Three Job Search Tips from Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll

Three Job Search Tips from Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll

I’m putting all objectivity to the side for the day, because I’m a huge Seattle Seahawks fan and I can’t wait for this weekend’s Super Bowl. It’s been a pleasure watching Pete Carroll shape the Seahawks since taking over as head coach in 2010. His positivity and energy are unique in the NFL, and distinguish him from surly and scheming coaches such as New England’s Bill Belichick. Many of his methods and philosophies have applications outside of football. These three job search tips are directly inspired by Carroll and his undeniable success.

Find your John Schneider

One of the unusual things about Carroll’s time with the Seahawks is that he hired John Schneider, the general manager. (When hired by the Seahawks, Carroll was made executive vice president of football operations in addition to his role as head coach.) Schneider is Carroll’s closest advisor, and the team’s success is evidence of their ability to work together.

Every job seeker should have their own John Schneider: someone they trust, someone who will take their strengths and weaknesses into consideration, someone who can help them evaluate opportunities for the right timing and the right fit, and someone who will help keep the big picture in mind.

Percy Harvin is a football player of spectacular ability. But he was not the right fit for the Seahawks’ offense or locker room, and Carroll and Schneider traded him away partway through this season. An opportunity that looks good on paper may not be good for you in practice, and having someone who can serve as your sounding board, offer perspective, and help keep your job search on track is essential.

Always compete

Continually striving for excellence is a huge part of Carroll’s coaching philosophy. While I leapt off my couch in excitement when we drafted quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012, it seemed unlikely that he would start as a rookie—especially since the Seahawks had recently spent $10 million to acquire quarterback Matt Flynn. But, as everyone knows by now, Wilson won the starting job as a result of his talent and work ethic. Carroll makes his personnel choices based on performance, not on expectations.

Starting Flynn would have been the safe and expected choice, but Carroll doesn’t operate that way. The Seahawks are known for turning undrafted free agents—such as Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, both of whom caught touchdown passes in last year’s Super Bowl—into household names.

Carroll and the Seahawks reward performance, not reputation. Prior accomplishments aren’t a guarantee of playing time. Showing up and proving yourself is how to succeed as a Seahawk. From this, job seekers can learn the importance of positioning themselves as the winning candidate. A job search is a competition, after all; according to ERE Media, each corporate job opening receives an average of 250 resumes. 249 of those people aren’t going to get the job. What can you do to be the one who does?

In a job market filled with applicants firing off as many applications as possible, you can stand out by tailoring your application materials every time you submit an application. To anyone who’s hiring, the difference between a targeted resume and a generic resume is readily apparent. A targeted resume shows that you are thoughtful, and interested in that particular job. That alone raises your profile as a candidate. A targeted resume also makes you far more likely to be rated highly by an applicant tracking system.

Think of an ATS as a football organization’s draft board. To rank highly on a team’s draft board, you have to make it obvious that you have the skills and experience they want. Using the right resume keywords and focusing on accomplishments (not tasks) are two ways of doing that. To see how well your resume matches up with a particular job opportunity, paste your resume and the job description into Jobscan’s resume analysis tool. You’ll get instant feedback telling you how highly a system is likely to rate your resume, plus suggestions for changes and improvements.

Each interview is a chance to go 1-0

A key belief that Carroll has instilled in the Seahawks organization is that every week is a championship opportunity—that no one week is bigger, or more important, than any other week. This philosophy is consistent from the preseason through the playoffs. Good preparation is key. As Wilson always says, “The separation is in the preparation.” Discipline, good habits, and not psyching yourself out—these are some of the keys to Carroll’s philosophy. No matter how big the stage, Carroll makes sure his team prepares in the same way every time.

Job seekers can apply these ideas to their job search as well. Every interview is a chance to go 1-0, a chance to win. Be confident, be consistent, be prepared, and walk into every interview with the knowledge that someone has to win—that is, someone has to get the job—so why not you? Nerves are natural, but by focusing on your preparation and doing well in the moment, you can be as unflappable in the Seahawks. Even in the face of incredibly long odds—say, being down 19-7 with four minutes left in the game and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line—they believe in themselves and they play to win. Fake field goals that lead to touchdowns, scrambling two-point conversions, collecting onside kicks—these are all things that the Seahawks practiced. They were prepared, and when the game was on the line, they executed. Thorough preparation beforehand translates into performing when it matters, whether the scenario is an NFL conference championship game or a job interview.

