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Big-Picture Guidance

The Course Materials lesson contains an additional document entitled BogiDope Application Examples – Resumes and Cover Letters. We will reference the example resumes throughout this course.

As far as you’re concerned, there is no such thing as a “generic” resume. If you’re applying to more than one unit, you need to craft a unique version for each one. Yes, that’s more work, but it will pay off! Every word in here needs to be targeted at showing one specific squadron on how your background will benefit them. Every unit has a different mission, different strengths, and different needs. You want to address the unique needs of any unit to which you’re applying.

At this stage in your career, the 1-page rule is set in stone. Yes, there are exceptions, but your early career isn’t special enough to need more than one page. The only possible exceptions to this rule would be people like Chuck Yeager, Dick Rutan, and Robin Olds. If you ever get to that point, you won’t need more than one page anyway. Your resume will simply read, “Hey Dudes, I’m Chuck Yeager.”

When mailing in your resume use thicker, higher quality paper. The rest of your application packet can use normal paper, but the resume should be different. Have you ever held a cheap business card in one hand and a presumably expensive, heavier version in the other? They could say the same thing but one has a higher perceived value. If your hiring board narrows the field down to 10 applicants for an interview and stacks all the resumes together, guess who’s will immediately stand out as higher value just by feel? Splurge on some high-quality resume paper at any office supply or printing store.

Flow and use of space on a resume are important. You need to pack it with good information, but there needs to be some white space and organization. A potential employer needs to be able to scan down the page once and catch all the highlights.

The limited length of your resume actually benefits you, because it gives you an excuse to only include/highlight what you want the hiring board to see. The art of resume writing is understanding what the hiring board wants and then tailoring your document to provide exactly that.

If you’re a UPT candidate you want to highlight reasons that you possess great potential as a leader and an aviator. If you’re a rated candidate you want to highlight a good career progression and anything about you that would be particularly useful to the unit. (For example: if you were involved with planning, procuring, or testing some piece of avionics that will be going into that unit’s aircraft, you’re better-off highlighting that fact than your experience as a Snack-O or working in the Wing Plans shop).

In either case, highlight your strengths. If you have phenomenal PCSM/AFOQT scores, put them at the top of your resume. If the scores aren’t great, don’t highlight them on your resume. Use your limited space to highlight other strengths. Your hiring board will still see your scores in your application packet, but we don’t want to taint their first impression with sub-optimal scores when there may be many other impressive things to look at first.

A little artistic freedom is allowed for use of adjectives or descriptions, but don’t use fluff to fill up space. The hiring board will recognize this immediately and it might cause them to toss your resume without going any further. It’s better to have a little extra white space on this page than to have it full of fluff.

Choose a well-known font when writing your resume. We recommend Times New Roman if you want a serif font or Calibri, Arial, or Helvetica if you prefer to go sans-serif. 12-point font size should be the default, but if needed you can go as low as 10 to make everything fit. Leave 1” margins on all sides of your resume. If you’re absolutely out of space you can shave these margins slightly, but we recommend not reducing them by any more than 0.25”. Leave a blank line between each major resume section. As much as possible, blocks of text should align vertically with text in other sections. That text should look like it’s arranged in columns.

With these fundamentals in mind, we’re going to look at the BogiDope example resume, section by section.