MARCH 2, 2023 – All resumes serve the same purpose but aren’t all the same. For example, job seekers looking for a government or military position often struggle with resume writing more than others because of how long, detailed, and specific military resumes are supposed to be. But if you’re up for a challenge and want to write a perfect resume for a military position, here’s what you need to know.
Do Your Research First
Many job seekers across various industries think that being a competent professional with years of experience is enough to land their dream job. This would probably be true in a perfect world. However, your resume writing skills matter as much, if not more, than your skills and experience. A resume is a pass to a job interview, so it must be perfect.
One of the most important things about writing a resume for a position in the military (or any other industry, for that matter) is research. There are countless nuances about resume writing that affect job search outcomes. This includes proper formatting, the right choice and placement of keywords, a thorough understanding of the position you’re applying for, and more.
So before you even begin writing your resume, you should spend hours researching. First, find enough perfect military resume examples online to understand how to structure your resume. Next, look through job postings similar to the one you’d like to apply for. Finally, learn about keywords and action verbs. Sure, that’s a lot of work. But it does have a major impact on candidates’ chances of getting employed.
Brush Up Your Resume Writing Skills or Hire a Professional
Make sure that you have enough time and stamina to work on your resume writing skills. Higher-level military positions are quite competitive and resume writing requirements for them are much more challenging than for jobs in the private sector. Therefore, no matter how skilled and experienced you are, you might need weeks to craft a winning resume.
If you’re less than 100% confident in your dedication to mastering resume writing despite the challenges, it might be a good idea to hire an expert instead. These days, it’s not difficult to find a reliable military resume writing service online and get professional help. Such services employ resume writers who know exactly how to put your education and experience into words to ensure you’ll land the job you’re hoping for.
Some job seekers are wary of trusting strangers with something as important as their careers. But there’s no reason to worry. You’d hire a career advice expert if you need career guidance, right? A professional resume writer is not that different, except their skillset is focused on your resume. And they also can help you polish your LinkedIn profile, which is also important for a successful job search.
Consider the Differences Between Resumes for the Private Industry vs. Federal Positions
Another reason writing a resume for a military position requires much research, or professional assistance is that there are quite a few differences between typical resumes for the private sector vs. the military. The latter call for the same format as resumes for federal positions. Here are some of the key differences (although this list isn’t nearly complete):
- Federal resumes and resumes for military jobs are supposed to be longer. For example, if a resume for the private sector is typically one page long, a federal or military resume can be up to six pages long.
- A military resume has to be way more detailed. The reason why federal and military resumes are so long is that they are supposed to be much more detailed than what’s expected from a private-sector resume. Your potential employers expect to see a thorough description of everything you’ve done in each of your previous positions.
- The typical bullet-point format is not for a military resume. That’s why a military resume isn’t normally written in bullet points. Instead, it has a paragraph structure, with a separate paragraph for your previous education and career milestones.
- It should include a separate section for the candidate’s main accomplishments. Finally, there is no such section as “Accomplishments” in a private-sector resume, yet there is one in a federal or military resume.
As you can see, if you’re in the military, you can’t ask your Software Engineer or Market Analyst friend to use their resume as a sample to write your own. The formatting requirements are too different.
Use Keywords and Action Verbs
There are two things that all resumes share, regardless of the sector or industry. That’s the need for keywords and action verbs. If you’ve done at least some research on resume writing, you’ve probably heard about both. They might seem like a formality, but in reality, both (but especially keywords) directly impact your chances of getting hired.
Keywords help your resume pass recruiters’ ATS system and rank high among other candidates’ applications. They include the names of the roles, skills, training, accomplishments, and so on. So first, study the job listing for your desired position long and thoroughly enough. Then, look at similar listings and perfect resume samples of candidates with qualifications and credentials close to yours. You’ll soon see that most of them include numerous similar keywords. So put those in your resume as well.
Action verbs are more important for the private sector than military resumes, yet it helps to include them nonetheless. For example, all resumes skip “I” to avoid unnecessary repetitions. So most sentences start with a verb instead; for example, led a ten-person team for six months and improved performance by 20%. Luckily, you can find helpful lists of action verbs for military positions online.
Overall, while it’s surely possible to write a good resume for a military position without being a resume-writing expert, it’s not as easy as some job seekers seem to believe. If you’re in the military, you need to understand specific formatting requirements for federal and military resumes. Also, learning which keywords and action verbs to use and how to place them strategically takes time. Hiring a resume-writing professional is a more bulletproof way to find a great job quickly.