Saturday, 5 April 2014

How To Craft A Winning Military Resume

We have already seen the most common mistakes made by military-experienced-professionals in their resumes in our first article( to read, click here) and our second article ( to read, click here) . Now, in this third article of the resume series, we will see how we can write a winning military resume that increases the probability of an interview call on the basis of resume.

In the times of recession, the jobs are fewer and the competition is increasing and hence it’s mandatory to showcase our military resume in such a way to recruiters that they understand it well.  Moreover, we must also know how the latest technology (LinkedIn, job portals, professional platforms, Facebook etc )  is being utilized by the recruiters to find the right employee.

Know Yourself Before You Write Your Resume
If someone ask us, do you know yourself, the most obvious answer would be, yes of-course who knows us better but when it comes to highlighting the same on our resume, we tend to miss a number of skills.   A good resume generally highlights three important issues about us, our work experience, our skill sets( both soft and hard)  and our values and these three are the most important parts in a resume. Since every human being is different, no two people can have the same resume. Each one of us has a different personality, different skill sets, and different values and thus has varied different experiences and achievements.  These are unique to us and thus reflect our personality.  Though a number of military professionals follow the same work routine for years, their energy level, interest, and passion will vary with each type of work and work-environment. Therefore our resume needs to reflect our unique personality and for that it is imperative to know our-self clearly.
Before you start the exercise of resume writing, one good way is to write down your entire                    work-experiences since the time you started working. Highlighting what all has been done and achieved so far will help in connecting the dots and helps you in understanding your personality before you pitch your resume for a job opening. It is extremely important to know who you are( your strengths and weaknesses) , what your personality is( your values, skills, likes and dislikes) and what you meant to do before you take actions to build your profile. This way writing own resume would not only be easy but it will be true reflection of your personality; rather the experience highlighted in the resume will automatically define your personality. It may sound tedious at first however it will give your resume a right alignment to your personality and thus will show no gap between what your personality is and what is highlighted in the resume, thereby increasing your chances of hire.

Military Soft-Skills- You Must Add
There are a few soft skills that are associated with most of the military professionals and that even the recruiters expect from the military professionals. Not only the recruiters assume that you have these skills but these skills give you an edge over your civilian counterparts, whose resumes are generally laden with professional certifications and work-related qualifications. Highlighting these intangible soft skills in your resume which were learned and/or honed during military career will give a competitive edge to your resume. While there are many such soft skills, here are a few which are the most common ones among the military professionals:-
  • Leadership & Team Building
  • Mission-Oriented Self Starter
  • Self- Disciplined and Organized
  • Team Player
  • Flexibility, Adaptability, & Multi-tasking ability
  • Honesty, loyalty, and Integrity

LinkedIn - Your Online Resume
It may surprise many as to why we have added LinkedIn in resume writing section; however it is generally forgotten that our LinkedIn profile is nothing but an online resume of ours. We must make note that technology (in this case LinkedIn)  if not utilized correctly may be the reason why we aren’t getting many interview calls.  Far too many recruiters check candidates’ profile on LinkedIn as well; the probability is high for middle and very high for top management positions. In a perfect sense, the LinkedIn profile must supplement your resume. IF you’re applying for a HR role and your LinkedIn profile talks of security and admin, your LinkedIn profile will turn out to be game spoiler.  Let’s see with a couple of examples on how to supplement LinkedIn with resume.  Lt Col A , a non-tecn candidate,  has recently retired from military and he is indecisive whether to join HR, or security or Admin rather he is ok with any good opportunity that comes first in his way irrespective of the domain. He has made three industry specific resumes, one each for security, admin, and HR and uploaded them on various job portals. His LinkedIn profile needs to highlight his experience of each of the three domain as well as relevant key skills of each domain. If he skips on one or two domains and write about only one domain in his LinkedIn profile, it may not align with his other two resumes. He is at disadvantage if a recruiter who is hiring for either of the two left-out domains looks at his LinkedIn profile and finds nothing relevant. Now let’s see example of  Lt Col B who  is a civil engineer and has been into the engineering domain in army, handling construction projects.  He wants to pursue a career as  project manager or project coordinator in real estate, which his resume highlights about. His LinkedIn profile need not cover his other domain experiences and expertise in great detail as was the case with Lt Col A.  LinkedIn in recent times has emerged as the most valued platform for professional hiring and therefore there is a need to understand how best we can leverage LinkedIn for increasing our chances of hire.  A couple of more articles by M2C that emphasis the importances of LinkedIn are here and here

For more on resume building, click here 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Military Resume - 3 Issues That Recruiters Look For

In the first article we have seen the three major mistakes in military resumes that are very commonly made by military-experienced-professionals( To read, click here) . In this  second article of this five article series, we have highlighted  the top three reasons why the military resumes are rejected by the recruiters even when they have the potential and required skills for the job opportunity.

