Resumes for Defense Employers – Recommended Format

Defense Industry recruiters prefer chronological resumes.

Sure, there are various kinds of resumes for various kinds of jobs, and situations. 

It is easy to get differing advice on format and style. That advice is not necessarily wrong. It usually represents the industry focus of the presenter. DoD and the IC recruits for specialist: What, When and Where matters.

Our industry: Defense (DoD), Intelligence Community (IC), and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance  (ISR) services.

When in doubt, ask: what format would you like my resume to be in?

A style of resume that is highly popular among ‘defense contractors’ is the chronological. Why: Many contracts require hiring for Skill X and Experience Y within __ years of last five (5) years. A chronological resumes presents that information.

Keep it simple: White copier paper, left aligned, font size of 11 or 12, Arial or Times New Roman font, and a line return (blank line) between paragraphs and/data elements.

Important Tip: Save two-column resumes for presenting to humans — but always have a simple resume with one column.

Why: Resumes entered into ATS systems are parsed into a database. Like OCR, the scanning and parsing reads straight across the page. Two or more columns can confuse the software as to what words belong together. Outcome: Multi-column sections of your resume can become jumbled and can hinder contextual searches by recruiters and HR staff.

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Example:

William Golden
(703) 555-1234 / WGolden@IntelligenceCareers.com
Sometown, Virginia
>> About Addresses

Objective (Optional): Seeking mid-level position as _____. Strong expertise in ___, ___, and ___.

Certifications: Top Secret SSBI / BA, MPA degrees / CCNA, MCSE  >> About Clearances

Professional Experience

2018 Apr – Present: Job Title, Company Name
Overview of scale and scope of responsibilities. Keep this as brief as possible. Names of software, systems, and key tasks performed should be included.

2014 Feb – 2018 Apr: Job Title, Company Name
Overview of scale and scope of responsibilities. Keep this as brief as possible. Names of software, systems, and key tasks performed should be included.

2012 Jan – 2014 Feb: Job Title, Company Name
Overview of scale and scope of responsibilities. Keep this as brief as possible. Names of software, systems, and key tasks performed should be included.

Prior to 2012: Summarize your professional experience older than 10 years ago in an information-rich paragraph. Do this even if it means squeezing 20 years into 75-100 words maximum.

You should have a secondary long master resume that expands on your entire career, but that should not be the resume that you submit to a recruiter. Have it as a record for your own reference. It may come in handy at some point. Some recruiters love long resumes, so ask if they want you to send it. Long resumes are also good for uploads … BUT the first page still matters more than all others.

Education: 2011 MPA, University of Oklahoma; 2007 BA University of Maryland

Keywords: Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), MOS 35 series, NSA, Mandarin Chinese, German, CFM ColdFusion Jedi … list keywords that represent you and your experience that may be of interest to an employer. Leave out religious and political words – not appropriate for applying to a defense and intelligence job.


Security Clearance Prereview: If you served in one of the national intelligence agencies you probably have a resume prereview requirement. Often, a resume review tracking number will be assigned. You may or may not choose to put this on your resume.  Consult your security officer for more information.

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When you finish putting your resume together
Sent it to us! Resumes@IntelligenceCareers.com or upload it.