Season 3 Episode 123: Resume Writing Tips and Tricks, Part 2 with Marisol Maloney

On this episode of the Lessons Learned for Vets podcast, we continue our conversation with Marisol Maloney. On the previous episode, Marisol discussed her transition and her insights as a recruiter. While working with veterans and transitioning service members during the recruiting process, Marisol realized the military community could benefit from her wisdom as a recruiter. She is the founder of Secret Squirrel Consulting, which provides resume services and military-to-transition coaching. During this episode, Marisol and Lori dive into resume best practices.

As a recruiter, Marisol has seen hundreds of resumes from transitioning service members. One of the most common mistakes she comes across during resume reviews is the use of rank. Many hiring managers and recruiters do not have a military background, so rank does not translate. Another mistake is using acronyms and military jargon. Remember, civilians are not responsible for knowing military language or translating your resume. You must translate your job title. For example, instead of using non-commissioned officer or its abbreviation, consider translating it to a manager position. Never assume a hiring manager understands military language.

A resume should be targeted for the position to which you are applying. A resume is not a document that describes everything you have ever done. Focus on what is relevant to the role. You do not want to come across as a jack of all trades. When it comes to awards, focus on the metrics and accomplishments behind those awards. Listing awards and metals at the bottom of the resume takes up valuable real estate. Instead, take advantage of every inch of paper and showcase your value through accomplishments and metrics.

Whenever possible use numbers, dollar amounts and percentages on a resume. You must be able to back these up during an interview. A resume is a strategic marketing document, and its purpose is to entice a hiring manager to invite you for an interview. Whether you wrote the resume yourself or had a free service or paid service do it for you, you must know it inside and out and make sure it has been translated to what is required in the job description.

There are common misconceptions about resume writing. Here we debunk a few of them. Misconception #1: You must write an Objective Section. Writing an Objective Section is obsolete. Instead, craft a Summary Section. Treat it like a mini cover letter because not every employer requires a cover letter. Misconception #2: You must keep the resume to 1 page. A civilian resume can be up to 2, or even 3 pages in some cases, as long as it’s relevant to the job. Misconception #3: You don’t need to fill out each section of work experience on an electronic application if you’ve already uploaded your resume. ATS does not always parse information correctly. The application itself is the legal document, not the resume.

Know the difference between a federal and civilian resume. They are not interchangeable. Applying to jobs is a long process. You will get more traction from applying to less roles with a targeted resume and application than using a generic resume.

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Are You Struggling to Write Your Resume?

I created the Veteran Resume Self-inspection Checklist to lessen the resume writing struggle for veterans. This 11-item checklist will educate you in resume best practices while giving veterans a guide to assess their resume and determine if it's ready to send to  employers. 

Download Your Checklist Here