Dear Sam: I am within my first five years post-undergrad. I am an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and a civilian employee with the government. I am contemplating making a move to the civilian sector. However, my combined military service and civilian occupations span many specialties. As an officer, I have worked in logistics and public relations — in leadership roles — both stateside and in combat. As a civilian, I work in human resources and pay administration in a nonsupervisory role. How and what should I include in my résumé? – Laura
Dear Laura: First, thank you for your service to our country. Second, that is quite a diverse background.
Now, to answer your question. What you should include versus omit depends completely on what you want to pursue next.
You will, of course, want to include all of your positions, but you can strategically tailor the content so it best supports your candidacy today. A résumé is really a picture of your background written in a way that positions you best for what you want to do next.
So, if the logistics aspects of your experience do not support your current career target, you can certainly put those on the back burner or omit them entirely.
What I imagine will need to happen is that you will have to develop two (or perhaps three) solid versions of your résumé. The first might be more operationally focused, the second in the public relations and communications arena, and the third presenting your human-resources skill set.
You could develop one main résumé, with each area of your experience introduced with a functional subheading, and then simply reprioritize content based on the type of role for which you are applying.
In each résumé, you will also want to build a targeted qualifications summary. This approach will allow you to present the targeted picture critical to success in today’s job market, while also keeping your options as open as possible.
— Samantha Nolan is a certified professional resume writer and the owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume-writing firm. Email resume or job-search questions to email@example.com. To find out more about Nolan, visit www.ladybug-design.com.