Join Lida Citroën for an in-depth discussion in this video The resume and cover letter, part of Translating Your Military Skills to Civilian Workplace.
- So, no discussion of a military-to-civilian transition would be complete without talking about the resume, right? Resume is a tool in your toolkit. What I want to emphasize is that it is not everything to a hiring manager. Hiring managers, especially civilian hiring managers, understand that your resume lists out what you did. It tells examples of your experiences, your credentials, your certifications. Maybe you're even going to the point of putting your results and the benefits of hiring you in that bullet point list.
But it doesn't tell your story. It doesn't tell the story of where you were, where you went, and why you're relevant for the hiring manager that's looking at your resume. It's important when taking a military MOS or a military resume to not just demilitarize the words, not just take the technical military word and civilianize it thinking that's what's going to make a hiring manager attracted to it. I want you to tell a story. Tell the experience that you had in that role.
So, let's say you were a cook in the Navy. A cook in the Navy has responsibility for hiring, has responsibility for procurement of supplies, meeting deadlines, managing budgets; those are part of the story and they help the hiring manager see why your experience, while it might have nothing to do with the job you're applying for, is relevant. Again, a resume is a part of the toolkit. Your resume must be consistent and comprehensive. It needs to be consistent with the person that I'm about to meet.
So, if I see a very formal, maybe even a little bit pretentious, resume, and then I meet you and you're really an approachable, easy-going person, something doesn't feel consistent. So, it's important that your resume reflect the tone and the personality of the person I'm about to meet. I also want you to think about key words and key terms; not just how you know them, but how people that are hiring in positions that you're moving towards are going to use them. So, for instance, I worked with a logistics specialist who was leaving the Army, and his experience set was amazing and very broad and very deep.
He ran serious convoys of tanks through the desert. Well, the positions he was applying for really didn't require someone to move tanks across the desert. But, he was really good at managing the timelines, the deadlines, the process that needed to happen. And when we talked about a similar environment, where a similar process might exist, we actually uncovered that fleet management in school districts is a very close parallel to what he had done. Little bit of a different set of deadlines, but equally precious cargo, and today, he is running the fleet management for one of the largest school districts in the States.
Think about, too, that if you were a videographer, maybe you put those kinds of terms down instead of naval intelligence, or marine intelligence. Think about the language that the hiring manager wants to see. And the resume is a piece, but we're also going to have a cover letter. Every person who sends a resume should always precede it with a cover letter. Your cover letter is the part where you do get to say a little bit about who you are. Think about the person you are sending it to. What are their hot buttons? What have you learned online? Have you visited the company's website? Have you seen the person's profiles online? Can you get an idea of the tone and the energy that that person is going to bring to their position and what they're going to be looking for? For example, if you're targeting technology companies in California, you're probably going to look for a more creative, or upbeat tone.
If you're looking for a position in a Wall Street firm in New York, probably going to be a little bit more serious and structured. Your cover letter introduces you. It tells me who you are. The resume tells me what you've done. Always end your cover letter with a call to action. Make sure it closes with something that sets the expectation for the next step. I want to speak with you soon. I will be calling you. I look forward to hearing from you. Whatever that call to action is. And overall, remember that when you're writing a cover letter or a resume, align your goals and your values with the goals and the values and the culture of the recruiters in the companies you're seeking to attract.
Make sure that it is so easy for them to imagine that you would fit right in, even if we need to give you a little training on some technical aspects of the job. Personality-wise, values-wise, we see you as a fit for our company.