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