Written by Kelly Fuhlman
As a military spouse you likely take on many duties every day, especially as you try to improve your career skills. One taxing chore that can be tough to keep up with is creating/updating your resume. There are some common mistakes that most military spouses will make on their resumes. Given how busy you are, we want to help you with this task so you can keep your resume out of the “pile” that most will end up in. So take heed of these simple rules to create a solid resume that will get you the interview.
- Exaggerating your credentials: What?! Everyone does it right? You see the gaps or descriptions of job duties and feel you have to exaggerate your experience, talents or titles. What this really means is simple: you don’t like your current resume, so it is time to revise it. Revising does not mean exaggerating, it just means providing clarity. Think back to your time at these jobs, did you receive any awards? Work on any special projects? What work was critical to making the customer happy? Answer these questions and you won’t be exaggerating, you’ll be providing the important information employers want to know.
- Thinking the title of your job will tell it all: Don’t expect HR or hiring managers to be mind readers. You need to spell out everything that you did with your past jobs. Don’t just copy and paste a job description. Try to write out a one or two sentence summary of what you did, specifically focusing on how what you did provided value to your company. From there you’ll start to get a clearer idea of how to explain clearly what you did in your position.
- Sending out old resumes: Face it we all despise updating our resumes. It’s a daunting task, but keeping it up to date shows employers you care about yourself and the position you are applying for. Updating your resume has to be done and sometimes you will have two or three resumes going depending on the jobs for which you are applying.
- Not explaining employment gaps: You will likely have gaps, stemming either from having your precious kiddos to PCS-ing or even the many “hurry up and wait” situations the military will put your through. You can minimize them by using a functional style resume instead of a chronological resume. This way you can showcase your skills upfront and focus on what you can bring to the table, rather than worrying about meeting some artificial timeline.
- For your enjoyment only: Your resume is not for you! Sorry tough love here. Although this is a picture of your work history and is indeed only about you, this resume is for the hiring manager or HR specialist to help them see that you meet their needs to fill an open position. They want to see that what you have done will allow them to not just fill the position but be successful as well.
- Not tooting your own horn: Toot, Toot! This can be a tough step, many of us don’t do well when having to write down all of our accomplishments. I said this in point #2 above and I will say it again: Don’t copy and paste a job description. If you do that, you will not prove that you made the job your own. It will also show that you have zero initiative and imagination. So take some time to get into a mindset where you have extra pride in what you have done and then write out your accomplishments, it really does help.
- Sit and wait for a phone call back: There are likely hundreds of people out there applying for that job too. Don’t just sit there and wait. Networking is key — find a friend, neighbor or anyone that will help you put your resume at the top of the stack. Also, follow up a few days after you send the resume with a call or e-mail.
The most important thing is don’t give up! As a military spouse you have so much to offer a company even if you only have a few years’ experience. Network as much as possible and brush off your LinkedIn account.
And remember – World Education.net provides each of our students a dedicated career coach that helps them with resume writing, interviewing skills, and networking. We also partner with several accredited universities to offer the MyCAA scholarship to qualified military spouses.
To find out more on our online career training programs go to www.worldeducation.net/military and live chat with our admissions team, or call us at 1-855-201-6910.