Translate Your Veteran Resume Into A Civilian Resume
Once you have your master military resume on hand and possible career paths in mind, it will be much easier to craft your civilian resume.
Use that master resume and pull out the most relevant information that aligns with your targeted roles and industries. You might need different versions for different industries you are targeting.
But one thing that you should always remember is to translate all the military references, terminologies, and jargon into civilian terms.
Use this military-to-civilian skill translator to discover a variety of potential civilian applications for your military skills and experience.
Also, in this military to civilian resume how-to guide, you will find the translations of most of the military terms and jargon.
Include Any Relevant Education Or Training You Received
Include information about the college or university you attended regardless of the type of major you studied or the degree you earned. However, only include specialized training that is relevant to your chosen career path. Be sure to translate your military training courses so employers understand their relevance and value.
If you only received specialized training while in the military, try to relate that experience to a civilian equivalent. To do this, you could do a simple internet search and find some courses online that have similar aspects of the training you received. Use some of the descriptions of the online courses to guide you as you craft descriptions of your training.
Make A List Of Your Military Skills And Experience
Before you start building your resume, itâs essential to identify your existing skills. This includes both technical and soft skills gained in the military. Think about all your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments while you served in the military and write them down. Donât worry about translating military terminology at this stage. Just make a list.
This step alone can be challenging for many veterans. You can make use of online resources for transitioning veterans to make sure you donât leave anything out.
It can be helpful to get a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Training document. This document describes your service occupations in civilian terms. It can be a convenient resource for creating your military experience resume.
The Military Crosswalk Search tool on O*NET Online is another excellent resource for demystifying military resumes. It allows you to search by military occupational classification or job title and cross-reference MOCs to civilian equivalents, or vice versa.
Note that military skills resumes are usually more technical than civilian resumes. Civilian roles and projects often look for a holistic combination of hard and soft skills. When making your list, try not to become hyper focused on technical expertise alone. Make a note of relevant soft skills like leadership, timeliness, teamwork as well. We discuss this further below.
Identify hard skills that transfer from your military role
- Global perspectives
You May Like: Cox Discounts For Military
Pick The Right Military Resume Format
Use the right resume format to prove youre no oxygen thief.
This is what you should include in the resume:
- Start with the reverse-chronological resume format. It puts your most relevant achievements in the front lines.
- Choose the best resume fonts in 1014pt. Use 1-inch margins, clear headings, and generous white space.
- Write a one-page resume unless youre more accomplished than R. Lee Ermey.
- Lead with a military to civilian resume header. Include name, phone number, email address, and social media links. No snail mail. No photo.
- Next add a military resume profile, work experience, and education.
- For maximum effect, include resume extras like volunteer work, publications, certifications,and additional activities.
Expert Hint: Use a resume PDF unless the job description says theyre off limits. PDFs dont go AWOL in transit. Plus theyre machine-readable in 2019.
Highlight Your Military Experience
While itâs important to translate your military experience for the sake of civilian clientsâdonât try to hide it completely. Your military experience is an asset. You should own it proudly. Donât be afraid to include your military title and rank in your resume, but provide a civilian translation as well.
As you write the work experience section of your resume, list your military positions with separate subheadings. Within each subheading, include rank/position, company or organization, and dates of employment. You can follow this with a brief description of your job responsibilities and duties. This can be in bullet points for better presentation and donât forget to use civilian terminology.
Pro tip: Focus on highlighting military experiences where you used the skills required for the role you are currently applying for.
Additionally, you can make use of Upworkâs Military Veteran status option. This tool adds a âMilitary Veteranâ status and flag representing the country served to your Upwork profile and lets clients know you are a military veteran. Many clients would love to give opportunities to veterans like you, and this can help them find you.
Recommended Reading: Sears Memorial Day Military Discount
Resume Summary Example: Enlist Your Writing Ability
Your resume summary is the spot to answer the very important question: Why do you want to join the military and what do you hope to get out of it? Equally as important is your answer to the question: What will you bring to the military?
If writing is not your forte, or you still are unclear on what this section should sound lie, you can find additional writing material in our related security and protective services resume examples.
While maintaining your professional tone, you need to show your desire to serve your country to recruiters and answer those questions. You should also include your proudest achievement to illustrate that you know how to work hard to reach a goal. All of this information must be imparted in 3-5 lines of text.
Read the military resume example text below for ideas.
Dedicated Military member with a decorated career safely planning and executing hundreds of military operations. Successfully piloted many combat missions, bringing supplies to troops and those in need. Experienced in training other military personnel and future Officers. Driven and enthusiastic, with the ability to manage projects and people. Dedicated to serving others for the well-being of the greater good.
