3 Tips to Improve Your Resume Now

Posted by Patra Frame

Patra Frame reviewing resumesWhat were the top three take-aways from the resume reviews at recent ClearedJobs.Net Cleared Job Fairs?

Tip 1: Get Critical Info Right Up Top

The top third of the first page is ‘ golden’  space to sell yourself so a hiring manager or recruiter will look at your resume more fully and contact you. Yet many cleared resumes buried security clearances, PMP certification, and other vital information deep within the resume. Far too many led off with a self-focused objective, instead of highlighting relevant experience and achievements in a short Professional Summary.

Put your security clearance at the top along with your contact info or within your summary. All you really need is the basics, not the details, so TS/SCI is fine.

If certifications are important to the positions you seek, put them after your name or in the summary. Again, the basics are all that is needed: PMP, CISSP, etc. If you are close to certification or will finish a new degree within 18 months then add those and say when you expect to achieve it.

Keep your summary short – focus on the info that your target employers want to know.  Don’t get into long lists of attributes or skills. Highlight a few here and include the rest in your achievements in the jobs history.

Tip 2: Use Social Media if It’s Right for You

Do you have to have a LinkedIn profile? No. That’s a personal decision driven by your profession in the security-cleared community. But you should know that over 90% of all recruiters use social media to review potential candidates and to check out those whose resumes have potential. Most common are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

If you have a social media presence, show it on your resume. Include a link to your personal website, page, visual resume, or LinkedIn profile along with your contact information. Make it easy for the recruiter – they are swamped with resumes so helping them find you shows you are a smart professional.

I am still surprised by how many people do not know you can personalize your LinkedIn profile URL. LinkedIn offers you the option to use your name or a variant on it. Do so. Then it looks like you know how to use social media, which is a positive.

Tip 3: A Resume is Not a Biography

A resume is an advertisement for your best work self. Yet far too many resumes still list every job ever held or treat each job shown as equally important. They are dense with paragraphs of responsibilities and some few achievements. This does you no favors. If a human being ever sees it, they are not likely to read it. And most will  think you cannot focus on what is important.

So, focus on your achievements showing what you did and what the results were. This tells potential employers what you can do for them. Skip responsibilities unless the job was quite unusual and then only write 1-2 sentences for context. Use bullet points to help ensure the recruiter and hiring manager will actually look at more than just the top few inches of your resume.

Your current or most recent job should be the longest list of achievements. Each previous job should be shorter. No need to go more than 10-12 years back.

Want more information? We have videos on each of these topics and many others on our YouTube channel.

Patra FramePatra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Consultant. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Follow Patra on Twitter @2Patra.






This entry was posted on Monday, April 13, 2015 8:18 am

2 thoughts on “3 Tips to Improve Your Resume Now”

  1. Ms. Frame,
    I am a transitioning active duty Air Force officer. Do you offer any assistance to review individual resumes? Having not written one in 20+ years I’m taking all the input I can.
    Thank you,
    Chris S.

  2. Chris, start with your transition program – take it as early as you can and do so twice if you can, expecially if the second time is at another base/post. Here on the CJN blog we have a number of articles on resumes you might find useful and on the CJN channel on Youtube there are several videos on resumes specifically for transitioning military. Look into joining the Veterans Mentor Network on LinkedIn groups for more individual help and resources.

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