After years of military life, you might find it difficult to explain your job qualifications to civilians. The military resume examples for civilian jobs presented here offer clear guidance for translating military skills into a civilian style.
Writing a resume isn’t easy for anyone, but veterans have to overcome extra hurdles. The jargon and acronyms that you’re familiar with might mean next to nothing to civilian job recruiters.
Your skills, however, have a high potential to translate into a new career. You just need to frame them so that they click with civilian managers. Then, you’ll be on track to complete your military to civilian transition.
Understand Your Skills
When you study a military to civilian resume sample, identify the active skills and transferable skills within the text. By understanding the difference between these skill groups, you’ll improve your ability to create a well-balanced and powerful resume.
- Active skills describe technical abilities. Examples would be knowledge of specific software programs or automotive engine repair. A human resources professional will be looking for the active skills required for the job.
- Transferable skills are more abstract and apply in a variety different job situations. For example, your infantry duties would have required you to develop resilience and risk management. These transferable skills add depth to your technical qualifications.
Resume Writing Preparation
Make a list of your active and transferable skills. It’s helpful to start with lists and notes instead of diving right into a template.
- The overview of your military skills listed on the Verification of Military Experience and Training (DD Form 2586) is a good place to start. This will contain mostly active skills. Practice writing about them in plain language. Pretend you have to describe your military job to someone who has never been in the military. This exercise will convert your work history for a civilian audience.
- Next, try to think of transferable skills, like leadership or communication, that you gained during your military career. You'll want to emphasize these when explaining your active skills.
Finally, look at your notes and start ranking your most remarkable skills and accomplishments. Select the ones that will have the greatest appeal to the company where you want to work. Place these in the first third of your resume to arouse a recruiter’s interest right away.
Work From a Template
Pick one of these free samples to serve as your military to civilian resume template. After you’ve organized and prioritized your notes, plug the information into the template. As you write, adopt the strong and active language modeled in the samples.
Because you’ll likely apply for multiple jobs, work off of templates designed for industries where you want employment. This will help to tailor your resume content and increase the chances of getting an interview.
Jim is an executive resume writer who stays abreast of the newest trends in the employment industry. He develops high-performance federal resumes to build a successful career.