Determine The Focus Of Your Post
It is important to make this decision before you begin writing your resume. This decision will determine what skills, experience and accomplishments you choose to highlight on the resume.
Unsure what you want to do in your post-military career? Check out this article: 10 of the Best Nonmilitary Jobs for Veterans
Recommended Reading: Sears Discounts For Veterans
Dont Forget To Give An Overview
Your bullets can be focused, descriptive, include strong metrics, and still not help you land an interview. If recruiters dont understand what you did on a basic level, theyre not going to appreciate your greatest accomplishments. Help them out by starting each job entry with a bullet that discusses the scope of what you did. This will provide some much-needed context for recruiters before they dive into your accomplishments.
Make Your Resume Easy To Scan
Your resume should be easily scannable by both Applicant Tracking Systemsand hiring managers. If a recruiter spends 6 seconds on your resume before making a decision, youll want your information to be organized and found easily.
- Have clear sections and headings. You do not want your resume to blur into one big wall of text. The ATS and hiring managers wont find that to be enticing. An ATS will scan your resume for keywords within your headings so your information needs to be easy to find.
- Check for spelling and accuracy. A stray 0 that isnt meant to be in a number can change the entire tone. You want to ensure that you mean everything that you say. Also, getting rid of typos is just good practice in general. You dont want the hiring managers attention to be on your mistakes.
- Provide numbers where you can. Adding a number to something quantifies the achievement. A lot is good and all, but increasing by 50% blows it out of the water. Numbers are easy to see on a resume. As a recruiter is scanning your resume, their eyes will be drawn to your numbers and accomplishments.
Also Check: Can You Join The Marines With Autism
Important Resume Sections For Military Veterans
Since veterans should embrace the functional, skills-based resume format, the most critical resume section for them is the Key Skills section. This section should come right after the resume summary and should contain the bulk of the content of the resume.
The skills section is where you will get descriptive about those skills that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying . But you can also have an Additional Skills section that provides a shorter list of the skills you possess, without getting into a more extended description for each listed item.
You should still have a Work Experience and Education section on your resume, but these dont have to be very descriptive.
Also, its quite common for veterans to have a list of accomplishments, certifications, and courses completed, which may be valuable in recruiters eyes depending on the prospective position. You can include sections for these elements on your resume, and a good resume builder will make it easy to do just that.
Practical Resume Advice For Military Veterans
Switching careers takes courage. And veterans know a thing or two about courage.
But when military personnel finish serving their country and look to re-enter civilian life, they need more than just strong nerves to make the transition to a new career. Finding a job demands practical strategies.
For veterans, the struggle is often aligning the skills and experiences theyve gained in the military with the types of jobs that exist outside the military. On top of that, long-serving veterans dont have a lot of experience with resume making.
Not to worry. This post is all about helping those that have served in the armed forces create resumes as they seek out civilian positions.
We love bringing insights from job recruiters into the products and resources we offer. So, after talking with recruiters about their experiences hiring veterans, weve focused this post on the following areas:
- The ideal resume format for veterans
- Important resume sections for veterans
- How veterans can emphasize specific skills
- What veterans should avoid on their resumes
Keep in mind that there are plenty of other considerations when making a resume. So be sure to also see our guide on how to write a resume.
Read Also: Does Cox Offer Military Discount
Choose The Best Resume Format For You
With several resume formats to choose from, it is anything but just going with a random format. There will be one that fits your experience and skills best, so use that one!
- Chronological Resume Format
The chronological resume format is the one that is the most used at present.
It provides an extensive look at your work experience, in reverse chronological order.
If you have a lot of experience in the field that you are applying to, then this may be the format for you.
Because this format strongly expresses work experience, this is not the best fit for many veterans.
If your military experience and training dont match your new career goals, then this format will actually highlight your inexperience.
- Functional Resume Format
Do you feel that using the chronological format would expose your inexperience?
Instead, you may go with the functional resume format. This is the second most frequently used resume format.
Emphasis is placed here on the skills that you possess, rather than your work experience.
You specify your skills and qualifications that are most relevant to the job that you are applying to.
Instead of exposing your inexperience, you highlight exactly what skills you bring to the table.
This is ideal for a lot of veterans who have lots of skills that they can offer, but little experience.
- Combination Resume Format
The combination resume format is also referred to as the hybrid format.
But if you get it right, it can be the best of both worlds.
