TEN TIPS FOR MILITARY AND DEFENSE-INDUSTRY RESUMES
1. If you are still in the military – or currently working in defense industry – and you’re contemplating a transition, make the best use of your time. Use your remaining time in military to extend your contacts on LinkedIn, analyze the market, and cherry-pick three targets.
2. Buy the latest episode of “What Color Is Your Parachute,” by Richard Bolles, and fully digest the information about “5 Worst Ways to Look for a Job” and “5 Best Ways to Look for a Job.” If you are making a transition from active military or transitioning from the defense industry, this information is especially important for you, because the people in the military-defense area tend to me more isolated and unaware of trends in civilian industry.
3. Invest in yourself: When you’re on active duty, many programs and services are available to you at no charge. Sometimes these services are adequate but not good enough to compete with the top services. For example – without bragging – I can simply state that I am known as one of the best resume writers in the USA and I charge accordingly. I dig deep into the backgrounds of my clients and I excel at making them look very compelling to recruiters and employers. But not everybody needs my services, and lower-price alternatives are out there – but they are not free. If you are serious about your career, shop around for appropriate help – and invest in yourself.
4. Don’t get lost trying to translate what your military experience into civilian lingo. Very often, the writer gets lost in tangled verbiage that makes no sense to outsiders. Certain military experience cannot be translated directly into “civilian” language, and this is especially true for the combat arms. In that case, focus on challenge, actions, and results – and tie your experience to universal attributes such as teamwork, discipline, and leadership.
5. Search the Internet for military-friendly employers. As a military veteran, you probably would probably not do some the notorious behaviors that your “millennial” counterparts are famous for. It is not fair to generalize about an entire of generation of young people, but many recruiters and managers are biased against “millennials,” and perceive them as risky hires based on attitude and work ethic.
6. Be wary of federal resume services and formats such as “Resumix” – these are probably okay for their intended audiences, but don’t reuse them in civilian sector (not competitive).
7. Frame all of your experience – on resume and during interview – in terms of results that you produced for employers, managers, or military superiors. This is especially important if you’re used to working in the federal/defense sector – the overwhelming tendency in written and spoken communications is to describe “tasks” and “job description” instead of results for employers.
8. If you haven’t done so already, start a free account on LinkedIn, and be sure to use a personal email address and not a work (military or company) email address. If you use a company email to open your LinkedIn account, you will be unable to access your account after you leave the company.
9. Scan profiles on LinkedIn using the “advanced search” feature: scan for profiles of people in business who already transitioned from the military to civilian careers. Better yet, contact them and ask them about their transition experience! I recommend this to my own clients and those that try it are never disappointed – learn from the successes and mistakes of people who’ve already made their transitions. Important: Make it VERY clear to your contact that you are seeing information only – emphasize that you are NOT inquiring about a job.
10. Many people of goodwill are out there and eager to help you, but they don’t know what to do. Don’t be shy about asking for help or information – more often than not, people are eager to help you make a successful transition. Meanwhile, good luck in your search!
BTW for additional information on this topic, request your free copy of the Military Transition Survival Kit – Just enter your first name and email: