Resume Tips for Military Spouses

My friends came over the weekend and brought two small gifts for my children. One gift was a small stuffed animal and a book, the other a small puzzle; but what stood out was the presentation! Clear cellophane wrap around the book and rawhide ribbons beautifully tied into a bow that was so beautiful I didn’t even want to open it, or at least I wanted to save it somehow to re-gift it. Presentation makes the difference! So I keep this in mind when looking at client resumes. I like a resume printed on a good quality printer, no smudges, heavy raw paper, and if emailed, no italics and I like a little white space. If you’re delivering your resume in person to a company or passing it out at a networking event, make sure you have a fresh manicure and a great haircut. Clients often want to know a clever way to juggle their chaotic work history and how to package the gifts they’ve earned throughout their military lifestyle. Should they go for “spouse-friendly employers” or hide the fact that they are fleeing spouses; they remind hiring managers to make comments about why they should or shouldn’t hire a candidate. Consider these tips as you search for your dream job, and remember that the law of attraction applies to resumes too, so regardless of my advice, if you love your resume, others will too!

1. Appearance matters.
First impressions count, so make your resume pretty! Consider limiting any bold or italic fonts, as these often look messy if the resume is scanned; Better yet, try creating a clean PDF version of your resume as well so it can be submitted to jobs electronically and doesn’t lose its professional appearance. Hiring managers dislike names that are difficult to pronounce, so if you have a difficult name, put a nickname in parentheses next to it for job search purposes; they can learn to pronounce Vandana after they hire you. If you have a similarly luscious email address, consider changing that too. While friends may enjoy emailing [email protected], consider renewing the email on your resume with your initials or first and last name and Internet provider; it will look much more professional. You never know if a hiring manager is spying on MySpace or judging her personal address. Also, make sure your home and cell phone voicemail messages are short, professional, and clear while you’re looking for a job.

2. Don’t play hard to get:
You don’t want a potential employer to call your house and be scared off by your sarcastic recording. In a nutshell, make sure you include a correct name, email, and mobile phone number that you can access at all times. Try to send out resumes when you have time to interview as well. If you work full time, take night classes, and are about to have a baby, you may not be available for potential interviews, and if a company calls you to come in and you postpone the date, another candidate may be hired in the act. because they appear first. Perhaps postponing your resume submission until summer vacation or three months after the delivery will increase your chances of being chosen.

3. Make up for lost time:
Spouses often struggle with the proverbial gaps in their resume. Stop worrying so much about it and just think about what you did during that time that would still be worth listing. When you have a career gap, it’s okay to include those extra part-time jobs you just took to earn some money, and remember to write them as professionally as possible and include transferable skills, like customer relations or multitasking, to that your future employer sees some benefit to the job. You can also fill a gap with any volunteer work or education you may have completed, especially if it’s relevant to the job you’re looking for. If you have a long gap in your resume, try filling the gap with a few bullet points instead of a long explanation in a cover letter that should focus solely on your strengths. If the blank space is so big that you can’t fill even half a page, then take an introductory computer class and volunteer at organizations associated with the type of work you want to do, join some professional organizations, or attend a conference so you can have something current to brag about.

4. Boldly define benefits:
Job pickers aren’t mind readers, so don’t assume they’ll understand military spouse lingo; make sure your resume is clear and to the point. Write your resume with the company’s needs in mind rather than highlighting what you’re looking for. Resumes are not job descriptions of what you’ve done, but rather a personal press release showcasing accomplishments in clear, succinct bullet points highlighting your strengths, transferable skills, and past contributions that will make you stand out and pique your interest in instead of a summary of your entire employment history. Businesses should be able to quickly see your credentials and spot highlights that make you a good fit for their business.

