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How to Write a Resume with No Experience: Veterans Edition

If you’ve been in the military for all your adult life, you may not know where to start when writing a resume.

You enlisted in the military straight out of high school. You proudly served your country and now you’re looking for work as a civilian but as you start to make your resume, you have no idea where to start. 

You’re not alone and you probably have more civilian skills than you think. All it takes is a little direction and the resources to get the ball rolling.

Let’s dive into ten tips for how to make a resume with no experience, specifically for recent veterans searching for civilian work.

1. Get Organized

First, you’ll want to decide what job it is you want. Make a complete list of the skills you learned in the military and put them into categories to get a feel for which jobs you should be applying for.

Examples of transferrable skills from the military include flexibility, leadership and management skills, integrity and loyalty, as well as communication and problem solving skills. It’s also likely you have quite a bit of technical skills too, like computer science skills, architectural design skills, or administrative skills. Plus, if you speak a second language, you can capitalize on being bilingual.

2. Decide Between a Chronological, Functional, or Hybrid Resume

These days, most employers appreciate a chronological resume (one that lists your skills and experience in chronological order). But without civilian experience, you may want to consider a functional resume that clearly outlines who you are and why you lack such experience, not necessarily in chronological order. For military vets, a hybrid resume which combines the two is probably your best bet.

Everyone’s resume will be different but in asking how to write a resume with no experience, here is a good place to start:

  • Name and contact info
  • Personal statement (sometimes called an objective or purpose statement)
  • Skills
  • Education
  • Achievements
  • Extracurricular Activities

3. Creating a Personal Statement.

Just under your name and contact information will be your personal statement, giving you a chance to explain your professional objectives. This should be brief, only one or two sentences, describing the type of person you are and what you’re looking for in a job. Personal statements are necessary to include on a resume with no work experience.

4. What skills should you add to your resume?

Take those skills you organized in step one and choose your strongest skills to include in your resume. List those at the top of your skills section.

Your resume should be specified for each job you apply for. Use the job description to frame your experience in a way that shows you’re a good fit, but don’t copy the posting verbatim. Simply use keywords to exemplify you’re the right candidate for the job.

5. Educational History

This is where you list your high school and, if applicable, college information. Include relevant projects you worked on while in school and you can even add courses that you completed during your time in the military, even if they weren’t part of a formal degree.

More here.

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