We spoke with Tara Carlidge, Recruiting Manager at Citi and former Personnel Officer in the U.S. Army, to ask her about the biggest mistake that veterans make in their resumes that could hurt them from getting the corporate/civilian job they’re applying for. Here’s what we learned:
First, tailor your resume to the specific job that you are applying for. Many veterans just have one all-encompassing resume that they use to apply to every job, rather than having a different one for each. It’s important to have a resume specific to the job to which you are applying, because hiring managers will look for keywords and experiences in your resume or cover letter to see if you are a right fit. To tailor your resume, read through the job description and pick out key terms pertaining to it. Incorporate those terms throughout your resume and cover letter so that your skills stand out to the hiring manager or computer algorithm that is reading your application.
Second, make sure that you interpret military terms into civilian terms. If the hiring manager doesn’t understand your resume or cover letter, you won’t get hired. It’s important that you are using words and phrases that are not only relevant to the position to which you are applying, but are fully understandable by the common civilian. Have someone who is not / was not in the military read over your resume and cover letter and make sure that they can understand it. They can point out to you the terms that you used that are not civilian, which you can use in creating all of your resumes.
Finally, highlight any increase in responsibility over time that you may have had in the military. This can relate to an increase in the people that you managed, budgets that you managed, or even come in the form of a percentage of efficiencies that you created. This measurement of responsibility showcases your success in any previous role that you have had.
This article is one of nine in a 9-part series WayUp has completed in partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and VOWS in an effort to help Veterans entering the civilian workforce. To sign up for WayUp and be discovered by employers, we encourage you to go here.