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Expert Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Transitions

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289 pages

Shows veterans exactly how to market their skills and experience and translate them into language their resume readers will understand.


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Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd i 3/26/10 11:29:11 AM3/26/10 11:29:11 AM Expert Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Transitions, Second Edition © 2010 by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark Published by JIST Works, an imprint of JIST Publishing 7321 Shadeland Station, Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46256-3923 Phone: 800-648-JIST Fax: 877-454-7839 E-mail: info@jist.com Visit our Web site at www.jist.com for information on JIST, tables of contents, sample pages, and ordering instructions for our many products! Quantity discounts are available for JIST books. Please call our Sales Department at 800-648-5478 for a free catalog and more information. Trade Product Manager: Lori Cates Hand Production Editor: Heather Stith Cover Designer: Amy Adams Interior Designer: Trudy Coler Page Layout: Toi Davis Proofreaders: Stephanie Koutek, Jeanne Clark Indexer: Jeanne Clark Printed in the United States of America 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Enelow, Wendy S. Expert resumes for military-to-civilian transitions / Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark. -- 2nd ed. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 978-1-59357-732-2 (alk. paper) 1. Résumés (Employment)--United States. 2. Career changes--United States. 3. Retired military personnel--Employment--United States. 4. Veterans-- Employment--United States. I. Kursmark, Louise. II. Title. HF5383.E47885 2010 650.14’2--dc22 2009038500 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews. Making copies of any part of this book for any purpose other than your own personal use is a violation of United States copyright laws. For permission requests, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com or (978) 750-8400. We have been careful to provide accurate information in this book, but it is possible that errors and omissions have been introduced. Please consider this in making any career plans or other important decisions. Trust your own judgment above all else and in all things. Trademarks: All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, ser- vice marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners. ISBN 978-1-59357-732-2 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd ii 3/26/10 11:29:11 AM3/26/10 11:29:11 AM TABLE OF CONTENTS ABOUT THIS BOOK ...................................................................vii INTRODUCTION .......................................................................viii PART I: Resume Writing, Strategy, and Formats ......................................1 CHAPTER 1: RESUME WRITING STRATEGIES FOR MILITARY-TO- CIVILIAN CAREER TRANSITIONS ....................................................... 3 Resume Strategies ................................................................................4 Resume Strategy #1: Who Are You and How Do You Want to Be Perceived? .........................................................................4 Resume Strategy #2: Sell It to Me…Don’t Tell It to Me ..............6 Resume Strategy #3: Use Keywords ..............................................7 Resume Strategy #4: Use the “Big” and Save the “Little” .............9 Resume Strategy #5: Make Your Resume “Interviewable”...........10 Resume Strategy #6: Eliminate Confusion with Structure and Context .............................................................................11 Resume Strategy #7: Use Function to Demonstrate Achievement 11 Resume Strategy #8: Remain in the Realm of Reality ..................11 Resume Strategy #9: Be Confident .............................................12 Resume Standards ..............................................................................12 Content Standards ......................................................................12 Presentation Standards ................................................................16 Accuracy and Perfection ..............................................................19 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd iii 3/26/10 11:29:11 AM3/26/10 11:29:11 AM Expert Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Transitions CHAPTER 2: WRITING YOUR RESUME ............................................. 21 Recommended Resume Strategies and Formats for Military-to- Civilian Career Transitions ...............................................................21 Insider Advice for Military-Transition Resumes ...........................23 Choose the Right Format and Paint the Right Picture ................23 Step-by-Step: Writing the Perfect Resume ..........................................29 Contact Information ...................................................................29 Career Summary .........................................................................30 Professional Experience ...............................................................34 Education, Credentials, and Certifications ...................................39 The “Extras” ..............................................................................41 Writing Tips, Techniques, and Important Lessons ..............................46 Get It Down—Then Polish and Perfect It ...................................46 Write Your Resume from the Bottom Up 46 Include Notable or Prominent “Extra” Stuff in Your Career Summary ..................................................................................47 Use Resume Samples to Get Ideas for Content, Format, and Organization ............................................................................47 Handle Dates Effectively .............................................................47 Always Send a Cover Letter When You Forward Your Resume ....................................................................................49 Never Include Salary History or Salary Requirements on Your Resume 50 Always Remember That You Are Selling .....................................50 CHAPTER 3: PRINTED, SCANNABLE, ELECTRONIC, AND WEB RESUMES ........................................................................................ 