It can be really hard to transition back to civilian life. When you’re in the service, you’re told what to do. You don’t need a resume, you have a file.
So this month’s From The Experts, we reached out to two HR professionals in different roles to get some resume Do’s and Don’ts. Big shoutout to Kim Oliver, Senior Recruiter at TECHEAD staffing firm, and Sumit Bhandari, Leadership Recruiter with Amazon Web Services.
DO – Lead with your qualifications and skills, but don’t forget the basic information!
When a recruiter or HR professional looks over your resume, they only have 1-2 minutes to review each one. This is why your qualifications summary and technical skills are SO important.
“I look for education, training, soft skills, projects, military experience, and professional experience. Try to keep it to 1-2 pages.
If you have 15 years of experience, just highlight your big wins, accomplishments, biggest strengths. You should start with that.
Salespeople – awards, revenue contribution
Technology – top technologies that you’ve used
Out of college – What school you went to, courses, projects, certs, and THEN into volunteer projects
Boot camps – Projects, experience” – Sumit Bhandari
“You don’t need an objective summary anymore, but if you do decide to include it keep it succinct and short.
Be sure to include your name and contact information. Don’t leave off location. It shouldn’t be a guessing game. The resume should help tell your story.
Your qualifications summary should include general skills and abilities that apply to the job for which you’re applying.
Examples: Team player, facilitated meetings, maybe you’re conducted data analysis, process maps and process workflows, customer service, include what you’ve fixed even if it’s not professional, associates programs.
After qualifications, add Technical Skills it’s easier to read that way.
Examples: Word, Powerpoint, Excel (and add more if you want to go deeper, Pivot Table, etc.) Anything you’ve touched! SQLquery, Salesforce, Tableau. Even if it’s just in a class, include it! It will be evaluated in the interview.
Don’t put education at the top if you have more than 3 years of professional experience, it should be at the bottom. And if your education is more than 10 years, leave off the year. And take it off your LinkedIN. Age discrimination is out there.
Don’t feel like you have to have everything on one page if you have more than 5 years of experience. 2 pages is fine. No more than 4.
If you have more than 1 page of experience, don’t include irrelevant experience unless it contains a skill for the job that you don’t have elsewhere.
Unless your experience helps you with the job, don’t include it on the resume. This includes volunteer and extracurricular.
DO put on FMLA if you have a gap, you don’t have put the reasons, but it’s completely understandable if you have to take care of family. Putting FMLA protects the candidate from further questions. Allowing you to be able to disclose as much or as little as you want.” – Kim Oliver
DO – Keep it clean
We’re not talking about language (although that too), we’re talking about formatting.
“It strains the eyes to change from one font to another. So keep it all one font.
And when you’re listing out your past job history, make it easy to read. Example: Business name (Comma) location and on the right side, bolden the dates that you worked there. Underneath this line, put the position you worked.
ACME Company, Richmond, VA …………………………………………………………………………………… 2018-2020
Technical Support I
Make it easy to follow. And use bullet points. Don’t use different fonts and different sizes. Don’t underline. Don’t be afraid to reiterate what’s on the job description in your resume.” – Kim Oliver
“Keep it really simple, in font and annotation” – Sumit Bhandari
DO – Keep it relevant to the job you’re applying to
“First bullet point should speak to the job description you’re applying for “ – Kim Oliver
“Area of interest – What area are you applying your skills to? Make it easy to find.
Make it relevant to the job you’re applying – if you don’t have industry experience, start with education, training/boot camps, certification, volunteer on top. Clearly say where you’re looking to make your career related to the technology and what you have done towards that.
List your soft skills and make sure to include job keywords” – Sumit Bhandari
DON’T – Neglect your network!
“Get active on LinkedIN and just working your network. Be visible. Branding. Leverage. Leverage the people you have close to you.
Never say no to an opportunity to grow. You can use everything. Keep building. Keep experimenting. Keep repeating. Develop that muscle memory around skills. – Sumit Bhandari
“Match your LinkedIN to your resume. The highlights between your profile and your resume should match.” – Kim Oliver
DON’T – Be afraid to include your experience. However little. Including classes and technical training.
“It’s okay to put education and “new graduate” at the top 1-3 years.
Don’t think you have to take a college class to be considered for the technical. The skills you want to achieve – you can get very reputable classes via Udemy.com – Start getting experience then put it in your technical classes. “
– Kim Oliver
“List your military experience and get training – leverage that network. Even if it’s non-relevant, still showcase what strengths they bring. Showcase your background, your strengths, show it on the paper and make it easy to give me a reason to help you.
If you don’t have a skill – invest in training, some kind of skill/training, if nothing else – attend some bootcamp or free – minimize the gap, put that on top.
ITforcauses is an easy way to get experience. All big companies are looking for experience. “
– Sumit Bhandari
The whole point of your resume is to get to the next step, the interview.
“DON’T include your whole story on the page, you WANT people to have questions” – Kim Oliver