Two careers, potentially two completely separate careers, and they both have to go on one resume. How in the world does that work? And how do you put your military career on a resume in a way that doesn’t discourage a new employer from hiring you? Balancing your Reserve Career and your Civilian Career can be challenging, but when done right, it is extremely rewarding.
The most effective way to show all of your experience without jumping around from job to job is to forgo the chronological resume and instead focus on skill sets. Grouping your leadership, retail, management, and technical civilian skills into other sections will give the reader a better chance of following your career path. As you can see in this example, putting all similar skills (both military and civilian) in a flowing format makes your experience so much less complicated:
After the experience sections which reassure employers that you can hold a steady job, add a simple timeline:
Don’t over analyze. Do you know how to do preventative maintenance on aircraft hydraulic systems? Great. Does every potential employer need to know that? No. Does the job you are tailoring this resume for require preventative maintenance? You can include it if necessary, but even then leave out the aircraft hydraulic systems part. Less is often more. You want to include enough information in your resume to spark interest, but leave something to talk about in an interview.
Reservists are some of the most adaptable people in the world, showcase this! Make sure to highlight the times you’ve been forced into a new situation and have succeeded. Positively point out the way you’ve done your civilian and Reserve job at the same time, and the time you were activated to provide crowd control with 12 hours’ notice, and the time you stuffed sandbags to prevent flooding. Display your adaptability.
The words in your resume are important, but so is the way you choose to present it. Gone are the days of stoic, black and white resumes. Creativity is encouraged in most industries, so embrace it! Most resumes are now read on a computer, so color, graphics and charts are welcome breaks when reading lines and lines of text. There are a lot of creative templates and examples online. Find one or parts of one and create a masterpiece.
Guest Author Bio: Rebecca Alwine has been a military spouse for 8 years, traveling the world and learning about herself. She’s discovered she enjoys running, loves lifting weights, is a voracious reader, and actually enjoys most of the menial tasks of motherhood. She is an avid volunteer, and works as a career counselor for transitioning service members. She has a Masters in Emergency Management from American Military University and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Mary Washington. Her writing has been published both in AUSA’s ARMY Magazine, Military Spouse Magazine, and multiple digital magazines and blogs. You can follow her on Twitter (@armywife1229) and at her personal blog.