Lack of Keywords- Resume Heading For Trash
Because of the service constrains during the military career  especially in the final years, such as remote area postings, busy schedule, and no access to internet, we may not be aware of the latest trends in the constantly changing job market, where new methods and processes are introduced very frequently. One of the reasons for the rejection of military resumes is the lack of awareness on the latest trends about the resume writing among the about to retire or recently retired military professionals. Though many will not use the military jargon and instead use the corporate terms, they will still miss upon the right job specific keywords that give edge over others.
Receiving thousands of resume for a job opening, Many MNCs use Applicant Tracking Software ( ATS) or internet job boards to shortlist only those resumes which come up with the job-essential keywords. Similarly, LinkedIn is used extensively by recruiters to find the right candidate and one of the way to find right fit is by applying the keyword search method. Even when a recruiter is scanning your resume manually, recruiter’s eyes are constantly searching for those job specific keywords. Therefore the value of inclusion of keywords is that they can make or break your chances of being called for interview.
While some keywords are general, many of them are industry and job specific. A particular job description typically conveys what is the position, specific experience required, skills and education desired from a candidate. A number of job descriptions ( They  can be searched on various job portals) for the same position will have a number of common keywords which can be used in context of resume. Inclusion of these keywords will convey that your experience is  relevant to the job,  and increase your chances of success for a job opening.

Resume Left Open Ended- Results Not Shown
In corporate , You are recognized by your work such as  what  growth was achieved by you or what results were achieved with your involvement and most of the these results are shown with numbers and percentages.  With the availability of data matrix in corporate, it’s even more easy to quantify the accomplishments. Whereas in military rarely we quantify our work even though the there is scope  to quantify . By not highlighting  the results in figures, we leave our work accomplishment  open ended and very general in nature.
 Every military training increases operational efficiency and the same improvement can also be quantified. Every weapon training including firing conducted by an individual on his team would have improved the operational effectiveness by a few percentages. Similarly, every innovation or implementation of a new procedure that saved human effort or that made cost-cutting can be quantified to an approximate number and percentage. A good way to quantify is by asking a few questions  such as:-
·          How many staff you managed or How many individuals you trained?
·         What was the value of the equipment you managed?
·         What was the total budget you were responsible for?
·         How much money did you saved?
·         How much you improved upon efficiency or what is the percentage difference from before in productivity?

And the  results of the questions above can narrate the  work experience, and accomplishments  in a more quantifiable statements such as:-
·         Led 120 member staff.
·         Enhanced operational effectiveness of 60 member team from 65% to 80%.
·         Resulted in INR 10 million  savings.
·         Administered budget of INR 15 million.
·         Reduced inventory loss by 10%.
·         Developed result oriented training program for a 800 person organization, taking the professional standards from 70% to 80 %.

Cut, Copy, and Paste- The Resume Sound Too General & Boring
Many a times we have seen the tendency that we ask for the resume from  other veterans who have retired and are working in corporate, thinking that the same resume will communicate about us also. The resume is all about highlighting your past experiences and your individual personality in an effective manner, gaining a call for the interview.  Since it’s about an individual’s personality who has different skills sets based on his or her personality, knowledge and experience,  No two individuals can have the same resume which highlights each one’s skills distinctly. The traditional method of cut, copy, and paste does more harm to your chances of shortlist for a particular opening.  Even if a very professionally written attractive but copied resume is able to fetch an interview; chances are very high that one will not go cross interview. Guess Why?
The online templates have been copied by millions and the same content is thus widely seen all around including on LinkedIn . The words and  the  content are too general and even if we try to tweak a few words here and there to make it work for us, The recruiter who must have seen hundreds and thousands of such resume makes out that this one is another copied resume.  So what?  A copied resume generally reflects that  the person shies away from work and adopts to easier methods.
The two most important steps in finding a job post retirement are preparing an effective resume and making a job hunting strategy.  Resume is the first contact of the job-seeker with the recruiter and recruiters are a experienced lot .If the resume has been accepted for the interview call, will one who has copied the resume will have more confidence during the interview or the one who has taken the time and effort to put exactly one’s own  personality, military skills, and experience in the resume?
To sum it up, Resume writing is a detail-oriented process and requires time, and effort as one needs to pen down the career history from scratch and pull out the ones that exactly conveys the correct picture. By not copying  from other resumes, one  will improve  the chances of success both during the shortlist of resume for interview call and during the interview process as what  one will speak will go hand-in-hand with what is written.
The articles in this blog aim at empowering the retiring/retired military professionals about how to approach successful transition from military to corporate . M2C is also sensitizing the corporate recruiters about the business advantages of hiring military professionals. Some of the articles published in top HR magazines can be seen here, click here . The Team M2C with the support of military community  is committed to create an environment where in each military-experienced-professional has a respectful and dignified job post retirement and corporate companies are eager to recruit military professionals especially in domains other than Security and  Admin.
If you think this article can be useful to someone who is about to retire or have recently retired, Do share generously.
To know more on military specific resume writing, click here