5. Size Doesn’t Matter:
While one really good page is better than two regular pages, don’t shrink or start shrinking the text to comply. Remember that short and sweet is all you need; and I say go for the more modern “profile” rather than a generic goal (job description you’re looking for). The company knows the target if you are applying for a job and a profile summarizes your selling points. One-page resumes are back in vogue, so consider translating some of those accomplishments into your cover letter and pairing your resume content to look more like a sales brochure than a dissertation. In addition to choosing a simple and clean font, have your resume professionally edited and avoid any jargon. Keep in mind that a positive tone and active first-person tense read more attractively.

6. Don’t pretend:
Some spouses hire a fancy resume writer who rephrases what they’ve done at previous jobs into percentages and dollar signs of what they’ve accomplished, but then stumps during interviews when asked about their own resume. Don’t mention that you’re a database expert if you’ve never worked with one before. And instead of sprinkling buzzwords and clichés on the resume, make the resume authentic. Think about your main strengths first, and then use a strong verb that describes where you really stand out rather than what looks good on paper. Not only will your confidence shine through, but once you’re hired for the job, you’ll end up being a much better match than if you go overboard on your resume and end up being placed in a job that requires “attention to detail.” hate.

7. Peeking is not cheating:
Go grab a coffee at the library or local bookstore and check out the resume book section. Do a search online, or better yet, ask friends who have good jobs if you can use their resume as an idea template. I’m not saying you plagiarize a resume manual word for word, but reading others’ resumes can “remind” you that you were also awarded something you forgot. It may even be helpful to go back to your old employee handbook outlining your previous job description to help jog your memory about your skills and successes. As long as your ideas come from enough different sources and really resonate with who you are, you’re not cheating.

8. Tell your friends to brag:
As with everything else in military life, it never hurts to be over-prepared. When you go for an interview, take a few extra copies of your resume with you in case you need to hand it over for a second interview, you never know. If you wrote “references available upon request,” make sure you actually have references and have a prewritten pager of these references and their contact information ready and available. Don’t forget to let people know you’ve used them as a reference so they don’t blow your cover and say “Sara who” when a future employer calls.

9. Don’t assume:
Don’t assume the hiring manager knows how you’re connected. If you know someone in the organization well, include their “contact” in the first paragraph of the cover letter. Some spouses assume that an employer knows they are computer literate or have references available upon request. It never hurts to include all relevant job skills. Another assumption people make is that the HR professional reviewing their resume knows all the jargon associated with each job. He wants to stay away from abbreviations and jargon no matter how common he thinks the word is.

10. Show off your stuff:
A beautiful resume that sits on your computer won’t get you that job. Contact all military spouse employment resources and post your polished resume. Also, print a few extra copies and take them with you so you can distribute them to your network. Also try traditional job search sites and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, and the same goes for job hunting. Buy some nice folders and put some resumes in them to drop off at the organizations of your idea. If an organization isn’t hiring, ask them if they can keep your resume in case something opens up.

Now let’s get started!

o Write down everything you have done in the past about your employment history from your first job to now. Include any relevant volunteer work, seminars, and training you have received, and next to each item list the skills you gained, such as answering a 5 line phone, presenting to a group of 50, generating X amount of dollars in income, etc. . .

o Create an outline resume with the main content that you want to share with prospective employers, then save it as a “resume skeleton” on your computer; and then you might want to create two different resumes for the two directions you’re going. For example, one resume might include all of your military volunteer work and be great for applying for that perfect position with a spouse-friendly employer, and the other resume might look more corporate and include just your work history, a PO Box, and whatnot.” great” corporate contact in the cover letter.

o Ask mentors (outside of the military) to review your resume and give you honest feedback. Please consider the resources available to you on base or email me at [email protected] to schedule a resume consultation, which includes editing, discussing your resume, and lots of support, coaching you to take the next step in your career!

If you would like to work with me as your coach or have any questions about the profession, please feel free to write to: [email protected] and subscribe to The Military Spouse Coach ezine that offers high-quality, low-cost coaching products that you can take advantage of. !

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