51 The Four Types of Resumes ...............................................................51 The Printed Resume ...................................................................51 The Scannable Resume 51 The Electronic Resume 52 The Web Resume .......................................................................54 The Four Resume Types Compared ...................................................58 Are You Ready to Write Your Resume? ..............................................60 iv 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd iv 3/26/10 11:29:11 AM3/26/10 11:29:11 AM Table of Contents PART II: Sample Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Transitions ..................61 CHAPTER 4: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN ADMINISTRATION, ACCOUNTING, AND FINANCE .......................................................... 63 CHAPTER 5: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN TECHNOLOGY ..................... 77 CHAPTER 6: RESUMES FOR MANAGEMENT AND EXECUTIVE CAREERS ........................................................................................ 85 CHAPTER 7: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN OPERATIONS, PURCHASING, SUPPLY CHAIN, AND LOGISTICS ............................... 105 CHAPTER 8: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN SALES, COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCES, TRAINING, AND TEACHING .......................... 127 CHAPTER 9: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT .................................................................... 143 CHAPTER 10: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL SERVICES .......................................................................... 159 CHAPTER 11: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN LAW, LAW ENFORCEMENT, SECURITY, AND INTELLIGENCE .............................. 173 CHAPTER 12: RESUMES FOR CAREERS IN SKILLED TRADES ........... 193 CHAPTER 13: RESUMES FOR CONTINUED CAREER ADVANCEMENT AFTER SUCCESSFUL MILITARY TRANSITION ................................... 207 PART III: Cover Letters for Military-to-Civilian Transitions ....................231 CHAPTER 14: WRITING A WINNING COVER LETTER ..................... 233 Six Steps to Writing Better Cover Letters .........................................235 Step 1: Identify Your Key Selling Points....................................235 Step 2: Preplan .........................................................................237 Step 3: Write the Opening Paragraph ........................................237 Step 4: Write the Body .............................................................238 Step 5: Write the Closing ..........................................................239 Step 6: Polish, Proofread, and Finalize ......................................240 v 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd v 3/26/10 11:29:12 AM3/26/10 11:29:12 AM Expert Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Transitions Authors’ Best Tips for Writing Winning Cover Letters .....................241 Don’t Reinvent the Wheel ........................................................241 Sell It to Me; Don’t Tell It to Me.............................................242 Get Over Writer’s Block ...........................................................242 Answer the Employer’s Most Important Question: “What Can You Do for Me?” ............................................................242 Cover Letter Checklist .....................................................................243 CHAPTER 15: SAMPLE COVER LETTERS .......................................... 245 APPENDIX: INTERNET CAREER RESOURCES .................................. 253 Dictionaries and Glossaries ...............................................................253 Job Search Sites ...............................................................................254 General Sites .............................................................................254 Military Transition Sites ............................................................255 Career-Specific Sites ..................................................................256 Company Information .....................................................................259 Interviewing Tips and Techniques ....................................................259 Salary and Compensation Information .............................................260 INDEX OF CONTRIBUTORS ............................................................ 261 INDEX .......................................................................................... 265 vi 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd vi 3/26/10 11:29:12 AM3/26/10 11:29:12 AM ABOUT THIS BOOK Whether you’ve been in the military for 2 years, 4 years, 10 years, 20 years, or more, making the transition from a military to a civilian career can be quite a chal- lenge. To begin with, you have a number of very important decisions to make: • The type or types of positions you want to pursue • The industry or industries in which you are interested • The type of company you would like to work for • Your desired geographic location(s) Once you have made those decisions, the next step in your job search will be to develop a strong, achievement-focused resume that clearly communicates your skills, knowledge, expertise, and record of performance. The critical challenge you face is to translate those years of military experience into language that “corporate America” understands. Acronyms, abbreviations, and initials that may be a rou- tine part of your vocabulary (for example, FORSCOM, AFB, ECM, DoD, and TRADOC) will most likely not be recognizable to these companies and their hir- ing managers (unless you’re targeting your job search to companies that do busi- ness specifically with the U.S. government or U.S. Armed Forces). Learning to write a powerful resume that uses civilian language and positions you as a competitive candidate in the employment market is what this book is all about. As you read through the early chapters, you’ll learn that a resume is much more than just your job history, academic credentials, technical skills, and awards. A truly effective resume is a concise, yet comprehensive, document that focuses on your achievements, contributions, and value you bring to a company. Read this book and review the scores of samples, and you’ll have the tools you need to cre- ate your own winning resume. Once you have written your resume, this book will instruct you in the methods for preparing resumes for e-mail, scanning, and Web site posting, as well as the tradi- tional printed resume. By using Expert Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Transitions as your professional guide, you will succeed in developing a powerful and effective resume that opens doors, gets interviews, and helps you land a great opportunity! 