The Danger of Assumption

Presenting another article from famed guest blogger, Judy Navarette, SPHR.  Judy is passionate about sharing her insight into corporate America to arm veterans with the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions regarding their military-to-civilian transition.  Heeding the following advice is especially critical to a successful job search considering the saturation level of today’s job market.

They Will Know What I Did

While recruiting for a technical engineering position, an account manager became frustrated with a comment made by a talented, job-seeking engineer.  The said comment, “anyone familiar with my field will understand my resume… they will know what I did,” caused the recruiter to end the call and throw her arms up in frustration.   She was fielding resumes for a client who was very particular as to the keywords he wanted to see in applicant resumes.  The candidate refused to update his resume with the appropriate keywords, instead defaulting to laziness.  Inevitably, he did not get the job opportunity. 

On another occasion, a veteran candidate heeded the advice of the recruiter and adjusted his resume to reflect specific experience the organization needed.  He eliminated reference to “combat, anti-terrorism tactics, and weapons” replacing them with “inspection, tools, and measuring equipment”.  This candidate landed an initial interview for the position of Quality Inspection Engineer.

For job seekers, civilian or military-experienced, the lesson is: make your resume and interview dialogue relevant to the position you are applying for.  Although it may seem silly to spell out your accomplishments and experience in detail, knowing the hiring manager is familiar with the military and will understand your qualifications, the fact of the matter is the resume may not get to the hiring manager.  In order to get to the hiring manager, it must pass the initial screening process… and that process may be conducted by people not “in the know,” or worse, an electronic resume scanning system.

A job posting is typically advertised via the Internet and will contain keywords the hiring team is looking for.  For example, an engineering job posting may reference Lean principles, Six Sigma, design, AutoCAD, etc.  A job posting for a purchasing manager may reference ERP/MRP, enterprise, inventory control, DoD, etc.  Tweak your military resume for each job you apply for, incorporating appropriate keywords and phrases.

Once military resumes are deposited into a database, recruiters perform quick electronic or manual searches for keywords.  Typically, the hiring manger will not be the first person to peruse the hundreds of resumes received for each open position.  So if keywords are not spotted quickly, your military resume could be overlooked.  Resumes that reflect the experience the job posting calls for are sent to the hiring manager for consideration.  View the job posting and description as an answer key, with the resume as the test.  Make sure the test has the answers from the answer key within it.

Professional military resume writing services and recruiters help military job seekers perfect their military resumes to ensure they are relevant to their target positions.  Recruiters have a relationship with the organization they serve and are able to prepare candidates for what the employer expects to see on a military resume and hear in an interview.  Seek advice on the presentation of your marketing materials (your military resume and cover letter).  The job market is competitive and those who are prepared rewarded with opportunity.

I would like to add that a good military placement firm will offer the assistance of a professional military resume writing service to candidates who qualify for their program for free.  I know that this is the case at Bradley-Morris, Inc. who relies on to polish their candidates’ resumes.  Once a military resume is in fighting shape, a Bradley-Morris recruiter will assist the military job seeker with highlighting experience requested by the target employer and adding relevant keywords form the job opening.

Judy Navarrete, SPHR is an accomplished Human Resources Professional.  She is a civilian advocate for veteran placements, sharing her vast experience in recruitment, talent selection, and leadership development in commercial markets so that veterans can assimilate into civilian job market to compete for today’s jobs.  For more information and similar articles from Judy, please see or some of her previous posts on (keyword search “Judy”). You may reach Judy at