Resumes can often be an uncomfortable or self-conscious topic for military spouses. Years of PCSing, deployments, and solo-parenting take their toll. When many spouses are ready to return to the workforce, they find that their resumes, well, aren’t.
Being able to work strategically with your resume is a start if you’re feeling less-than-enthusiastic about it. Remember, a resume is a representation of your skills, knowledge, and experience. Unless you’re otherwise directed for applying for a certain job, you can format the resume to play to your strengths. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
Talk Numbers and Benchmarks
It doesn’t matter if you’ve held your job for five years or for five months: make sure that you have metrics for what you did. When I was a teacher, I kept close count of how many grants and how much money I was able to secure for my school. I used those numbers in my resume to show that I am a competent grant writer with a proven record. Maybe you manage people or were able to increase profits by a certain margin. Whatever your numbers are, make sure that you know them and have them on your resume.
List Your Volunteer Experience
Haven’t had a job for a while but you volunteer like a boss? Make sure that you don’t give that experience the short shrift. Detail what you did as a volunteer and highlight the skills that are applicable to the job you’re applying for right now.
You might not be able to work in your field right now, but are you still able to participate? Can you write for a publication in your industry? What about volunteering? Are you able to be a member of a professional group? Make sure that you continue working to stay relevant in your field with items you can list on your resume; show your potential employer that you’re a hard-charger, even when the chips are down.
Make the Most of the Experience You Do Have
So often as military spouses, we get hung up on what we don’t have. And that’s so easy to do! After all, many of us have holes in our employment history or random jobs we’ve held that don’t quite make sense. (Trust me, I know: I spent time working as a gift shop cashier even though I held two degrees.) Highlight the job experience you do have by putting the most relevant information first, rather than ordering chronologically.
Keep LinkedIn Up-to-Date
As a freelancer, I use LinkedIn religiously. Whenever any of my work is published, I copy the URL and title and post it as a publication. I keep a running list of past and present clients, too. I also have recommendations saved from people I’ve worked with in the past. All of these items are too numerous to put on a resume, but keeping an on-going list of them makes it easy to pull from it when needed.