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Writing Military-to-Civilian Resumes: Make Your Resume Interviewable

Military to Civilian Resumes

There are various options to write a resume and one can be assured that it is not an easy job. There are various expert services available on writing resumes. This can certainly bring down your stress level. There are various translators available who can convert the military jargons to a more civil understandable language.

A resume is basically directed towards achieving one of the below three goals:

  1. Present your qualification, skill and achievements in a way to attract the employers
  2. To attract an employer to offer you the job
  3. Resume is a tool which can be used to guide and plan an interview

Hence, it is clear that resume should be designed in a way that the interviewer can be guided and eventually offers you the opportunity. When it comes to job seekers who want to move from military to civilian jobs, it is even more important. The qualifications, achievements and skills achieved during military days needs to be converted into more understandable civilian language. Eventually, the resume is directed towards projecting as to ‘where you want to be’ rather than ‘where and what you were’. If you are able to project that in the resume, you effectively achieve the target of guiding the interview.

Let us look at an example. After finishing close to 20 years in military, David Michaels is now retiring. He has specialization in Force management, planning manpower and deployment of personnel. He is targeting a senior role in human resources or organizational development in a corporate. While writing his resume, David will come across couple of options and that effectively will plot a way towards his job search.

Option 1: Project ‘Who was he’ in his resume. The summary would be like below when he selects this option:

Career Summary

20 Year experience in Force management, planning manpower and deploying personnel in US Marine corps. Exceptional skills in leadership, strategic planning and analytics.

Option 2: Try to project where he wants to be in his resume. In this case, the resume would look like this:

Leadership Executive and Organization Development

Leadership in Human Resources/Management of Human Capital/Team Building/Team Leadership and optimization of workforce/Executive development and training/Organization design

20 years of experience in leading and building various top notch organizations across the world. Delivered consistently, the human resources required to help the multi-billion dollar organizations with defined objectives and goals. Exceptionally good public speaker.

If you look at above two options, the very clear answer to the resume is option 2 and so far the most preferable option to project David for civilian jobs. In brief, he has made use of correct words to show the right perspective of how he likes to be looked in the market. And if you look, these are surely the experience and skill each individual employer looks for. Using this summary, he has managed to create a perception of an executive and HR who is talented and this is exactly how he will be perceived during an interview. This exactly was the requirement.

Let us take a look of Roberta C’s resume which is a perfect example of ‘how to make resume interview able’. Roberta has designed a resume to project her as for logistics and inventory control career in civil. Along with this, this format would help her in guiding her interview; it clearly shows her key skills and areas of expertise and hence makes it easy for the interviewer to focus on right set of questions.

On page 1 in her resume, she clearly projects that ‘she is well qualified in inventory control and handling logistics. She also has enough experience in various functions related to inventory control, training, organization management, safety and quality assurance’. With each of her core expertise highlighted and projecting her major achievements in these areas, she has managed to create a strong image of how she is looking to be perceived in job market.

She has also managed to present Page 2 with equal power. She has managed to present her career with USAF in a prominent way and has been able to showcase her educational qualification in equally powerful way. Descriptions she has provided for job is to the point and is focusing on her key achievements, competencies in leadership and key projects. As she has showcased all the important information in previous page, there is no need for her to deep dive into any further details on page 2. One thing which impresses the most is the way job titles are used. This would allow the interviewer to clearly streamline her competencies with the requirement of the organization.

One has to understand that it’s your resume which acts as an important tool at various levels. It can help in providing various opportunities and also act as a tool to guide your interview, if it is written in an effective way. Hence it is very important that enough time is spent on writing the resumes.

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