Like eating, I usually hate to write on the same topic two times in a row. But, with résumés (and Asian food), I am happy to visit the same thing over and over.
Last column I touched on some résumé and career tips and I am going to do the same thing here. The primary reason is that this topic coincides with MOAA’s Veteran-focused career fair on April 2 at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center. (Doors open at 10:00 a.m., with career transition seminars beginning at 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and a female veteran-focused professional development panel discussion and mentoring session beginning at 12:30.)
Tip 1 – Try a Combination Resume
This is a resume style where you put your skills and experience first, and then your employment history in chronological manner. This style works for military members because so many of you have done so many different jobs in your career. Because of this, you have different areas of experience and skills. You also have a laundry list of assignments, so using a chronological resume style will look tedious and be harder for the employer to do their 30 to 60 second scan.
Remember though to put the skill description first that best fits the job you’re applying for. For example, if you are strolling the MOAA Career Fair, picking up the free pens and magnets, and come across a company looking for a manager – then have a resume handy where your management experience is listed first.
Then, when you come across the employer handing out Reese’s and looking for a trainer, hand them the resume that has your training experience first.
Tip 2 – Quantify the Context
Military members tend to assume everyone knows the context of your job – the size, budget, etc. Most civilians do not know this; so don’t rely on terms such as squadron, company, etc. Put some numbers in: how many people did you train or oversee, how many planes, the budget (and always use numerical figures – they stand out in a quick review more than spelled out numbers), how many patients, how many sorties, etc.
Tip 3 – Formatting
Stick to one font, typically Arial – it’s a nice, conservative business-used font. Stay away from Times Roman. Also, learn and use the formatting tools of Word. Bold your headings and italicize your job history. Oh, and please remember that the space bar is not a formatting tool! Use the tab and alignment tools to align your headings and bullets. Don’t tap, tap, tap the tool bar to make sure things line up on separate lines!
I hope that helps. And I strongly recommend the MOAA Career Fair. MOAA runs a great career fair, and these are good just to network, even if you have a job but might be thinking of looking elsewhere down the road.