When transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce, one of the most critical documents you need is a well-crafted resume. A military to civilian resume allows you to showcase your unique skills, experience, and qualifications that make you a valuable asset to any employer.
Creating a military to civilian resume can be a challenging task, especially if you have spent several years in the military. With this in mind, this article aims to provide insight, guidance, and tips on how to write an effective military to civilian resume.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of a military to civilian resume and provide examples and templates to help you get started. We will also offer professional tips and advice to ensure your resume stands out in a competitive job market.
Whether you are a transitioning veteran or a military spouse seeking to enter the civilian workforce, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn how to translate your military experience into a compelling civilian resume.
Understanding the Transition
Transitioning from military to civilian life is a challenging experience that requires careful planning and preparation. Military personnel face unique challenges when they return to civilian life, such as finding new employment opportunities, adapting to a new work environment, and adjusting to civilian culture.
One of the most crucial aspects of transitioning to civilian life is crafting a well-designed resume. This document serves as a critical tool for military personnel in their job search process. It needs to showcase skills, education, and experience in the most attractive way possible.
However, military and civilian resumes differ considerably in their structure and content. Military resumes tend to be more detailed and include military-specific terminology that may not make sense to civilians. Hence, it’s vital to create a tailored resume that can help recruiters and hiring managers understand the transferable skills and experience one possesses.
Another challenge that military personnel face is understanding what non-military workplaces would look like. Employers in the private sector may have different expectations and work cultures. While military service is highly respected and valued, the language, rank structure, and acronyms used within it differ from non-military workplaces.
Therefore, it is essential to create a well-crafted resume that highlights transferable skills and soft skills. Retirees or recent military veterans must be aware of their unique value proposition and the qualities that they can bring to a prospective employer.
Transitioning from military to civilian life is a significant life-changing event that takes time and effort. For military personnel, crafting a well-designed resume is the key to securing a civilian job role. Knowing the unique challenges that they will face during this transition will better equip them to succeed in their job search. It is vital that military personnel understand the differences between a military and civilian resume to tailor it effectively based on the skills learned in their service.
Identifying Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are abilities and knowledge that can be applied in various scenarios, regardless of the industry, role or job function. They are typically acquired through previous work experience, education or life experiences. The majority of transferable skills are soft skills, such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and time management but can also include hard skills, such as technical proficiency.
Identifying transferable skills is an essential step for those transitioning from military to civilian careers. To determine transferable skills, examine both the technical and soft skills that you employed in your previous role. Start by reflecting on your daily work routine, listing your duties and responsibilities, and identify the skills you utilized. Then explore how these skills could be applied in a new industry or position.
To identify your transferable skills, start by following these steps:
Evaluate your military experience: Focus on the skills you applied in your military role, and assess how they could potentially be applied outside the military sector.
Analyze job descriptions: Review job descriptions in civilian roles you are interested in and compare them to your current military job requirements. Identify any overlaps or similarities in skills.
Consider your achievements: Think about your accomplishments in your previous military role, what skills did you use to accomplish them, and how could you apply these skills in a new role?
Conduct informational interviews: Speak with individuals who work in the industry or role you are interested in, ask about their job duties, and what skills they feel are critical to their success.
Some examples of transferable skills include:
Leadership: Managing a team, supervising colleagues or coordinating projects.
Communication: Effectively conveying information, negotiating or managing conflicts.
Problem-Solving: Analyzing data, creating strategies, and making complex decisions.
Time Management: Prioritizing tasks, managing schedules, and meeting deadlines.
Interpersonal skills: Cooperating with colleagues, demonstrating empathy and active listening.
Technical proficiency: Programming, information technology, and other specialized skills.
Transferable skills are abilities that can apply to multiple industries, roles, or job functions. Identifying your transferable skills is a critical step in your military to civilian career transition. By evaluating your military, analyzing job descriptions, considering your accomplishments, and conducting informational interviews, you will develop a clear understanding of the transferable skills required to succeed in a new role. Ensure that you highlight your transferable skills in your resume, cover letter, and during interviews to increase your chances of a successful military to civilian career transition.
