Wednesday, March 4, 2015

9 Reasons an Employer Won’t Ever Read Your Military Resume… and What to Do About it (Part 2)

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 2 below to read about the next two reasons. Visit Every Veteran Hired for the full article.

You Have No Idea What Value You Bring to the Table as a Military Professional

To give yourself a fighting chance against the odds that we discussed last time, you have to answer one critical question. The one question that every military professional should ask themselves is this: What do my target employers want?

If  you choose to start with your military experience listed in your VMET, SMART, awards and evaluations, you will doom yourself to the “resume black hole.” You need to answer this question before you think about writing a word or even enlisting someone to help you write your resume (yes, I did say help). Because the answer to this one question will guide you to what you should include and exclude from your resume. It will help you decide what to do about that gap, or which skills to highlight.

As an example, one person in my military network wanted to go back to doing something she last did three duty stations ago. Since then, she’s had several training and evaluation jobs and run her own unit. To ensure that employers see her highly relevant past experience, she structured the resume so that all those training and evaluation jobs were rolled into her most recent tours of duty. She then kept that section relatively brief and only highlighted the assignments that were closely related to her target positions.

By doing this, she was able to get 10-year-old experience onto page one. She also created a strong profile with headlines that described that older experience in a way that would appeal to target employers, because it addressed their main concerns.

This resume approach worked for one reason and one reason only: she thought about the needs of her target employers before she started writing one word of her resume.

You Don’t Really Know What Employers Need

If you’re staying in the Defense and Space industry, you will already know this. Think about the most successfully transitioned people who were at the same level you are in your Military Occupancy Code (MOC). What do they do now? What are their post-military career jobs? LinkedIn makes this very visual with their Veterans App, which lets you choose your branch of service and see where most of your fellow branch of service members reside, what industries they’re in and what companies in those locations/industries they’re working at. What are the best and worst qualities you see with the contractors, vendors and government employees you work with now?

You can also use ONET to help you to list of potential “reported job titles” you may be a good match for. If you find those job titles are too limiting, search for your current job title on LinkedIn and look at the profiles of the results. That way, you can at least get started with a few target job titles and a list of companies that hire people with your background and where your existing personal and professional network can provide value to them.

But don’t stop there. Scour the web for job postings and note any common themes. Run a Google search and look at 15-20 of those job postings to see how you can actually match the employer’s language. This is where you have to do a gut check. You can use the civilian job language; however, be careful that it’s true before claiming it as your own. Otherwise, you easily risk being blacklisted if it’s discovered during the interview that you lack the relevant experience you claimed you had.

Obviously, if you’re aiming to move into a new field, especially outside of the Defense industry, you’ll need to do a lot more research. You’ll first want to identify whether they have any experience in hiring prior military or have any ex-military on their staff.

If you know a company on your target list has published an opening, research them to find out all you can about their goals, position titles (hierarchy), culture and competitors. Read all you can on LinkedIn Groups, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, blogs, company websites and industry association websites. Tap into your network and talk to anyone with knowledge of the companies on your target list. Be proactive, step out of your comfort zone and reach out to social media connections to see if they will share their knowledge.

Now it’s time for us to move on to the one of the hardest steps: knowing exactly how you can address that plan.

Click here to read more from Every Veteran Hired.

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