Your resume is a crucial step when looking to transition into a new career. Sorry, but no matter how much we want to skip doing this, it's the second step in the transitioning veteran job-seeking process. The first step is translating your military skills. Alright, so what do you include on your resume? How can you best showcase your skills?
The most common answer is to use bullet points. This makes it easy for hiring managers to skim through your resume quickly and get the gist of what you've done without reading through long paragraphs. However, knowing how to write bullet points that highlight your skill set can make all the difference between being passed over and landing an interview.
Here are some tips for writing a killer bullet point:
1) Use active verbs to describe your accomplishments.
The most valuable thing you can do is explain why and how you did something. For example, instead of saying "Organized a meeting," say "Organized a company-wide meeting to discuss a new product launch." Starting a bullet point with active verbs such as led, developed, implemented, improved, launched, and built project leadership qualities. Do not use passive-sounding phrases.
2) Avoid jargon/jargony language
Translating your skills with the most up-to-date technology is critical. Hiring managers WILL NOT understand military acronyms or abbreviations. Get a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Traning (VMET), create a SkillMil profile, and we'll translate your resume into a format that hiring managers will understand. Skipping this step can make the resume writing process time-consuming and even costly. Our free military translator will translate your military experience in under a minute and create a resume profile ready to share with recruiters.
3) Be specific (and concrete!) with numbers and metrics
Military-to-civilian transitions are unique. You’ve worked in a world where success is measured in completed missions, lives saved, and equipment destroyed. In the civilian world, however, your resume needs to show quantifiable results of your work—such as increased sales by 18% or reduced turnover by 20%. Use numbers to demonstrate how your skill set has increased production or reduced time or costs.
4) Keep the bullet points short and sweet.
Bullet points should be no longer than one line. If you have more to say, add another bullet being careful to stay within three to five per job experience. The average hiring manager spends six seconds on each resume, so don’t waste time with lengthy descriptions or unnecessary jargon.
On another note, don’t use “cute” phrases or language that can confuse a hiring manager. If a phrase doesn’t clearly describe your skill set, don’t include it. For example, you might think it would be impressive to say that you were the “Master of Disaster,” but this is just another way of saying that you were good at solving problems—not necessarily what an organization is looking for in an employee.
Remember, the hiring manager spends just seconds on your resume. Make it as skimmable and captivating as possible.
Grab your VMET, sign into SkillMil, and start creating the most captivating bullet points to help you land that interview!