Pete Carroll’s optimism and winning ways have made him hugely popular with his players and with his adopted city of Seattle. He’s an outstanding role model, and if you’re looking for job search tips, you can’t go wrong with applying some of Pete Carroll’s philosophies to your job hunt.

Good luck. And go Hawks!

See also:

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

How to Use Jobscan: A Step-by-Step Guide

12 Accomplishments to Help You Write Your Best Resume

How to Choose Resume Keywords

Three Resume Tips for the Long-Term Unemployed

Three Resume Tips for the Long-Term Unemployed

Three Resume Tips for the Long-Term Unemployed

2014 was the best year for job creation since 1999. The unemployment rate dropped a whole percentage point, going from 6.6 percent in January to 5.6 percent by December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That said, BLS numbers also show that 31.9 percent of those who are unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. In other words, there 2.8 million people who have been looking for a job for more than six months. And the catch for those who fall into this category, the long-term unemployed, is that the longer you’re without a job, the less likely you are to find one. Still, there are some resume tips for the long-term unemployed that are worth considering. If you’ve been out of work for a while, and are looking for a job in 2015, follow these three steps:

Acknowledge your employment gap

While employment gaps of any size used to be a major red flag, the fact is that the recession made employment gaps much more commonplace. If you have had a stretch of time without a job in recent years, you’re far from alone. Being honest and direct about any employment gaps is better than trying to fudge or hide your employment dates. No matter how cleverly you think you’ve hidden an employment gap, a hiring manager or recruiter—someone who sees hundreds and hundreds of resumes—is going to spot it a mile away.

A chronological resume format is the most traditional one, and often the one most preferred by hiring managers and recruiters. Other formats, which don’t always make dates of employment clear, can make it appear as though a candidate is trying to hide something about their employment dates.

Some people try to circumvent this by using a chronological format, but listing only their years of employment and omitting the months. But listing “2014” (or even “2014 to 2014,” as some people write it) is ambiguous. Does that mean you worked there from January to December of 2014, or maybe just March and April? The amount of experience you can pick up in 12 months is much more than what you can get in two—and unless you list the months, there’s no way of knowing how long you really worked somewhere.

The best thing you can do, if you have an employment gap, is to list all of your dates of employment clearly in your resume. In your cover letter, briefly acknowledge your employment gap, if it’s current or recent. (If you were unemployed for 7 months in 2009, for example, you don’t need to detail that.) Don’t ramble, turn to sob stories, or place blame; just be matter-of-fact about the situation. An enmployment gap in and of itself is unlikely to remove you from consideration.

Demonstrate initiative

One way to make sure that an employment gap doesn’t count as a strike against you is to prove that you haven’t been idle. Volunteer work and seasonal roles are two common strategies for showing that you’ve been active and are keeping your skills current. Freelancing or consulting are also options, depending on your skill set. These activities will not only prevent you from having a big gap on your resume, they will expand your network—possibly leading to your next opportunity.

Boosting your resume skill set is also a good strategy. This doesn’t have to mean going back for a degree, certificate, or other credential. There are a number of sites where—for little to no money—you can learn skills that are in demand in your desired field. Learn the basics of branding or SEO at Skillshare. Learn the essentials of WordPress or Revit at Both of these sites offer courses covering almost countless subject areas for beginners, experts, and everyone in between.

Target your resume

The job search process has changed a lot in the past several years. Generic resumes with bland objective statements are a thing of the past. The average online job posting draws upwards of 200 applicants, and most employers now use applicant tracking systems. These systems parse resumes and rank applicants according to strength and relevance. They’re imperfect systems, so if a job description asks for experience with content management systems, and you list Joomla among your skill set but never actually use the phrase “content management systems,” your resume may get overlooked.

