6 Veteran Resume Writing Tips

a man in a military uniform writing a resume with a girl

One of our promises to Texas and American veterans is to continue to provide veterans assistance outside of Veterans Day. That’s why we host an annual state-wide Texas hiring fair specifically for veterans; Hiring Red, White, and You is a massive yearly job fair that has more than 30 fairs happening in 30 locations on the same day! 14,420 businesses look to hire vets at Hiring Red, White, and You (HRWY), and 84,153 people like you have gotten jobs through our biggest job fair of the year. In fact, we’ve had veteran-friendly business hire 2,027 people on the spot! Yes, this includes disabled veterans! 

Find out when the next Hiring Red, White, and You veteran job fair is → 

Don’t want to wait until the next mega job fair? Search by county and find your local Veteran Specialist to learn about upcoming Veteran events → 

So, how do you increase your chances of getting hired on the spot? Check out these resume writing tips that are catered specifically to military service members! Here are six step-by-step tips for writing great resumes. 

6 Resume Writing Tips for Military Veterans 

Resume Tip #1: Create your resume writing compass 

Now that you're leaving military service, the very first step in making a successful career transition is to discover what you want to be and craft the perfect resume for the job you want.  

  1. Learn who you are by writing down your interests, goals, and objectives. This is your compass. 
  2. Use your compass to help you determine the type of job, position, and company you want to apply for. 
  3. Find job descriptions and postings that match your compass. 
  4. Use these exact descriptions to help you explain how your military experiences relate to the job you want on your resume.  

Knowing that you're leaving the military is not enough; you must know what you want to do in order to write a great resume. So, you should consider:  

  1. Who you are: These are your military accomplishments
  2. How you want to be perceived: Do you want to be seen as a fleet manager or mechanic? A combat medic or a medical technician? What have you done in the military for all these years and how do they translate into civilian speak? 

Remember, you’re selling your best military traits to a civilian. Using your compass will help you write about traits that are relevant to the job; you can now write a resume in a way that civilians can understand. 

Resume tip #2: Make your good resume stand out: Sell it; don’t tell it 

You are the product, and you must sell yourself. We recommend the "sell it to me... don't tell it to me" strategy.  

If you "tell it," you are just stating facts, and that can look boring to a hiring manager. If you "sell it," you draw more attention to it and make your resume stand out above the others.  

When you talk about your military experiences, sell your best successes! The impact is incredible:  

  1. DO NOT use the “tell it” Strategy: Managed inventory of equipment during 9-month overseas deployment.  
  2. DO use the “sell it” Strategy: Directed a team of 29 electricians, machinists, and mechanics and maintained more than $30 million in equipment throughout an arduous 9-month overseas deployment. Achieved/maintained 100% inventory accuracy. 

Resume tip #3: Use keywords from the job description in your resume

An easy way to make your military skills and experiences stand out to an employer is to match their language. When writing a resume, you may wonder if you should tailor your resume to a specific job position. The answer is yes.  

Using keywords and phrases directly from the job description makes it easy to determine which of your skills to put on a resume. It also lets your hiring manager know that you’re a perfect fit and that you pay attention to detail. The following paragraphs list a few examples relevant to different career areas.  

  1. Keywords for operations management: production planning and scheduling, materials management, inventory control, quality, process engineering, robotics, systems automation, integrated logistics, product specifications, project management. 
  2. Keywords for training: needs assessment, instructional programming, training program design, testing and evaluation, public speaking, instructional materials design, seminar planning. 

For you, these can be found by reading the job description thoroughly. Be sure to use the words you read when you describe your work experience and work skills.

Resume tip #4: Focus on big wins and new projects  

When deciding what you want to include in your resume, try to focus on the "big" wins such as:  

  • new programs
  • special projects 
  • cost savings 
  • productivity and efficiency improvements 
  • technology implementation 
  • staff/team performance 

These are accomplishments that every company wants to introduce. Be sure to give a good, broad-based picture of what you were responsible for and how well you did it.  

Example: Supervised daily airfield and maintenance shop operations at a large facility in Northern Italy. Managed a team of 89 personnel and an annual operating budget of $3.5 million for supplies and materials. Consistently achieved/surpassed all productivity, efficiency, readiness, and personnel objectives. 

Resume tip #5: Make sure your resume creates a positive interview

As a veteran, especially a combat veteran, you want to be sure you write your resume in a positive way. 

  1. Don't devote lots attention to areas of your background ground that are irrelevant or less than positive; you'll only invite questions about things you don't want to discuss. 
  2. Write your resume to focus on the skills that will be needed in their new profession, not necessarily on skills they acquired in past positions.

After the employer has determined that you meet the primary qualifications for a position (you've passed the keyword scanning test or initial review), your resume becomes all-important important in leading and prompting your interviewer during your conversation.  

Resume tip #6: Visually highlight your accomplishments with consistent structure  

Keep in mind that your resume will be skimmed by hiring managers. Even though you’ve spent hours creating your resume, it will ultimately be read quickly for bold phrases that stand out. Try to make it as easy as possible for readers to grasp the essential facts. 

  • Put job titles, company/organization names, and dates in the same place for each position.  
  • Make job titles bold. 
  • Make information easy to find by clearly defining different sections of your resume with large, highly visible headings. 

Now that you’re ready for our next HRWY event or your next job application, check out our other Texas Veterans benefits: