Palladian Career Resources

Transitioning Military Resume Mistake

Transitioning Military Resume Mistake

I did a number of resume assessments on Thursday for transitioning military personnel and ran into the same mistake several times. 

The mistake each of the individuals made was to not state clearly what their employment was.  This may seem like an odd mistake, but it is actually very common and something I have seen on transitioning military resumes before.

The Mistake

There are several key elements that these individuals left out. 

Name of the Employer:  Although it is usually easy to figure out who the employer is, it's a good idea to make this absolutely clear.  One of the reasons for this is the variety of employment options in the military.  There are number of roles held by civilian contractors.  Specifying the employer ensures that no misinterpretation develops.

Full Dates of Service:  The overall dates of the individual's service were omitted from many of the resumes.  References to 10, 20 or 25 years of service were included within the text of the resume, but this information didn't standout.  What was not included was an actual range of dates, such at “1990 to Present.”  This may seem like nit-picking, but without a clear statement of when the individual joined, the job seeker could create uncertainty in the mind of the hiring manager.

Rank:  Many of the resumes omitted the individual's rank.  It's important for military personnel to put their career in civilian terms and not use too much military speak.  Unfortunately, many people go too far with this and make up terms for what they did that others don't understand.  Listing the rank of each position does two important things.  It helps individuals with a military background understand the job seeker better and it shows a clear progression over the individual's career.

Presenting a career of consistent promotions is a big selling point.  Listing the rank of each position shows the hiring manager when a person was promoted.  Even if someone can't differentiate one rank from another, it will be clear that a progression to high level positions occurred.

Why This is Important

I have looked at a lot of resumes from military personnel that make the mistake of not presenting basic information about their career.  This makes it difficult to know what position would be a good fit.  It also misses an opportunity.  Demonstrating a long service record, with consistent pattern of promotions, establishes a track record of success. 

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