To see how well your resume is targeted for a given job, try Jobscan. The resume analysis tool will compare your resume and the job description and give you feedback in seconds, identifying ways you can strengthen your resume. It’s not about keyword stuffing or parroting the job description—it’s about presenting your skills and experience in a way that makes it instantly obvious—to both applicant tracking systems and to human readers—that you’re a great candidate for the job.

See also:

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

Top Resume Skills for 2015

Resume Format: Including Volunteer Work

Top Resume Formats in 2015


Resume Help: Beware of These Common Typos

Resume typos

Resume Help: Beware of These Common Typos


Homophones are words that sound alike, but have different spellings and/or meanings.  “Accept” and “except,” for example, or “vein” and “vain.” Having spent years as an editor, I can tell you that homophones are one of the main causes of errors in writing. If you rely on your word processing program for resume help, watch out for homophones. The spelling and grammar tools of word processing programs are notoriously imperfect. (And that’s being generous.) If you use the wrong word, it’s likely that your word processing program won’t catch the error. But the person who eventually reads your resume almost certainly will.

Having an error on your resume is one of the fastest ways to get rejected, so be sure to get some resume help. Have someone you trust read it over carefully. In particular, look out for these words—which are commonly used on resumes—and their similarly-spelled counterparts.

  • Aid and aide
  • Board and bored
  • Course and coarse
  • Council and counsel
  • Ensure and insure
  • Insight and incite
  • Lesson and lessen
  • Manner and manor
  • Past and passed
  • Role and roll
  • Route and root
  • Show and shoe
  • Team and teem
  • Test and text
  • Wrote and rote

The 15 pairs here are just a starting point; your resume could include different words you need to double check. Many of the words listed above often make up part of the keyword phrases so important to applicant tracking systems. Don’t forget to read through your LinkedIn profile, too, to look for errant homophones. Good impressions and proper keyword use matter there as well.

For further help with your keyword use, try Jobscan’s resume analysis tool. It will scan the text of your resume and the job posting of your choice and analyze them side-by-side to tell you how well your resume matches up. And if it misses a keyword you were sure you’d included, look back over your resume—it just may have been a homophone.

See also:

How to Use Jobscan: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Choose Resume Keywords

How to Find Jobs with LinkedIn

Applicant Tracking Systems: The 3 Things Resume Parsers Are Looking For in Resumes

parserEver wonder what happens to your resume after you submit it online?

It would be nice to say: it is sent directly into a hiring manager’s hands for review and consideration.

Not quite. After you click Submit, your resume is whisked away into the company’s applicant tracking system (ATS), a recruitment software used by 90% of businesses to sort through the hundreds of submitted resumes received every day.

At the heart of this software is a resume parser, the approach used to identify and extract relevant information and translate its categorization accurately into a database (Contact Info, Education, Skills, Work Experience).

If a resume parser isn’t identifying and extracting enough relevant information from a resume, it will deem that resume and its applicant not qualified enough for the job.

In general, there are three things resume parsers extract in a resume:

  1. Keywords
  2. Grammar
  3. Statistics


When reading a job description, there are certain words and phrases that are, well, key. These keywords are a collection of hard and soft skills required for the job. Hard skills are quantifiable achievements, such as certificates, degrees, titles, and years of experience. Soft skills are interpersonal skills, such as adaptability, communication, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence (social awareness and self-management).

For example:

A job description for a Research Assistant requires the applicant to have a Bachelor’s degree Social or Health Science, 1 year in a leadership role, ability to establish quick rapport with patients, strong organizational skills and consistent attention to detail.

The bolded words are the key words and phrases an applicant for this particular job should include in their resume to boost relevancy. Basically, the more keywords (relevant information) a resume parser is able to extract and store in their database, the more qualified that resume is measured.

A Quick Tip: If job-seekers isn’t sure which words and phrases are important, online resume tools such as Jobscan will compare their resume to a particular job description to determine which key words, skills and phrases are important.


It’s not what a resume says, but how it says it.

Keywords are only the beginning. Once these keywords are identified and extracted from its resume, the resume parser is then able to derive the meaning and context of these words and phrases.

