Most Common Mistakes Veterans Make on Their Resumes

By Hannah Dickens

One of the most pressing challenges a veteran just coming out of military service faces is trying to find a way to translate all of their military experience and training into terms that a civilian employer can understand and embrace.

Many employers are eager to hire veterans because many of the traits that make an exemplary soldier or sailor also make for desirable employees. Here are some tips for how to shine up your resume to make it easy for an employer to want to hire you.

Military jargon

You spent years learning all the ins and outs of military jargon. You’re comfortable with it. Unfortunately, your prospective employer probably doesn’t share your same familiarity with it. In this case, it really is up to you to translate any military specific terms into the kind of English that they can comprehend.

It will also be to your advantage to take the extra time to translate your skills and responsibilities into understandable civilian equivalents.

Missing or incomplete contact information

Next to your name, you really want to make certain that you provide your prospective employer with the critical information that will let them get in contact with you. Most often, this means an email address and a phone number. There is no need to put more than one of either, just give them your ‘best’ number and email and leave it at that. When you apply to jobs online providing an email address is critical.

Including photographs

Many people are beginning to get more creative with the traditional resume format, feeling that the old ways don’t allow applicants to stand out from their competition. Photographs, however, are not the way to accomplish this. It appears unprofessional and will get your resume tossed aside immediately.

Leaving in grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes

If spelling and grammar are not your strong suit, be sure to hand your resume over to a friend who you trust in this area. Have them flag anything that is questionable or unclear.

A resume that isn’t tailored to the job being applied for

It takes a few extra minutes of time, but it can make all the difference between getting the interview and having your resume discarded because it reads like you are applying for a different job. Go over the description of the job you are applying for and pick out the important and key terms. Do your best to highlight the areas in your experience that are most closely related to the employer’s key points. Even if your former position is nothing like the one to which you are applying, there’s a good chance that there are several areas where you can find common ground.

A resume that is too brief or too long

The longer you’ve been in the work force, or the more jobs you’ve held, adds another few lines to your resume. In this case, you will want to pare it down to a page. If you can, highlight those jobs and experience that are most relevant to the job you want to get hired for.

For resumes that are less than a page in length, you really need to go back over your job history and mine for more examples of your skills, experience, and responsibilities. If you don’t provide a prospective employer with enough information to give you a proper initial evaluation, they won’t have enough information to determine whether it would be worth their time and yours to have you come in for an interview.

Hannah Dickins is part of the team behind With a huge interest in technology and startup industry, she works as a Community Manager. She’s keen on new helpful online tools and productivity hacks.


One thought on “Most Common Mistakes Veterans Make on Their Resumes

  1. Pingback: Job Search Letters – Make them Count! | Corporate Gray Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.