Military to Civilian Resume Example
If you’re a veteran looking to make a transition into the civilian workforce, crafting a compelling resume is one of the most important steps you can take. However, making the transition can be daunting, as the terminology and priorities in the military differ from those in the private sector. Below is a step-by-step guide to creating a military to civilian resume, along with tips on how to use military-friendly language and an example resume to inspire your own.
Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Military to Civilian Resume
Translate your military experience: Start by translating your military experience into civilian terminology. Focus on your key job functions and accomplishments that demonstrate your leadership, discipline, and problem-solving skills.
Use simple language: Avoid using military jargon or acronyms that could be confusing to someone outside of the military. Instead, use simple, clear language that anyone can understand.
Highlight transferable skills: When listing your experience, be sure to highlight transferable skills that will be relevant to the civilian job you’re applying for. For example, if you have experience managing a team, that could translate to a civilian management position.
Quantify your achievements: Use data and numbers to quantify your achievements wherever possible. For example, if you were responsible for managing inventory, include information on how much inventory you managed and how you improved the process.
Tailor your resume: Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for by emphasizing the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position. Use the job description as a guide to help you choose which skills to highlight.
Military-Friendly Language to Use in the Resume
- Use action verbs that demonstrate leadership and initiative (e.g. managed, led, supervised, initiated, organized)
- Mention relevant training and certifications, such as leadership training, security clearances, or technical certifications
- Use terminology that is familiar to civilians (e.g. “team” instead of “squad,” “budget” instead of “funding allocation”)
- Emphasize the results of your work and the impact you had on your team or organization
Example of a Military to Civilian Resume
Below is an example of a military to civilian resume that demonstrates the tips outlined above. This is just one possible format; be sure to tailor your resume to your specific experience and the job you’re applying for.
Name: John Smith
Contact Information: (555) 555-5555 | johnsmith.
Military to Civilian Resume Template
When transitioning from military to civilian life, creating a resume that can effectively showcase your skills and experience can be challenging. That’s why we have created a comprehensive military to civilian resume template to guide you through the process.
Overview of the Template
Our military to civilian resume template is designed to highlight your accomplishments and transferable skills in a clear and concise manner. It is formatted to be easily scannable by hiring managers and ATS systems. The template includes the following sections:
- Contact Information
- Objective Statement
- Summary of Qualifications
- Professional Experience
Tips for Customizing the Template to Fit Individual Needs
While our military to civilian resume template is a great starting point, it’s important to customize the template to fit your individual needs. Here are a few tips for personalizing your resume:
- Use keywords and phrases that are relevant to the job you’re applying for
- Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible
- Focus on the skills that are transferable to the civilian workforce
- Use clear and concise language
- Keep your resume to one or two pages
Section-by-Section Breakdown of the Template
- Contact Information
This section includes your name, phone number, email address, and physical address. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and professional. Avoid using nicknames or unprofessional email addresses.
- Objective Statement
Your objective statement should be tailored to the job you’re applying for. It should be a brief statement that highlights your qualifications and career goals.
- Summary of Qualifications
This section is where you can showcase your skill set and achievements. Focus on transferable skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Use bullet points to make this section easy to read.
- Professional Experience
In this section, you will list your work experience in reverse chronological order. Include the job title, company name, location, and dates of employment. This is also where you can showcase your accomplishments and how they relate to the job you’re applying for.
List any relevant education and training you have received. Include the school name, degree or certificate earned, and dates of attendance.
Use this section to highlight any additional skills you have that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. This can include language proficiency, technical skills, or certifications.
By following our military to civilian resume template and customizing it to fit your individual needs, you can create a strong resume that highlights your skills and experience. Don’t forget to have someone proofread your resume for errors and clarity before submitting it to potential employers.
Pro Tips for Military to Civilian Resumes
Transitioning from military service to a civilian job can be challenging. Military veterans, especially those who have spent many years in service, often have difficulty converting their military experience into civilian terms. One of the most important steps in this process is creating a military to civilian resume that highlights relevant experience and accomplishments. In this section, we will discuss three pro tips for creating a successful military to civilian resume.
