A medical school resume has few differences from a “regular” resume you would submit as part of any job application. The first thing to do is put yourself in the position of the admissions committee and consider, “what do I want from a veteran student?” The short answer is that veterans bring a proven track record of real world experience, and a diverse perspective based on those accomplishments to the classroom. So your resume should be written to highlight those facets of your background that best embody success and maturity.
The best way to make your accomplishments stand out is to quantify them. After all, a typical evaluation report statement such as “increased readiness of the unit” means far less than, “Singlehandedly increased the ability of the organization to accomplish its mission by 10%.” Putting that in terms such as, “while working in an adverse environment” isn’t as clear as, “with a unit understaffed by 20% during the same time frame.” Keep this in mind – your resume bullets mean very little until they’re put in statistics that an everyday admissions committee member can understand.
On that note, in order to write a successful civilian resume you absolutely must dejargon and get rid of all those TLAs (that’s Three Letter Acronyms, if you’re not “in the know”). It takes many veterans half a dozen revisions of their document over the course of several months before they finally understand all the areas where they’re using military-specific language. So stop referring to your subordinates as anything other than “direct reports.” Use easy to understand terms like “fighter jets” and “tanks” rather than “F-18s” and “M2A2s.” For goodness’ sake, never refer to anything as a “weapons system.” And most importantly? Have someone you trust who has never served a day in their life look over your resume before you submit it.
Take ownership of your accomplishments – you need to be your own best advocate since no one else will be doing that job for you. Get accustomed to explaining *your* actions in resolving a complex problem. Speak in terms of “I did this,” not “we did that.” This will serve you in good stead when you transition from writing resumes to interviewing.
Let your accomplishments speak for themselves though – you don’t want your resume to stand out from the crowd. Keep it to one page. Use legible font and don’t do anything crazy with the margins just to cram in one extra story. Use a professional email address for your contact information, not “GunzGuy89@yahoo.com.” Have you tried “first.last@gmail?” ACTUALLY PRESS SPELL CHECK, don’t just assume your superior editing skills will find any mistakes. Label the document logically as well – I like to use Year_Month_Day_Lastname_Firstname, e.g. 2018_03_27_Maybee_Ross. Lastly, save and submit your resume as a pdf so you can be sure the admissions committee members see it precisely how you intended.
We have lots more to say about how to make your resume shine, so stay tuned for a series of blog posts diving into greater detail on each of these issues.