Every separating veteran will have the opportunity to learn how to write a resume, including what belongs on it and what doesn't. Getting the right info down in the right way helps ensure that hiring professionals who have to sort through hundreds (maybe thousands) of resumes don't toss yours aside at first glance.
The downside of having to look through thousands of resumes is that certain common errors and obscure practices may start to get on your nerves after a while. The good part is that all of these can be easily prevented by asking loved ones, instructors or even civilian friends to proofread your resume.
This is less about what you present and more about how it's presented. While HR professionals' preferences may vary when it comes to formatting, any formatting, spelling or grammar usage should be the same throughout the resume. If you use an Oxford comma once, use it everywhere. If your text is aligned to the left in job titles, don't justify the alignment in the description.
2. Multi-Page Resumes
This is not a mistake any veteran should be making but, just in case the message hasn't been received, we're including it again. A two-page resume is acceptable only for candidates with 10 or more years of experience. Someone with five to seven years should fit onto one page. A separating veteran who is leaving after one enlistment should definitely not have a two-page resume.
3. Really Long Descriptions
Hiring professionals don't need a play-by-play of your work history. Remember when we mentioned they may be looking at hundreds of resumes per job? They're looking to see whether you have the work history and the skills required. Boil down your work to bullet points that highlight your effectiveness at doing the job -- this also allows you to cut down on page space.
4. Bizarre Verbs
This one may be a problem for those who love to write Enlisted Performance Reports. Though you may have "spearheaded" a lot of initiatives in the military, in the civilian world, you just "start" things or "begin" them.
Also in the civilian world, it's preferable to say you "used" something, as opposed to "utilized" it.
5. Resumes Not Tailored to the Job
A resume isn't about you -- not really. It's about the job and how you can fill it. The goal should be to tell someone how you are the best person to fill the empty spot, not your life's accomplishments, unless they help you fit into that job.
6. Improper Usage
They're/There/Their, To/Two/Too, Whether/Weather, Were/We're ... all of these have been used interchangeably on the resumes of people who did not get the job. Learn when and where to use these homophones. And make sure you can spell them correctly.
7. Bizarre or Antiquated Email Accounts
Which email address commands more respect, JohnDoe@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org? No disrespect intended to the America Online diehards out there, but someone looking to hire you is going to judge you on your email address. Feel free to be sweetpotato420 to your friends, but get a professional email account for your job hunt.
8. Excessive Buzzwords
A big red flag to someone looking at a resume is an overuse of buzzwords. Sure, sometimes they have their place, but an excess of them is a big giant nothingburger. Is there an earnest employee out there who isn't "results-oriented" or
9. Technicolor Resumes
No resume should include more than two colors (black counts as one) and should definitely have the same font throughout (consistency, remember?).
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