When creating a resume, it’s important to highlight your accomplishments, not just your job duties. Accomplishments show what you’ve achieved in your roles and how you’ve impacted your organization. In the military, there are many accomplishments that are worth noting, such as awards, medals, and successful missions.
To translate these accomplishments into civilian terms, think about how these achievements benefited your team or organization. Did you save money? Did you improve efficiency? Did you lead a successful project? These are all accomplishments that will impress civilian employers, so be sure to include them on your resume.
Highlighting Leadership Skills
In the military, leadership skills are highly valued and often developed early on in a servicemember’s career. These skills, including the ability to motivate and guide a team, are highly transferable to civilian roles.
When listing your leadership skills on your resume, be sure to highlight specific examples. For instance, if you served as a team leader in a mission, discuss the leadership strategies you employed to ensure the success of your team. It’s also important to emphasize your ability to work well under pressure and make critical decisions in a timely manner.
Emphasizing Relevant Experience
One of the biggest challenges in creating a military to civilian resume is translating military experience into relevant civilian terms. However, it’s essential to highlight your relevant experience to show civilian employers that you have the skills they’re looking for.
To do this, review the job description carefully and highlight the skills and experience that the employer is seeking. Then, review your military experience and think about how it translates to that job description. Focus on key skills that match the job requirements and include them on your resume.
A successful military to civilian resume requires translating military experience in civilian terms, highlighting your accomplishments, highlighting your leadership skills, and emphasizing your relevant experience. By following these pro tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning resume that highlights your unique skills and experience.
Before diving into how to write strong accomplishments for military personnel, it’s important to define what constitutes an accomplishment. Accomplishments are specific achievements or results that an individual has achieved within a particular role or job. They showcase an individual’s unique contributions, skills, and experience.
When writing accomplishments, it’s crucial to focus on tangible results rather than just listing responsibilities or tasks performed. Begin each accomplishment statement with an active verb and quantify the results whenever possible.
Below are some tips on how to write strong accomplishments:
- Use specific numbers and percentages to illustrate the impact of your actions. This helps to demonstrate the scope and scale of your achievements.
Example: Increased unit efficiency by 25% through implementing new logistics procedures.
- Highlight your individual contributions and leadership skills in team achievements.
Example: Led a team of 10 in successful completion of a high-priority project three weeks ahead of schedule.
- Use action-oriented language to focus on your proactive and results-driven approach.
Example: Initiated and executed a cost-saving measure that resulted in a $50,000 reduction in annual expenditures.
Now, let’s take a look at some examples of accomplishments for military personnel:
Led a platoon of 30 soldiers in combat operations, resulting in zero casualties and successful completion of all mission objectives.
Developed and implemented a safety training program resulting in a decrease in workplace accidents by 50%.
Instrumental in the successful execution of a multinational joint training exercise, increasing overall readiness and strengthening partnerships with allied forces.
Writing strong accomplishments is an integral part of crafting a successful military to civilian resume. By focusing on specific results and using action-oriented language, individuals can effectively showcase their experience and skills to potential employers.
Relevance of Military Service
If you are someone who has served in the military and is now transitioning to civilian employment, then it is important to understand the relevance of military service on a civilian resume. Military service offers a unique set of skills that can be valuable in the civilian workforce. What’s more, it shows dedication, discipline, and a willingness to work hard.
To incorporate military service into your civilian resume, it is typically recommended to take a skills-based approach. This involves highlighting the skills and experiences gained from your military service, and demonstrating how they would be relevant to the position you are applying for. One approach is to use relevant military language and terminology that aligns with your new line of work.
Additionally, it is important to translate military-specific jargon into language that civilians can easily understand. This makes it easier for a hiring manager to clearly see the value of your military experience.
Here are some examples of how to incorporate military service into your resume:
Use relevant military language: For example, if you were trained in the use of weapons as part of your military service, you could use language such as “weapon systems training” or “small arms proficiency” on your resume.
Highlight your experience in leadership: Military service often involves leading teams of people, so it is important to highlight this experience on your resume. Describe specific instances where you took charge and made important decisions.
Show off your dedication and work ethic: Military service is characterized by a sense of duty and responsibility. Highlight your ability to work hard and get things done.
