Yeah I know, another article on resumes. But I had to write this one. You see, when I ended my time at CIA, I lounged around for a while before landing a job as a civilian recruiter for the Department of the Navy, more specifically for the Office of Naval Intelligence. I have seen a lot of resumes and application packages cross my desk, but this past week is what prompted me to write this.

In five days, I had the distinct displeasure of writing the letters ILSE across the top of no less than 10 resumes of individuals who otherwise should have been well-qualified. I will explain what ILSE stands for later, but for now, just know that the purpose of this series—yep we are taking it step by step—is to ensure that if any of you are contemplating applying for an intel job, a government job, or heck, even a job at your local market…that you give yourself the best chance to get in front of the hiring manager for an interview.

So, let’s start from the beginning. Normally, you would think that one would start with the document(s) that introduce you to the hiring manager—your resume, and we will discuss that—but there is a method to this madness that will put you in the optimal position to get to that point. OK, you go onto USAJOBS, log into your account, start perusing jobs, and then—hold on one minute—rule number one, you don’t just start “perusing” (I feel dirty just saying that word) when it comes to looking for what could possibly be a life-changing move. Just like anything else, be it getting married, starting a family, or setting out on patrol, you have to have a plan. So sit down with your pen and paper, iPad, or whatever you use, and start figuring it out.