There are four main types of resume formatting. Choosing the right one for you matters. HRs are searching for information on your resume and will not waste time searching for it. Below I have provided the four main resume writing formats, and what I feel work best for the transitioning veteran.
Chronological Format: This format shows your work history and education starting with your most recent position at the top. This is the most desired resume format by HRs today and the most commonly used by transitioning veterans because of veterans consistent work experience while in the military. However, this may not be the best choice for you. This choice is best used when making a job change within the same field for either a similar position or a higher paying position within the came career path. This format shows an employer your professional experience and education with little or no lapse in employment. Often times, I see a resume that is done in chronological order with gaps. I always contact my client to find ways to possibly fill the gaps with work they may not have added, or if we should possibly choose another format that is better suited in their job search. An employer shows concern when they see gaps in your resume. So if you have them, this is not the right format for you. This is also not the right format if you are changing your career path like so many transitioning veterans are.
Functional Format: This format highlights your skills and experience in bullets at the beginning of your resume. Kind of like LinkedIn allows you to do at the bottom of your profile. This format helps when a lapse of employment may have occurred. You are not intended to add the dates of employment, simply what you have done. This format allows you to highlight your skills, certifications, and experiences at the top of your resume so HRs can know quickly what you are qualified to do. Remember, FIRST IMPRESSIONS are everything and your resume is what is between you and that potential interview. Employers are looking for what you can do. So when you have no “sales” experience with the military, but you were a fantastic interrogator, then it is better to present your skills front and center! Just be sure they translate to Corporate America terminology. I am happy to help you do that if needed.
If choosing this format and have a solid education, with little work in military and lots of skills, it is a good idea to use this format, but add education under your objective or summary and before your skills.
Combination Format: This resume format is best for the transitioning veteran that has 7+ years experience, education and a clear direction as to what job they are looking to apply for in the advancement to their career. It combines both chronological and functional formatting into one. This highlights your skills and also breaks down your career in the military into specific parts. This format helps show HRs your skills and experience when translated properly. Please note: Your resume should never exceed two pages, but this doesn’t mean to omit things.
Targeted Format: This format is a completely customized resume, geared toward a specific job, that your past work history and education have prepared you for. Your summary/objective, your work experience, and education make you the BEST candidate for that specific job. This will rarely be used for those transitioning from the military into Corporate America. This format is very time consuming and you want to be very sure you do not embellish your experience when using this format. This format, however, is very helpful to the transitioning veteran who desires to work as a civilian contractor or within another government position that requires similar experience, clearance, etc. that the transitioning veterans possess.