In our previous articles in this series, we have been discussing several thoughts to consider when working on your resume, as you transition from a government or military position. Here are the next three crucial tips:

1. Successes and Achievements Sell You. Not “Responsibilities.”

Before your government or military career, years ago you might have created a resume that focused on your daily duties and responsibilities. As we previously discussed, today’s resumes are now efficient marketing tools that help sell you for a particular role.

Choose accomplishments that help define what you can do for an organization. Show the value that you have brought to the table in the past as examples of what you can do in the future. The “civilian” world is very result-oriented. You must emphasize what’s in it for them if they hire you. In sales terms, this would be “upselling” (i.e. “Would you like fries with that burger?”) What will that organization receive in exchange for giving you your salary? Look for instances where you went above and beyond, or unique skills that help you stand out.

One helpful way to make sure your resume is result-oriented is to look at those duties and focus on the results that came from them. For example, if your task was “to foster relationships,” then mentally add to that thought “which resulted in ___” and then fill in the blank. That result is the true benefit to the organization; the task is just how you went about doing it.

2. Choose Successes and Achievements That Sell You for What You WANT to Do.

Why make yourself miserable? What good would it do you to market yourself for work that you don’t enjoy doing? I believe that it is most important to create a resume that markets YOU well and then for the roles that fit your skills the best.

Think of this as setting yourself up for success, right from the very start. Of course, you could force a square peg into a round hole, but wouldn’t it be easier to find a square hole that would best fit that square peg? We often go into our job search thinking that we would do just about anything to get a position, but that isn’t true. If we just wanted any job anywhere doing anything, we could go to the closest fast food establishment and get a paycheck. So we have indeed already created some parameters in our job search! It is time to think more strategically about your job search and how you can best navigate toward the best fit and role for you.

3. Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

It is common knowledge that action verbs should be used on your resume. I would encourage you to go further, choosing stronger action verbs instead of weaker ones, by using “more physical” terms. This would be the difference between “leading” and “supervising.” Though each might technically mean the same, the word “leading” creates a more powerful mental image then the word “supervising.” As your primary marketing tool, your resume creates a specific picture in the recruiter’s mind of who you are, and how best you might fit in their team. This can help you develop an vibrant first impression before they even meet you in person.

In the last post in this series, we’ll cover one more tip to help you create an effective resume that is sure to open doors for you!

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Not only the trailing spouse of a US State Department Foreign Service Officer, Julie Mendez once also held a clearance and served as the Community Liaison Office Coordinator at the US Embassy in Rome, Italy. Now a Career Coach and Certified Job Search Specialist with JSM Career Coaching, Julie Mendez serves as the lead Career Coach at’s “UnCareer-Fair” events. She believes her calling is to aid clients in finding fulfilling work that utilizes their unique talents. Julie Mendez can be reached at and