Do you want to avoid writing your resume -- and get a good job anyway? Of course you do. Trying to come up with the exact words to make your respectable military career sound like the second coming of Elon Musk is enough to make anyone want to run far, far away.
This is a problem for military members who want to get a high-paying job. Resumes are usually required (unless you actually are Elon Musk). As a Transition Coach, I often make one easy suggestion to my clients that helps them get past their worst procrastination: Get someone else to write your resume.
I can hear my fellow coaches across the country groan in unison. In some ways, they are absolutely right. No one will ever understand what you did on the job as well as you do. No one has the time to read through job listings for you and recognize how your real skills match. Most of all, your resume has to be carefully shaped for each particular job.
That said, a completed resume is better than that Word document on your computer that boldly lists your name and contact info then dwindles into nothingness after the words “Executive Summary.” So here are three ways you can get someone else to write your resume:
1. Go to a Veteran’s Service Organization. When it comes to transition, our VSOs (like Hiring Our Heroes, USO Pathfinders and Hire Heroes USA to name a few) have a lot of experience helping military members get jobs. Part of this skill set includes the completed resume. On their websites, you can get free access to resume building tools. Many organizations are also staffed with these handy people called Transition Specialists who help you turn your service record into a working resume for free. Expect them to request proof of service like your DD214 in order to access their service.
2. Pay a professional. If you do not want to use a VSO, or if their program does not cover your particular niche, paying a professional resume writer is a good option. It may cost less than you think. Executive type resumes run between $200 to $400 and sometimes include a cover letter in that cost. Expect to pay more for a federal resume since these can run up to 10 pages. The key to finding a good resume writer is to look for someone accredited by an organization like the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Counselors, or the National Resume Writers Association. Many of their members specialize in military resumes.
3. Use the job listing to write the resume. One trick I like to use to write a perfect resume is to start from scratch with a specific job listing. Hiring managers are not hiding what they really want. They are straight-up telling you the right answer. So copy and paste the qualifications and requirements into a new document. Use each of these items as a stem to write a bullet point that exactly reflects the requirement of the job and use a number (quantity, percentage, cost savings, etc.) to demonstrate the magnitude of the effect. When you are done, arrange in chronological order by job. You can use this free template on my website to put these items in order.
Once you have a completed resume from any of these sources, you are not done forever. Sad, but true. No one-size-fits-all resume will work. The good thing is that once you have a working document, one you can adapt and fit to other situations. As you go through transition, you will pick up other phrases and keywords to include in your document until your resume truly reflects what you can do for a civilian organization.
Jacey Eckhart is a career transition coach known for her ability to connect senior military (officer and enlisted) to their next high-impact career. Trained as a military sociologist, her professional focus is on veteran employment, spouse employment, and long military marriage. She has more than 20 years of experience designing workshops for active-duty members, reservists and the National Guard, including Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force and all their wonderful families. For more information, visit No Regret Military Transition or email Jacey.
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