6 seconds: that’s the amount of time that the average HR professional uses to review a resume. Unfortunately, military men and women (about 495,000 of them) are still having trouble finding work. One reason being that HR professionals struggle with interpreting a military resume for a civilian job. To avoid this confusion, follow these steps to translate your military resume to the business world:
1. Update the Old-School Format
Most military resumes include the basics: name, phone, and an occasional picture. Delete the picture and include: home address, email, and a LinkedIn profile.
2. Replace Objective with Summary
An objective is a statement of career goals related to a specific industry or job application. Objectives stereotype you into one narrow role. Instead, write a summary of your background to explain who you are and what you’re capable of. Use action verbs like managed, trained, instructed, and supervised.
Example: 10-year veteran of the U.S. Navy with experience leading large groups and executing strategic plans in high-stress situations.
3. Cut the Excess
The purpose of a resume is to tell a brief career history… emphasis on the BRIEF. Delete high school education and turn each paragraph into a couple of 1-sentence bullet points. This makes it easier on the eyes and highlights your skills quickly to hiring managers.
4. Lose the Military Jargon
Remove acronyms, military terms, or the word “civilian” from a resume. People don't know what those mean, so you need to translate them into strong business buzzwords, like: effective communication, problem-solving, negotiated, launched, or conceptualizing. Here’s a list of the best (and worst) buzzwords to include.
Example of a good buzzword: title your education section “Military Professional Education”