On a resume, this can be the difference between Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft PPT. Some parsers are so intelligent, they are able to recognize both formats of wording and place it accurately under the right category (in this case, Skills).

To be safe, it is best for job-seekers to simply echo the exact wording of keywords and key phrases as in the job description.


This includes capturing a wide variety of numerical structures in resumes, such as addresses, phone numbers, salary and timelines (years of experience and lengths of employment), and accurately categorizing them. A person’s phone number will be properly placed under Contact Information, not (XXX)-XXX-XXX years of experience with Microsoft Office under Skills.

To ensure these numbers are placed in their right category, using standard formats will help parsers easily identify the format.

For example:

The applicant tracking system, SmartRecruiters (used in companies like General Mills and OfficeMax) will not recognize numerical information if formatted with periods (XX.XX.XXXX) instead as 01-01-2015.

Resume parsers are great tools for recruiters and their businesses: saving vast amounts of time and money. But it has changed the frontier for online recruiting and unfortunately, many job-seekers are unaware of this recruiting technology. To succeed, applicants need to change how they craft their resumes and apply for jobs. Resumes are no longer about wowing a recruiter but “being relevant to a parsing system” (RecruiterBox).

Taking the time to understand what a resume parser is and how to beat them (online resume tools such as Jobscan) are guaranteed to save applicants vast amounts of time and money.

How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Recruiter-Friendly

The 15 Most Lethal Resume Typos

Top Resume Skills in 2015

How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile More Recruiter-Friendly


By Lauren McGoodwin

By this point, you probably have a LinkedIn profile and are familiar with how to use the site. You’ve filled out the profile requirements and made sure your LinkedIn presence is professional and polished (and if you’re super on top of it, you might have added a cover photo !), but can you say your profile is recruiter-friendly?

It’s a great idea to invest some time in optimizing your LinkedIn profile specifically for recruiters, because many companies use a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter to search for candidates via keywords, location, industry and a number of other parameters. I know this because I was a recruiter  for a number of years, and LinkedIn Recruiter and I were BFFs. Plus, with 250+ million users, you can see why recruiters use this tool A LOT.

To stand out from the millions of other LinkedIn profiles, you’ll want to make sure you’re maximizing your profile features, in particular: keywords, job titles, and recommendations.


Include relevant keywords and phrases in the Headline and Summary section so that your profile will emerge when recruiters search for potential candidates. Include the keywords and phrases in short, concise blocks of information to make it easy for recruiters to not only find you, but to understand your experience – trust me, nobody searching millions of profiles wants to read an essay. Here’s how to best use keywords in the Headline and Summary:

  • Headline:
    • You have 120 characters to craft a headline that provides a unique professional description, so use them wisely! If you just put your current job title or “sales professional searching for new opportunities,” it’s not going to do you any favors when recruiters search for candidates. One of the best ways to get ideas for a good headline is to search for people on LinkedIn who are in your field, or the field you want to be in. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a role with increased responsibility in the same industry, search for more senior people in your field. Do you see any similarities among those headlines, like common keywords or phrasing patterns? You want to construct your headline so it demonstrates exactly who you want to be next. Your headline is also the most critical component of your LinkedIn profile when it comes to SEO; it’s the most highly rated field in the index. What does this mean? Keywords listed in the headline field will have a greater impact, increasing your ranking among other users for the same terms. As an example, consider the following headlines:
      • “Operations Associate”
      •  “Operations Associate – Operations Manager for Thermo-printing Division”
    • The second version provides both more keyword detail and a clearer explanation of the job. LinkedIn currently allows you 100 spaces for your job title, and, as usual, using as many as possible for appropriate keywords is smart.
  • Summary:
    • A summary is essential to a profile and doesn’t have to be more than a few lines, although you can use up to 2,000 characters. Within that space, you should highlight your background, major accomplishments, and your goals. Write it in first person and make it personal. The summary helps the recruiter get to know you beyond your résumé. Tell a brief story about why you love what you do or why you want to do something new. This is the way to stand out and make recruiters want to meet you. Organize the summary so it’s easy to read, or better yet, easy to scan. If you are just starting out in your career, describe what made you choose the field you’re targeting.

