Will a prospective employer be motivated to learn more about you from reading your resume? Resumes are important tools for communicating your purpose and capabilities to employers. A resume advertises your qualifications to prospective employers and is your calling card for getting interviews. You can craft your resume by understanding the different types, construction elements, and refinements necessary to make it your effective first impression to employers.
There are three basic types of resumes:
For most transitioning military, we recommend the combination format because it highlights your functional expertise and also shows your most recent assignments.
What you should or should not include in your resume depends on your particular goals, as well as your situation and the needs of your employers – what do they want or need to know about you? At the very least, your resume should include the following five categories of information:
On the Assess Your Skills & Interests Step, you identified your work-content skills and functional skills. Use the exercises you completed to communicate your experience, work history, and education to employers in your resume.
Other categories may be included but should be limited to only those relevant to your job search, such as professional affiliations, special skills not covered in other sections of your resume, or awards and special recognition. Samples of resumes that can be downloaded and used as a template are found in Additional Resources to the right. The examples represent a broad cross-section of the types of jobs that most transitioning military service members would likely seek. These are Microsoft Word documents that you can upload and modify to suit your needs, or just use as a reference. If you have multiple career interests you will want to develop a resume for each.
Resume Sequence - What is most important to both you and the employer? Your most important information and strongest qualifications should come first. If your education is more relevant to your next job than your recent work experience, then the sequence of elements should be:
If you have several years of direct work experience that support your objective, and if education is not an important qualifying criteria, then the sequence should be:
Resume Critiquing –Does your resume accurately present your qualifications in the best possible light so that the hiring managers will want to call you in for an interview? That is the true test of an effective resume!
You should subject your resume to two types of evaluations:
Letters play a key role in a job search and come in several forms, including cover letters, approach letters, and thank you letters. Samples of each type of letter can be found in Additional Resources to the right.
Like good advertisements, job search letters should follow four basic principles for effectiveness:
Cover letters provide cover for your resume. A short and succinct one-page letter that highlights one or two points in your resume is enough. Three paragraphs will suffice:
Approach letters are written for the purpose of developing job contacts, leads, or information. These letters help you gain access to the hidden job market by making networking contacts that lead to those all-important informational interviews. State your purpose, but do not suggest that you are asking for a job – only career advice or information. Request a meeting and indicate you will call to schedule it at a mutually convenient time.
Thank you letters may become your most effective job search letters because they communicate your thoughtfulness. The goal is to be remembered by potential employers in a positive light. A thank you letter is a powerful way to be remembered. Occasions for writing thank you letters include: