Guest Post By: Jamie Boyle, MSEJ Assistant Editor
The inability of military spouses to establish a career continues to be a leading issue within the community. While the unemployment rate amongst post 9/11 veterans is on a decline, the percentage of joblessness attributed to those married to service members continues to hover somewhere between 12 and 26 percent, based on various studies.
It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. From the outside it’s easy to see when someone else is repeating the same course of action and getting nowhere. However, when it comes to our own concerns we tend to be blind to our repetitively ineffectual actions. That’s why it’s important to have someone on the outside who can take a second look and see if there are adjustments that you can make to yield better results.
This is where we come in. We – Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), are in the business of getting military-affiliated job seekers (veterans and military spouses) hired. And did we mention – all of our programs and services are completely free.
At CASY & MSCCN, we focus specifically on helping job candidates identify their goals and see the employment outlook clearly. Employment Specialists, the training department, Recruiter ConnectTM Specialists, and our executive team offer expertise and advice on employment topics. The leading topic we consistently deal with? The candidate resume.
“The resume is the single most important professional document you own. It determines your earning potential,” Amy Rossi, CASY-MSCCN Training Manager and MSCCN Co-Founder, said.
The resume has the biggest impact on your ability to get the job you want, to be compensated accordingly, and get promoted. So, we take the resume pretty seriously and provide thoughtful and up-to-date advice regarding how to craft them. You may get fluff recommendations from some people out there, but our organization focuses on providing quality advice to help candidates improve their resumes.
And most candidates take that advice, but some don’t. Those candidates continue to send out the same old resume again and again expecting different results. Remember the definition of insanity?
If you are one of those candidates who has been reluctant to update your resume, let me give you some reasons to reconsider:
- We know what we are talking about. Occasionally, we hear from applicants that we don’t understand the market, or that this resume has worked in the past (though it’s not working now). Our independent contractors understand what does and doesn’t work typically. We know how to target resumes and get results as our numbers show. So, try it our way. If it doesn’t work, we can always go another avenue, but it benefits you to listen to the proposed changes and TRY to implement them.
- It’s not about your ego. The resume isn’t about you. Yes, it’s about your work history, your accolades, and your education, but more importantly it’s about showing how those aspects satisfy the employer’s needs, not yours. It doesn’t matter what you want the resume to say about you. It does matter that the resume truthfully shows how you fulfill the employer’s needs. That’s how you get an interview. (See Amy Rossi’s article on ego driven resumes.)
- We talk to employers and receive direct feedback from them. Remember how I said we know what we are talking about? Well, it’s not just that we follow trends and do our homework (which we do), we also have an in and talk to other people who know what they are talking about. Hiring managers and recruiters provide us with direct feedback that we use to better serve candidates. Our resume advice doesn’t occur in a vacuum.
- Yes, grammar and formatting do matter. I’ve heard an applicant say, “But I’m such a stellar candidate, they won’t care if there are errors in my resume.” The reality is it’s still an employer’s market. A sloppily written or poorly formatted resume can land you in the “reject” pile no matter how incredibly awesome you may be. Let me be clear: grammar and formatting are not as important as content, but they are an easy way for a resume to be dismissed when a hiring manager is reviewing 200 resumes. You might end up number 26 out of the 25 they call to interview.
If you aren’t sure about updating your resume — maybe you don’t have the time, maybe you don’t feel like it — reconsider.
If the resume you have isn’t getting the results you want it is a signal that it’s time to make some changes. Revise your resume based on an outsider’s advice, send it out, and see what happens. We know what happens when we keep doing the same thing over and over again, and based on the number of candidates CASY & MSCCN successfully served last year, we have a good idea what happens when candidates take our advice.
To connect with a CASY-MSCCN Employment Specialist, visit the organization’s site at: Military-Affiliated Job Seekers