Resumes can be a point of contention for a lot of people. It’s not a skill we learn in school or college. Hiring managers can be oddly specific on what kind of resume they like to see, which makes it harder to know how to hit it out of the park. If you add in a lot of military spouse-related issues, it gets complicated fast. Gaps in employment, short stents at jobs and a wider set of skills instead of a narrow focus on a career are just a few hurdles we may face when putting together a resume. I recently went to work to find a career and the resume was something I knew I had to tackle. Here are three things I learned along the way.
- Get help! There are a lot of free resources out there for military families, and those free resources are really a wealth of knowledge that you should tap into. SECO’s resume writing module is a great resource to help you get started. I highly recommend reaching out. I learned a lot of tips, like don’t use the word “I” in the resume summary, and a lot of other random bits of knowledge that I would have never gotten by researching on my own.
- Write a directed resume. Hiring managers these days are looking for directed resumes. That means they want your resume to be tailored for them and the position you are being considered for. It means a lot more work on your part. But, when HR is seeing directed resumes out of all the other candidates, it makes it worth the time. You can even pull keywords out of the job description and use the same vocabulary when articulating your experience and skills.
- Be honest about work gaps. It’s incredibly frustrating that some companies are blind to the talent our community brings to the table. I know people who don’t disclose being a military spouse even after being hired by colleagues because they fear it will negatively affect them. But there is a big push going on right now to highlight all the value that service members and their families bring to the job market. When we can be honest in our resume about why it seems sporadic then it makes more sense to the hiring managers. Use the employment gaps to showcase how adaptable you are.
Writing a resume is truly a grueling process. Or maybe that’s just me. But it’s one of those things that gets you through the gate to an opportunity. I knew that if I could just get someone in HR to get me through the first look of the resume and into an interview, then I could show companies the value that is just missed on a piece of paper. When people see us as capable, adaptable and resilient individuals, then they start to see the potential military spouses bring to the table. I know you bring a lot to the table. So don’t give up and keep pushing. Reach out for help, do the work and just be honest.