Job Titles

LinkedIn is built on connections. The more you have, the more your network grows! A larger network allows for more people to find you and therefore, to reach out to you. By listing all your previous jobs, internships, volunteer work and special projects, you will create more shared opportunities to connect.


The best way to build credibility and stand out to recruiters is through third-party recommendations. Ask for recommendations from professors, managers, colleagues and mentors – don’t be shy! Collect a diverse list of recommendations—one for each job is great—to make your profile extra impressive.

Don’t underestimate the power of these simple tasks! It only takes a few minutes to make these changes, and having a keyword-rich LinkedIn profile can really give you a leg up in your job search .

This post was originally published on General Assembly.

See also:

How to Find Jobs With LinkedIn

8 Things You Need to Know About Resume Keywords

How to Create a Networking Resume

Top Resume Skills for 2015


Top Resume Skills for 2015

Even with unemployment falling, the job market is tight and, in most industries, favors employers—so if you’re looking for a job, having the right resume skills for 2015 will help you stand out.

Soft skills can be harder to feature on a resume, because they are less easy to pin down than whether you know something concrete, such as a certain software program or laboratory technique. While they may be tough to quantify, they’re crucial to workplace success, and hiring managers place a lot of emphasis on them when making hiring decisions. These are five of the most in-demand soft skills for 2015:

5 soft skills

  • Teamwork
  • Decision-making
  • Communication skills
  • Planning and prioritizing
  • Research skills

The most effective way to incorporate soft skills on your resume is to frame them as accomplishments. Featuring accomplishments on your resume improves your candidacy, because it shows the hiring manager what you, specifically, achieved—as opposed to listing off the duties that anyone swapped into your role would have carried out.

These sought-after skills could be used in just about any role in just about any field, but don’t forget to pay close attention to the job description of each job that interests you. When applying, tailor your resume to highlight all of the soft skills you possess that are featured in the job posting. Using Jobscan for an instant resume analysis can help you find ways to better target your resume to the job and to make sure that you are calling attention to the right skills and experience. The better your resume is targeted for a job, the likelier you are to get noticed by an applicant tracking system, recruiter, or hiring manager.

5 hard/technical skills

  • Data security
  • Data analysis
  • Development (web, program, app, mobile/device)
  • Project management
  • Database management

These technical skills are more role- or industry-specific than the soft skills already mentioned. Project management might stand out as seemingly less technical than the others on the list, but it’s no less crucial. “Companies need project managers who can oversee large projects that span the enterprise,” according to Mary K. Pratt of Computerworld. The most sought-after project managers have the technical knowledge to effectively lead teams who are using the newest tools and methodologies.

Data security might not come cheaply, but bad press can be even more costly. No one wants to be the next SonyAccording to Pratt, “Executives and board members are willing to spend more money on security because security breaches are making headlines these days.” 

Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers, recommends that job seekers—or anyone interested in professional development in 2015—complete a selection of data science courses from Johns Hopkins University offered for free through Coursera“Data science is quickly becoming a high-demand field,” she says. “This is the perfect time to start building data science skills.” Even if you don’t yet know Excel from SQL, learning more about data can make you a more attractive job candidate. No matter what level of familiarity you’re starting from, you can make your resume shine in 2015 by demonstrating a commitment to learning about data.

See also: 

Showing Off Your Soft Skills on a Resume

10 Resume Accomplishment Samples

How to Use Jobscan: A Step-by-Step Guide

Long-Tailed Keywords: Off the Resume


If a website pops up on the internet and there’s no keywords around to tell about it, does it matter?

Jobscan focuses a lot on how keywords are used in resumes as they are, of course, important. The right keywords attract and keep the attention of hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS), the best keywords convey the potential you bring as an employee and, with luck, triple your chances for an interview.

But off the resume: just as keywords in your resume attract and speak to a target audience (i.e., those hiring managers), the same philosophy can garner success for websites and their target searchers.

In short, as on a resume, keywords can make or break a website.

Keywords are how people on the internet find your website, get informed about your product and, with luck, buy it. The wrong keywords will convey the wrong message about your site and product, and create distrust in searchers while burying your site from potential customers seeking your exact product.

