Wednesday, February 18, 2015

9 Reasons an Employer Won’t Ever Read Your Military Resume… and What to Do About it (Part 1)

Orion Navy NCO and SNCO Recruiter Sultan Camp recently published a three-part blog post for Every Veteran Hired that explores nine reasons your military resume isn't being read by hiring managers. Check out this excerpt from Part 1 below to see read about the first three reasons. Visit Every Veteran Hired for the full article.
Dear Military Job Seekers:
We regret to inform you that because we have no idea how to interpret military resumes for civilian jobs, the nation’s job market will continue to force veterans to take jobs you’re overqualified for or jobs outside your military specialty, delaying your careers at the expense of your salaries for at least a decade.
This is what a rejection letter may look like for your military resume submission, if you’re lucky enough to get a rejection letter.
A recent June job report gave veterans a puzzling picture. Employers added 288,000 jobs, the most jobs in more than two years. Unemployment dropped from 6.3% to 6.1%, the lowest it’s been since September, 2008. However, the number of veterans unemployed in June was 578,000.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s stiff competition, and your success lies in how you stand out from your fellow transitioning veterans. Your military resume writing goes far beyond the basic concepts of chronological, functional or combination (see me yawning already?) resume formats.
If you’re looking for military resume writing examples, read no further; you can find some good ones here. However, that’s for the lazy. If you want to know the things that HR won’t tell you, read on.
I’m amused that in today’s job market, most service members looking for jobs after the military still depend solely on their resumes. I know that although the debate rages on over whether or not the resume is dying, there is still a need for military job seekers to have a solid one. The biggest need? To have a readable resume.
A well-constructed job search is really a personal project management effort. It’s essentially a marketing project where you are the project. So, if you’re not looking at the job search this way, you’re essentially waiting for someone to offer you something. If you’re thinking, I’m submitting resumes and applying for hundreds of jobs online, so I must be doing a job search, you’re fooling yourself — and, worse yet, you’re being lazy. A sloppy resume is an indication of someone who isn’t ready to put out the effort.

Think It’s About You? It’s Not

When you’re struggling with how to write a resume, you’re likely focused on yourself. That’s why most military professionals commit the cardinal sin of trying to find a military-to-civilian translator or military resume builder. You have questions like “How do I explain what I did in the military?” or “How do I show I have the important skills civilians are looking for?” or “Should I explain why I left this job after such a long time?”
These are all reasonable questions, but it’s this focus on you that gets in your way. That’s because your resume isn’t about you.I know that sounds a bit harsh, but if you’re used to reading my other posts, you’re used to it by now. Let me say this again: If you’re focused on you, you’re missing the point. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
If you want your resume to grab the attention of employers, it needs to be about them.
That brings me to the most important point. Your resume isn’t a history paper — it’s a marketing tool. You have to develop a clear strategy. Only after you’ve done this will you be able to draft a message that will sell and avoid being called what we recruiters refer to as a “resume spammer” or “crapplicant,” someone who is firing lots resumes away hoping one will eventually stick.
Your military resume writing should convey a message that will make recruiters and employers want to call you as soon as they read your resume. That’s what your strategy is — it’s the overarching message you want to communicate. We often preach this as “Think, Key, Speak” when we train our comrades in communication protocol. So why stop now?
But let me be explicitly clear: when it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your resume is or how great your experience may be, it’s all about connections. So you may have some homework to do if you think a resume alone will get it done for you.
I read a lot of hard-copy resumes and resumes that military job seekers like you create using your military awards and evaluations, ONET and VMET. I also see the wreckage of those who have paid so-called “military resume writing” services. So let me give you some reasons why employers will not read your military resume, in a three part series — you asked for meat and potatoes stuff, right?
For our first part of this series you have to know what you’re up against:

1. Hiring Managers Are Not Really Trying to Find You

Most HR screeners are in a bad mood. Why? How would you feel if you got 250 resumes to read for each of the 10 positions you have open, and you’re not getting any extra pay to pay close attention to any of them?
Most screeners are rushed for time, so they’re annoyed by having to read yet another resume and are actually hostile rather than sympathetic. Having to read another resume is a burden that’s keeping them from their attention on what they consider much, much more important matters on their daily to-do lists. Trust me on this — watching paint dry on a wall is more appealing to me than reviewing someone’s resume. You’ve got a maximum of six seconds to make an impact, according to this really insightful Ladders study of recruiter behavior.
What are we looking for in six seconds? The study revealed that recruiters spent almost 80% of their resume review time looking at just a few essential elements: your name, current title and company, previous title and company, start and end dates for current and previous positions, where you want to work and education. In the six seconds they spent on these bits of information, they absorbed little else. So whether you want to hear it or not, that narrow focus means that unless you make these four areas extremely easy for them to find within approximately four seconds, the odds are high you’l be instantly passed over...
Click here to read more from Every Veteran Hired.

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