It has been heard on a regular basis, “Bring them Home”, speaking about the soldiers fighting the war overseas. But here is something to ponder… Thousands of soldiers back in the United States looking for employment and not having any clue how to complete an application correctly, write an impressive resume or how to interview for a job once they are invited to do so.
When completing a resume, remember that you are not the only one vying for a specific position. You have to stand out and really showcase your skills and accomplishments. Try not to list just your job duties, but instead, list what you did to make the office more efficient, to assist your clients or to change the negative morale of the staff into a positive and more inviting environment. Top mistakes for resumes I have reviewed are as follows:
Ridiculous emails- Johnny666@hotmail.com does not really make you seem like a team player. Try to always have a professional email address (first initial, last name @ a widely used domain). Keep the crazy email for your personal life.
Using plain text when you don’t have to- If the company’s website does not require plain text resumes, then use bold lettering, different fonts and even different colors to make your resume different from the rest. Your name should be the first thing they see, instead of them having to look for it.
Spelling and Grammar mistakes- OUCH! That will definitely get your resume tossed to the side. Pay special attention to the details and have two (2) if not three (3) people review the resume for mistakes.
If you are fortunate, the company staff now wants a face to face with you. That’s right… YOU! However, do not waste the panels time. I have seen job seekers all too often think they are prepared for an interview, when in reality, it appears to the panel that not one moment of their free time was spent on an attempt to ace it. Here are some of the biggest mistakes I have seen from interviewees:
Not dressed for the position- If you want a job as a supervisor, why are you NOT wearing a suit? Slacks and a polo are not going to cut it. Women should have their hair away from their face and makeup and jewelry should be kept at a minimum. Men should also have a clean haircut with facial hair trimmed neatly. Both should only use a small amount of cologne or perfume, if any at all.
Claiming the experience- Yet when the person interviewing is asked, they find themselves not being able to even provide one (1) example. It looks really bad. Try to have a few scenario-based examples handy in your brain “toolbox”.
Wearing your current job ID Badge to the interview- Does your current employer know you are at this interview? Do you want the job you have currently or the job with this company? It is just tacky and highly not recommended.
Not being able to transfer military skills/experience into civilian skills/experience- It is sad when you know someone can complete the mission but cannot verbally express it in an interview or via the resume. A military mission is the same as a mission in a civilian office. Explain how you can complete the task(s) in terms everyone can understand.
Throwing down “names”- Just because you may know someone does not necessarily mean you can do the job. The interview panel really does not care who you know or probably already knows who you know. So please, for our sake and yours, keep it to yourself.
Here are some additional tips, especially for military personnel:
Listing Rank as part of your name- put that in your job experience as your title/position and describe what you accomplished as a Staff Sergeant, Master Sergeant or Lieutenant. Your skills with your staff is very valuable in the civilian world.
Certifications not transferred into Civilian use- Almost every military certification is transferable to civilian skills. In most cases they can be transferred into civilian certifications. Combat Life Saver can be Basic Life Support or First Aid Certification/Skills.
Speak Civilian- It is very difficult to stop using acronyms or military language when you have been doing it for so long. But I can assure you that if you go into an interview and use it, ninety percent of the panel will have a hard time understanding what you mean. Take the time to get used to speaking like someone who is skilled in a variety of areas, not just the military.
This topic is near and dear to my heart and I hope I have helped someone during these difficult times, even if it is just one person.
http://www.soc.aascu.org/Default.html, transfer your knowledge into a degree
https://www.cool.army.mil/index.htm, transfer your certifications into civilian ones
https://www.acap.army.mil/, mentoring and coaching for life after the Army