Translate Your Military Ranks Titles And Duties
Civilians do not understand the hierarchy or responsibilities of military titles. One of the most helpful things you can do on your military-to-civilian resume is to change your titles into something a civilian reader will find familiar.
Most corporate and profitable environments arent going to have any idea how to translate E1, E2, first sergeant, warned St. Pierre. Instead of taking the time to research it, theyre going to count the candidate out of the lot because they dont understand.
St. Pierre shared these examples:
For instance, E7 to E9 the civilian equivalent could be director, supervisor, department manager, senior advisor. Below that is an E4 to an E6, which depending on what service theyre in corporal, specialist, petty officer, or sergeant. That translates over to assistant manager, line supervisor, section leader, task leader, foreman. Same things with the lower ranks, like E1 to E3. Maybe they were private or a seaman recruit or a seaman apprentice. That could be a production worker, an assembler, a technician, an apprentice, or a team member. So even when theyre lower ranks, you can still give it a strong civilian title.
This practice also extends beyond official titles to roles and duties.
If I was a main battle tank crew member, in the civilian world, we would translate that to heavy equipment operator,’ explained St. Pierre. Were taking those titles and were civilianizing them.
Read Also: Nfcu Homebuyers Choice
What Do Employers Like To See In Applicants With Military Experience
More than anything, someone with military experience understands how a chain of command works and knows how to follow through with pretty much any set of marching orders theyre given.
Even if serving in the military came with no additional experience or other benefits, this would still be massively valuable to employers.
Its tough to understate how much incompetence people in most industries face on a day-to-day basis, no matter what level of the company theyre in.
So when someone shows up who knows how to get things done quickly and efficiently, employers take notice fast.
But of course, these skills arent the only ones employers need to see when theyre making the decision to hire somebody.
And people who have spent years in the military dont always know the best way to describe the things that theyre capable of doing in less military-specific terms.
Compliment What Is On Your Resume
It would be a huge turn-off for your cover letter and resume to both cover the exact same information. You risk sounding like a broken record.
Instead, provide information that is complementary to what you have included on your resume, but not exactly the same.
Does your resume state that you spearheaded an initiative that saw training time be reduced by 10%?
Maybe your cover letter can address what was accomplished with all that extra time.
Recommended Reading: Navy Seal Underwater Swim
Write An Engaging Resume Summary
With your work experience section completed, itâs time to summarize your military experience in a way that is attractive to hiring managers and potential clients.
A resume summary is a short statement that usually appears at the top of your resume. It highlights your relevant experience, skills, and qualifications for a role. Its purpose is to âsell yourself,â i.e., explain your suitability for a position and convince the hiring manager to continue reading the rest of your resume.
A summary only needs to be 2-3 sentences long. However, these sentences need to be packed with concrete details and wholly targeted to the role you are applying for. For example:
Ex-U.S. Army Infantry Senior Sergeant seeking operations role at management level. Experienced in leading, planning, and coordinating operations of multiple departments. Expertise in policy formulation, resource allocation, and human resources modeling.
With regards to your Upwork profile, specifically, pay attention to your profile title and overview. When a potential client searches for freelancers on Upwork, the first thing they see are the titles and snippets from your overview. Optimizing the title and profile overview to grab their attention is definitely a best practice you want to follow.
Discuss Both The Employer And Yourself
Express why you are interested in the position that you have applied to. Highlight that your skills make you a fantastic candidate. Talk about the specific job as well as the company as a whole, but dont go on for too long.
Also, mention your transition away from the military and back to civilian life.
Here is an example as to how you can write that:
I am just finishing ten years of service in the United States Army, serving in the military police. In the time I spent there, I polished skills in observation, risk assessment, versatility, and critical thinking, which are all vital skills in at . I was handpicked to represent our branch on several occasions, so responsibility was something that was very much valued, and all of these skills are transferable. I would love to have the opportunity to use my skills and responsibility to add value here.
Don’t Miss: Sears Military Discount Code
Focus On Your Transferable Military Experience And Skills
Depending on what job you performed in the military, you likely have a variety of transferable hard and soft skills.
For example, a prior Air Force Technical Aircraft Mechanic specialist has skills that translate directly into aviation maintenance and repair. Targeting airlines or logistics companies like FedEx and UPS, as well as aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, will likely be an easy career transition.
However, not every veteran is going to have directly transferable skills. What if you were an infantryman and now want to step into a corrections officer position? How about if you were a human resource specialist and want to become a financial analyst? Convincing employers that youre the right person for the job wont be so easy.
However, regardless of the industry, heres a list of ten great soft skills that any employer will love to see on your military to civilian resume:
- Oral and Written Communication