So it is not just about attracting visitors and informing them about your site, but attracting and informing the right kind of visitors (Moz). Keywords hold that responsibility and long-tailed keywords help guide your target audience to your site through keyword phrases compiled of specific search terms.

The name long-tailed comes from the shape of the Search Demand Curve between monthly searches and number of keywords.Longtail-Graph

To break it down:

  • Keywords in the fat head end of the graph are your website’s top keywords in a monthly search, whether it be Shoes, Electronics, Jennifer Aniston.
    • However, these single and double-word popular terms only make up 19% of your site’s search traffic. (Fat head keywords merely anchor the search but these keywords are highly unlikely to funnel searchers to your site alone. Think of the millions of results from Googling ‘shoes’!)
  • Long-tailed keywords are multi-word phrases specific to your site and product, producing 70% of your traffic (knockoff Jimmy Choo wedding shoes, Jennifer Aniston Oscar snub).
    • The relevancy and specificity of these keywords allow your site to be easily accessible to searchers who are in the conversion/buying phase as potential customers. (Someone who is specific in their search is a man or woman on a mission and most likely to buy a found product, rather than someone browsing generically.)

One important tidbit to remember is that long-tailed keyword phrases that are too specific will actually inhibit searchers from finding your site. For example, if pages on your site only recycle the same phrase over and over again (‘Jennifer Aniston Oscar snub’), searches for ‘Jennifer Aniston snubbed at 2015 Oscars’ or ‘Oscar snub for Jennifer Aniston’ may skip right over that specific little search funnel to your site. Mixing up the format of content and search terms on your site will make sure it is still focused on reaching out to potential searchers.

 2 easy steps when evaluating and choosing keywords:

  1. First evaluate your product and website:
    • xWhat does it specifically offer to an audience?
    • What makes it special?
    • Who is your target audience?

Understanding the pitch and tone of your website and uniqueness of your product will allow you to construct a clear purpose and mission.

  1. Once you know what your site and product’s purpose and mission is, you will be able to gather a collection of search terms and keyword phrases you believe are relevant. Keep in mind:
    • When using these keywords, will searchers find your site?
    • Will they be happy with what they find? (Testing keywords on Google AdWords and/or Bing Adcenter will allow you see if those keywords are conveying the right message to searchers.)
    • Research which websites rank well for your chosen keywords to understand your competition (Remember: Long-tailed keywords contain millions upon millions of unique searches for specific search niches, making sure your niche is well-defined will keep it from sinking into digital oblivion.)

Understanding how one word can be tweaked to convey a certain message is especially important in a world where only a handful of seconds are given to capture attention. Whether it be on a resume, a Twitter account, a blog or billboard, one quality word outranks the quantity.

How to Choose Resume Keywords

How to Optimize Your Resume for Keywords

7 Ways to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems




10 Resume Accomplishment Samples


10 Resume Accomplishment Samples


Those seeking resume advice hear one idea over and over: Focus on resume accomplishments, not duties. What differentiates you from anyone else in a similar role? What makes you successful? Quantifying your impact can dramatically increase your chances of landing an interview—and ultimately, a job.

Money and time are two of the most easily quantifiable variables. What have you done that saved money or time, or that contributed to the bottom line? What other metrics can you use to prove you’ve performed well? This is your chance to show that you made a difference—and if you can do that, it will make all the difference for your job search.

Between these two prior posts (here and here), we’ve already given you 20 sample resume accomplishment statements. Here are 10 more to inspire you and get you started brainstorming.

1. Promoted an average 30 titles per year for a niche publishing company.

2. Increased employee training participation by 50% by adapting existing curriculum into online education modules.

3. Led project coordinating office moves for 55 employees.

4. Reduced time spent on inventory by 20% by reorganizing physical storage of supplies.

5. Planned lodging and travel logistics for 20 ships per year, with 10 crew members each.

6. Organized quarterly volunteer projects with upwards of 50 volunteers per event.

7. Managed a factory renovation with a budget of $500,000, completing the project both on budget and on time.

8. Digitized company’s internal microfilm library of more than 5,000 files.

9. Scheduled and staffed coaching sessions for 70 weekly athletics classes.

10. Directed 25 events per year, including complex public events with more than 20,000 attendees.

In order to write an effective resume accomplishment statement, follow the CAR formula: Challenge, Action, Result. What was the problem, what did you do, and what was the outcome? Keeping an updated list of resume accomplishment statements in a career management document means always being prepared, rather than scrambling to remember details. By clearly demonstrating your accomplishments, you’ll make your resume stand out.

