1. The most common capitalization error in resumes is with job titles. Capitalize a person's job title only when it precedes his or her name. (For example, President Jackson) Do not capitalize a job title when it comes after the name as a description. (Example: Mr. Jackson, the president of ABC Tires)
2. Abandon the idea of a "generic" resume. There is no such thing as a "one size fits all resume." Taking the time to tailor your military resume to fit the exact requirements expressed in the job posting will significantly increase your chances of getting the interview. Make sure your military resume has as many keywords from the job posting.
3. Titles of company officials should not be capitalized when they follow or replace a personal name.
Correct: Reported to the vice president of XYZ company.
Incorrect: Reported to the Vice President of XYZ company.
4. Avoid using terms like Battalion, Brigade, Regiment, etc. on your military resume. Assume that that type of language will get lost on the average civilian recruiter or hiring official. Instead, use generic terms like 'unit', or even better, put it in quantifiable terms like 'unit comprised of over 150 personnel.'
5. Don't just list 'what' you did on your military resume, but be sure to explain the impact, and if possible, put it in quantifiable terms.
For example: Designed a training program for junior non-commissioned officers that led to a 30% increase in unit physical training pass rate.
6. Include as many of the same keywords that appear in the job description you are applying for in your military resume. Don't assume the recruiter will take the time to filter through your resume to see if you're a good fit. Many recruiters don't even understand the details of the job, so they are merely looking to find as many exact word matches as possible. Often times, computers do the initial filtering.
7. The only fonts that you should use in your resume are the "universal fonts". These are the ones that open the same on PCs and Macs of all ages. These are: Times Roman, Arial, Century, MS Sans Serif, Book Antiqua, Century Gothic, or Calibri. There are some other universal ones, but these are the only ones that are also easy to read. Even though Times Roman is the most common, HR reps have grown bored with it. So try one of the others. I recommend Calibri. It's clean and modern, and spaces show well. For technical resumes, such as engineers or IT persons, Arial is the preferred font. For executives, Book Antiqua or Century.
8. Be selective about the skills and extracurricular activity you put on your military resume. Only include those that are relevant to the position you're applying for. If being a skydiving instructor wouldn't help you perform at the position you're applying for, don't put it on your resume.
9. Use a generic email address on your resume. Hotgirl25@gmail.com or email@example.com might be funny between friends and acquaintances, but will be a distraction and probably a turn-off for recruiters. They may start to judge you, or worse, may not even read the rest of your resume. If you need to create a new email address, do so today.
10. When you post your military resume to an online job bank or job posting, you need to prepare an electronic resume or HTML resume. Different computers read information differently. For example, you might have a PC and the receiver might have a Mac and if you send an attachment, your receiver might not have the right software to open your resume. Electronic resumes also clear up distortions and formatting issues when you cut/paste. If you need help creating one we can help.
11. Don't be afraid to go over one page on your military resume. In fact, while you generally want to try to stay within two pages, even that's not written in stone. Instead of focusing on length, place your emphasis on efficiency and content.
12. Be sure to include a cover letter with your military resume; and make sure it’s not dry or generic. Your cover letter should be tailored specifically for the job you are seeking, and illustrate your best intangible qualities. Cover letters provide an opportunity for you to emphasize your excitement and interest for the job; and to illustrate some of the qualities about yourself that don’t necessarily fit into the constructs of a military resume.
13. Include action words in your resume. Avoid passive language like “I was responsible for baking cakes.” Instead, try “I baked cakes.” Consider the following action words when writing your military resume: Accelerated, Balanced, Channeled, Delegated, Established, Facilitated, Gained, Handled, Implemented, Launched, Motivated, Negotiated, Optimized, Performed, Researched, Standardized, etc.
14. Constantly update your military resume. If you find yourself sending out a resume that you last updated a year ago, you probably missed several opportunities to add new training, education, accomplishments, or other work experiences. Take a look at your military resume today to see what you can add.