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Bulletproof Your Resumé

Resumes & Cover Letters

As you transition from the Military to your next career, bulletproofing your resumé and having it stand out among hundreds of candidates will be a challenge. You obviously want your resumé to be noteworthy, but you do not want to look arrogant or inexperienced. You must be understood by hiring managers, which can be a difficult task for anyone in transition. You are probably aware of the rookie resumé mistakes like using Military jargon, too many pages, no direction and not showing value.

Your resumé must tell your story in a compelling way that is compatible with your chosen occupation or vocation. It must be different enough from your competitor’s submission to make a staffing or human resource recruiter take notice. This is a difficult task, but it is doable. Here are a few ways to tell your story and ensure your resumé gets pushed from the recruiter to the hiring manager:

  • Customize Your Resumé for the Intended Audience – As you transition, you must be flexible and versatile. Make sure your resumé is appropriate, as every company and position is different. Therefore, you may need several different versions of your resumé; each emphasizing different facets of your career objectives and achievements. Be consistent and do not contradict yourself.

  • Get to the Point, Quickly - Consider integrating the specific job posting title into your objective statement. Don’t present a high level, generalized and vague comment about how you are looking for a challenging position with a dynamic company as an accomplished professional. Describe your pertinent experiences and qualifications in quick and energetic terms.

  • Don’t Over Embellish, but Tell a Great Story - Recruiters expect a resumé to reflect an element of spin, but over exaggeration will get you in trouble every time. Place the most favorable light on yourself and your achievements. However, excessive embellishments may keep you from getting hired and nothing is more miserable than being placed in a position where you are under-qualified and cannot perform well.

  • Make Sure to Integrate Keywords from the Job Posting – Today, keyword search is a screening criterion. Don’t overdo it, but ensure sure keywords are present in your resumé. This is critical for all online applications and resumés, as most are screened by computer searches. Further, you will receive subsequent contact for positions that you have not applied for. Do you satisfy the criteria on the job posting? If so, do you reflect that on your resumé? Get the keywords on your resumé.

  • Avoid “en vogue” terms and words - Your resumé should not read as if it has been pulled from the latest business magazine or thesaurus. Forget overused words and phrases; try to be original. However, don’t overuse big words when simplistic language will do.

  • Use a Comfortable and Subtle Resumé Template - Make sure your resumé is visually appealing and distinguishing, but not distracting. Stick with a couple of common fonts and sizes and stay away from elaborate detailing or colors.

  • Proofread … and then Proofread Again – You cannot have mistakes on your resumé. Your resumé will go in the garbage. You must pursue perfection on every submitted job search artifact.

  • Make Sure You Submit a Great Cover Letter – For more on this subject, see “Do you have a Killer Cover Letter?” @

Best Bulletproof Secret of All - Remember, there is no Jedi mind trick to influence your selection by a human resources recruiter. Sending out resumés is a matter of trial and error. You will have to keep submitting and experimenting with different formats and approaches until something works for you. With ingenuity and realistic expectations, you will create a bulletproof resumé that represents well and lands you a great job.

For more on the subject, see CNN Money Article, “What Makes a Recruiter Reject Your Resumé in Seconds?”

Wishing you a lucrative transition!


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