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd vii 3/26/10 11:29:13 AM3/26/10 11:29:13 AM INTRODUCTION Unlike some of the other books in the Expert Resumes series, which focus on very specific career areas, this book addresses a large and diverse audience: specifically, military personnel who are now pursuing civilian jobs and careers. This unique col- lection of people represents just about every profession and industry imaginable— from aerospace engineering to logistics management, from airfield operations to software design, from housing to recruitment, and so much more. The only thing that each of our readers has in common is the fact that they have decided to leave (or retire from) the military. Beyond that, the range of experiences, qualifications, skills, and expertise that each of our readers has is vastly different. But that’s okay. This book was not written to teach you how to write a resume for a specific industry, profession, or job skill. Rather, this book was written to guide you in translating your military experience into terminology that hiring managers in the corporate world can easily understand. In essence, we want to provide you with the insights you need to translate your military experience into the functions, responsibilities, and skill sets required for a successful career outside the Armed Forces. To help you use this book wisely, we divided into three parts: • Part I contains three chapters of critical importance to every reader. These chapters outline important resume-writing strategies, provide instruction on how to write a resume, and explain what you may need to change on your resume depending on how you plan to submit it. • Part II breaks down the resume samples into chapters based on your current career goals and objectives. • Part III addresses the critically important document that accompanies your resume just about every time you send it: your cover letter. Before you start writing a resume, you need to ask yourself some key questions, identify your career objectives, and consider how you will conduct your job search. The What, How, Which, and Where of Resume Writing There are four critical questions that you must ask yourself before you ever begin writing your resume: • What type of position/career track are you going to pursue? Your current career goals dictate the entire resume writing and design process. If you’re looking for a position where you will have responsibilities similar to what you 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd viii 3/26/10 11:29:13 AM3/26/10 11:29:13 AM Introduction did in the military, you’ll approach your resume one way. On the other hand, if you’re now looking to transition your skills into a new career field, your resume should be entirely different. • How are you going to paint a picture of your skills and qualifications that will make you an attractive candidate in the civilian world? What types of information are you going to highlight about your past experiences that tie directly to your current objectives? What accomplishments, skills, and qualifications are you going to “sell” in your resume to support your new civil- ian career objectives? • Which resume format are you going to use? Is a chronological, functional, or hybrid resume format going to work best for you? Which format will give you the greatest flexibility to highlight the skills you want to bring to the fore- front in support of your transition into a civilian career? • Where are you going to look for a job? Once you have decided what type of position and industry you are interested in, how do you plan to identify and approach those companies? When you can answer the what, how, which, and where, you’ll be prepared to write your resume and launch your search campaign. Use chapters 1 through 3 to guide you in developing the content for your resume and selecting the appro- priate design and layout. Your resume should focus on your skills, achievements, and qualifications, demonstrating the value and benefit you bring to a prospective employer as they relate to your current career goals. The focus should be on the “civilian” you and not necessarily what you have done in the past in your military career. Review the sample resumes in chapters 4 through 13 to see what other people have done—people in similar situations to yours who faced similar challenges. You’ll find interesting formats, unique skills presentations, achievement-focused resumes, project-focused resumes, and much more. Most importantly, you’ll see samples written by the top resume writers in the United States, Canada, and Australia. These are real resumes that got interviews and generated job offers. They’re the “best of the best” from us to you. Finally, review chapters 14 and 15 for best-in-class cover letter strategies and samples. As you’ll read, your cover letter is an essential partner to your resume, and that’s why we have expanded this edition of Expert Resumes for Military-to- Civilian Transitions to include the guidelines and templates you will need for a complete job search campaign. Determining and Reaching Your Career Objectives Before you proceed any further with writing your resume, you’ll need to begin by defining your career or job objectives—specifically, the types of positions, compa- nies, and industries in which you are interested. This is critical because a haphaz- ard, unfocused job search will lead you nowhere. ix 00 J7322 Expert Military FM.indd ix 3/26/10 11:29:13 AM3/26/10 11:29:13 AM
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