Mar 31 2015
Author: Sophia Marshall, Navy Spouse and a 2014-2015 MOAA Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council member.
Frequent relocation and an intermittent work history are 2 things that go hand in hand with many military spouses. While taking part in the MOAA Spouse Symposium in Alexandria on Monday, March 23rd, I had the opportunity to review resumes. Based on my experience, I’d like to offer a few suggestions that all military spouses can implement to improve their resumes today:
1) Don’t Distinguish Between Volunteer Experience and Paid Experience
Military spouses often use volunteer opportunities to fill experience gaps on a resume. Instead of listing this experience separately, why not add it with your paid experience? Remember, many people volunteer to do jobs that are actually paid positions. Why should it matter how your experience is labeled? Here is an example of how to add that volunteer experience in the work history section of your resume:
Caseworker, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), 2012 – Present
Provide budget assistance, as a volunteer, for 5+ military families weekly.
2) Replace your objective with a branding statement
Nothing will send your resume to the shredder faster than a florally objective statement!
Instead, use a little branding to replace your objective. This could be a title or a job target. Whatever you decide, just know that it has to be proven throughout the body of your resume. Think of it as your professional essence. As an example, I spoke with one spouse who wanted to enter the non-profit sector. As a military spouse, she has volunteered in all types of non-profits. A perfect branding statement for her might be:
Fundraiser: Non-Profit Sector
This can help you tremendously. Why? Because you are letting a potential employer know upfront what type of job you want to be considered for. It is straight and to the point…no flowers involved!
3) Use a hybrid format to disguise gaps within your resume
We all know that there are many types of resume formats. The best format is one that will compliment your personal work history. As many military spouses often have a gap in employment, using a hybrid format is the best way to take the attention away from dates. To successfully do so, pull out the relevant skillsets from your entire work history. A few examples could be customer service, administration, management, logistics, etc. Develop these in the first part of your resume, using 3 or 4 bullets each, and follow with your employment history.
This will help the employer to see how your skills fit into the job you are going for. In the employment history section, they will see the dates, but by that time, they will already be impressed by your skills and accomplishments, so it won’t matter!
Learn more about Alexandria Symposium: