A good resume can help you get that first interview. However, as a military spouse, your resume may look a little unusual to most Human Resource managers. The multiple moves that come along with being in the military can result in a resume that contains gaps in employment. But there may be ways to fill in those gaps with your unique experiences. Remember, everyone’s skill sets, career and education history is different. Learn how to highlight yours in a way that will get you noticed!
Here are some steps to keep in mind when creating your resume:
- Avoid acronyms. While the military life is full of them, your resume shouldn’t be. Things like FRG, Ombudsman, PX, will not make sense to a civilian HR manager. If you must use acronyms, make sure that you explain what they mean somewhere in your resume.
- Translate accomplishments to civilian language. For example, instead of stating that you were instrumental in fundraising for the FRG, instead, it would be better to write, “raised $X,000 to provide funds for the improvement of soldier and family readiness.”
- Include experiences, education and accomplishments. As a military spouse, you’ve most likely been involved in military-only experiences including training or volunteer opportunities. You don’t have to have received payment in order to have developed valuable skills. Make sure you highlight these unique opportunities in your resume that are applicable to the job you are applying for.
- Learn to identify your own strengths. Do some research on resume writing and examples to discover how others talk about their achievements and skill sets, particularly for occupations similar to the one(s) that you are interested in.
- Create a compelling headline. Ditch the “objective statement” and instead include a headline that lists your target career or industry.
- Pepper “keywords” throughout your resume. Look for keywords in the advertisement and incorporate those in your resume. Tailor the descriptions of your experience, skills, and training to include those words as they are what HR managers or AI bots will be looking for!
- Remember, every job you apply for will need a new resume. Rework your current resume to highlight skills and include relevant keywords for each and every position you are applying for.
- Create a convincing cover letter. Use this as an opportunity to showcase a bit of your personality, and to give recruiters a better feel for why you would be a great candidate for that specific job.
- Make your resume stand out – for all the right reasons! While it may be tempting, try to steer away from the free, boring resume templates available online. Add a little style to make yours stand out, but be careful not to make it too garish!
- Proofread. And proofread some more!
Feeling stuck? Not sure how to highlight your skills or how to make them relevant to the position you are seeking? For descriptions of duties for specific jobs, check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook. You can search by the title of a job and get a complete description of what that job entails.
Now that you’ve got the perfect resume and cover letter, take these additional steps as you set out on a successful job search!
Update your LinkedIn. Theis platform offers you the opportunity to showcase previous work, share recommendations from colleagues, and make far-reaching connections. Highlight your accomplishments at each job, whether paid or volunteer.
Get creative in your search. Google military-friendly businesses and look for job openings there. These businesses understand the demands of the military and the frequent relocations.
Don’t rely solely on your resume. Attend job fairs and let family and friends know you are in the market for a new job.
Stay relevant in your field. Even if you are unable to find a job in your career, stay up to date on changes in the industry by joining professional organizations, volunteering in some capacity, or subscribing to industry publications. Anything to stay abreast of the happenings in your field.
Go back to school to develop skills you may be lacking. Professional development or personal enrichment course are available online and make a fantastic addition to any resume.
Many military spouses find themselves changing jobs more frequently than they’d like. To make matters worse, they may also find themselves with gaps in their work history. By applying a fresh perspective, those gaps may be filled with your accomplishments during those times – whether you spent that time volunteering, pursuing continuing education opportunities and more!