A resume is your first impression to an employer; this document can open the door to an interview or can completely disqualify you from an opportunity. This important refection of your professional background should depict and quantify a well-qualified candidate who can deliver results while adding organizational value. Your resume should focus on applicable skills, achievements and qualifications, while highlighting pertinent information, figures and results. The items below highlight common mistakes and best practices to help put your best foot forward.


Basic errors can be an immediate disqualifier. First and foremost, grammatical mistakes say little about your ability to pay attention to detail, making a poor first impression. For example, your resume says you are a wearhouse supervisor. This type of error begs the question: “Is this person capable of leading a team with such a poor grasp of basic spelling?” Consider what it says about your lack of attention to detail. As a transitioning or veteran service member, attention to detail is a trait you can proudly represent.

Similarly, if this isn’t your first job out of the service, it is never a good idea to misspell the name of a past employer that has signed your paychecks (example: JANE’S PEI EMPORIUM, when you really worked at JANE’S PIE EMPORIUM).

Remember, too, that the spell check feature on your computer may catch a misspelling but does not catch and correct context errors. For example, it will not catch “Thank you for yours consideration” because technically, all the words are spelled correctly. I would highly recommend thoroughly reviewing your resume and having others assist with proofreading your resume!


First, I would NOT recommend using a functional (summary) resume format. Instead, use a reverse chronological resume format. When outlining your resume, your dates must match up and be in order. You can use either months and years or just years, but there shouldn’t be any gaps. If there are gaps, an employer will wonder, what you were doing during those employment gaps. Worse still, they may disqualify you from consideration without ever asking.

Next, if you have more than ten years of military service, your resume can be two pages long. If you have 20 years of experience, focus 80% of your resume on the last ten years and then condense your remaining experience, while outlining your title and years in the position.


Always think about the email address you put on your resume. If your current e-mail is, consider creating another address just for resumes. Make it a plain email address like

You should also clean up your LinkedIn and Facebook pages. They say a lot about you, and employers check them. It’s okay to be passionate and active, but it’s not okay to be abusive and profane.

Read Create a Winning Resume: Part 2


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