See also:

12 Accomplishments to Help You Write Your Best Resume

8 Resume Accomplishments to Make You Stand Out

Resume Tips: Creating a Career Management Document

3 Steps to Create a Target Resume for Veterans


According to The Veteran’s Guide to Developing a Resume, the “single biggest mistake…service members make when creating resumes is that they dump everything they have ever done in the military into one document and use that document as a resume to apply for all types of [civilian] jobs” (Rosser).

Unfortunately, skills and work history in the military do not translate smoothly into the civilian job market. This is partly because it is difficult to translate a veteran’s military skills and achievements into skills and achievements civilian hiring managers can understand, quantify, and recognize.

The best way for veterans to “demilitarize” their resume for a civilian job is to craft a target resume, a resume focused on a specific job with a specific skillset in a specific industry. Customizing a resume takes time and research but Jobscan would like to break down that process into three time-saving, headache-banishing steps!

1. Make a Master List

Of all likes, dislikes, skills, accomplishments, etc. during your service as you want to pinpoint and examine what works for you and what doesn’t. When crafting a target resume, being as specific as possible will help hiring managers clearly understand how you will translate all your work experiences during your service into a civilian job.

For example:

  • You enjoyed working in the field in a team or you worked better alone at a desk job
  • You excelled as a leader or you were better behind the scenes
  • You worked in one particular field your entire service or many
  • Your instinct is to take time to organize and prioritize or making snap decisions
  • Any degrees, certificates earned? (i.e.: Bachelor’s degrees? Master’s degrees?)

But wait, maybe you were a truck driver in the military but have no desire to be a truck driver in the civilian world. Fair point.

“Demilitarizing” your resume from this stage takes a little more examination:

  • In what ways were you successful?
    • As a truck driver, were you a good at being alone for long periods of time? Did you have perfect attendance arriving at your destinations?
  • In what areas did you have to improve?
    • Did you have a hard time being self-motivated and disciplined without supervision?
  • Did you receive any formal/informal accolades?
    • You are trustworthy (having transported sensitive material)
    • You have strong communication skills (delegating between the shippers and receivers of material (speak any second languages?))
    • You have strong organizational habits (never delivered to wrong destination)

Breaking down your job(s) in service to specific skills and strengths will help you see what strengths and weaknesses you have as an employee. (TIP: Ask yourself “Why?” for every like, dislike, skill, accomplishment: You are dependable and value timeliness. Why? Because you provided perfect attendance and had a good reputation for it.)

2. Research Civilian Occupations

Once you have a solid list of specific hard skills (degrees, awards, certificates) and soft skills (interpersonal habits and traits), you can start researching which civilian jobs require those skills.

This is master list number two: all civilian occupations you believe you will excel in! If your strongest skills include organization, attention to detail and independent work, look for jobs in an office in a particular field you have a personal interest in. If you were good at leading a crowd and public speaking and enjoyed physical recreation during your service, look for teaching or guiding positions in fitness.

Be sure to pay attention to any certificates, requirements needed for the job (i.e.: Working in the food industry? Find out how to attain a food permit.)

An excellent resource is to find compatible jobs with your Military Occupation Code (MOC).

3. Narrow and Write

Bzzzzzz. That’s the sound of your list of civilian jobs being shorn down. It’s the time to select which specific jobs you like the best and feel are the best matches for you.

It’s time to start writing your target resume.

The first thing to do on every resume (not just target resumes, but especially target resumes) is to read the job description. Thoroughly. Which skills does the job require? Does your master list of skills match up?

If they do, that’s great! Put them in your resume and try to echo the wording of those keywords:

  • If the job description requires, ‘Experience with Microsoft applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)’
  • Then make sure you write, ‘Experience with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint’.

