Transform Your Military Resume for the Civilian WorkforceMost employers know that hiring veterans is a smart business decision for the multitude of skills and attributes they bring to the table. It is also true that in spite of that knowledge, many recruiters pass over military resumes simply because they do not understand them.  Now that you are back from duty and ready for civilian life, take time to create a resume that has high impact.  Demilitarize your resume.


Veterans already possess skills and training that transfer easily to the civilian workforce.  They also have the proven ability to learn new skills fast.  Your discipline, determination, perseverance and the ability to work under pressure are big attributes. Veterans are trained to meet deadlines in a timely fashion in spite of any stress.  They understand the importance of sticking with a task till it is completed. Make sure those skills are highlighted to match the job you want.  Have a clear goal and match your military skills to that goal.


Veterans understand well how every individual in a team is vital for the group’s productivity, success and morale.  Additionally, veterans have learned to work side-by-side with individuals regardless of race, color, ethnic background, religion or economic status.  This is the key to success in civilian work-life, so play it up.


The objective here is not to take the military out of you but out of your resume.  Get rid of military jargon and acronyms.  Think like a civilian; use civilian words.  Instead of platoon and battalion, use “team.”  Showcase your accomplishments. Replace military job titles with skills headings that match the jobs you want.  Divide your military career into several areas of responsibility.  Treat each area as if it were a separate job. Your military career has provided excellent opportunities for training and team building.  Flaunt your military background without using military terms.  Your discipline, leadership, perseverance and positive work ethic communicate the value you bring to the job.


Veterans have a proven track record of integrity that employers can benefit from.  It translates into such employees being sincere and trustworthy.  Have references that will speak to this attribute of yours.


There are many resources that you can avail of to get back into civilian workforce.  The government provides many incentives to employers to hire veterans.  Job boards like America’s Job Exchange have tools and resources that are geared to assisting veterans find a job.


It is a good idea to ask for feedback from recruiters and friends with good writing skills who do not have a military background.  Ask them what they cannot understand in your resume.  What they want to see included and deleted.  You will have to go through several drafts so don’t lose patience.  It will be a bit of trial and error before a strong resume is created.  Use a 5-year rule.  If your military career was less than 5 years then your resume should be one page; for longer time in the military, you may have a 2-page resume.  Become member of The Retired Officers Association (TROA).  One of the key services it provides is resume critique for fellow members.

For more information on how to transition from military to civilian life and for resources and job opportunities check out

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