Win That Interview with a Compelling Resume
Picture this: a recruiter returns from a veterans career fair with 75-100 resumes he or she collected. Now there are a few seconds to go over each one back at the office. Which ones do you think will get noticed? Here are some tips on how to make one of them yours.
Use Civilian Language
An MOS doesn’t mean much to a civilian recruiter, or even to a veteran recruiter. Even between branches, an Army vet will likely be unfamiliar with Navy rates, or other language that is specific to each branch.
Articulating What You Accomplished Is Job One
Make it easy for them to scan over and spell out your achievements (example: Reduced costs in shipping department by 12% by streamlining overlapping processes). Don't use average descriptions – your goal is to get noticed! Make sure it’s two pages max. Bullets are best, and avoid paragraphs (too dense, too wordy).
“I’ve heard that a three-page resume is acceptable if you’ve had 20+ years of leadership/management experience. Is that true?”
No! You want to be able to portray that you can get your point across efficiently and succinctly. If you can’t capture your background and experience in less than three pages, a recruiter will think you can’t get your point across. After all, the business world is getting tighter and more compressed, not longer and more stretched out. You need to demonstrate that you can perform in the world you are entering, not the one you are leaving.
It’s the last ten years of your career that are the most relevant, anyway. Besides, the people who are initially scanning a resume are most likely entry level human resources personnel. They are looking for keywords and bullets about your accomplishments. If they see three pages of dense text, their eyes are going to roll back in their head.
What else does a three-page resume say about you?
• You can’t get to the point
• You can’t let go of the past
Should I bring a cover letter with my resume to give to recruiters at a career fair?
This can be a great idea, especially if it’s written specifically to that company. Here’s why:
In the world of emails and applying online, cover letters can be a lost art. A well written cover letter will help you stand out. Oftentimes recruiters are trying jot down notes on the back of your resume while they’re talking to you. So, a cover letter will help them remember you. BUT: Keep it brief. Follow the same bullet points as you’d use for your elevator pitch: introduction; your expertise; how you’ll apply it to that organization; and ask for a further conversation.