re a veteran.
For example, an executive summary may state: “Seasoned military veteran with 18 years in the Navy leading, collaborating and problem-solving under pressure …”
When I worked in recruiting, two to three seconds were all I needed to quickly scan and evaluate each résumé. That’s why it’s crucial to immediately grab the employer’s attention.
Pro tip: Realize that employers are very respectful of military service and all the positive attributes that entails. So make sure they know all about it.
2. Translate military speak into civilian terms
Outline your responsibilities and experiences using terminology a layperson can quickly comprehend.
Employers want to see transferable skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking and customer service. Indicate how your military skills are applicable to the job.
It’s always helpful to review a job description and tailor a résumé for a specific role. Reordering bullet points to mirror the job description can be beneficial too.
Pro tip: Employers list the importance of responsibilities in descending order on job descriptions, so candidates should do the same on résumés.
3. Translate technical skills
“As a veteran, you bring specialized experience to the table,” says Kimberly Stiener-Murphy, senior regional vice president at Robert Half. “Do research into how your military experience and MOS [military occupational specialty] code translate into the civilian workforce. Using an online military skills translator is an easy way to align your qualifications and accomplishments to in-demand expertise.”
Pro-tip: Résumés should be pristine, typo-free and grammatical. AARP offers free résumé reviews with objective feedback to job seekers on how to communicate their skills and expertise.
4. Tout your security clearance
“Possessing this coveted credential signals to employers that you’re responsible, accountable and trustworthy, allowing HR to skip the usual background checks and save the company money,” says Amanda Augustine, career expert for TopResume. “Include this information in your résumé’s professional summary or as part of your professional title at the top of your document.”