Demonstrate your adaptability: The military requires individuals to be able to adjust to new environments quickly. Highlight your adaptability by demonstrating how you have succeeded in different roles or assignments.
The relevance of military service on a civilian resume cannot be overstated. By taking a skills-based approach and highlighting the valuable experiences and training gained from military service, you can make yourself a strong candidate for a civilian position.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
As military personnel transition into civilian life and job search, one of the critical steps is creating a civilian resume. However, military servicemen and women often make common mistakes that can hurt their job search endeavors.
Here are some of the common pitfalls and how to avoid them:
Mistake 1: Using military lingo or jargon
One of the most significant mistakes military personnel make when creating a civilian resume is using military jargon and acronyms. Unless the civilian employer has a military background, they may not understand the military language, and it can be off-putting. It’s essential to translate military jargon into terms that the civilian employer can understand.
Mistake 2: Focusing on duties rather than accomplishments
Military personnel often list duties and tasks they performed rather than highlighting their significant accomplishments. It’s essential to show how your skills and experiences transfer to the civilian workforce. Quantify your achievements, and showcase how you contributed to the success of your unit or team.
Mistake 3: Too much information
Military personnel have a whole set of skills, training, and experiences that they have accumulated over the years. It’s tempting to include every piece of information in the resume. But the truth is, not every experience is relevant to the civilian job market. Focus on the skills and experiences that relate to the job you’re applying for.
Mistake 4: Lengthy resumes
A standard militarized resume can range from three to ten pages. However, civilian employers prefer shorter and more concise resumes. A two-page resume should be sufficient to showcase your skills and experience.
Mistake 5: Not tailoring the resume to the job
Job descriptions vary from company to company, and not tailoring your resume to the job can reduce your chances of getting an interview. Read the job description, identify the skills and experiences the employer is looking for, and match them with your qualifications.
To avoid these common mistakes, military personnel can seek assistance from career counselors, veterans support groups, and civilian mentors. These professionals can guide them on translating their military experiences into civilian language, highlighting their accomplishments, and tailoring their resumes to the job description. Creating a civilian resume is a crucial step in military-to-civilian transition, and avoiding these mistakes can increase your chances of landing a job.
Cover Letter Writing for Military to Civilian Resume
When transitioning from military life to civilian employment, having a well-written cover letter is essential to getting noticed by potential employers.
Importance of a Cover Letter
A cover letter serves as your introduction to the hiring manager and is your opportunity to showcase your qualifications and explain why you are the best fit for the job. A well-written cover letter can significantly increase your chances of getting an interview and landing the job.
Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter
Research the company – before you start writing your cover letter, take the time to research the company and the job you are applying for. This will help you tailor your cover letter to the specific needs of the employer.
Use the right format – your cover letter should follow a standard business letter format, with your contact information at the top, followed by the date, the employer’s contact information, the salutation, the body of the letter, and a closing.
Highlight your qualifications – focus on your most relevant qualifications and experiences that match the requirements of the job.
Keep it concise – your cover letter should be no more than one page and should quickly and succinctly explain why you are the best candidate.
Edit carefully – take the time to proofread and edit your cover letter for spelling and grammar errors before submitting it to the employer.
Example of a Cover Letter for a Military to Civilian Resume
Dear Hiring Manager,
As a former Army Sergeant with experience in logistics and supply chain management, I am excited to apply for the logistics coordinator position at XYZ Company. In my 8 years of military service, I honed my skills in organization, communication, and problem-solving, which I believe will make me an asset to your team.
During my time in the military, I was responsible for the successful management of a large-scale logistics operation, overseeing the distribution of critical supplies and equipment to multiple units across various locations. I am well-versed in the intricacies of coordinating complex and time-sensitive logistics operations, and I thrive under pressure.
In addition to my military experience, I have also completed a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on supply chain management. My education, coupled with my military experience, has prepared me to hit the ground running in a civilian logistics role.
I am thrilled at the opportunity to bring my skills, experience, and work ethic to XYZ Company and am confident that I would be a valuable asset to your team. Thank you for considering my application.