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Military Resume- Avoid These 3 Worst Mistakes

In the recent past, M2C published a number of job opportunities on its website for military-experienced-professionals in various domains such as business development, legal and admin, operations, and marketing for which hundreds of resume were received; resumes ranging from two pages to 12 pages, from stereotyped to professionally written, from general to job specific, and from military-jargon-laden to corporate-heavy-terms. The very basic idea of writing a resume is to effectively leverage your military skills, resulting in an interview call. However, there were certain pit-falls observed in some military resumes that prevented the candidate from being shortlisted despite having the required soft skills and work-content skills. The Team M2C will try to bring clarity on this subject through this five series article covering  the common mistakes in military resumes , how to avoid these mistakes and ,in the last, how to write job compelling resumes. Let’s first have a look at some of the most common resume mistakes.

Military Jargon- Recruiters Don’t Understand
You were ADC to GOC-in-C or a Col GS, Great! How does that sound to your civilian friends? Too much of military jargon confuses the HR recruiters to the extent that not only they don’t  understand what all skills you posses or what all role you played in military but also  they find it difficult to identify where you would best fit with the company.  It’s important to describe the skills, gained during your active duty, in a transferable manner thereby showing that these skills are equally relevant in corporate.  This would be possible if you translate the military training, professional experience, and technical courses into civilian terminology.  If needed, a line can be added about some of the topics studied during military courses which may be common to the job applied for.
Also, It’s important to add only those experiences, medals or awards that are relevant to the job applied for.  Mentioning that you were the champion of  divisional level shooting competition may make  impact if you’re applying for security job opening but would have no value for a HR job opportunity rather it would be better to mention how you earned those awards  and what is it’s applicability for the position you've applied for.  The translation of your military experience into corporate terminology is one of the most challenging task you’ll face, however it is also the most essential task. To see one of the example of the military to corporate  translation, click here 

 One Size Fits All - No, Recruiters Need Specifics   
Another most common mistake in military resumes is that they are written tangent to the way what recruiters want.  Many prepare a general resume that reflects a bit of everything, including HR, security, Admin, operations, finances and many more, and shoot that resume for every job opening that they come across. While on the other side, if a job opening is for HR, the recruiter is only looking for specific work-content skills relevant to HR  domain. In India’s competitive environment, these recruiter get hundreds of resume for a particular job opening. They have a limited time to go through each resume and when they read vague objectives such as  “A  sincere and hardworking professional seeking an opportunity  that will utilize my skills”  or when they read skills that aren't related to that specific domain, probably they don’t even think twice to discard such  resumes. This one size-fits-all approach doesn't go well in job search and therefore it’s pertinent to prepare a separate resume for HR, a separate one for Admin and similarly for other domains; each one highlighting the specific skills set and specific experience pertaining to that particular domain. You have to tweak your resume according to each job opening, changing the content in such a way that it emphasize the skills recruiters are looking for. A word of caution here is that don't apply for jobs that you don't qualify for. It's important to target your resume to individual jobs and domains but it is equally important that all the information mentioned is factual and not faked just to meet the job description.

A Long Resume-But Recruiters Have No Time
Another sore point, We did receive many resumes that were almost 10 plus pages. There is no denying the fact that military professionals, by virtue of their numerous postings in different positions, gain enormous real life leadership , problem-solving,  team building, and crisis management experience and therefore there is always a temptation to put across every bit of the vast experience, thinking that it may add value to the resume and impress the recruiter. In today’s fast-paced environment, we all are looking ways to do maximum work in minimum time but at the same time we are compelling a recruiter to read our research-paper size resume and expecting  even positive result.  Are we correct in that? .  Mentioning that you enjoy playing golf or you like going for long drives ( Trust, we did receive such ones also ) will not have any positive impact on the HR recruiter.  Of-course we never got any resume writing  training or assistance in military  during our retirement phase  but we can seek professional help or even we can take help from our civilian friends especially those who are working in the similar positions  that you are seeking .

Military professionals have rare real life experiences and qualities that have enormous business potential , however it is observed that much is lost in translation. In our next article of this series,  we will highlight  more such avoidable  mistakes so that the resume doesn't place our veterans at a disadvantage against civilian counterparts. To read the next article on military resume, click here  For more info, clickhere