Tips from TAP: Five Ways to Improve Your Resume
"Tips from TAP" features tips and advice from TAP managers. This issue, we hear from Shonté Gonzalez, community readiness consultant and transition program manager at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
When hiring managers read your resume, you have only a few seconds to impress them. Your resume is like your personal commercial. The product? YOU. The secret? Make it succinct and memorable.
As a Community Readiness Consultant overseeing the Transition Assistance Program, I have more than 10 years of experience reviewing resumes for military, military families, and students.
Here are my top five resume tips:
1. Market Yourself
Don’t just lump all of your experience onto a document and call it a day. Use your resume as a branding piece that gives you a distinct, polished “voice.” The point of a resume is to get an interview, but you won’t get an interview if you don’t stand out from the crowd.
Showcase your skillset and career summary in a way that will sound appealing to a potential employer. Think in terms of: What skills do you bring to a company? How much money did you save your previous employer? How did you help your last employer reach their own goals?
Another way to “brand” yourself? Include the URL to your LinkedIn profile (as long as your profile is up to date) and use a professional email address. Having an up-to-date profile and professional email address show hiring managers that you are thorough and take your career trajectory seriously. These two things will help unify your professional front.
2. Make a Good First Impression
The goal here is to create something easy on the eyes and easy to read. There are three things to consider here: design, layout, and font.
With design and layout, make sure the amount of white space and text is balanced. Separate categories should be easily distinguished. Overall, it shouldn't look cluttered.
When it comes to font, the trick is to use something unique while avoiding anything too flashy. Check out fonts such as Garamond, Gil Sans, Cambria, or Calibri. Use a font size of 10 – 12. Anything too small is difficult to read; anything too large looks like you’re trying to fill in space.
Also, keep it short. Generally speaking, your resume should not be more than two pages long.
3. Frontload Relevant Information
Don’t make the hiring manager have to search for a reason to hire you. If the job requires certifications, place them at the top of the resume. If the job requires certain skill sets, make sure you list them first. Just as important - don’t bog down your resume with information that does not pertain to the job to which you're applying. If it's old or irrelevant, you're probably safe leaving it out.
4. Tailor to Suit the Job
Hiring managers don’t want a history lesson on your work experience - they have too many resumes to review. And since there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to resumes, you need to do some homework. As mentioned above, your resume should reflect only what is relevant to the hiring company. This means you need to tailor your resume to the job before sending it. Use the job description to find key words and to know which of your skills you should highlight.
A great way to stay organized is to create a master resume where you can list entire work history in one place. From the master resume, you can build a tailored resume for each company and position.
5. Get Help
Let's be honest. Most of this is easier said than done. If you need help getting your resume(s) in working order, you have resources.
Check out your local military family centers at your nearest military installation. At these family centers, specialists can review your resume for free. The resume needs to be written already, but they can help you get it polished.
If you are looking for help writing your resume, connect with local veteran groups. You can also go to your local American Job Centers or join LinkedIn groups that work with military, like the Veteran Mentor Network, to get help.
About Shonté Gonzalez, MA, CPRW, AFC
Community Readiness Consultant
Transition Program Manager
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, U.S. Air Force.
Shonté Gonzalez has been a Transition Counselor for the USAF for the past 11 years. She has 20 years’ experience in marketing and human resources. An experienced communication professional in media and public speaking, she currently works at the Airman & Family Readiness Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a Transition Manager for the TAP program.*
By Shonté S. Gonzalez