Civilian-ize your resume Civilian-ize your resume
5 Resume Tips for Vets The skills you developed as a service member are truly valuable and in high demand, but describing those skills... Civilian-ize your resume

5 Resume Tips for Vets

The skills you developed as a service member are truly valuable and in high demand, but describing those skills to a prospective employer can be difficult. Tailoring your military resume to fit a civilian career is a necessary evil. You just have to learn to speak civilian. Here are 5 tips for veterans to civilian-ize your resume.

Drop the Jargon
Write for a hiring manager not for an officer. Always assume the potential employer knows nothing about the military so translate your military jargon into civilian terms.

Spell It Out
Try to avoid using acronyms or military techno-speak in your resume. Spell out all acronyms and affiliations and consider simplifying them. State your job title rather than using your service branch operational designator.

Examples:

  • Use “Non-Commissioned Officer” or “Supervisor” rather than “NCO”
  • Use the word “Base” rather than “FOB” or “AFB”
  • Use “Aircraft Loadmaster” or “Cargo Manager” rather than “1A2X1”
  • Use “Infantry Squad Leader” rather than “11B”

Translate Your Skills
Translate your military position and skills to civilian equivalents. List any relevant classes you took, and any special certifications you earned, while you served in the military. These classes all count as valid career experience, even if they did not result in attainment of college-level credits. Be sure to list the name of the military school or institution associated with each class and certification.

Match Military Experience to Civilian Occupation
De-militarize the way you describe past experiences. Translate your military position to civilian equivalent. Be sure to include information about your military-derived leadership and management skills, and cite specific examples to illustrate them. For each skill you cite, add a descriptive example to prove how you attained and/or applied that skill during your military service.

Make It Bullet Proof
Make sure you take the time to spell-check, use active language, include specific accomplishments, and show your skills. Have a workforce civilian look over your resume for verbiage, spelling and grammar. Getting a second-pair of eyes to review is critical.