To applicant tracking systems (ATS), the recruitment software used by 90% of businesses, there is a difference between “Microsoft PowerPoint” and “Microsoft PPT”.

If you are unsure which keywords to use, which are important to include, online resume tools like Jobscan and Google Word Cloud will compare your first-draft resume to the job description and tell you which keywords you have included and which you might have missed.

Remember, a target resume is all about customizing your resume to the job description after you have included all the right keywords, take that extra step and describe in one sentence or less how you applied that particular skill:

  • Regularly selected to prepare monthly reports of overall organizational training status because of strong organizational habits and attention to detail.

Notice how it’s worded so those bolded keywords appear as accomplishments. This shows hiring managers how those skills can be easily transferred from your service to benefit their company. It is not so much about what experiences and particular skillsets you can bring (put bluntly, Airman of the Year may not impress a corporate hiring manager) but how you will apply those experiences and skillsets in the civilian world.



The Veteran’s Guide to Developing a Resume

8 Things You Need to Know About Resume Keywords

Top Resume Formats in 2015


Top Resume Formats in 2015


An outdated resume is a reliable way to wind up not being considered by hiring managers or recruiters. If you’re right for a role, your resume has to convey that fact. Including resume keywords and relevant skills is a crucial part of the process. Having the right resume format matters, too. To make sure that your resume says “2015” rather than “1995,” read on.

File type

Almost all employers want to receive resumes in one of two file types: Microsoft Word (.doc) or PDF (.pdf). Make sure you have your resume available in both of these formats. You should also consider saving your resume as a text file (.txt). Text files strip away the formatting, so while your resume will not be visually appealing with this file type, this simplified version can be useful when you encounter an applicant tracking system. By skipping the formatting, you essentially decrease the variables and make it more likely that the ATS will parse your resume correctly.

It’s especially important to use a particular file type if an employer specifies a preference. Weeding out candidates who demonstrate that they can’t follow instructions is one way that a pool of applicants gets smaller.

When saving your resume, use your full name in the file name instead of choosing a generic file name such as “Resume 2015.” For example, use “JaneDoeResume2015.”

Resume format

There are three main resume formats. (While you may have read a story about someone putting their resume on a shirt or a cake, gimmicky resumes formats aren’t recommended.)

  • Chronological Far and away the most common type of resume format. Relevant experience is simply organized according to time, with the most recent roles at the top. This straightforward format can be used in any industry, and gives a good overview of a candidate’s experience and progression.
  • Functional Functional resumes focus on skills instead of a linear employment history. This format is best for career changers or those with little work experience. Be aware that some hiring managers and recruiters think job seekers who choose a functional resume format are trying to obfuscate employment gaps (because the dates are less prominent). 
  • Combination or Hybrid This resume format combines elements from the chronological and functional styles. They can show off both a steady work history or a wide range of skills, depending on what you want to play up.

Resume content

A resume that closely aligns with the job description will earn attention from both an applicant tracking system and a hiring manager. How do you know how well your resume is targeted for a specific job? Jobscan’s resume analysis tool can give you instant feedback on what you’ve done well, what you’re missing, and steps you can take to optimize your resume. Visit and paste the text of your resume and the job description into the appropriate boxes. Using the right keywords increases your chances of being considered for a role. When you’re done using Jobscan’s resume optimizing tool, you also can opt to make your resume visible to recruiters. For a more detailed guide on how to use Jobscan, read here.

Everyone should use a career management document, but it’s especially important if you’re a job seeker. A career management document is key because it holds the details of your full background and career. A regularly-updated career management document makes tailoring your resume a cinch.

Creating an ideal resume for 2015 means carefully considering both the keywords and the format you use. Whether you decide to start by choosing your resume format or your resume content, the most important thing is to tailor your resume for each and every role. With all of the tools available now, there’s no reason to use a generic resume in 2015.

See also:

8 Things You Need To Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

How to Use Jobscan: A Step-by-Step Guide

5 Things You Need for Proper Resume Format

8 Things You Need To Know About Resume Keywords