Readability is Everything on a Veteran’s Resume

Readability is Everything on a Veteran’s Resume

Oh, the dreaded resume. Hard to write, but a necessary tool in every veteran’s civilian job search. Think of your resume as a “highlight reel” of your accomplishments rather than a list of duties you performed. Note process improvements, money savings, special projects and leadership. These tips will help you develop a powerful resume that communicates what you have achieved, and opens doors to new opportunities.

Consistency is Key

• Put job titles, company names, and dates of employment in the same place for each job held.

• Organize information by defining each section, such as Career Summary, Professional Experience, Education & Certifications, and Technology Skills.

Make It Easy to Contact You

This may sound obvious, but you should include your telephone number, email address(es), and the link to any professional social profiles you may have (ex: LinkedIn or Glassdoor). Make sure you have some contact information on page two of your resume as well, in case it gets separated from your first page.

Which leads to the next point….

Page Length and Type Size

In general, resumes should not exceed two pages. However, preparing an addendum to your resume on a separate page is one way to include other important information. This method would be appropriate if you have an extensive list of the following accomplishments that are relevant to the position for which you are applying:

• Extensive technical qualifications

• Extensive education, training, certifications or credentials

• Numerous special projects, task forces, or committees

Type size should range from 10 to 12 points in size. Using bold, italics, underlining and CAPITALIZATION are great ways to set important information apart – but don’t make it too cluttered. Again, readability is the goal.

Organize: Group Early Training

You might want to collect early training under one heading and give an overview of what you learned. This may read better than listing short deployments or assignments. This approach could also help civilian recruiters who are not familiar with military training.

Use Your Resume to Highlight Accomplishments

Again, think "highlight reel" over "play-by-play." Employers do not want to read a laundry list of every task you performed. Stick to the big stuff. And remember, a resume’s goal is to land you an interview. If you stick to your key accomplishments, you’ll hold your resume to an acceptable length. Additionally, you will have saved some information to share in the interview, where you can elaborate on career accomplishments face-to-face.

Sell It vs. Tell It

In their book, “Resume Writing Strategies for Military-to-Civilian Career Transitions,” Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark point out that resume writing is sales, and the product is YOU. You must promote and draw attention to what you’ve done. Highlight process improvements, money savings, special projects, and leadership.

Telling It:

Coordinated all secretarial, clerical, and administrative functions for base commander.

Selling It:

Implemented a series of process improvements that reduced staffing requirements by 20%, grew daily productivity by 30%, and reduced reporting errors by 14% for the commander of a 12,000-person military installation.

These strategies will help you to create a reader-friendly resume that captures your career highlights and lands you a new opportunity in the civilian world.


Job Seeker Blog