Making the Resume Connection

Connecting things you do in the military with the business world isn’t always easy.  From my experience as the Cameron-Brooks resume consultant, my bottom line rule of thumb is to write your resume in a way in which your grandmother or someone with little to no knowledge of the military could understand the scope and significance of what you accomplished (easy ways to show understandable scope are number of people led, dollar amounts, and using zero military acronyms and little to no jargon, etc.).

A couple of weeks before one of our recent Career Conferences, I talked with an officer who was having a hard time connecting his military accomplishments to business.  It turns out several of his most significant accomplishments  were not on his resume.  I felt he missed the point of making his resume an “inventory” of his accomplishments, but perhaps most importantly, I felt that I had missed the opportunity to coach him before he got so close to interviewing with companies at the Conference.

One of the first steps to compiling an impactful resume that will connect to a variety of positions is fully “inventorying” your accomplishments (the first 3 Tabs in the Cameron-Brooks Development and Preparation Program© help you do this).  Write a bullet for each of your accomplishments that shows what you did and the result/impact it had.  Then prioritize the most important ones, which may vary depending on the company/position for which you will be interviewing.

Determining your career fields of interest comes next, even if you don’t know company/position specifics.  Getting involved in a thorough business reading program will help give you an idea of what’s out there, where your interests lie, and what fields fit with your background and experience.  For Cameron-Brooks candidates, the C-B Reading Program, Tab 4, and the career field percentages you discuss with our team can guide you. (Visit http://www.cameron-brooks.com/candidates_career.html for more on potential career fields in business.)  Also, see PCS to Corporate America, 4th Edition.

Next, you will want to focus the accomplishment bullets on your resume to the career fields in which you have the most interest.  Your top one or two bullets under each job should relate to your top career fields of interest.  Keep in mind that many bullets can connect with multiple career fields (e.g., you can bring out project management aspects of a team leadership bullet when applicable).  Make sure that your most significant accomplishments are at the top of their respective time block/job on your resume and are written in a way that show competencies that connect to your top career fields of interest.

This may seem like common sense, but many military personnel miss making the connection from their best military accomplishments to resume bullets and ultimately into answers they will verbalize in an interview.  Fortunately, we were able to help add the significant accomplishments to the officer’s resume I mentioned, and he interviewed well at his Conference.